The final photograph in this year’s Village Calendar features the Parish Church in Sibford Gower. Taken by a drone when the church roof was being inspected, the picture was submitted by Rev. Neil Bowler. The final three months were kindly sponsored by Alan Berks who supplies hay, straw and manure locally.
The King’s Commissioners visited the Sibfords during the Reformation and in 1547 reported ‘an ancient church which had fallen into decay’, but no site or remains have ever been found. This early chapel may have been used by priests who travelled between villages and who were paid by wealthy patrons to say prayers for their deceased relatives.
Until 1840 the Sibfords did not have an Anglican parish church but were part of the ecclesiastical parish of Swalcliffe (1.5 miles east of Sibford) and all services, including burial, took place there. Holy Trinity Church was built by grant and public subscription to provide 500 seatings, 340 of which were free forever. The design was by H J Underwood of Oxford, and the land was donated by Rev William Wilkes in 1839 and was consecrated for use in 1840. It has a spacious feel under its roof which was restored in 2000. Built in the shape of the Cross it does not have a separate chancel but has some fine pews and choir stalls built by local craftsmen.
The single manual organ was also erected by public subscription in 1906. Made by Jacksons of Oxford it was dedicated by the Bishop of Oxford. The leaded-light windows in both the chancel and the nave are arranged in groups of three, representing the Holy Trinity. Some of the windows display excellent examples of Victorian and Edwardian stained glass. These illustrate bible stories and events and some are dedicated memorial windows.
Surrounded by its burial grounds, Holy Trinity Church is situated within the farming countryside and stands in the heart of the village community it serves.
Our calendar year has run its course – season greetings