Places to Visit

East Hendred has a great variety of places of interest. In fact, it could compete with some ancient English towns by the number of its monuments and relics, historical events and personalities related both to the village history and to the history of Great Britain.

Most famous village buildings are of course Chapel of Jesus of Bethlehem (Champs Chapel) and Hendred House, former Manor of the Arches, owned by the Eyston family since 1443.

Historically interesting are the churches of East Hendred: St.Augustine's and St.Mary's (Roman Catholic).

Other famous sites and buildings include: St.Amand's House, King's Manor site, Church Place and some others.

Churches

St. Augustine's Church is the largest and probably the oldest single building in East Hendred. Externally its most striking feature is the solid West Tower in perpendicular style, marked by what are called 'put-log' holes, because the builders put their log scaffolding in them. Inside the tower, the most remarkable feature is the faceless clock, made by John Seymour of Wantage in 1525. It is one of the oldest still working in England and since it was overhauled by Mr. Arthur Harrison in 1961 keeps very good time. It is wound by hand daily, and at nine, twelve and every third hour plays an old hymn tune known as the Angels' Song.

Two of the peal of six bells in the Tower are interesting. One of these, the fourth, is pre-Reformation, and is dedicated to St. Anne. The other, the third, is inscribed "Feare God" and was cast in 1647.

Entering the Church by the Victorian South Porch, one is aware both of the spaciousness of the Nave and the strength of the heavy 13th Century pillars. Their mediaeval stone heads are a good example of rustic carving. The lectern, which is thought to date from the 13th Century, is unique and interesting to antiquarians. It is based on a Crusader's foot, treading on a three-headed dragon. The pulpit, richly carved, was erected at the Restoration, to commemorate King Charles the Martyr, whose head is said to be depicted in one of the front panels. The ceilure, or canopy of honour over the Rood, is noted by Pevsner in his account of the Church in his Buildings of Berkshire. The Chancel is Victorian, except for the piscina in the South wall of the Sanctuary. The whole Church has been put in good repair in the years since 1960.

A rare feature of the Church is the Eyston Chapel, which has always belonged and still belongs to the Roman Catholic Eyston family. It was built as a Chantry in the late 15th Century; during the penal times it was used for burials.

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church dates from 1865 and architecturally is typical of this period and the style of Pugin. It was built by C. Buckler. The Presbytery contains furnishings dating from the same period and appropriately styled.

The Methodist Chapel was built in 1874.

Domestic buildings

Much of the charm of East Hendred derives from the old and varied dwellings. There are believed to be at least ten cruck cottages in the village, a development of the earliest and most primitive method of domestic building, and for this reason comparatively rare. Others with their thatched roofs and timbers date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The fine brickwork of Mr. Wickens' shop has already been noted, and the building may well have been the home of a prosperous cloth merchant. The 18th Century is represented by St. Amand's House, whose facade was added by Thomas Yorke in 1716. This stands on land once part of the endowment of the Chaplain of St. Amand's Chapel. It is likely that the Chaplain's house was also on this site in mediaeval times, and the interior of the house certainly indicates a far older origin than do the 18th Century additions.