Hanes yr eglwys hon
The imposing tower of St Sampson’s serves as a welcome landmark for those following the Thames Path or travelling on the A419.
We invite visitors to pause awhile and enjoy the remarkable atmosphere and explore the fascinating history of St Sampson’s church. The church was built on the site of a substantial cruciform Saxon Minster. Aisles were later added to the chancel together with a south chapel, the central tower and short transepts. The north porch was probably added in the late 12th century. Subsequent rebuilds and additions have included a major but relatively sympathetic restoration in 1863-4. This included new roofs, a rebuild of the south aisle, the removal of galleries, a new stone pulpit and the installation of pews.
Amongst the many fine heraldic carvings on the interior faces of the tower is The Bear and Ragged Staff of the Earls of Warwick, a reminder of the turbulent times of Lady Jane Grey. The other carvings also have interesting back stories. The tower houses the bell chamber with its ring of six bells. The draught is one of the longest in the country. The stained glass west window by the celebrated CE Kempe (1888) includes a representation of St Sampson holding a church which looks remarkably like St Sampson’s!
In 1930, Martin Travers introduced a new high altar with decorated putti and a fine painted glass east window illustrating the Fall of Man, the Nativity and the Cross becoming the becoming the Tree of Life Travers also created a colourful window with St Nicholas in his boat and another window with St Christopher which was dedicated to the memory of the son of the then Vicar. The north aisle houses the fine black marble tomb of Robert Jenner, a London goldsmith and MP for Cricklade. Over the years, his 'Hall' across the churchyard has been a workhouse, a brewery, a school and a care centre. Visitors will appreciate the architectural and artistic features of St Sampson’s church and can enjoy the hospitality of Cricklade’s hotels, pubs and cafes to make their visit truly memorable.