It seems clear that there was a Saxon church here, but the oldest parts of the current building date to the late Norman period - around 1170 AD. The north and south doors both date to this time.
Once you have gotten over the sight of the odd belfry, move on to the south door, where things get very interesting indeed. The door itself is late Norman, with an outer order of traditional chevron design. The door stops are carved as a pair of serpents, or dragons. The carving is delightful, of a pattern similar to the famous Saxon dragons at Deerhurst, Gloucestershire. Against the wall of the south porch is a medieval coffin lid carved with the shape of a knight in armour.
To the north of the chancel arch is a small section of preserved medieval wall painting depicting a Virgin and Child.
In the north chapel is a striking oak shield set upon a twisted shaft about 8 feet high. The shield bears a coat of arms and the date 1704. There is no indication of the origin of the shield, or what it represents, but it seems likely that the post upon which it stands originally supported the West Gallery.
The circular font presents an intriguing mystery. The most likely date is late 12th century, but the style is very similar to Saxon work, so it may be earlier. The bowl and the base were not made for each other, but combined at some point in the past. The bowl is carved with lovely foliate scrolls, again similar in style to the Saxon period.
Address: Castle Eaton,
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: In the centre of the village, on a minor road 3 miles north east of Cricklade, off the A419
Photo Credit: David Ross
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