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British History Online - Parishes: Great Faringdon pt5

Plan Of Farington Church


Farendone (xi cent.); Farendon, Ferendun (xii cent.); 
Great Faryngdon alias Chepyngfaryngdon (xv cent.).

'Parishes: Great Faringdon', in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page and P H Ditchfield (London, 1924), pp. 489-499. British History Online.

The central tower was reduced in height in 1645, and now rises only one stage above the roofs. It rests on four pointed arches, each of three moulded orders. Each respond has a central and two smaller shafts on each side, all with 'hold-water' bases, wellcarved foliage capitals of varied design and square abaci of about 1200. In the inner angles of the tower are circular shafts carried up to the roof of the ground stage. In the spandrels of the east arch are a trefoil-headed niche and a quatrefoil containing a carved head. The spandrels of the other arches have quatrefoils only. The bell-chamber of the tower is lighted by two 13th-century lancet windows in each wall; each pair is set in a recess with deeply moulded jambs, but the heads of these recesses have been destroyed. The tower has a plain parapet.
The north transept has in the east wall a pointed 15th-century arch opening into the north chapel, and now filled with a modern stone screen. The whole arch is set in a larger pointed and chamfered arch of the 13th century. Further north is a much smaller arch of the same date, now opening into the modern vestry; in its south respond is a trefoilheaded piscina. In the north wall are two modern lancet windows. On the west is a narrow pointed and billeted arch of about 1190, formerly opening into the north nave aisle; it rests on the north on a modern pier, from which also springs a wide modern arch opening into the western aisle of the transept. The roof has a flat tie-beam truss with moulded timbers and curved braces with tracery in the spandrels. The transept walls have been raised, probably in the 15th century, and the weathering of the earlier roof is visible on the north face of the tower. The western aisle of the transept was added in the 14th century, and has a very beautiful four-light window of that date in the north wall; the head is filled with net tracery and the rear arch is cinquefoiled, the four cusp points and springers being enriched with carved human heads. In the west wall is a blocked doorway. The south transept with its western aisle is entirely modern.
The nave, of about 1190, has north and south arcades of four bays with semicircular arches of two moulded orders with moulded labels and small sunk quatrefoils in the spandrels. They rest on cylindrical columns with foliated capitals, all of different design, and octagonal moulded abaci; the moulded bases with foliage spurs are all restored. The north-east respond is square, with a moulded capping; it has a simple round-headed piscina in the north face. The south-east respond is semicircular, with a foliated capital and a square abacus. At the west end the arcades rest on rich foliated brackets. The clearstory consists of four round-headed windows on each side, irregularly spaced over the bays; the easternmost on the north opens into the transept aisle. The rubble clearstory is probably earlier than the arcade below, the ashlar face of which stops above the arches. In the west wall is a 15th-century window of five lights under a segmental-pointed and traceried head; it has two transoms. Below it is the moulded and pointed west door of the same date, with quatrefoils in the external spandrels.
The north aisle, rebuilt in the 15th century, has in the north wall a modern arch opening to the baptistery, and further west two large six-light windows with tracery and transoms filling nearly all the wall space. In the west wall is a square-headed threelight window. The low gabled roof has moulded main timbers of the 15th century. The modern baptistery or north porch has a late 12th-century outer doorway refixed, of one order with embattled ornament and a billeted label with beast-head stops. The jambs are richly carved with sprays of conventional foliage much weathered. The south aisle is a modern rebuilding in the Norman style. The south doorway is fitted with a fine old door with elaborate iron hinges and ornament of about 1200.
