Driving from our home to Uffington, inspired by a blue sky and winter sun, we had every intention of a walk up the White Horse Hill of Neolithic fort fame. However we got sidetracked by noticing for the first time, despite our many trips down this road, a rather splendid looking church in perfect cruciform style hidden in the trees of Uffington Village. So, a slight detour, and then the discovery of another piece of English heritage by accident.
St Mary’s Church, Uffington, is known as The Cathedral of the Vale (Of the white horse) because of its size and standard of design and workmanship which means it was probably built by a wealthy patron. In fact a church was built here in 1105 on land owned by the Abbey of Abingdon, probably as an outpost of the Abbey. What we see today however dates back to 1250, with repairs and improvements made in 1674, 1740 and 1814.
The design and size of the chancel clearly show that the church was built when the country was Roman Catholic, and there are two nice features internally, the workings of the old clock built in 1701, and a Jacobean tomb of John Saunders dated 1599.