Remembrance Service 2020 During Covid restrictions

There were quite a few people dotted around the green paying their respects all adhering to the new rules and socially distancing. David Orpwood, Gareth Thomas and his daughter Amelia were on horseback! Lucy Austin officiated – she did an excellent job shouting loudly despite a cough so we could hear what she said.  Jenny and Peter Green organised the Last Post, Reveille and National Anthem music. Despite lockdown 2 it was a moving and special occasion with two wreaths laid – one by Liz Longley of the Swyncombe Parish Council and one by Lucy herself.



Childrens Crib Service Dec 24th 10:30 am 2019


St. Botolph (also Botulf) is one of the most venerated saints in Eastern England and one of the greatest English missionaries in the 7th century. This wonderful saint has for many centuries been venerated not only throughout England but also in many other European countries. Over 70 ancient churches in England are dedicated to St. Botolph and this fact indicates a special love of the English faithful for the saint.

Our St Botolph’s is quickly approaching it’s 1000th birthday.

How should we celebrate it?

If you have any great ideas and/or wish

to be involved in organizing a

MILLENIUM party please let the

PCC members know.


Dates for  your calendar.

Harvest Festival Service and Lunch

Sunday October  6th

More details to follow closer to the date.


Snowdrop Weekends 2019

For three weekends in February our church family, baked cakes, made jams and chutneys and then sold them to hundreds of visitors who came from near and far to see our beautiful church yard festooned with snowdrops and aconites.  Many return year after year and become old friends and others came for the first time and vowed to come again.

A BIG thank you to one and all you made this event so successful.  What a result!  In spite of iffy weather one weekend and rugby temptations elsewhere the grand total was just over £9000.  ( less expenses)



Carol Singing—Christmas 2018.

Our first outing was to Russells Water Village Hall, where we were warmly welcomed at their Christmas Party and where we provided cover for Santa  , who was sitting behind us, to drink his beer whilst we sang. During the following week, we hit the road for three nights.  On the first night, we sang at the Watlington Hospital and Care Home, where  we were made most welcome and it was lovely to see ( and hear) the residents all enjoying themselves. Then on to Chears Farm for a warm and homely reception and finally to the Five Horseshoes, packed to the gunwales with tuneful and enthusiastic diners. Day two,(or night two really),  we visited the Ashbys in Nettlebed and then deserted our guests,leaving them to trash the house whilst we went down to Henley to a  new venue,  where our  hostess was holding her birthday party, so our opening carol was  “Happy Birthday to You”!  On the third night, Simon and Sarah Boddie hosted the Park Corner Set, who were in very good voice,  (one or two choristers in evidence). We then progressed to The Old Rectory,  where the Christie-Millers produced a sound to compete with the old Arms Park. Lastly , to Woods Farm, where we have to sing ALL the verses (no editing allowed)  and where we eagerly awaited the arrival of the forth king.  You will all be familiar with the story of the three kings, but last year it was revealed that in fact there were four kings.  The forth, King Ian, got left behind when a cloud covered the star, so he arrived some time after the others.  To date, he has had to sing the Balthazzar verse again, but a new verse has been written for next year, so we are all looking forward to that.

We concluded with a very lovely Carol Service on the Saturday evening, hoarse, but happy.

This year we were collecting for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and for the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children.  Initially , we announced  that we had raised  £2,000, which was a record sum for us, but later , further donations made the figure up to £2,500 which is a wonderful result.

We are so grateful to everyone who helped us achieve this total,  our kind hosts, many of whom are “regular bookers” and their generous guests, without whose donations we could not have hoped to have raised such a fantastic sum.

Although, like the trees and the decorations, our carol books are now packed away, we are now preparing for Snowdrop Evensong,  but we are already looking forward to next Christmas.



St Botolphs Church Swyncombe

14th October 2018   12 Noon at Russell’s Water Village Hall

Tickets  £10 for adults    Under 10’s   No charge

Tickets from Felicity Bazell

Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal:
that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 

 John Ch. 4; vv. 35 – 38


Christmas is coming—again!    Yes, it is that time of the year again when the Swyncombe Singers are gargling regularly to tune our voices up for the  marathon of Party Carols.  This year, we will be singing  on Wednesday 19th, Thursday 20th, and Friday, 21st  December.  We traditionally, (by invitation, of course), come and sing carols for about  20 minutes during your Christmas party and we collect for local charities. This year`s chosen charities are The Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children and the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.  We bring carol booklets round with us so that you and your guests can join in if you wish.   Please telephone Meg Ashby on 01491-641401.



Alfred Khas of Highwood Lodge died from pneumonia on 27th May 2018, aged 92. An obituary of his remarkable life appeared in The Times under the heading – “Waffen-SS soldier and prisoner of war who made his life in Britain and wooed his future life on the dance floor”.

The scene was the Village Hall at Russell’s Water in December 1949, when he invited Joan Lewis to waltz. They were married in March 1951. Their only child Helen was born the next year. Joan died in March 2015.

Alfred loved to walk in Watlington Park. One day, the new owner of the Park, Mrs Gabrielle Jungels Winkler suggested to him that he was trespassing. He confessed but she allowed him to continue with his daily transgressions.

