Living Stones - People who left their mark on Iffley Church

Living Stones – People who left their mark on Iffley Church

A ‘Living Stones’ update from Penny Tyack

On Sunday 9 July Living Stones is holding the first of three events in honour of people, both living and dead, who have left their mark on this spectacular building. Who were they? Why did they create and care for it? What did St Mary’s Church, Iffley, mean for them?

Not every parish church can trace its founder, but here at Iffley we can be almost sure who paid for the building just a hundred years after the Norman Conquest. Some of the people who cared for the fabric between 1160 and the early 20h century will be discussed by architectural historian, Geoffrey Tyack. Peter Judd was vicar of Iffley from 1988-1997. He will describe the on-going challenge of adapting an ancient and holy place for modern use while achieving a good fit with the medieval architecture. David Barton and Joan Townsend, both of whom have been deeply involved with the challenge, will bring us right up to the present.

What of the experience of the village people who worshiped at St Mary’s in the almost-unrecognisable past? Memorials on the walls and floor of the church bring some of them very close. Robert and Mary Ann Danbe lost 3 of their babies between 1816 and 1826. Richard and Mary Allin and many members of their family worshipped here between the 1740s and 1820s. At that time there was a wooden musicians’ gallery over the west doorway to the church where an amateur choir of villagers may well have led the singing during church services. Alastair Simpson, Musical Director of The New Hardy Players, will help us to recreate their exuberant and charming music-making. He will introduce the music after a scrumptious tea, and direct today’s singers and players leading the music for Sung Evensong. Bring your voice and, if you wish, a non-electronic instrument, or just enjoy hearing echoes of West Gallery music from two hundred years ago.

Do join this lively encounter with the Patrons, Clergy and West-Gallery Music-makers on Sunday 9 July! And make sure to meet others from Iffley’s past on 10 September and 30 September. For details and tickets see If you are planning to bring a musical instrument please contact