Stanford in the Vale, St Denys
Stanford in the Vale, St Denys
St Denys church in Stanford in the Vale stands on a slight rise above the long village green of this attractive village, set in the heart of the Vale of white Horse. The first known church at Stanford was built in 939, but the present building was begun in the 12th century.
There is a rumour (unsubstantiated) the wedding of Anne Neville to Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) took place at St Denys church in Stanford. Certainly, the south porch, which bears the arms of York and Warwick, was built in the 1470s, and may have been built especially for the wedding ceremony, but there is no proof of this.

The bulk of the church dates to the 12th century, with the addition of a 13th century tower and a north aisle in the following century. The tower is perhaps the most interesting aspect of St Denys; it is very tall and striking in relation to the size of the body of the church. Within, the main points of interest are a priest's stair in the south east corner of the nave, which leads up a spiral staircase to an observation platform overlooking the chancel. Presumably this stair at one time led to a rood gallery, now long gone.

The nave was raised in the 15th century, and clerestory windows inserted to allow more light to the interior. In the chancel is a small glass case containing an original, bound copy of John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress'. In the churchyard are gravestones of members of the Strong family, who worked as masons in the building of St Paul's Cathedral in London. In the south porch are the remains of several medieval inscribed stone coffin lids.