Years later, a resident of Christmas Common received an enquiry from Canada asking for any information concerning a crash of a Canadian plane based at Benson with two Canadian airmen on a joy ride – both killed in an appalling tragedy.

Alfred was able to pinpoint the exact trees that had been wrecked by the crash to the relatives who flew in from Canada. Alfred and his visitors were welcomed to Watlington Park by Mrs Winkler and served with champagne.

Alfred’s funeral was held on Thursday 28th June, attended by 50 friends and family. He will be remembered by all who knew him as a decent, courteous gentleman. The funeral was followed by a private cremation. His ashes will be interred at a graveside service in St Botolph’s graveyard at a later date.

obituary …..reproduced by kind permission of the author, Paul de Zulueta.



For three weekend during February St Botolphs welcomed hundreds of visitors

to come and see the snowdrops, the Church and enjoy some great local baking

with a cup of tea.  Even snow, sleet, hail and rain did not keep the visitors away.

Luckily we also had sunshine, the snowdrops held their splendour and it culminated in an

amazing £7,600 figure being raised for this beautiful, ancient church.    We would like to thank all

friends, family, neighbours, locals  and those who come from further away for continuing to support

this special event and place.


Reverend Daniel Thompson

blessing the snowdrops


Denis and Zena Pepper

Visted Snowdrop Sunday all the way from Folkstone.

Denis is the author of two books about St Botolph



OCT 29TH 10:00am

A very well attended service was held with candles being lit

for all those being remembered.

The effect of all the candles was moving and thought provoking.

Harvest Festival 2017

A true sign that the summer has gone and autumn is now with us.

Ismayne Peters and her helpers decorated the church beautifully and

after church the Harvest Festival Lunch was held in the Russells Water Village Hall


Garden Tea Party

Sunday Aug 20th  2-5pm

Luckily the sun shone which brought people out to enjoy the Cream Teas at Chears Farm.

With lots of help and great baking £1000 was raised which was split between funds for St Botolph’s and Famine Relief

We thank everyone who helped and supported this event which was a great social as well

as a fun way to raise funds.



Please note that most of the photographs seen within

this website have been kindly taken by John Sennett.

Many thanks.




Dear all

A rather belated Thank You for all your invaluable help with the visitors from St Marys Church, Iffley, Oxon.  They were 46 in the end and they enjoyed the afternoon very much, especially since the weather was kind. We offered a delicious choice of cake and splendid biscuits.  It would not have been possible without all of your support, which is much appreciated.  For the Tea & Cake,  I was presented with a cheque for £138.00 for the church.

My special thanks must go to Len for kindly giving a most interesting talk about our church – every time I listen to him I learn something new!

Kind regards.

Hilary Cox


Sir Michael Willcocks

The Former Black Rod

On April 27th 2017 at 7pm St Botolphs Church was

full of a good mix on congregation and others new to the church

who had come to listen to Sir Michael speak.  He did not disappoint.

His tales of Bosnia, were both harrowing and amusing as he explained the

complexity of Russians, British, Americans and others all trying to

work together with different levels of success.

Later he touched on the his appointment as Black Rod and discussed the

condition and security of Westminster today.

The event was very successful and was organised by David Orpwood  who

gave Sir Michael a cheque of £500 for his chosen charity, Help the Heroes.

A Further £500 was donated to the Church Funds.


The Annual Cleaning Party

On Saturday April 22nd 2017

Under the guidance of Cheryl a happy gang

almost whistled while they worked, making sure our Church

looks its best.

The Church looks wonderful and even smells great now.

Well done everyone and thank you to Felicity for bringing CAKE.



This year we had some snow, some rain, definitely a lot wind and then

miraculously a sunny spell in the middle.  In spite of the Book tent

giving up the ghost due to the winds of Storm Doris ( sorry David ) somehow everything

came together with immense contributions of time, effort and goods from a lot of people.

The public arrived in good numbers and appeared to enjoy themselves and St Botolphs probably made some new friends.

Financially we raised a staggering amount of

£7000 before expenses.


FEB 2017 3 sml

FEB 2017 2 sml

FEB 2017 sml

Photographs courtesy of Sarah Jane Rees


Christopher Evans’ Final Service as Rector of St Botolph’s: Sunday 16th October 2016


Unsurprisingly, the pews in the aisle became packed. So many people had come to pay their respects to Christopher: late arrivals sat in the Chancel.

Although we called it a Choral Eucharist, it should have been named a Choral Family Eucharist, as there were so many families present, fulfilling Christopher’s hope that Family services could become an accepted part of our Eucharist at Swyncombe. This was the highest attendance of communicants at St Botolph’s since Christmas Day 2014.

It was rather special to see the front two rows on the South side occupied by Jane and Christopher’s family – not quite the tribe of Benjamin but here goes for the record: Nicholas & Paula with Caspar (with apologies from Finland): Cara and husband Ben with Isobel: Chloe & partner Michael: Francis: Miriam & Jake with Alfie & Matilda: Phoebe & George.

Christopher preached an unequivocal sermon about Life’s Struggles – taking his text from the first reading from Genesis Chapter 32 verses 22-31 and the mysterious account of Jacob wrestling throughout the long night with God for his blessing. Wrestling makes us aware of the gap between the ideal and the reality and we are marked by it.  The more seriously we wrestle the more we are marked by the encounter. We may even, like Jacob, emerge limping.

The overriding memory is how Christopher used batons to be a physical reminder to us all that we need to work together in the interregnum so that the church, as he said, “flourishes”. This was particularly poignant as physical props are something that are rarely used in services at Swyncombe. This was a reminder that things will be changing.

Christopher said that he was passing the responsibility to grow St Botolph’s to all of us, after which he involved all the children and made his sermon relevant to them. We are all part of a relay team!

An infrequent attender e-mailed to say: “A very enjoyable service with a lovely atmosphere”.

It was pleasing to see faces not often seen at St Botolph’s.

All candles were lit, including the newly lacquered candelabra gleaming above, in the nave. Swyncombe’s flowers were at their radiant best.

For two hymns on the organ, we were blessed with the playing of Alan Shorter.

Christopher reminded us that Alan had played the organ at St Leonard’s, Watlington at his inauguration at St Leonard’s in 1987: how appropriate that Alan should play at his farewell service at St Botolph’s, Swyncombe.

There was warm applause.

Carole Shorter played the organ, the piano, conducted all other music resplendently and composed a descant for the final, great hymn of rejoicing –‘Now thank we all our God’.

The Rector had chosen the hymns. These included ‘Listen’, sung by the Junior Choir, including soloists Archie Denison Pender – James Bush & Bridget Ashby, with Ellie Vockins, who sings with both junior and grown-up choir. Christopher’s leaving service was very special to Archie in particular, as he remembers his Baptism so well as he was 4 years old.  He stood up at the front of the church holding Christopher’s hand!  So singing a solo at Christopher’s leaving service was especially important.

Christopher had wished to have had us sing Charles Wesley’s great words:

Hymn no: 243: Come, O thou Traveller unknown

But tune is unknown. The hymn had been sung at the Leavers’ Eucharist in the Chapel of Chichester Theological College 39 years ago. What a shame!  The words are stunning.

Hilary Cox and Jane Evans read the lessons. Prayers for Christopher and Jane were led by Brian Burridge.

The worship ended with an unprompted first verse of Bread of Heaven organised by the Choir in tribute to Christopher’s Welsh roots as he walked down the aisle after the service. The Welsh coal in Christopher’s eyes glowed approval and emotion.

The weather was wet and overcast at the start of the service. Happily, the sun came out so that afterwards we could have drinks and canapes (kindly donated by many parishioners and organised by Hilary Cox and Brian Burridge and many others) in the sunshine outside.

Warm tributes to Christopher were given by Tim Lewis and Stuart Walsh, to whom Christopher responded cum laude.  A beautiful photo-album, assembled and crafted by Lizzie Christie-Miller, reflecting Christopher’s time at St Botolph’s was presented to Jane and Christopher.

The Bishop of Dorchester, Colin Fletcher has written the following words to all Churchwardens in the Benefice:

I am very sorry that I will not be able to be with you for any of the various events and services being held to mark Christopher’s retirement though it was lovely to meet with him recently and to share with him his reflections on his 19 years in the Icknield Benefice.

That period, as all of you well know, has been one where there has been a great change both in the local area and in the benefice itself.  Christopher’s ministry has been, quintessentially, that of the parish priest who cares for their whole community without fear or favour.  He has also been a faithful man of prayer – the centre of any good priestly vocation.  But alongside this faithful service he has also shown resilience and creativity whether that has been in developing buildings or in thinking of new ways to reach out to the whole community.

I wish him and Jane a wonderful, and well deserved, retirement and it is good to know that they will still be living in the Dorchester Area.

signature colin bishop of dorchester

And so say all of us!


Wedding photo scottorn

On Saturday October 8th 2016

The wedding of Sam Scottorn and Rebecca Kelly took place.

Sam Scottorn grew up in Park Corner and the couple are now living in London.


Harvest Festival

Sunday Sept 25th 2016

After the harvest festival service at which the decorations were great and both Junior and Senior choirs sang beautifully a large group headed off to the Russells Water Village Hall for a wonderful lunch prepared by the team of Lou Campbell, Marlene Richards, Janice Bayford and John Sennett.  The choir members provided delicious crumbles to finish off the meal.  After lunch Brian Burridge skilfully managed our produce auction and then a hamper of goodies put together by Hilary Cox  was raffled.  In all it was an enjoyable and successful occasion.  A grand total of £ 727 was raised and it will be divided equally between  The Wallingford Food Bank and The Porch “Steppin” Stone Centre in Oxford.


Get in touch
tel: 01491 614218

Hilary Cox

Our Rector is The Rev'd Daniel Thompson.

Please contact him for general enquiries and arranging baptisms, weddings and funerals.

His email is:
or ring 01491 614218

 Feast Day: 17th June