The church of St Mary the Virgin in the small village of Westcott, is considered to be a bit of an architectural gem. It was built in 1865 at about the same time as the small primary school whose playground adjoins the churchyard.
The church and school have worked together over the last few years to make the school viable. The school has changed status from Voluntary Controlled to Voluntary Aided allowing access to diocesan school building funds. It has also changed from being an infant school to an all through primary. There are now 88 children on the roll and two new classrooms and reception area have been added.
Westcott is a small village of approx 450 people. At one time the village boasted a shop, Post Office and pub as well a beautiful little Catholic Church. Sadly these have now all closed and as recently as 2011 there were only 17 pupils in the school.
There are two services a month in St Mary’s, Westcott and the church is used at least three times a week for school assemblies. At the end of each term staging is erected at the front of the church so that end of term performances can take place.
You may find the music provided by guitar, cello, flute and glockenspiel. At Christmas what amounts to a small orchestra accompanies the carol singing at the Nine Lessons and Carols by Candlelight service.
On the first Sunday of each month there is a Family Communion service at 9.30.
On the third Sunday there is a family service at 9.30.
Fresh coffee, soft drinks and biscuits (gluten free catered for) are served after the service. The small congregation offers a warm welcome to visitors.
The Grade II*listed church was erected in 1867 as a chapel of ease to Waddesdon church at the sole expense of the last Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. It has never been a separate benefice. Designed by G.E. Street, the famous Victorian architect, it is considered the best of his work in the county. The church was consecrated on December 23rd 1867.
The leading character of the architecture of the church is early English; it consists of a nave, two aisles, chancel, and south porch, with a central bellcote. It is austere in style and the simplicity of the design creates a deep sense of peace and stillness. The exterior walls are of local blue stone with Ancaster stone dressings. the interior walls are lined with pink and cream bricks, with stone dressings.
All the original contents and fixtures were also designed by G.E. Street. The octagonal pulpit is in the northeast corner of the nave. The font is hexagonal, each face being semi-circular. The altar was designed and installed by Canon Vernon Stanley of Ickford in 1924 and the east window is dedicated to Edward Charles Bulmer, killed whilst serving at RAF Westcott.
In 2006/7, the roofs were restored and re-tiled.
For information about the church please contact The Revd Caroline Wainman on 01296 655069
For information about the school please visit the School’s web site