Fixed on the north wall of the chancel are several brasses, the first is to John Parker (d. 1485) and Elizabeth his wife, with figures in civilian costume. Another with a small headless figure in armour and two ladies is to Thomas Faryndun (Faringdon) (d. 1396), Margaret his wife (d. 1402) and their daughter Katherine Pynchepole (d. 1443). A small figure commemorates John Sadler, vicar of Inglesham (Yngylsā) (d. 1505), and there are also fragments of a marginal inscription. In the north chapel are monuments to Jane wife of Henry Pye (d. 1706), an elaborate monument of marble with a shield of Pye impaling Curzon. Another is to Henry Pye (d. 1749), with a bust of his son Admiral Thomas Pye, and a third commemorates Anna Pye, his second wife (d. 1729), with a shield of Pye impaling Bathurst. On the south side is a life-size kneeling figure in alabaster of about 1600. On the floor and partly covered by the organ is an incised slab with figures in bas-relief of a man and wife of the 16th century. At the north end of the north transept is a carved alabaster altar tomb of about 1540 to Sir Thomas Unton and Elizabeth his wife, with figures of a man in armour with collar of S S and tabard and of a lady with a close cap; the tabard bears the quartered coat of Unton impaling Azure three griffons argent, for Young of East Hanney. The sides of the tomb have arched Renaissance panels, each with a shield encircled with a wreath; they bear the same arms as those on the tabard, alternating with the quartered Unton coat. Against the same wall is a Purbeck marble altar tomb of Gothic character, with a canopy of the same material, to Sir Alexander Unton (d. 1547); at the back are kneeling figures of the knight in armour and a tabard and of his two wives Mary and Cecyle in heraldic mantles, seven sons, three daughters, and four shields. The shields bear Bourchier impaling Howard, Unton impaling Bourchier and two quartered coats of Unton. The first lady bears the same coat impaling Bourchier and Louvain quarterly; the second lady bears the quartered Unton coat impaling Bulstrode quartering Goostrey. Against the west wall is a white marble monument to Sir Henry Purefoy, bart. (d. 1686), with a shield quarterly, 1 and 4 Purefoy quartering three stirrups, for Shereford, 2 Willoughby, 3 Darcy. On the same wall is an elaborate late 16th-century painted marble monument with Corinthian side columns, two arches at the back and an enriched cornice to Sir Edward Unton, K.B. There are ten shields, the first being the fully quartered coat of Unton, the second Unton impaling Bulstrode, the third Unton impaling Bourchier, the third bearing the first impaling the quartered coat of Seymour and the rest Seymour with various impalements and Unton impaling an uncertain coat.
The 15th-century font is octagonal, with window tracery on each face of the bowl.
There are eight bells: the treble, second and sixth by Mears & Stainbank, 1874; the third, fourth and fifth of 1708; the seventh by James Wells of Aldbourne, 1803, and the tenor by the same founder, 1779.
The plate includes a large flagon (London, 1733), inscribed 'This silver flagon, chalice and salver were given to this parish by the Honble. Mrs. Anne Pye late wife to Henry Pye Esqr. Lord of this Manor,' with a shield of the Pye arms. The same arms are repeated on a salver (London, 1721), a large cup (date mark obliterated) and a paten without hall marks.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1653 to 1710; (ii) 1710 to 1741; (iii) all entries 1742 to 1780, marriages to 1754 only; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1772; (v) marriages 1773 to 1812; (vi) baptisms and burials 1781 to 1812.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN, Little Coxwell, consists of a chancel 21 ft. 3 in. by 16 ft., nave 40 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft., and north and south porches. These measurements are all internal.
The structure is substantially of the 12th century, the chancel being earlier than the nave. In the 13th century the bellcote above the chancel arch was erected and the wall below strengthened by buttresses. Windows were inserted in the 14th and 15th centuries, and in the latter century the south porch was added. The church has been restored in modern times and the north porch added.
The chancel has a modern east window of three lights; on the north is a large cinquefoil-headed niche, and on the south a smaller niche with a square head, also cinquefoiled. The north wall is without openings, but in the south wall are two windows, the eastern of the 14th century and of two lights under a square head; below it is a trefoil-headed piscina. The western window is of the 15th century, and similar to those in the north aisle at Faringdon; it is of four lights, square-headed and transomed. The 12th-century priest's doorway is round-headed and has chamfered imposts and label. The narrow chancel arch of the same century has plain responds with chamfered imposts continued along as stringcourses. The arch has been rebuilt in a four-centred form in the 15th century, some of the old voussoirs and the label being re-used.
