|History of the Church||Main Menu|
The Church of St Mary, Cogges, Oxfordshire.
The church of St Mary's has stood in its parish for at least 900 years. It has seen the settlement of the Normans, been the base for the monks of a French abbey in England, been intimately associated with the lives of the various Lords of the Manor, while all the time continuing to serve the small community surrounding it through all its changes.
The Abbey established a small priory on the site of what is now the vicarage (across the lawn from the church but not open to the public) with a resident community of three or four monks who worshipped in the church, and acted as agents for all the Abbey's properties in England. Cogges Priory was an "alien priory", and hence had a chequered career; seized by the Crown in 1294 and on several other occasions, it was finally suppressed in 1441. King Henry VI then gave the patronage to the newly founded Eton College, which retained it until the end of the 19th Century, when it passed into the hands of the then vicar, and subsequently to his family Trust.
The church had close ties with the Lords of the Manor who lived in what is now the Cogges Manor Farm Museum. Amongst these were the de Grey family, who probably had the north chapel built in about 1340, possibly as a chantry for Isabella de Grey whose tomb is still to be seen in the chapel.
There were connections with the Blake family in the mid 17th Century, whose memorial is also in the north chapel. William Blake was a clothier with substantial business interests in Witney and London. He endowed charitable trusts in Cogges and Witney, started schools in High Cogges and Newland and rebuilt the Buttercross in the centre of Witney. He was a Dissenter who held a "conventicle" at the Manor House for Congregationalists and Presbyterians, which was drawn to the attention of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1669.
While Lords of the Manor came and went, the community served by the church at Cogges changed dramatically. The original medieval village was abandoned in the late 14th Century, perhaps because of the combined impact of the Black Death and of developments across the Windrush in Witney and further north in the parish of Newland. For some centuries the parish consisted of what was essentially an agricultural community clustered around Church Lane and Newland and in High Cogges, with some 800 people by the mid 1970's. Since then extensive housing developments have boosted the parish population to some 3,500 people. A further large housing estate is being built in the parish .
The Church Building
Blake Chapel. In about 1340 the north chapel (originally a chantry) was added, which now contains the tomb memorial to Isabella de Grey, and the wall memorial to the Blake family, William and Sara, and their son Francis.
Shortly after the addition of the north chapel, the north aisle was completely rebuilt and the tower added.
Few substantial changes have been made since the late 14th Century, although windows have been altered, the church partially re-roofed, and there have been several interior restorations.
Apart from those in the north chapel, the only ancient fitting of note is the font, the bowl of which dates from the 12th Century, although the stem and base are from a later date.
The Chancel floor in the Church was re-laid in the mid 1960's.
Today the church is a thriving Christian community with extensive links into the parish and the wider Witney area. There are close connections with the local Church of England Primary School. Heir to the foundations of William Blake, for many years this occupied the old tithe barn outside the lychgate, but has expanded into purpose built premises in the centre of the new estates. The former Old School, now Cogges Church Centre, serves as a base for St Mary's Junior Church, a community Playgroup and as a church hall.
Now as before, the life of the Church at St Mary's revolves around worship of God and celebration of His love for us. A range of modern and traditional services, together with a thriving Junior Church and young people's group, offer opportunities for celebration and for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ "the same, yesterday, today and forever".
|The Parish Church of St. Mary, Cogges, Oxfordshire.||Copyright © St. Mary's Church Cogges Parochial Church Council, 2005|
|Updated 22nd February 2005||Feedback|