When we sit in the medieval pews (added a few hundred years after it was built) we imagine the people who sat there before us. The first parishioners stood and knelt on the muddy floor, looking at the wall paintings, worrying about the harvest and anxious about whether they could afford the tithes
'Welcome to our church.'
People have been saying that about
St Michael’s for more than 800 years!
When we touch the Norman chancel arch, now wildly out of kilter, our fingers are tracing the hands of the people who built it in the late 1180s. They did so after the whole area was given as a dowry for the daughter of a local aristocrat.
When we look at the Norman font we wonder about the countless babies that have been baptised here, and why the font was remodelled in the 13th century.
But St Michael’s is not some old relic, relevant only to history scholars. Today it is still the centre of our community. The residents of Stanley Pontlarge and the wider area still worship here, get married and christened here, and proudly show it off to visitors. The hamlet’s most notable residents, including Tom and Sonia Rolt, who did so much to re-energise the canals and steam railways in the UK, are buried here.
At Christmas we have the annual candlelit carol service and it’s hard not to imagine the ghosts of Christmas past in the dark corners.
During the pandemic we have ensured that services are Covid-secure. We wonder how our ancestors coped with the The Plague, and whether they did something similar.
But now we have to do something else. We have to raise money for major repairs. Because St Michael’s is under attack from above, below and within. The roof needs fixing, the drains are bubbling up through the ancient tiles, and the medieval pew platform is rotting.
For centuries our predecessors have looked after this little gem, in its tranquil setting in this historic farming hamlet in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Now it’s our turn to continue that tradition. St Michael's needs your help. Please donate whatever you can, however small, to The Friends of St Michael's by clicking the 'Donate' button below. We really appreciate it. Thank you.