History of St Swithun's, Long Bennington

The current church dates from about 1175; the chancel of which is thought to have been used by the Cistercian Priory, whose existence is recorded in 1150.  The building has been added to and refurbished over the years. In 1999 the tower area was converted to form an upper room for meetings and a kitchen and toilet on the ground floor. It was a magnificent conversion, much admired and has brought life into the church. A Millennium Grant Bid was produced by members of the PCC and was successful in obtaining Millennium Grant Aid. It was only one of 100 selected, out of thousands of applications. This paid half the costs, with the express intention of being used by village organisations as well as the church. 

A number of projects have been undertaken over the last 3 years to make the church more accessible and to ensure that it is available for use over the coming years. The most significant being: the relaying of the Church Path, refurbishment of the organ and speaker system, and Heritage Lottery Fund led works to repair the Chancel Roof and North Aisle and East Chancel Walls.

There is permanent seating for about 180 people, with folding chairs for any overflow. Some pews were removed in recent years to make more versatile space.

God’s Acre

Long Bennington churchyard merits special attention because of its status as one of the leading conservation areas, belonging to a church, in the UK. Through much thought, prayer and sheer hard work, a happy balance has been achieved between the needs of nature and sensibilities of parishioners. This has been achieved, almost entirely, by the dedication of one person, Gordon Scott. We are most grateful to him.

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