The nave has in the north wall a modern window, and further west a square-headed doorway to the modern north porch or vestry. The jambs of this doorway have a bold roll and may be of the 12th century. In the south wall is a square-headed 15thcentury window of three lights with head stops to the external label. The south doorway is of the late 12th century, of a single moulded semicircular order with a chamfered and billeted hood. The jambs have attached shafts with moulded capitals continued along as imposts. Further west is a late 13th-century pointed two-light window. In the west wall is a three-light window of the same date with trefoiled lights; the sill has been cut away for the gallery stairs. The roof contains old timbers, but has been restored. Over the chancel arch is a fine 13th-century double bellcote of stone. It is gabled, and in the spandrel above the two pointed openings is a pierced quatrefoil. On its south face is a late sundial. The 15thcentury south porch has a moulded and four-centred outer archway and a small modern window in the west wall.
At the west end of the nave is a timber gallery, the front of which is made up of 15th-century woodwork, apparently part of the former chancel screen; the panels have traceried heads and an excellent cornice of carved running foliage. The font has a plain octagonal bowl and stem, and dates from the 15th century. Near the pulpit is an iron hour-glass stand, now used as a lamp-rest. The old communion table is now in the vestry, and in the nave is a brass candelabrum of 1729.
Immediately east of the south doorway is a fourcentred niche, probably formerly a stoup.
There are two bells, inaccessible except by ladder.
The plate includes a good cup and cover paten (London 1584), the former with incised ornament, and the latter inscribed 'Parva Coxwell 1584,' and a modern paten.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1582 to 1702; (ii) all entries 1703 to 1770.
The church of HOLY ASCENSION, Littleworth, was consecrated in 1839, and consists of a chancel with north organ chamber, and nave of four bays with a west porch. It is built of stone in the style of the 13th century. There are three lancets in the east wall, and a gabled bellcote containing one bell on the west gable. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the Provost and scholars of Oriel College, Oxford.


The church of Faringdon was in the possession of the Bishops of Salisbury before 1086, (fn. 220) and became a prebend endowed with the hide belonging to the church. (fn. 221) Its value must have been greatly increased (fn. 222) in 1220, (fn. 223) when the Abbot and convent of Beaulieu (fn. 224) compounded for tithe from all their lands save the 2½ hides held by four of the monks' vicars. In the following year a similar composition was made by Stanley Abbey. (fn. 225) In 1227 an ordination was made for four perpetual vicars in Faringdon Church (fn. 226); they were to observe all the canonical hours and be present at the mass of the day clad in the surplice and close black cope of the Sarum custom, the vicar and one chaplain being on one side of the quire, and the other two chaplains sitting together on the opposite side. (fn. 227) The church remained appurtenant to the prebend (fn. 228) until the Dissolution, when both passed to the Crown. By 1569 the prebend was in the hands of Sir Edward Unton, kt., (fn. 229) lord of the manor, (fn. 230) which the advowson followed in descent until the 19th century. (fn. 231) William Hallett was the patron in 1800, (fn. 232) and in 1824 James Hawkins and Isabella his wife conveyed the advowson of the vicarage to George Booth Tyndale, (fn. 233) and it passed before 1845 to the present owners, the Simeon Trustees.
A chantry in honour of the Holy Trinity was founded in the churchyard under the will of Sir Robert Shottesbrook, kt. (fn. 234) Licence for its foundation was obtained in 1474 by Eleanor daughter of Sir Robert and widow of Sir John Cheney, kt., and others, (fn. 235) and in the following year steps were taken to endow it with a messuage and 325 acres of land in Compton. (fn. 236) The chapel and its endowments were granted in fee in 1549 to William Percy, of Membury, Devonshire, and John Kyle, of Stokeland, Dorset. (fn. 237)
Under a bull of Pope Alexander the Abbot and convent of Beaulieu were granted leave to celebrate divine offices in such of their granges as were so far from their parish church as to make attendance inconvenient. (fn. 238)Permission was accordingly obtained from the Archdeacon of Berkshire for mass to be celebrated in the 'oratory' at Little Coxwell, (fn. 239) and the privilege was also confirmed by the legate Ottobon. (fn. 240) The chapel was appropriated to the abbey, (fn. 241) and a vicarage was ordained in February 1243–4. (fn. 242) The advowson followed the descent of the manor (q.v.), being annexed to the living of Great Faringdon.


