So we’re just driving past this church on the way to a “more interesting” one. I’d just said to Diana “That can’t be another Norman round tower”, having just visited Great Shefford. Diana’s mobile rang at that moment so we stopped and I wandered across to the church to kill time. Look at the setting. Who wouldn’t want to take a look?
Pevsner the tower as a replica of what was there before. That, however, is not true. It was rebuilt stone by original stone. I am not the first commentator to have assumed that the top two of the four sections are Victorian but these too were stone by stone reconstructions of thirteenth century additions in Early English and Decorated styles. So what we are seeing here is one of only two original round towers in Berkshire. It’s up to you whether you think this is in some way devalued by the rebuilding but it will do for me!
Welford Church is one of the best Victorian churches you are ever likely to see. I have made so many scathing comments on this website about the Victorians’ dreadful lack of good sense and taste in church restoration and building but this one is in a different league to almost anything I’ve ever seen.
It was built by one Thomas.Talbot Bury in 1852-5. He had been articled to Augustus Pugin in 1824 and built or restored thirty five churches in all as well