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OXFORD DIOCESE PILGRIM PROJECT

St Thomas of Canterbury, Goring-on-Thames


Goring grew up on the site of an important fordable river crossing and at the junction of major overland routes. It would almost certainly have had a modest timber church or shrine from early in the Christian era but the existing stone building, in classic 11th century Romanesque style, would have been built in the years just before or just after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It seems originally to have been dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as was the nun’s priory which was founded on the same site in the early years of the 12th century. In its heyday the extensive priory buildings

Tomorrow’, The Canterbury Room is available

surrounded the church on three sides and

for hire by the wider community as well as

included a large priory church.

After the

providing additional worship space. Pray for all

Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s

those who use The Canterbury Room, that they

this and most of the other priory buildings

may be drawn closer to God.

were demolished. Today nothing of the priory survives other than a few floor tiles and the

The Nuns’ Doorway – Inside the church on the

stone corbels which would have supported the

south side, the doorway that now leads into The

roof of the nun’s north cloister, clearly visible on

Canterbury Room originally led into the nuns’

the exterior of the south wall above the new

cloister. The height of the arch was extended in

Canterbury Room. Pause and remember with

2009 as the floor of the church must have been

gratitude all those who have prayed in and

at least two feet below the present level. Pray

around this church over the centuries. Pray for

for the many religious communities within our

those who regularly worship here today.

diocese today.

Opened in 2009 as part of a comprehensive

The Tower is probably the most striking feature

refurbishment and extension project to the

of the original building, particularly the unusual

church which was entitled ‘St Thomas’ Builds for

stair turret projecting from the north-west corner


and the magnificent ground floor chamber with

The organ chamber was built in 1888 and the

its lofty vaulted ceiling.

organ installed in it the same year. The apse arcade of round-headed interlacing arches in

The Norman font was removed from the church

Norman style was built in 1937.

in 1848 and taken to Gatehampton, where it lay neglected for almost 90 years. In 1937 it was

The finest brass in the church is that of Elizabeth

recovered and repositioned at the base of the

Loveday (who died in 1401). It is on the north

tower. It is now in the nave.

wall of the chancel and provides an illustration of the dress worn by a lady of rank in the reign

The church has a fine peal of eight bells and a

of Henry IV.

dedicated team of ringers. The bell mounted

above the west door of the nave is almost the

Erected in 1910 and reputedly built of timber

oldest surviving bell in England dating back to

salvaged from one of the ships of the line at

about 1290. For more than 600 years it would

Trafalgar, the rood screen has eight angels,

have rung out over the village but was removed

each bearing a shield carrying an emblem of

from the tower in 1929 when the other bells

the Passion. The rood itself is flanked by figures

were re-cast and re-hung.

representing the Virgin and St John.


OXFORD DIOCESE PILGRIM PROJECT

You might also like to visit other nearby churches in the Pilgrim Project:

Oxford Diocese Pilgrim Project: St Thomas of Canterbury, Goring-on-Thames RG8 9DS

Dorchester Abbey Ancient abbey church

Website: www.st-thomas-goring.org.uk

St Mary the Virgin, Speen Medieval pilgrimage to the lady well Holy Trinity, Cookham Stanley Spencer

PILGRIMAGE PRAYER Pilgrim God, You are our origin and our destination. Travel with us, we pray, in every pilgrimage of faith, and every journey of the heart. Give us the courage to set off, the nourishment we need to travel well, and the welcome we long for at our journey’s end. So may we grow in grace and love for you and in the service of others. through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen



John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford

Illustrations by Brian Hall © Diocese of Oxford


GORING : St Thomas of Canterbury : Pilgrimage Guide