West Wycombe, St Lawrence Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The most famous feature is the large golden ball built by Dashwood atop the tower. This ball is hollow, and has seating for 6 people within. Dashwood modelled the ball after a similar ball on the custom house in Venice. It is said to have been used by members of the infamous Hell Fire Club, founded by Dashwood. What is known - or surmised - about the Hell Fire Club would fill volumes, but it seems clear that heavy drinking and carousing was an essential part of their activities, which were also said to include black magic.
The changes made by Dashwood overshadow the medieval origins of St Lawrence's. The site was in use long before that however; there was a hillfort here in the Iron Age. Within the 18th century building are incorporated pieces of a 13th-century chancel and aisled nave, and a 14th-century tower. But it is the Golden Ball that continues to draw visitors to St Lawrence.
A short distance from the church is the family mausoleum erected by Dashwood.
Entry to the church is free but there is a small charge to climb the tower. You can't enter the golden ball, however! There are supposedly 100 steps inside the tower (I tried to verify this but lost count!), and the views from the top are fantastic. You can see for miles, and have a wonderful perspective over the nearby Dashwood Mausoleum. As of this writing the tower is only open Sunday afternoons, but please check before making a special trip.
About West Wycombe, St Lawrence Church
Address: West Wycombe Hill, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, HP14 3AP
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Just off the A40, immediately north west of High Wycombe. You can drive to the church, or follow a trail up the hill from West Wycombe Park.
Website: West Wycombe, St Lawrence Church
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
Historic Time Periods:
Find other attractions tagged with:
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
West Wycombe Park - 0.3 miles (Historic House)
Hughenden, St Michael and All Angels - 2.5 miles (Historic Church)
Hughenden Manor - 2.5 miles (Historic House)
Wycombe Museum - 2.7 miles (Museum)
Fingest, St Bartholomew's Church - 3.7 miles (Historic Church)
Turville, St Mary's Church - 4.3 miles (Historic Church)
Princes Risborough Manor House - 5.6 miles (Historic House)
Penn, Holy Trinity Church - 5.7 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to West Wycombe, St Lawrence Church:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts