Having a church immediately adjacent to the house offers a great degree of privacy for those with a public profile who wish to avoid prying eyes. But it is not just any old church…
Wickham Church, properly known as St Swithun’s Chapel, is a 12th Century gem built upon a much older Saxon watch tower. The tower, probably the oldest in Berkshire, is one of the best examples of Saxon workmanship in the country and is referred to in many books. Between 1845 and 1859 the church was rebuilt by the then rector, William Nicholson. Thankfully the tower escaped demolition, but Rev William couldn’t resist adding 30 feet of Victorian flint to the top of it.
Unique Feature: The Elephants
Wickham Church is also famous for its papier maché elephants, acquired in Paris in 1862. There were originally three, intended for display in the rectory (Wickham House) but unable to find anywhere suitable to put them, Nicholson had more made and placed them in the north aisle of the church, giving them names including Fortitude, Docility and Strength! They were originally guilded and must have looked dazzling. People still travel from far and wide to admire them.
St Swithun’s is a fully operational Anglican church. Although church services are open to the public, the church is little used outside of the intermittent Sunday services and is generally available to serve as a wedding venue in Berkshire on a Saturday.
The chapel seats around 130 in the pews and up to 200 with additional chairs.
It is situated a mere 50m from the marquee site.
Please contact Revd. Mary Harwood if you would like to explore the possibility of having a Marriage Ceremony or a Blessing of Marriage in the church:
The Rectory, Chaddleworth, Newbury RG20 7EW