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Ogbourne St George Parish Council Church

The church in Ogbourne St.George is a listed building.

It is on the site of what was a Priory of the Abbey of Bec-Hellouin from 1146.


Her gift of Ogbourne St. George church to the abbey of Bec was confirmed by Maud of Wallingford c. 1148. (fn. 164)The church was appropriated c. 1190 by the abbey, which undertook to provide a chaplain to serve the cure. (fn. 165)At the establishment of the prebend of Ogbourne in 1208 a vicarage was ordained; the abbot of Bec, as prebendary, was patron. (fn. 166) From the time of Edward I the prebendaries had the right of archidiaconal jurisdiction in the parish as they did in Ogbourne St. Andrew. (fn. 167) As keeper of Ogbourne priory the Crown presented to the vicarage on five occasions between 1326 and 1401. (fn. 168) The advowson passed with the estates of the priory to John, duke of Bedford, and in 1421 was granted by him to St. George’s chapel, Windsor. (fn. 169) In 1549 and 1589 presentations were made to the vicarage by virtue of grants of the advowson from the dean and canons; in 1589 the patron was one of the canons. (fn. 170) Ogbourne St. George and Ogbourne St. Andrew were served in plurality from 1951 (fn. 171) and were united as the benefice of Ogbourne St. Andrew and St. George in 1970. (fn. 172) Ogbourne St. George became part of the Ridgeway team ministry in 1974 and a representative of the dean and canons of Windsor was one of five members of the patronage board which thereafter appointed the team rector. (fn. 173)

The vicar received £4 6s. 8d. in 1291, a poor income compared with that from other prebendal churches of Salisbury. (fn. 174) In 1535, however, the clear value of the vicarage, £14 5s. 8d., was above average for Marlborough deanery. (fn. 175) Nevertheless, the dean and canons of Windsor paid the vicar £20 a year from 1666 or earlier, presumably in augmentation of his income. (fn. 176) In the early 19th century the living, valued at £244 c. 1830, was moderately prosperous. (fn. 177) Small tithes, not otherwise defined, were paid to the vicar from the whole parish except the prior’s demesne in the 13th century. (fn. 178) In the 15th century the vicar’s tithes were described as all but great and hay tithes (fn. 179) but he probably received then, as in the 17th century, all tithes except those of grain and of hay and wool and lambs from the demesne farm. (fn. 180) In 1843 the vicarial tithes were replaced by a rent charge of £249 14s. (fn. 181) In 1650 the vicarage house was of two storeys with three rooms on each. (fn. 182) In the mid 18th century it was a building of three bays with a wing at the west end. (fn. 183) The house, said to be fit for residence in 1831, (fn. 184) was described as a long thatched building in 1870. (fn. 185) In 1884 another house was built on higher ground immediately north of the old one which was demolished in 1885. (fn. 186) The new house was sold c. 1976 when another was built in its grounds. (fn. 187)

A chapel dedicated to All Saints, mentioned in the 13th century, was perhaps attached to Ogbourne priory. In return for saying mass there once a week the vicar held a croft and its hay tithes from the prior. (fn. 188) In 1589 a former chapel dedicated to St. Sitha on the west side of the ‘west streetway’ was sold by the Crown. (fn. 189) A chantry in the parish church was known as the chantry of the Holy Trinity or of St. George in the 14th century. In 1376 the Crown presented to the chantry in the right of the prior of Ogbourne, whose property was then in royal keeping, and c. 1395 the prior presented. (fn. 190) The advowson descended with Ogbourne St. George manor to King’s College, Cambridge, but there was no chantry priest after c. 1543. (fn. 191) The chantry may have received additional endowments from Adam Greenfield and from a member of the Beke family in the early 16th century. In 1545–6, when it was described as a chantry of Adam Greenfield, and in 1548, when it was called St. George’s or Beke’s, the chantry was valued at 30s. (fn. 192) The endowment included 1 yardland in Ogbourne St. George and a house for the priest, which were granted to John Barwick by the Crown in 1549. (fn. 193) Another chantry, also Adam Greenfield’s and valued at £6 7s., may have been ascribed to the parish in error in 1545–6. (fn. 194)

Before the Dissolution there was a guild or fraternity in the parish but no detail of it survives. (fn. 195) From the 17th century assistant curates were sometimes appointed to the parish, (fn. 196) although there is no evidence of non-residence before the 19th century. In the late 18th century and the 19th minor canons of St. George’s chapel, Windsor, were presented to the living. (fn. 197) One of them, Benjamin Pope, vicar 1826–71, was a pluralist and non-resident. (fn. 198) Perhaps as a result, only a small proportion of the population attended the parish church in the mid 19th century. On Census Sunday in 1851 40 people attended service in the morning, 30 in the afternoon. (fn. 199) The average congregation had grown, but only to between 80 and 100, by 1864. There were then 40 communicants. Two services with sermons were held on Sundays and there were additional services at festivals and in Lent. Holy Communion was celebrated monthly and at festivals. (fn. 200)

The church had been dedicated to ST. GEORGE by the later 13th century. (fn. 201) It is built of sarsen and rubble with freestone dressings and has a chancel with north and south chapels, an aisled and clerestoried nave with a south porch, and a west tower. The chancel arch, some of the chancel walling, and the south arcade are of the early 13th century and show that there was then a building of the present length. The two eastern bays of the north arcade are of the late 13th century and probably opened into a short aisle or chapel. Alterations were made to the chancel in the 14th century and to the whole church in the 15th century or the early 16th. A priest’s doorway and chapels were added to the chancel, the nave was reroofed and the clerestory made, and the tower added. Both aisles appear to have been largely rebuilt, perhaps wider than before, and the old doorways were reset. The north aisle was extended westwards, and one bay added to its arcade, and the south porch was built. Fittings of that period include the font, the north chapel screen, and a brass to Thomas Goddard (d. 1517), which was formerly in that chapel. In the 19th century the roofs were restored and the chancel rebuilt with the renewal of most of the tracery.

In the early 17th century the church lacked even a pewter jug for the communion wine. (fn. 202) A chalice and paten cover of 1729, an almsdish hallmarked 1814 and presented in 1857, and a chalice and paten of 1910 are held by the parish. A chalice and paten of 1872 from the chapel of All Saints at Rockley in Ogbourne St. Andrew are used at festivals. (fn. 203) There were four bells in 1553. Five new bells were hung in the 17th century and are still in the church. (fn. 204)

Registers of baptisms survive from 1639 and from 1663; those of burials and marriages survive from 1664. (fn. 205)