History of the church

The original Church of St. Bartholomew in Wigginton probably dates back to the early 12th. Century. In 1217, Geoffrey de Lacy, Lord of the Manor, sued the Prior of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England for the advowson (or living) of the Church, claiming it through his wife, Juliana. Soon after 1300 the church became annexed to the Church of Tring . The rectory and advowson descended with those of Tring until 1839, when the Rev. Charles Lacy resigned the advowson of Wigginton.

The west chamber is of the 15th. century and is known as the Weedon Chapel as it is supposed to have been built by the Weedon family of Pendley Lodge in Tring. In the floor in front of the font is a gravestone recording the burial of two members of the Weedon family in 1688. During the time of Charles Lacy, the Parish of Wigginton had much cause to be indebted to the services of the Rev. James Edward Austen, a nephew of Jane Austen the famous novelist. He lodged with his mother-in-law, Mrs. Smith, at Tring Park prior to his appointment as Vicar of Bray in 1852. “As a labour of love he undertook for Mr. Lacy the care of souls at Wigginton for the space of some four years from 1829 to 1832.

In 1857 the work of enlarging and restoration of the church begun. The aisle on the North side of the church was built; an arcade of three arches taking the place of the former North wall. The Baptistry was also built at the west end of the new aisle.

In 1876 the advowson was purchased by Richard Valpy of Champneys, and the following year a new set of silver communion plate and chalice was presented to the Church by the Rev. A.S. Valpy and his wife on the occasion of their marriage.

In 1881, the chancel arch was raised and widened, and a new arch was made between the chancel and the vestry so as to form a chamber for the organ, which had been given to the church in 1879. It was a gift from Miss Hannah Horlock, lady’s maid to an aunt of Mrs. Valpy. To this day, it serves the church extremely well and gives out a glorious sound to the Glory of God.

The Valpy family donated much of the fine stained glass in the Church. In 1890 the window close to the pulpit (which as you look towards the altar is situated on the right hand side, indicating that this holy place missed the desecration of the Reformation) is filled with stained glass in memory of Richard Valpy by his children.

Today, the church is used for a lot more than the regular services. Evening concerts are regularly put on, there are flower arranging classes, craft classes, children's activities, and very recently, St. Bartholomews is also used as the polling station for local and national elections. The church is also used every month for the Wigginton History Society meetings.

Flower Festivals are held every few years to coincide with our Patronal Festival (August 24th). The arrangements are always of an excellent standard and attract visitors from near and far.

 


Page last updated: 30th Dec 2019 10:57 AM

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