“What a wonderful light airy space” is a comment frequently heard when visitors first enter the large church building in Waddesdon. The building is an unusually large for a village. The spaces we occupy, be that our homes or the public domain, affect how we live in them and use them. St Michael and All Angels has presented its challenges as well as opportunities. For the last eight years we have been rising to the challenge of restoring and drying out a decaying damp building. During that time we have explored different ways of using the space and have become committed to all age worship.
We hope this gives you a “flavour” of worship at St Michael and All Angels Waddesdon and helps you to decide what might be a good choice for you. We love to welcome visitors and newcomers.
On the first and third Sundays of each month children and adults are together for the whole of the service. On the second and the fourth Sundays activities related to the theme of the service are provided in the café area at the west end of the church for part of the service. There are no separate rooms. Parents sometimes help their children with craft activities. The children’s activities are planned by a small group of parents led by Ali, our Licensed Lay Minister in training. Please take a look at the Services page for upcoming church services.
The first Sunday of the month we have named “Together”. We meet together around tables where we might light a candle, make a simple prayer aid, think about a question together, share our feeling about a picture or enjoy some food. We follow a simple pattern of worship and our singing is led by a guitarist or pianist along with some singers. There is lots of room for buggies and wheelchairs. In Anglican terms it is called “A service of the Word”.
The second Sunday is “Morning Prayer on Sunday” when we gather in a circle and light a candle. The service includes readings, prayers, silence, a reflection on one of the readings and singing including a contemporary setting of a psalm.
The third Sunday is Family Communion, a simple service of Holy Communion with an all age talk. Often children will read, lead prayers and bring the bread and wine up to the table. A pianist accompanies sung worship.
The fourth Sunday is a Common Worship Holy Communion service including seasonal provisions, three readings and four hymns played on our Allen Organ.
After every service we serve freshly brewed coffee and biscuits (gluten free catered for) as well as tea and drinks for children in the café area.
For more information please take a look at Services.
For further information please email Ali May: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no record of a church in this location prior to the Norman conquest. Until recently, it was believed that the first stones were laid in or very near to 1190. However, during the recent conservation work, the foundations of an earlier chapel were discovered under the existing chancel. This is believed to date from just before or during the reign of Henry II (1154-1190).
The Grade II* listed church is a spacious and massive structure. It reputedly attained its present size as a “visitation” church able to accommodate the clergy and laity on the occasion of visits of the Bishop of Lincoln and his staff to the Deanery of Waddesdon, before the Diocese of Oxford was created. It is of particular interest to the historian and students of church architecture for it embodies most of the structural developments and Christian symbolism of the English medieval church between the 12th and 15th centuries.
The three middle columns of the south arcade of the nave, and the west respond, which are of the late 12th century, are the earliest details in the building. The nave and the south aisle were lengthened westwards in the 13th century, and early in the 14th century the nave was further lengthened eastward by about 20 ft., entailing the entire rebuilding of the chancel on a new site to the east. A little later, about 1340, the north arcade was formed and the north aisle added to the nave. Towards the end of the 14th century the chancel was widened on the north and a west tower was erected. The chancel was again altered in the latter part of the 15th century, the eastern half of the south wall being rebuilt; at the same time the clerestory was added to the nave, the three eastern bays of the south wall of the south aisle were taken down and widened, and part of the north wall of the north aisle, to the west of the north doorway, appears to have been renewed, probably on account of some structural failure. The south porch, since rebuilt, is also an addition of the same period. In 1862, the nave and chancel were entirely re-roofed. The church has been much restored, the first restoration being completed in 1877; the tower, with the western walls of the aisles, was entirely rebuilt in 1891–2 in coursed rubble stone but retains some old details from the 15th century such as a carved head, gargoyles and the arch to the west door, and the exterior was extensively repaired in 1902. Further restoration work was completed in 1987.
In 2018, the church was placed on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register because of the poor condition of the floors and the damp in the structure. The latest work, completed in 2019, addressed these issues through the renewal of the external drainage, the replacement of the majority of the rotting, timber suspended floor with a solid stone floor and the installation of a new heating system. At the same time, the pews (which were in poor condition) were replaced by chairs.
Notable internal features are a C15 octagonal font with traceried panels; an elaborate C19 marble pulpit, formerly in the chapel at Blenheim Palace; a carved oak seat with canopy, probably French, early C16; a stone effigy of a knight, c.1330; a brass to Robert Piggott and wife mid C16; a brass to Hugh Bristowe, 1548; a brass to Richard Huntyndon, 1543 with small figure of priest; and a brass to Sir Roger Dynham, knight, 1490, brought from a chantry chapel in Eythrope in 1892.
At one time, the parish of Waddesdon with Westcott and Over Winchendon was reputed to be the second largest in the country in terms of acreage. From early in the 13th century until 1881, the parish was split into three portions, a separate rector being instituted to and receiving a stipend from each portion. A small manor house was attached to each portion. The first mention of this unusual arrangement appears in the Lincoln Diocesan rolls for 1218. The three portions were named Bentham, Motons and Atte Grene or De La Grene. It is not clear how these names came about but Thomas Bentham was a rector (1383-1399) as was Eustace Moton (1318-1361) and Atte Grene may have referred to the location of it’s rector’s house situated in the centre of the village “on the green”. The three portions became a single benefice in 1881. A display board by the south door lists the Rectors of Waddesdon.
In February 1973, an Order in Council combined the united benefice of Over Winchendon and Fleet Marston with Waddesdon to form the current parish. In November 2002, the benefice was dissolved by Order in Council and the parish was transferred to the benefice of Schorne. The Schorne Team comprises twelve churches arranged in nine parishes in the beautiful Aylesbury Vale.
Acknowledgement: To Mr A E Hawkins for the guide to St Michael and All Angels, first published in 1989, from which much of the material here is sourced.