History of St Mary the Virgin

In 1044 King Edward the Confessor gave a gift of land to Aelfwine, Bishop of Winchester. The land was by the Windrush, near the king’s palace at Woodstock and the Forest of Wychwood. It remained a base for the bishops of Winchester for several hundred years. Aelfwine’s successors founded the market around which the town grew, and built what became the parish church, St Mary the Virgin. There was probably a Saxon church here, but the first record of the church is in 1142 in the time of Bishop Henry of Blois, an energetic builder of churches. By 1291 the church building was valued for tax at £40 and 8 pence. Witney was a prosperous market town and a centre for the wool trade. As the town grew, rich citizens began to fund decorations and additional building in their church.

Here are two website resources which set out the rich history of St Mary the Virgin, which has been serving Witney since 1243

This year from September 2018 – September2019 we celebrate our 775th anniversary of the rededication of Saint Mary’s Witney – as a new church was blessed. Back in 1243 there was a feast (the bishop gave two deer to roast) and so began the next chapter in the history of this beautiful town. Much has changed in those 775 years. 

But much remains the same. Our primary calling is to be a house of prayer – a place where people can come in all the seasons of their lives to give thanks, to laugh, to weep and to offer our sacrifice of praise. This space is also, vitally, one of hospitality. We are committed to recapturing the medieval vision of this being a place without boundaries where all are welcome
 

Christmas 2018 Services

Christmas 2018 Services

A full listing of church services over Christmas in Witney Parish is being finalised and will be published here

775 Sermon Series

Do join us as we celebrate our 775th Anniversary with a series of sermons:

2018

    Sept 9th The Rev'd Toby Wright A Christlike Church
    The sermon text is here: Feast 2018
    Oct 7th The Ven Judy French A Servant Church
    Nov 11th Rev’d Kate Bruce A Peace-filled Church
    Dec 9th The Rev'd Dr Joanna Collicutt A Pondering Church

2019

• Jan 6th Baroness Caroline Cox A Courageous Church • Feb 17th The Rev'd Helen Cameron A United Church • Mar 10th The Rt Rev'd Steven Croft A Learning Church • Apr 21st Fr Stephen Tucker A Resurrection Church • May 5th The Rt Rev'd Chris Lowson A Kingdom Church • Jun 16th Sr Stella CSMV A Contemplative Church • Jul 7th The Team Vicar A Creation Church • Aug 4th Robin Brunner-Ellis A Renewing Church • Sep 8th The Rt Rev'd Colin Fletcher A Missional Church

Witney Wonderland: Gala Opening Night Fri 30th Nov Programme

Witney Wonderland 2018: Six week festival of Christmas Come along with family & friends of all ages to enjoy an eclectic mix of great entertainment.

Gala Opening Night Programme: 30th November 6:30pm (just after the Witney Christmas lights switch on) at St. Mary’s Church, Witney until Late

Free Entry | Warm up with Mulled Wine, Festive Fun, Cakes & Coffee | We have a Fully Licensed Bar and Live entertainment from: Pam Ayres, Cutting Edge Big Band, Military Wives, The Daggers and more. | Oh..... and a special visit from Santa!!

Witney Wonderland: Sat 1st Dec Programme

Witney Wonderland 2018: Six week festival of Christmas Come along with family & friends of all ages to enjoy an eclectic mix of great entertainment.

Sat 1st Dec Programme at St. Mary’s Church Witney

Free Entry | 12:30pm: Bar & Cafe open | 1 00 pm: West Oxfordshire Wheel Chair Dancers | 1 50pm: Stagecoach | 2:30pm: Spotlight Academy | 3:00 pm: Burford Orchestra | 4:30pm: Abdabs 6:30 pm Jill Stew School of Dance | 7:30 pm Deborah Manning School of Dance

Witney Flower Festival 2019

Plans are well in hand for the Witney Flower Festival 2019 which takes place 5th to 7 July 2019. Full details to be posted here over the next few months.

In the meantime please do take a look at this video of the 2016 Flower Festival which reminds us all of what to expect next summer.

Witney Wonderland

We have teamed up with a local charity, Joss Searchlight and a number of generous sponsors to host the first Witney Wonderland Festival in the church. Expect to find St Mary's full of christmas trees, each individually decorated to reflect what Christmas means to different parts of our community. There will also be a fantastic Christmas scene to delight children of all ages.

As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas, our Carol services will be extra special this year; we'll be hosting a number of local schools as well as the Mayor's Carol service on December 14th and the service of lessons and carols on Christmas Eve. There'll also be a number of special events throughout December, including concerts, bands, sing a long film nights, community vocal and dance groups and even a special visit from Santa. Find out more by visiting witneywonderland.co.uk

Praying for a new House for Duty Team Vicar

The parish of Witney is looking for a Team Vicar (House for Duty) who will work enthusiastically and collaboratively with clergy and laity across the benefice. The priest will have particular pastoral responsibility for Minster Lovell, whilst also sharing in ministry fully across the benefice and the other four churches. Click for details ML Profile 2018 here

Lord, as we enter a new stage, may you give us open hearts, Grace to grow in faith and prayer And help us to serve you in our local community. Lord, bless and equip the person you are preparing to lead here. May they have vision and insight and a prayer-fill, pastoral heart To serve young and old alike in this community. Amen.

Find out more

A successful peal of Church bells

A successful peal of Church bells to mark the 775th anniversary of Saint Mary’s


Congratulations to the team of ringers on a successful peal of church bells to mark the 775th anniversary of Saint Mary’s!

Why not find out what is invovled in a peal

Raise the roof

Severe winter frosts have destroyed the limestone slates on St Mary’s Roof. We need to replace them before winter sets in. Local Witney people have already sponsored 2,200 slates. Only 1,800 slates to go!!

Please Sponsor a Slate for £10. Your civic landmark church needs you!

Donate with JustGiving and PayPal

Please find out more

Accounts

Annual Accounts

Our stewardship enables us to fulfil God's call and share in God's mission

The Church is the new creation, it is life and joy, it is the sacramental fellowship in which we share the ultimate purpose of God, made real for us now in our hearing the Word and sharing the Sacrament.
Rowan Williams

Click here to view the Witney Parish 2017 Annual Report and Accounts

Annual Review 2017