The church is on the site of earlier buildings of the Saxon and Norman period. Parts of the church date from the 12th and 13th Century. The Unton, Pye and Bennett families have their tombs and monuments in the church. All the stained glass windows in the chancel are dedicated to the Bennett family.
All Saints Church, pre-WWII, with cross-topped railings. The spire of the church was damaged in the Civil War in 1646 when the south aisle of the church was demolished. When the bells were removed to be re-cast in 1926, a broken cannon ball was found in the tower wall.
The drawing of the church on the left was done around the 1840s before alterations and additions took place. Note the difference in the levels of the roofs. In 1853 the roofs either side of the tower were levelled and the Littleworth Aisle added to the front of the tower. Daniel Bennett of Faringdon House paid for the addition of this aisle and for the roof to be replaced. Also at the same date the organ gallery under the tower and the galleries round the nave were removed. The second drawing is from around the 1890’s.
In 1926, the clock and chimes in the ringing chamber were replaced by Messrs Smith & Sons of Derby, makers of the new clock at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. It included a modern carillon machine, which plays a tune on the bells every three hours commencing at 6 am and finishing at 9 pm. The tunes that are played are: Sunday ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’; Monday ‘We love thy place O God’; Tuesday ‘At the name of Jesus’; Wednesday ‘God moves in a mysterious way’; Thursday ‘Through the night of doubt and sorrow’; Friday ‘Thy way not mine O Lord’; Saturday ‘Jerusalem my happy home’. The carillon had to be wound every day by hand, by the Tower Foreman or Steeple Keeper, until the process was electrified in recent years. At the same time the bells were removed and recast by Messrs John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough. They were then rehung with all new fittings – see photos below.
All the information on and around the gravestones has been recorded in a searchable Excel spreadsheet, which can be obtained together with a plan of the graveyard from the Faringdon Community Website at www.faringdon.org/all-saints-churchyard.html
1. The Changing Faces of Faringdon and Surrounding Villages – Book 1 p46 & Book 3 p27. By Rosemary Church, Jim Brown, Millie Bryan and Beryl Newman. Robert Boyd Publications 1999 & 2003.
2. The Faringdon Advertiser 11th December 1926.