Welcome to the 12th Century church of St. Laurence in West Challow. Our church is one of six churches which make up the Ridgeway Benefice.
We hold a Communion Service at 8.30am on the s/econd Sunday of the month, a lay-led service at 10.30 on the fourth Sunday, as well as Harvest, Christmas and Easter services. We are also able to hold baptisms, weddings and funerals.
Details of services and events in all the Ridgeway churches are published in Signpost magazine which can be downloaded from the news and notices section of this website.
We would be delighted to welcome you into our congregation on a regular basis or if you are just in the area.
Our parish church of St. Laurence is a Grade II* listed building. It consists of a nave and chancel, which are structurally undivided, and a North Porch. The walls are of rubble with freestone dressings and are rough-cast externally and plastered within. The roof is of stone shingles. The historical development of the church ranges from t/he nave in the 12th century to the North Porch in the 15th century.
The church has two historical bells. One by Ellis Knight of Reading, 1629, the other by Paul the Potter, circa 1283. It has a relief inscription in Lombardic letters round the skirt-- POVEL: LE POTER : ME: FIST (Paul the Potter made me). Paul was a London bell-founder and this bell is believed to be t6he earliest English bell with the founder's name.
We are also a" Small Pilgrim Place" one of a network of Small Pilgrim Places around the country. See www.smallpilgrimplaces.org . We recently had a visit from a retired lady Priest who was visiting Small Pilgrim Places on a bike trip to celebrate her 65th birthday. Here is part of what she wrote in her diary:-
Passing through Wantage I travelled on narrow lanes and farm tracks to reach the little village of West Challow. Here sandwiched between a leafy lane and a narrow brook, stands St Laurence Church. (She went on to describe the interior of the church) On a hot summer's day I found the churchyard a very inviting place to sit and rest, on a seat under the shade of a spreading yew tree. As I was enjoying this peaceful spot I was joined by hospitaller Ann Brown, bringing fresh flowers to decorate the church. She told me that St Laurence had joined the SPP network relatively recently and that as far as she knew I was the first such pilgrim to sign the vi book. I do hope others will find their way to this beautiful and peaceful sacred space. If you would like to visit our Small Pilgrim Place Church we are open 10.00 to 4pm, often longer in Summer and you can contact Ann Brown on 01235 762358 or email (please see below):
We are trying to encourage wildlife in the churchyard via the cultivation of wild flowers which will sometimes mean that grass is allowed to grow longer to enable seed to set.