St Margaret of Antioch's History, Alderton

A chapel existed at Alderton prior to the Norman Conquest (1066), but the present church is in the Gothic style and dates from the early 14th Century. It would be at this time that the present plan existed, although probably without a tower. The earliest part of the original church is a part of a Saxon Font which was excavated in the 19th century in the course of major restoration work, (now in the South Porch).

The present font is ancient and is of Early English design, a Gothic style of the period 1190 - 1270 The Chancel Arch is pointed, without capitals, and parts of pre-13th century stonework are set in the chancel wall. There is a niche on either side of the Arch, and another over the South door. The latter contains a mutilated, headless figure, probably that of St. Margaret, the Patron Saint.

The nave arcade has three arches on octagonal columns with capitals. All this has probably existed since the early 14th century, as have the chancel doorway, and the North and South doorways to the nave and is built in the Gothic style of that century. On the South side of the sanctuary there is a 14th century Piscina and in the window above this there are some fragments of medieval glass.

The church contains an ancient oak chest having decorative ironwork. A 14th century window in the East wall of the aisle has two lights; a 15th century window in the North wall of the nave has three lights and a corbelled label. In the 15th century the tower was built or raised, and two ­light windows were inserted in the west wall of the aisle and the North wall of the nave. The present tower, which is embattled, consists of three stages, and has clock faces on the North and West sides. The present clock was installed in 1928 to replace an earlier faceless clock. By 1775 the tower contained six bells, four of four of the present six bells were cast in 1695 - 8, one in 1713 and the last in 1855.

A fire damaged the building in 1722, after which the windows of the Chancel and the South side of the aisle were rebuilt, and it is likely that, at the same time, the aisle was given a roof which continued the general slope of the roof of the nave and contained two dormer windows instead of the previous separated ridged roof. There are also signs of a gallery at the West end of the nave which would have existed at this time.

During the period 1880 - 1892 extensive restoration work took place and the earlier Cotswold stone slates were replaced using red tiles and the dormer windows were removed. A large portion of the North wall, together with the North porch, was rebuilt and the interior walls were denuded of plaster to show the Cotswold stone masonry. The North vestry that existed in 1859 was removed and the chancel was given a perpendicular East window. The glass in the window dates from 1919 - 20.

The original organ dated from 1856 and was replaced by the present organ in 1947. In 1125 this church was a chapel of Winchcombe Parish Church and early in the 13th century a Chaplain resided in the village. The first known Rector of Alderton dated from 1283, by which time the chapel had become the Parish Church. The Lord of Dixton Manor held the patronage from the 13th

century until 1801, when it passed to the Bishop. The registers begin in 1596 and are complete.

We, who continue the worship in this place, hope that you have enjoyed your visit, and that you will take with you something of the stillness, the quiet beauty and tranquillity, which comes from the worship and prayers of the faithful over the hundreds of years here at St. Margaret's Church in Alderton.