Sir Henry Unton's charity, founded by deed 26 June 1591, is regulated by a scheme of the court of Chancery of 2 May 1843. The property consists of 24 a. 1 r. 3 p. of land, producing £42 17s. 6d. yearly; three-quarters of the net income is, under the scheme, applicable in apprenticing poor children, and the remaining quarter in the distribution of blankets to the poor. There being very little demand for apprenticing, the surplus income is applied in the distribution of blankets costing about 10s. a pair.
The Westbrook blanket charity was founded by indenture of 14 May 1859. The property consists of 3 a. 2 r. 11 p. of land in Great Faringdon, purchased with £370, raised by voluntary contributions. The land is let in allotments producing about £14 yearly. In 1907 forty-four blankets were distributed among the poor of the Westbrook district.
Sir Valentine Knightley, by will proved in 1620 in the P.C.C., gave £10 yearly for the benefit of the poor; the rent-charge of £10 is paid out of the tithes of Littleworth, Wadley and Thrupp, and is distributed in doles at Christmas amongst the poor of Faringdon, excluding Little Coxwell.
Mrs. Eleanor Gough's charity was founded by indenture of lease and release, dated 21 and 22 October 1756. The property consists of 2 a. 3 r. 22 p., with a messuage and other buildings thereon in Shrivenham, producing yearly £13 10s., which is applicable in apprenticing.
In 1874 Ellen Belcher, by her will proved at Oxford 5 October, gave £200, the income to be applied for the purposes of the Faringdon Church District Visiting Society, and in 1875 Eliza Belcher, by her will proved at Oxford 16 July, gave £200 for the same purpose. These legacies are now represented by a sum of £390 4s. 9d. consols with the official trustees, producing yearly £9 15s., which is expended by the district visitors in tickets for groceries, meat and other articles among the poor of the district attached to Faringdon Church.
The incomes of the ten following dole charities are administered together by their several trustees, who meet about Christmastime:—
John Moore, will 1638, being an annuity of £10 issuing out of lands in Faringdon.
William Lee, deed 1631, consisting of 17 a. 2 r. 10 p. of land called the Sands, in Faringdon, producing £37 6s. 3d. yearly. The sum of 10s. is paid to the vicar for a sermon on Christmas Day, and bread is given to each poor householder in the township of Faringdon, including Littleworth and Thrupp, and to a certain number of Sundays; 100 lb. of beef are also divided among the recipients of the Sunday bread.
Today Sadler, will 1676, trust fund £50 consols producing £1 5s. yearly, which is distributed with Bosberry's charity next mentioned.
William Bosberry, will 1726, trust fund £40 consols producing £1 yearly. The income of this and the preceding charity is distributed at Christmas equally among five poor women, for the most part widows.
Joanna Alford, will 1721, trust fund £800 2½ per cent. annuities, arising from the redemption in 1906 of an annuity of £20, formerly received from the Governors of Christ's Hospital, London. The income is applicable in the relief of ten poor families.
Francis Collins, who died in 1781, by will directed that £11 yearly should be applied in clothing the two oldest men and three oldest women of Faringdon. The estate was administered in Chancery in 1793, and being insufficient to answer the legacies charged on the personal estate, a sum of £140 13s. 5d. consols was set aside to answer the annuity. The endowment now consists of £153 12s. 8d. consols. The annual dividend, amounting to £3 16s. 8d. yearly, is applied in clothing every other year for two of the oldest men, and in the alternate years for three of the oldest women of the town.
The poor's land consists of 12 a. 1 r. 24 p. in Westbrook allotted to the churchwardens for the poor by an award under the Faringdon Inclosure Act of 1773 (fn. 243) in lieu of their copyhold land in the parish. The land is let for £13 yearly, which is distributed at Christmas in sums of 5s. or 10s.
Miss Ann Ward, will proved at Oxford 23 April 1858, trust fund £208 6s. 8d. consols, the annual dividends amounting to £5 4s. being applicable in the distribution of coals.
John Pratley, will proved at Oxford April 1859, trust fund £100 consols, producing an annual dividend of £2 10s. applicable in the distribution of bread.
The Rev. Joseph Bowles, will proved at Shrewsbury 8 April 1879, trust fund £91 12s. consols, the annual dividend of which, amounting to £2 5s. 8d., is divided equally among four poor widows.
