Church of England Diocese of Oxford Great Faringdon

A history of All Saints Church

All Saints church is cruciform in plan, with nave aisles, a side chapel to the north of the chancel, and a central crossing tower. A church was mentioned here in Domesday Book, though the oldest parts of the present building date from the 12th century.

The surround of the (repositioned) north door is of carved Norman work, while the ornate ironwork on the south door has been dated to circa 1200. A new west door and window were inserted in the 15th century.

The chancel is a fine example of Early English work with tall lancet windows, and dates from the early 13th century. It has a 15th-century wagon roof. Three commemorative brasses have been mounted on the wall within the sanctuary. The Pye Chapel to the north dates from the 15th century. It has served as a family mortuary chapel, and three large 18th-century monuments to members of the Pye family stand against the north wall.

The Unton aisle, adjoining the north transept, contains a number of important monuments, including an alabaster table tomb with effigies of Sir Henry Unton (d 1533) and his wife, a Purbeck marble wall monument with brasses to Sir Alexander Unton (d 1547) and wives, and a lifesize effigy of Lady Dorothy Unton (d 1634).

During the Civil War the spire was toppled, and repaired as a truncated tower. In falling it demolished the south transept which was not rebuilt until 1854. Adjoining the south transept is the mid-19th-century Littleworth aisle. In 1996 the ASSET facility (a two storey structure containing meeting rooms, toilets and a kitchenette) was built within the south transept and Littleworth aisle.

In 1853-4 a major campaign of restoration and alteration was undertaken, with J W Hugall as architect. A new south transept was built, the Littleworth aisle was demolished and rebuilt, a medieval south porch was demolished, and the south wall of the nave was demolished and rebuilt. An organ chamber, now used as a baptistery, was added opposite the south door and a vestry was built. Much of the stained glass in the church also dates from the 19th century.

The churchyard contains several 18th-century headstones. It was closed in 1957 and responsibility for its maintenance was transferred by Order in Council to Faringdon Town Council.

(This is a summary from the full church guide published in 2001. Copies can be obtained from the church or from Faringdon Tourist Information Centre)