12th May 2009 – St Margaret’s Church, Little Faringdon celebrated its 800th anniversary last Sunday with a special service led by the Bishop of Oxford.

The medieval church was built on Royal land given to the Cistercian monks by King John in the early 13th Century. The specific completion date is unknown but it is thought to be about 1209. A major refurbishment project was completed in time to celebrate this significant anniversary. Funding for the restoration work was helped by grants from a number of Oxfordshire based benefactors, including the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust. The Oxfordshire Community Foundation also enabled the churchyard to have a much-needed makeover with a Grassroots grant.

Churchwarden, Jeremy Taylor, who has coordinated the project over the past three years, expressed his gratitude to these charities and to those living in this small West Oxfordshire village who have contributed both time and money to various fundraising activities over recent years. He added: “The church is now in splendid order. There is no reason why it should not still be here for another 800 years.”

St Margaret’s was known to be under the jurisdiction of the Cistercian Monks up until 1538 when their parent Cistercian Abbey at Beaulieu went into dissolution. Subsequently it was closely linked with the adjacent parish of Langford, before becoming a separate parish in 1870. It is now part of a large 12-church Benefice covering villages between Burford and Lechlade.

Yesterday’s 800th anniversary celebrations were led by the Right Reverend John Pritchard and the Benefice Rector, the Reverend Harry MacInnes. Bishop John described St Margaret’s as a ‘Jewel’ amongst the hundreds of churches within his Diocese. After the service, he dedicated a commemorative stone in the churchyard.