The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees.
The charities of Abraham Atkins for Baptist chapels.—The Faringdon Baptist chapel is entitled to one-fourteenth part of the dividends on a sum of £3,926 9s. 6d. consols with the official trustees, representing the proceeds of sales in 1844 of lands at Chimney, Oxfordshire, and other places comprised in deed of gift 25 April 1786. The sum of £6 14s. annually allocated to this chapel is applied as to one moiety for the minister, the other moiety being distributed among the poor of the congregation.
In 1791 the same donor, by his will, bequeathed £2,000 East India stock, the income to be applied towards the maintenance of the ministers of sixteen Baptist chapels, including the chapel at Faringdon. The legacy is now represented by £3,921 11s. 4d. India 3½ per cent. stock with the official trustees. The sum of £8 16s., being the proportion due to this chapel, is annually received and applied.
The Cottage Hospital.—In 1909 Mrs. Mary Frederica Goodlake gave £2,000 Cape of Good Hope 3½ per cent. stock for the benefit of this hospital. The stock is held by the official trustees and produces £70 a year.
Hamlet of Little Coxwell.—Hugh Smith, by his will (date not stated), gave £20 for the benefit of four of the poorest widows. The legacy was invested in £20 16s. 9d. consols with the official trustees, producing 10s. 4d. yearly.
Poor's Allotment.—Under an Inclosure Act, 8 a. 3 r. 25 p. of land called the Furse Hill were awarded in 1803 for the use of the poor. A portion of the land was sold in 1862 and the proceeds invested in £285 7s. 2d. consols, producing £7 2s. 8d. yearly. The remaining land, containing 7 a. 2 r. 25 p., is let, producing £9 12s. yearly. The stock is held by the official trustees. The income is applied in the distribution of coal at Christmas among the cottagers.
Gravel Pit.—By the award above referred to, 1 a. or. 10 p. in Highdown Field were allotted for a stone or gravel pit. The allotment is now exhausted and has been converted into arable land and let for £1 10s. yearly, which is applied in aid of the township rates.
In 1864 George Dyke gave £100 3 per cent. annuities, now a like sum in consols with the official trustees, the dividends to be divided equally among eight poor aged men and eight poor aged women on 24 December annually.
Ecclesiastical District of Littleworth.—The Church Repairs fund, founded by deed poll 24 May 1839, consists of £47 2s. 8d. Bank of England stock held by the Provost and Scholars of Oriel College, Oxford, producing £4 2s. a year.


  • 220V.C.H. Berks. i, 332.
  • 221. Ibid.
  • 222. Its value was £50 in 1291 (Pope Nich. Tax. [Rec. Com.], 190).
  • 223Sarum Chart. and Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 96.
  • 224. They had claimed immunity by papal indult (ibid.).
  • 225. Ibid. 107; cf. 243.
  • 226. Ibid. 187.
  • 227. Ibid.
  • 228. Guy Bishop of St. Davids (Stubbs, Reg. Sacrum Angl. 83) was prebendary before his promotion to that see. Successive papal reservations and provisions then led to litigation (Cal. Papal Letters, v, 84, 113, 272, 309–10, 468).
  • 229. Feet of F. Div. Co. East. 11 Eliz. For the further history of the tithe see Memo. R. (Exch. L.T.R.), Hil. 17 Eliz. m. 74; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccclxxxii, 68; Feet of F. Berks. Trin. 22 Geo. III.
  • 230. See above.
  • 231. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 232. Ibid.
  • 233. Feet of F. Berks. Hil. 4 & 5 Geo. IV.
  • 234. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 486, no. 30.
  • 235. Ibid.; Cal. Pat. 1467–77, p. 449.
  • 236. Chan. Inq. p.m. 15 Edw. IV, no. 59.
  • 237. Pat. 3 Edw. VI, pt. vi, m. 19.
  • 238. Cott. MS. Nero B. xiii, fol. 20.
  • 239. Ibid. fol. 20 d.
  • 240. Ibid. fol. 21.
  • 241. Ibid. fol. 21b.
  • 242. Ibid. fol. 24 d.
  • 243Blue Bk. Incl. Awards, 7.

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