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.
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.
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
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