St Mary Virgin, Ipsden

Installation of WC and associated drainage and other works. Grant awarded: £10,000.

The long awaited project to provide an accessible WC with unimpeded wheelchair access began in October 2019 and was completed in March 2020. This work could not have proceeded without contributions from a number of organisations, including a generous grant of £10,000 from the Trust. The PCC are grateful to all concerned: to those who donated and to the diligence of the architects and builders who undertook the project without causing any disruption to church services.

Having identified a suitable location for the new installation at the west end of the church, most of the existing vestry space was utilised (a smaller vestry/office has been created), the adjacent stairs to the organ loft were improved and the font moved. A major part of the work was the task of installing a mains water supply and drainage system and this was achieved by the digging of a trench arch drainage system within the churchyard.

St Mary is a small, 12th century church close to the Chilterns, and was formerly a chapel of North Stoke, and under the patronage of the Abbey of Bec in Normandy. The nave is a mixture of 13th and 14th century work and at one time there was a south aisle, traces of which are still clearly visible on the exterior of the building. There remain a number of monuments to important local families. The gallery at the west end of the nave, probably replacing a wooden structure, was built about 1860. The organ was installed at the end of the 19th century and is a remarkably fine instrument for a small country church. The small exterior bell turret has two interesting bells – one of 1592 and one of 1801.