Church History

The Church at Stanton St Quintin is dedicated to St Giles, an abbot in Provence of royal descent who gave away his property to become a hermit, living on woodland herbs and the milk of a hind. He died c720 and his feast day is 1st September and he is the patron saint of beggars and the crippled; which is why the church was originally built without steps.

A church is known to have existed here in the 12th century and the lower stages of the tower and much of the nave are of around 1125. In the west wall is a 12th century carving of an enthroned Christ with his feet on a dragon. Above the Norman archway in the porch is a figure of St. Christopher from the Perpendicular period. And on the north side of the tower is a carving of a Sheela-Na-Gig – a grotesque female figure.

Over the centuries the structure has undergone a number of significant changes. The aisle and a small vestry were added around 1200 and it is thought that the chancel was rebuilt in the 13th century and a west window and two north windows inserted in the nave in the 15th century.

Around 1800 the chancel was said to have been shortened by six feet and in 1826 the top of the tower was rebuilt in neo-Norman style. Shortly after this, the nave was lengthened by ten feet and the west gallery replaced. Then, in 1851, the south aisle and porch were rebuilt, battlements added to the tower, the west window and the pews replaced and it is thought that the gallery was removed at the same time.

In 1889-90 the chancel was rebuilt in an ornate manner in the Perpendicular style with the retention of the original Perpendicular chancel arch and is considered to be a very fine example of its type. At the same time the lychgate was erected.

The furnishings of the church also have a fine history. The font, which is just inside the door, is said to be of Roman origin; though it may be Norman.

In 1843 an organ was installed, then replaced by another, 30 years later, which proved to be troublesome and which was in turn was replaced by a harmonium. In 1928 this was succeeded by a restored organ originally at the east end of the south aisle before being moved to its present position in 1977.

Our beautifully carved stone pulpit was created by the rector, the Rev. Bertrand Pleydell-Bouverie in 1876 and put in place in 1893.

Two stained glass windows have been installed during the 20th century. One on the south side is in memory of Leslie Mann, churchwarden from 1952 to 1996 and depicts his love of wood interwoven with the tree of life. The other is on the north side of the chancel, and was commissioned by the Rev Frank Day who was twice rector between 1952 and 1982. The central focus of this window is the story of St Giles but it also includes themes relating to the organ, water and to Christ’s blood. The badges of the Diocese of Bristol and the Royal Air Force are at the top of the window.

In more recent times there have been three significant developments in the Church – a War Memorial has been unveiled, a stained glass window has been dedicated to the WAAFS and there has been a major reordering of the interior.  You can read more about these developments on their own dedicated pages.

… Nick and Hilary Greene