What is the Witney Feast?

The Witney Feast is one of West Oxfordshire's most eagerly-anticipated events: an annual festival dating back nearly 800 years to celebrate the rededication of St Mary’s Church. It is traditionally held on the two days following the first Sunday of September - the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin.

The Witney Feast 2023

Events includes

  • Saturday 9th September: Oktoberfest Beer Festival hosted inside St Mary's from 12:00 to 19:00. There are a range of beers & lagers, German style sausages and an Oompah Band. Funds raised by this family friendly event go to charity.
  • Sunday 10 September at 1800 in Saint Mary the Virgin, Church Green, Witney we will have a Civic Service to mark the 880th anniversary of the re-dedication of the new church. At this service:
    • We will consecrate a new altar that is made from wood which has come from a Cedar of Lebanon tree that grew in the churchyard for hundreds of years.
    • The bishop of Dorchester will bless the Mayor and Town Council.
    • Following the civic service we will process onto the fairground to bless the town and the fair.
  • Sunday 10th September: the traditional blessing at the Golden Gallopers carousel on the Leys. Starts around 19:15. Hymns are played on the fairground organ while the service is held alongside golden horses and cockerels.
  • Monday 10th September:  Ready to clear out the clutter? Join us at St. Mary's Church OX28 4AW for a fantastic Table Top Sale on Mon, Sept 11th from 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM! Discover treasures from 2nd hand goodies to crafts & clothes. Vendors, email office@witneyparish.org.uk to secure your spot: £10 w/table, £5 BYO table. See you there!
  • Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th September: one of the country's largest fun fairs on the Leys with a mix of traditional rides such as the Waltzer but also the Star Flyer, Space, Superstar, Extreme, Jumping Frogs, Dominator, Stargate

The History of the Witney Feast

Many people will know Witney Feast just as a fun fair that takes place on the Monday and Tuesday evenings. But there is a historic link between the feast and St Mary's Church

  • The first Witney Feast dates back to 1243 when King Henry III granted two deer from the Royal Forest of Wychwood to help celebrate the rededication of the church we now know as St Mary's on the Green.
  • Records from the 1640s report the feast as having “dancing, singing and much drinking”
  • by the 1790s there was a fair selling livestock and merchandise.
  • In the 19th century there were horse races on Curbridge Down and, by the 1870s, there was a large pleasure fair and people were shipped in on special trains.
  • In 1902 legendary cricketer WG Grace attended the feast
  • In 1904 festivities moved from Church Green to The Leys to accommodate more festivities.
    [source: Witney Gazette]

Huge thanks to all the hard work put in by fair organisers and Witney Town Council in organising this historic and fun annual event of celebration.


Gallopers Service on the Sunday Night of the Witney Feast

Feast on the leys

Feast Funfair on the Leys


    If a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention, call the emergency services on 999. If there are concerns about their immediate welfare, don’t delay: call Children and Adult’s Social care on 0345 050 7666 or the MASH Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team: 0800 833408. Also please inform one of Parish Safeguarding Team.
    For other safeguarding concerns please immediately inform our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Alison, on 07884 074812 or her Deputy, Sarah Jane, on 07506 515 952 or Pauline on 01993 648136. You can also email concerns to safeguarding@witneyparish.org.uk
    If you are unsure or worried about how serious a situation is, contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team on 01865 208295 or safeguardingreferrals@oxford.anglican.org. For enquiries outside of operational hours, contact Thirtyone:eight on 0303 003 1111.

Click here for more safeguarding information

Contact Us

Contact details

Please contact the Benefice Office if you have any enquires for the five churches in our benefice: St Mary the Virgin, Church Green Witney Oxfordshire OX28 4AW | 01993 779 492 | office@witneyparish.org.uk 

Church addresses 

St Mary the Virgin Church Green Witney Oxfordshire OX28 4AW 
Holy Trinity Church Woodgreen OX28 1DN 
St John the Baptist,
Curbridge 2 Church Row, Curbridge Witney OX29 7NU
Hailey Church
Middletown Hailey Witney OX29 9UB
St Kenelm’s Church
 Minster Lovell OX29 0RR (updated 23-09-21)

Safeguarding concerns: safeguarding@witneyparish.org.uk