A service is held in the church almost every Weekend (either on Sunday or Saturday Evening). Throughout the year many additional services are held in the church, including special Christmas services such as the ever popular Nine Lessons and Carols. The church is a popular choice for weddings with several being held each year.
ST LEONARD’S -THE BUILDING
A church in Cliddesden is mentioned in Domesday Book and so it pre-dates the Norman Conquest. The only evidence of this early building is the INNER ARCH of the ANCIENT DOORWAY on the north side, opposite the present door. It may be of Saxon origin. The OUTER ARCH is Norman, probably of the 12th Century, and can also be seen from the outside of the church.
There were 12 priests between 1348 and 1373, the time of the Black Death, which suggests the parish was impoverished and the church probably neglected. There was then restoration; the ROOF TIMBERS and TRUSSES in the NAVE were part of this late 14th and 15th century work. Major restoration occurred in 1890, and the WOODEN SCREEN, CHANCEL, SANCTUARY and VESTRY were added at that time. The exterior ROOF TILES clearly show where the extension was added to the eastern end of the building. The LYCH GATE and ROOD SCREEN was added at the same time. All these works were funded by W.Bradshaw of Audleys Wood as a memorial to his late wife and daughter, the former having been killed in a riding accident and the latter having died about the same time.
An important addition in the 20th Century is the GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE in the churchyard, provided by the well known innovative farmer, the late Rex Paterson of Hatch Warren Farm,in 1971.
THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
All the windows except those to the west of the main door and at the west end are from the internationally renowned studio of Charles Kempe. They date from 1890-2. Those in the nave show scenes from the Passion of Our Lord building up to the Crucifixion in the east window.
The windows on the south side of the chancel show (from the left) St.Leonard in his chains, St.Augustine the first Archbishop of Canterbury St.Stephen the first martyr carrying stones(he was stoned to death), and St.Alban the first English martyr.
The Bryan Window
To the west of the main door, it is dated 1869. It commemorates a member of the family of the Rector Joseph Bryan(1841-1887), and a restoration carried out at that time. The West Window
It commemorates Rev. AW Badger, Rector from 1935 to 1960. He was a classic English country parson, square-jawed, hearty and jolly. Our only modern window, it depicts the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, hovering over the chalice.
The Willis Organ
The Church is proud to have a Father Willis Organ.
Learn more about Willis and his organ building here
There are few of these in the area, notably at St Paul’s cathedral and near Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.