About this church
St Swithun's, Grade I listed, has capacity 300 with limestone ashlar and recently restored roofing, truncated nave with clerestory, aisles, central tower, transepts, chancel with clerestory and aisles, and south porch.
We are in The Domesday Book and have surviving pieces of a celtic cross and anglo-saxon grindstone. Pevsner (p142) states 'St Swithun, a cruciform and truly amazing church, the nave has been truncated, which makes what is left all the more amazing: so ambitious and yet so short. The remaining two bays have very fat round piers with heavily scalloped capitals and cruciform abaci that looks emphatically 12th century'.
In fact, most of the building is 13th century, though two bays of the characteristic 12th century arches remain, while norman masonry has been found in the churchyard indicating that the nave was once much longer. The north nave and clerestory windows show the remains of shafts that once supported a 12th century vaulted roof. Wider aisles were built in the 14th century with typical decorated period windows. The west wall is 15th century, which is probably when the nave was shortened. In the 17th century the church was documented as still 'in a good state of repair' but then became neglected until extensive restoration 1876-1911.
During WWII the church had a lucky escape when bombs were dropped on it but did not detonate, which a plaque in the church commemorates.