St. Laurence, West Challow, Wantage
The parish church of St. Laurence is a Grade II* listed building constructed in the 12th century and is one of six churches which make up the Ridgeway Benefice. It has a nave and chancel, which are structurally undivided, and a North Porch. The walls are of rubble with freestone dressings and are rough-cast externally and plastered within. The roof is of stone shingles. The historical development of the church ranges from the nave in the 12th century to the North Porch in the 15th century. The church has two historical bells - one by Ellis Knight of Reading, 1629, the other by Paul the Potter, circa 1283. It has a relief inscription in Lombardic letters round the skirt-- POVEL: LE POTER : ME: FIST (Paul the Potter made me). Paul was a London bell-founder and this bell is the earliest English bell with the founder's name.
The church is so old and peaceful with a real spiritual feeling that it lends itself to being a place of pilgrimage. The simplicity of it, along with the old stone walls and soft light coming through the windows, makes it feel very peaceful. The Wiltshire and Berkshire canal runs through West Challow and the village is four miles from The Ridgeway.
Standard opening times: Open daily from approximately 10am-4pm. There is a Family Service at 11:30am on the second Sunday of the month and a Communion Service on the fourth Sunday of the month, as well as Christmas
West Challow, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 9TJ, United Kingdom
Grid reference: SU 366 885
By car: From the A417, turn into West Challow at Mellor's garage (petrol station), follow the road around and take the third right-hand turn. There is a small road sign pointing to the church. It will be on your right-hand side.
From the B4507, turn into West Challow, follow the road down the hill, over the bridge and then straight ahead (not right as the road curves). There is a small road sign pointing to the church. The church will be on your right-hand side.
By public transport (rail/bus): There are some public buses to Wantage then one would need to take a taxi to West Challow. The closest rail stations are Didcot Parkway, Oxford and Swindon.
On foot: Follow driving directions. However, if coming from Childrey, take the path between the two villages. You will arrive into West Challow via the village hall. From there, go straight ahead - church on left-hand side.
Facilities: There is a ramped entrance. Bottled water is available for a donation. Suitable for quiet days for individuals or group - there is meeting space available at village hall (as well as kitchen and toilets) with prior arrangement. There are no toilets at the church, but there are local pubs with good food and accommodation - http://www.manorfarm-wantage.co.uk, http://www.thegreyhoundletcombe.co.uk; http://www.thestarsparsholt.co.uk.