St Laurence’s Church of England — Church Road
The oldest part of St Laurence’s Church is the nave built in the 12th century, with the north arcade a little later. The chancel was built or rebuilt in the 13th century. The tower dates from the 1400s and other parts were added in the succeeding 300 years. The font bowl is 12th century, and the Fettiplace monument is dated 1593. The church has a celebrated ring of 10 bells.
In 2002 work was carried out to install a new heating system and build toilets and a washroom. In February 2005 the Bishop of Reading celebrated the completion of the refurbishment programme. During the building works and when the floor in the main church was uncovered, several tombs were found which are believed to be of the Selby family – who farmed in Eaton. It is also thought there had been a church of an older date than the Norman times – probably of the Saxon period. The nave pillars were found to have been built on a wall of the existing church.
A more detailed history
The church, dedicated to St Laurence, was built and developed over several centuries, going back to the 12th. It has grown to its present size and shape through the repairs restorations, and additions of the many generations which have worshipped in it.
The oldest part is the NAVE. The arches are Transitional Norman (about 1180), the pointed arches rest on round pillars. The carving on the capital of each pillar is different.
On the north side of the Nave is the AISLE - this was rebuilt, and the north Chapel added, in 1612.
The CHANCEL was rebuilt in the 16th century, but retains a priest's door of the 13th century.
Between the CHANCEL and the NORTH CHAPEL is a wooden arcade of 4 bays, of the 18th century. The wainscoted arches rest on square piers which enclose circular wooden posts of an earlier date.
The Victorian period of restoration was carried out in 1883, when a gallery was removed from the west end; the floor was lowered 9 inches, to its original level; and the round plastered ceiling of the nave was removed, revealing a rafter roof of oak, of the 15th century. The chancel arch and the pulpit were added at this time.
In 2002 under floor central heating was installed and the floor of the Nave and the North Aisle was replaced with limestone flags.
The OAK SCREEN surrounding the VESTRY was built in 1997.
The SOUTH PORCH is 16th century. The NORTH PORCH was built in about 1700, and now gives access to an Extension added in 2002, which houses toilet facilities and florist's lobby.
BRASS On the floor of the Chancel is a Shroud Brass, showing a skeleton of John Goodryngton, dated 1518.
The TOWER was built in the 15th century. Its interior blocked archway rests on brackets - the north side has a head corbel representing Paul Tuckwell (Rector of Appleton 1966-1979).
BELLS There are 10 bells. The last 2 were given in 1861, and in order to accommodate them, the louvered lantern was added to the tower. The original peal of six was installed in 1818, an event which is still celebrated annually on March 4th, and the enthusiasm and competence of the Appleton ringers are well known.
There are two modem effigies of St Laurence, depicting him with the gridiron which was the instrument of his martyrdom. One is on the Lectern, and the other stands in a niche in the gable of the south porch.
The FONT was discovered during the restorations of 1883. Its bowl is of the 12th century, and is the oldest object in the church. The octagonal cover is 17th century.
GLASS. In a window of the North Aisle are 3 early - 15th century shields. The centre one is for John Golafre of Fyfield, who acquired the Manor of Eaton shortly before 1428. All 3 shields were in the same window and drawn by Ashmole in 1665. There is a modem stained glass window in the south wall of the nave. It depicts St Laurence, and was given in memory of Sir Basil and Lady Blackwell.
TOMB. On the south side of the sanctuary is a canopied table - tomb dated 1593, of Sir John Fettiplace who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I. The Fettiplaces were in possession of the manor of Appleton from 1564 -1634.
ORGAN. The organ in St Laurence Church was given to the church in 1982 by the musician the late Dr Bernard Rose, one time owner of Appleton Manor (1963 to 1986), and a Fellow in Music and Organist and Master of the Choristers (Informator Christarum) at Magdalen College Oxford (1957 to 1980). The organ was given to Dr Rose by his very close friend Dr Francis Jackson Organist and Master of the Choristers at York Minster and the organ had been in his ownership and used in York Minster. Fittingly Dr Jackson played the organ at Dr Rose's Thanksgiving Service held in Bampton Church on 29th November 1996. Bernard and Molly Rose moved from Appleton to Bampton in 1986.