St Helen’s Church

Like the River Stour, St Helen’s Church is undoubtedly part of Clifford Chambers’ very early history: the Domesday reference for the village as it was in 1086 records a church and a priest. The church was rebuilt in the mid-twelfth century with chancel and nave. In the thirteenth century a North chapel was added and further alterations were made in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The church was heavily restored in 1886.

Visitors to the church will find several interesting features and furnishings inside that span the ages, including: a Saxon Piscina, a medieval (possibly Saxon) font, fragments of medieval stained glass, two Elizabethan brasses, a Jacobean pulpit and a seventeenth century communion rail.

Church Cottage overlooks the churchyard at the rear.

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St Helen’s Bells

St Helen’s church has a ring of six bells, five of them recast in the 18th century to replace earlier bells and the new treble bell was cast in 1946. It was named ‘The Peace Bell’ in memory of village men who were killed during the Second World War.

Along with many other church activities, the ringing of the bells had long declined but since the lifting of the Covid restrictions, a new local team of bell-ringers has been formed to ring them, to the delight of the village.

On Monday 25 April 2016, the bells of St Helen’s Church were rung by ringers from Stratford-upon-Avon, Alveston and Preston-on-Stour, to commemorate 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, and as part of the ‘Festival of Ringing’ organised by Stratford-upon-Avon tower.

‘Funny Nativity

St Helen’s Church used to have a popular Sunday School, run by local parents. In 1998 a Nativity play was prepared for the Sunday before Christmas, involving 22 local children and produced by Jen Snow and Chris Sergeant. It was filmed as a video by Wendy Harrison, the mother of the two-month old baby in the crib and it showed the small girl, Ellie Sergeant, bellowing the carols to such effect that Wendy gave a copy to the Sergeant family. They enjoyed it privately until 2012, when Ellie (by then aged 18) gave permission for her sister, Hannah to post it on YouTube under ‘Funny Nativity’ where it became top favourite.

We include it here because it was performed on the chancel steps of St Helen’s Church, of which a study is the central part of our book Round the Square and up the Tower. Sadly, there is no longer a Sunday School.