A Small Selection Of Past Activities

The 2015 Christmas Bazaar raised £1417.43 towards St Mary’s Church – thank you to everyone who contributed.

Cricket – On 2nd May 2011 the Ashbury St. Mary’s cricket team won the United Churches Six-A-Side cricket tournament at Sevenhampton, taking on teams from churches all around the Swindon area. They took the trophy by crushing Rodbourne St. Mary’s in the final. Thanks go to Stewart Smith, the captain, who through experience, skill and enthusiasm steered the team to this historic victory. Edwin Clements, seen holding the trophy, was wicket keeper on the day; he not only stumped out a member of the opposition, but ran another opponent out too. Not bad for someone who had not played cricket for over twenty years!

Copyright Margaret Smith

5th July 2014 Safari Supper

On Saturday 5th July a group of 31 people from Ashbury, Kingston Winslow, Bishopstone, Wanborough and even visitors from the USA enjoyed a fantastic evening at the Safari Supper. We raised £305 for the St Mary’s Church fund for ongoing maintenance.

30 November 2013 – St Mary’s Church Christmas Bazaar – in the Village Hall

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this occasion – which is our main fund raising event of the year. We made a staggering £1,633.66 for St Mary’s Church.

Bhutan Evening – 23 March 2013 in the Village Hall.

On Saturday 23 March, 54 people were given a taste of Bhutan – a country rich in natural beauty, colour and tradition. Jenny Greaves gave an illustrated talk about her experiences, and we learned that she had completed the Bhuthan Himalaya Snowman Trek and had a marriage ceremony in Bhutan.  Many thanks to all who helped raise £379.45 for St Mary’s Church.

St Mary’s Church Christmas Bazaar – held on Saturday 24th November 2012 in the Village Hall

Once again we were unlucky with the weather but yet again a lot of people braved the elements and the afternoon was a very pleasant social occasion as well as raising £1,413 for the church. .

St Mary’s Church Christmas Bazaar – held on Saturday 26th November 2011 in the Village Hall

Fortunately the weather was fine and the villagers turned out. The total raised was a magnificent £1,544.70, about £70 less than last year but amazing in the present economic climate. We are very grateful to everyone who donated things to sell, manned stalls or just came and spent.

How the French Eat – held on 22 October 2011

Over 70 people attended this event. The evening started with Marie-Noelle Witty talking about her own first-hand experiences of French food and customs. After the talk attendees enjoyed sampling French food prepared by Ashbury ladies to Marie-Noelle’s recipes. This event raised just over £500 for St Mary’s Church funds.

Late Summer Concert – Saturday 3rd September 2011

Ashbury resident Yvette Cummings, a renowned soprano, accompanied by Travis Baker an international organ recitalist, delighted an audience of 100 people with a mixed programme of classical songs, popular arias and more. Several of those who attended took part in a quiz which was won by Philip Brown; his prize – a bottle of champagne – was donated by Yvette.  This event enabled the Church to raise significant funds towards its annual costs.

Stations of the Nativity – December 2012

This is a traditional event that takes place in Ashbury just before Christmas every year. The parishioners gather at the Cross Roads for an evening torch light procession through the village singing hymns and re-enacting the Christmas Story. There is a collection afterwards for the Salvation Army. The following photographs are reproduced courtesy of Maggie Simons.

Ashbury Christmas Bazaar 27th November 2010

The annual Christmas Bazaar followed the usual format and the weather stayed fine during the afternoon despite snow and ice earlier. To everyone’s delight we raised a significant sum for St Mary’s Church.

Ashbury Manor Family Barn Dance in aid of St Mary’s Church – 25th September 2010

Another very successful harvest barn dance was held on the 25th September in the newly restored barn at the Manor by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Prentice and made £200 for St Mary’s Church. Dancers of all ages, joining in and all enthusiastically to music by the trio “Jugged Hare”.

Ashbury Flower Festival & Display of Wedding Dresses through the Ages, 11th – 13th June 2010

The Flower Arranging Workshop in St Mary’s Church on 11 June attracted 28 participants from many surrounding villages, Faringdon and even Swindon. View photographs. Novices were paired up with those having previous experience and all made a pew end, plus either a pedestal or a cascade arrangement.  The church looked absolutely magnificent when all the floral creations had been sited amidst wedding dresses that spanned the 18th century to the present day. In most cases the dresses were accompanied by wedding photographs of couples married in Ashbury in the same decade; some showed up to three generations from the same family.

On 12 June the Church was open to the public for viewing; 196 people attended between 10.00am and 6.00pm. An evening concert by the Wantage Male Voice Choir attracted an appreciative audience of around 85, who took the opportunity to view the flowers and dresses during the interval. The choir conductor cleverly weaved the ‘love and marriage’ theme into the programme of music.

Morning Communion service at St Mary’s on 13 June was attended by visitors from Swindon and other local villages who also looked round the displays. The Church then re-opened for public viewing from 12noon till 3.00pm. A renewal of marriage vows service followed and the church bells were rung at the end of the service. As people stepped out of the church their photos were taken beneath the archway, which had been beautifully decorated with flowers. Everyone then made their way to the Village Hall for a cream tea, prepared by Ashbury ladies. Meanwhile the Church was re-opened to the public until 5.00pm. A total of 163 people visited the displays that day.

The event generated a magnificent profit of over £1,100 for St Mary’s Church. Special thanks go to Margaret Smith for conceiving and co-ordinating the flower festival and to her willing support team who ensured that everything ran so smoothly and successfully.

Further Reading

A Pilgrims Guide to the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Ashbury is an illustrated guide to our historic church (click here)

Welcome to St Mary the Virgin Ashbury and Ashbury Evangelical Free Church (click here)

Ashbury 1988 gives a valuable historical account of the Parish Church and Manor House; it was written by Peter Knott, a former resident of the village and knowledgeable historian. Profits made from the sale of the brochure go to the Church Restoration Fund. Contact: 710333. You will find the brochure on the Archives page

Interesting Facts about the Church and Parish of Ashbury written by he Rev. A Fosbroke-Hobbs MA, vicar from 1921 to 1934 may also be read on the Archives page (click here).

Ashbury Evangelical Free Church Centenary Celebrations Booklet 1908 – 2009 compiled and edited by Suzanne Bunce can be found on the Archives page (click here).

The Ashbury, Compton, Longcot & Fernham Newsletter is issued monthly; it includes Church calendars, Benefice news, details of various courses, study groups, and meetings, articles about country matters and dates of forthcoming social events (Contact: 710302).

Please take a look at the Historical Background pages and the Archives pages where you will find more photographs and information about our Churches.