The parish church of St Mary The Virgin dates back to the 13th century, with large barn-like nave, small chancel and a 18th century tower, now equipped with a fine peal of eight bells. St Mary’s regular congregation is about 15, but they are keen to see the church strengthen its place in the community. In recent months the entire church ceiling has been renewed. A new Open Door Project has been established to look at how the church can best serve the community and be used for a wide range of community events and part of this fundraising is underway to install a kitchenette and toilet at the back of the nave. The churchyard is well-managed by a team of volunteers from the village and has a wild-life garden that has received a number of environmental awards.
The ecclesiastical parish includes the village of Fernham, two miles away and there is a joint service in the Methodist Chapel is held on the first Sunday in the month. St Mary’s church is part of the Shrivenham and Ashbury Benefice consisting of seven churches
The Vicar, The Revd Canon Richard Hancock lives in the parish of Shrivenham and is assisted by an Assistant priest based at Ashbury as well as retired clergy who live in the benefice.
Richard was originally a Freelance Professional Photographer and then became a Full-Time Youth & Children’s Worker before being ordained in 1997 after studying at Westcott House Cambridge. He is an Honouree Canon of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford and a life professed Tertiary in The Society of St Francis [TSSF] Richard is also an assistant Military Chaplaincy at the Defence Academy Shrivenham.
His Hobbies include Photography, Campaign for Real Ale [CAMRA], and Classic Cars & Motor Sport.
St Mary’s Longcot
1st Sunday 3:00pm Join Service in Longcot Chapel
2nd Sunday 9:30am Holy Communion
3rd Sunday 9:30am Morning Worship
4th Sunday 9:30am Holy Communion
5th Sunday There are Join Services around the Benefice Churches.
The new Associate Vicar, Norma Fergusson, was licensed to the parish (along with Ashbury and Fernham) in May 2014 and lives in Ashbury with her husband, Richard. Norma was ordained in 2011 after studying with STETS in Salisbury. Prior to that she work for St John Ambulance both in Dorset and at their national headquarters in London. Richard and Norma are enjoying getting to know the local countryside and hope to join us on the village walks – though she confesses to being better at reading about exercise than doing it! In addition to the normal pattern of Sunday services, Norma has begun saying Evening Prayer in Longcot church every Tuesday at 4pm. If you see her in the village, please do say hello.
St Mary’s has recently been added to the following website
Glorious Restoration of Oldest Longcot Window Lights up St Mary the Virgin Church
Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust (OHCT) Sponsored Ride & Stride
(Saturday 13th September)
As most of you know, this year’s Ride and Stride (StRide) took place on Saturday 13th September. It was a lovely day with light balmy winds, a little cloud, and pleasant temperatures. Many congratulations to all those who took part on bicycles, on horseback or on their feet, but also a very sincere thank you to all those who sponsored our StRiders so generously. One StRider from Longcot has been sponsored for over £1100 with the vast majority of that sum donated by Longcot villagers. Half of that total will go directly to St Mary’s Church to help with much needed repairs. Although some of the sponsorship money has still to be collected, it certainly looks as though it has been a thoroughly successful, as well as enjoyable event.
One interesting aspect to this year’s StRide in the Vale, was the appearance of the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, with a group of Riders who visited a total of 13 churches. Longcot resident Neil Campbell led the Bishop and his group around the 25 mile circuit and after a 5 hour cycle ride arrived at the finishing line one minute ahead of schedule. This was an exceptional achievement given the disparity in cycling experience and ages in the group. The youngest was 11-year old Chloe Bramwell from Abingdon and the oldest, another Longcot resident, 87-year old Tony Moore. Well done to all of them. For those who are interested here are a couple of links to reports on the StRide:
– From the Oxford Mail: http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11472920.Striding_and_riding_to_aid_county_s_historic_churches/
– And from BBC, Oxford Radio, the second half of the programme from 34 minutes and 10 seconds at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p025v46j
And one final thank you is due to the (hopefully soon to be award winning) King & Queen, Longcot, for providing an excellent lunch for the Bishop and his group. Well done Mark & Sally.
Dennis Blease. Sept 2014