Fingest, St Bartholomew's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Double gable Norman tower
The early 12th-century tower is huge, but what is really striking is the double gable saddleback roof, one of only two such designs in England. It truly is an amazing sight. The double gables may be a 17th-century rebuilding of the original Norman gables. And it is huge - 4 foot thick walls support a structure 60 feet high and almost 20 feet square inside.
So large is the internal dimension of the tower that one theory suggests that it served as the original nave, with the current nave acting as the chancel, and the chancel being added in the 13th century. The nave roof is a marvel; the 14th-century timbers in a collar beam design are original.
The interior is friendly, but not of huge interest, save perhaps for the 15th century octagonal font. On the north wall is a painted coat of arms from the reign of Queen Anne.
The church stands in a lovely setting, in a small village at the head of the Hambledon Valley, on the edge of the Chiltern Hills.
One other note of interest noted in the church guidebook; there is a wedding custom in Fingest that the groom must lift the bride over the church gate when leaving the church after the wedding ceremony. The gate is locked to prevent the couple escaping with the groom lifting his new spouse over the gate under the watchful eye of relatives and friends.
This is supposed to ensure good luck in the marriage (and presumably avoid costly marriage counselling down the road!).
I'm sure this custom must be common the many other places; it is certainly a tradition in the village of Little Rissington in Gloucestershire where we used to live.
About Fingest, St Bartholomew's Church
Address: Hambleden Valley, Henley-on-Thames, Fingest, Buckinghamshire, England, RG9 6QE
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On minor roads 5 miles west of High Wycombe, opposite the Chequers Inn
Website: Fingest, St Bartholomew's Church
Photo Credit: David Hawgood, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Hambleden, St Mary's Church - 2.9 miles (Historic Church)
West Wycombe Park - 3.7 miles (Historic House)
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Medmenham, St Peter and St Paul Church - 4.5 miles (Historic Church)
Bisham, All Saints Church - 5.7 miles (Historic Church)
Wycombe Museum - 5.8 miles (Museum)
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