Hungerford's Churches

St. Lawrence, Church of England, The Croft



The Church of St Lawrence in Hungerford was built in 1816 to replace the earlier church, which had collapsed, and had stood, it is believed, on the same site for nearly 700 years. It was constructed in Bath stone, which was brought to the site by the newly opened Kennet and Avon Canal , and was designed by Mr James Pinch of Bath , who had also designed a nearly identical church at Bathwick in Bath . However in the latter part of the 19th Century, it was felt that the interior and the profile of the exterior could be improved.

The interior of the church was re-ordered at a cost of nearly £3000, when decorated style arcades of Bath stone replaced the original cast iron pillars, and on the exterior the majority of the battlements were replaced with plain coping. At the same time a new organ was installed at a cost of just over £500.

The general appearance of the church can best be described as Georgian Gothic, and in its present form comprises nave and four bays with aisles, sanctuary with shallow apsidal east end of semi-circular outline, west tower, south porch, and also a small porch in the angle between the apse and the south aisle. The interior ceiling is oak panelled, and the beautiful stained glass windows were added at the end of the 19th century when the original windows were each replaced by subscription to commemorate specific events. The Rev. J. B. Anstice, who was Vicar from 1866 until 1894, is commemorated in 3 of the windows. The west tower, which is of three stages and has an embattled parapet with angle pinnacles, contains a peal of eight bells and a Sanctus bell. The original church had only three bells and a Sanctus bell.

St Lawrence with approach On the South side of the previous church had stood the Chantry chapel founded in 1325 by Sir Robert Hungerford, in memory of his wife Geva. This was demolished at the time of the Reformation, but Sir Robert’s much mutilated effigy still lies in the church today together with the inscribed stone which contains the indulgence of 550 days for all who pray for the soul of Sir Robert and his wife. The Patrons of the living are the Dean and Chapter of Windsor , but the rectorial tithes are by exchange transferred to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. The living passed to Windsor at the beginning of the 15th Century when the Hungerford Church and lands became the property of the Crown

 

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