All Saints', Down Ampney, GL7 5QW

History

The church was built by the Knights Templars and consecrated in 1265, and is a fine example of Early English Architecture.

 

In the Middle Ages the village suffered from various plagues including the Black Death.  The red flowers which decorate the underside of the arches are a reminder of the nursery rhyme ‘Ring a Ring of Roses’, referring to the rash that appeared on the skin.

 

The composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was born at the Vicarage, in the centre of the village, in 1872 while his father was Vicar; the entry of his Baptism is still to be seen in the Register.

 

His father died three years later and is buried in the churchyard beside the South Transept.  Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote many hymn tunes; the tune to the hymn ‘Come down O love divine’ was named ‘Down Ampney’ after his birthplace.

 

Here’s a nice YouTube link:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgUFay0th9A

Down Ampney Snowdropsjpeg.jpeg

Interior

All Saints' Church was embellished by the Gibbs family in the late 19th century.  They gave the ornately carved pulpit, rood screen, reredos, and organ.

This plague church has small red roses painted on the nave arches - said to represent each person who died in the Black Death.  The village had originally neighboured the church, but villagers moved further away to get away from the malady - hence the church now stands right on the edge of the village at the end of Church Lane.