St Giles’, Wendlebury - our history

The earliest known record of the parish church of St Giles is from the early thirteenth century. The original church was built as a Chapel of Ease to nearby Chesterton in the late 1100s.

The original church is said to have been a beautiful twelfth-century Norman edifice in the Romanesque style, with its first Rector appointed in 1215. The church was cruciform until 1639, when the south transept was found to be unsafe and demolished.

In 1757 the remainder of the building was found unsafe and deemed to be in a ‘ruinous condition and dilapidated state’. In March 1761 everything but the bell tower was demolished. Some parts of the church were preserved, including three ancient bells, altar rails and the Norman font. By September that year a new nave, chancel, and two transepts had been completed, incorporating from the old church general building materials, early Decorated Gothic windows from c1300, and a Perpendicular Gothic doorway.

At that time the church also had a sixteenth-century chalice and paten from the reign of Edward IV, as well as an eighteenth-century one from the reign of George II. These items can now be viewed in the Chapter House of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. The building of this second church was carried out mostly by local people, and opened on 19 April 1762, taking just one year to build.

The foundations of the church continued to give trouble and in 1901/2 the medieval tower and eighteenth-century south transept were demolished. At the same time the architect John Oldrid Scott restored the remainder of the building, renewing the roof and installing new seating.

Today St Giles’ has no tower and no south transept. The tower had three bells, two cast in the sixteenth century and the third in 1695. Since the demolition of the tower these have stood in the west end of the nave. The west gable of the nave now has a bell-cote with one bell. The church still has its Norman font, ancient south doorway, and altar rails from the medieval and Stuart periods.

St Giles’ is a Grade 2 listed building.