St Michael’s and All Angels Church was endowed and built (1852-56) as an expression of Sir Frederick Ouseley’s commitment to the renaissance of English Church Music. The near-spectacular building by Henry Woodyer was richly furnished and decorated, and its high vaulted roof provided a fine acoustic. The genuine ‘Father Willis’ organ is widely recognised throughout the Church music world as outstanding, and regularly attracts many famous Cathedral organists and numerous visiting Choirs throughout the year. The Church also served as the Chapel to the adjoining College, which Sir Frederick Ouseley founded as a Choir School.
The College closed in 1985 through lack of pupils, its isolated geographic position and competition from the larger Cathedral Schools. Since then the Parochial Church Council has been responsible for the upkeep and day-to-day running of the Church.
Each year since 1991, the parishioners have raised about £2,000 specifically for repairs to the fabric of the Church, and also made steady in-roads into the considerable, inherited maintenance backlog. In addition, they meet the cost of maintaining the Father Willis Organ, the overheads for services on four Sundays each month, and the Parish Share, whose recent substantial rises are the forerunner of more to come. This year a concerted effort is being made to boost on-going local fund raising activities. These include Music at St Michael’s, through which a number of Organ Recitals and Choral Services by visiting choirs are arranged to maintain the musical traditions of St Michaels.
The Church is Grade II listed as a Parish Church of outstanding historic interest and is known as a fine example of Victorian Architecture and Hardman painted glass. It is currently under review for Grade I listing.
Services in Church
- 1st Sunday in month – Family Service at 10am
- 2nd Sunday – Common Worship Communion at 11am
- 3rd Sunday- Morning Prayer at 11am for December, 10am from January
- 4th Sunday – Book of Common Prayer Communion at 11am
St Michaels has two churchyards. The larger churchyard is adjacent to the church and the second smaller one can be found in the road opposite the church on the left hand side. It is beyond the village hall and the settlement of housing.
The original churchyard contains graves from the late 1800s and the newer churchyard is the current burial ground.
The original records were made by the late Dr John Sharp from several sources, but only detail names and dates.
A layout of the grave numbers can be located at the back of the church which is normally kept locked, so if you plan a visit please make contact to see if we can arrange for the church to be opened for you to see the details.
The Lych Gate at the Lower Churchyard
Details of the Lower Churchyard
Details of the Main Churchyard