Saturday, 5 July 2008

Wanborough and the Village Church

There are only three churches in the country that have both a spire and a tower. One is quite close on the other side of Swindon at Purton, the other is in Ormskirk in Lancs.
According to Alfred Williams in his book Villages of the White Horse "Here, according to well-maintained tradition, stood an old heathen temple, used by the sun-worshippers; and here, on the identical site, stands the grey old church today, the tower and steeple of which rise high above the valley, and are visible for many miles in the country round about"

The front entrance to St Andrew's Church in Wanborough

Wanborough is a short bus ride from Swindon town centre (Nos. 46/47). The name comes from 'wain' meaning cart and Wanborough was once a village of far greater importance than it is today as it was the last settlement near the old Roman road, Ermin Street, before the scarp slope of the the Marlborough Downs and the ancient track, the Ridgeway. It consists of three levels - Upper Wanborough (where the church is situated), Lower Wanborough, and Wanborough Marsh.
Referring again to Alfred Williams' Villages of the White Horse
"The village of Wanborough is one of the most ancient in the whole island. Long before Julius Ceasar set foot in on English shore there was a settlement here, on the hilltop looking to the west over Swindon, which was probably a fortified camp ages before the one contructed on Liddington Hill opposite."