History of Kingston Church

The first church was built on the site of the present Kingston Bagpuize church, shortly after the conquest (between about 1076-1099). Before then the people of Kingston worshipped at Longworth. It was built jointly by Ralf de Bachepuise and the Lord of the other Kingston Manor, Adelelm and was consecrated by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury. This church remained here for nearly 700 years. It is likely that it was near what was then the centre of the original village.

Early church
The early church

The early church at Kingston Bagpuize

The tower was rebuilt in 1603 by Sir David Williams, a judge of the King's Bench, it is also recorded that in the same year 13 people died of plague. The church was largely rebuilt in the early 18th century in the same style. It was demolished in 1799 and in 1800 it was rebuilt from the £2000 bequest of the second John Blandy (Sheriff of Berkshire who died in 1791). The church was modelled on one he had seen in the Apennines in Italy. John Fidel of Faringdon was the builder. It was entirely refurbished in 1882 when the high box pews, gallery and beautiful Georgian font were swept away in the name of progress.

Several monuments from the old church and churchyard have survived, though many have disappeared completely. Amongst those that remain are the marble tablets, on the south wall, to George Rainsbee, (Rector, died 1624), to Edmund Fettiplace (died 1710) and the memorial to the first John Blandy (died 1736) and his wife Elizabeth. The east window, representing St John the Baptist, is a modern addition, and was designed by Peter Ibbetson of Oxford.

A new extension, designed by Brian Hook, architect and District Councillor, was opened in 2000. It is equipped with a small kitchen and a disabled toilet. The new building blends in well with the church and is much appreciated by the Sunday school and other users.

Church today
St John the Baptist Church at Kingston Bagpuize today


Next:  Post-conquest