Childswickham Parish

Childswickham is a village in south Worcestershire, a couple of miles west of Broadway. It was part of Gloucestershire until 1931. The parish is still in the Diocese of Gloucester.

Being on the edge of the North Cotswolds, the village has a mixture of building styles, from Cotswold limestone to red brick, to the more traditional Worcestershire black and white half timber and thatch. The earliest buildings are timber framed with wattle and daub and Cotswold limestone. Its history can be traced back to Roman times; coins and pottery from this era have been found in fields on the old Roman road from Worcester to London which came through the village. The 15th century spire of the original Norman church is a local landmark and can be seen for several miles.

St Mary the Virgin

At present the church of St Mary the Virgin in Childswickham does not have a full time vicar. Two church wardens, Mrs Carol Strotten and Mr Ralph Deakin are responsible for church upkeep. The church falls under the Tewkesbury region and is linked with the Winchcombe group of parishes within the see of the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, the Church of England's first female bishop, who was ordained as Bishop of Gloucester in June 2015.

Services are Sunday mornings at 10.30 am:

For further information call Mrs Strotten on 01386 852312, Mr Deakin on 01386 854605 or click here to visit their website.

Architecture and History of the Building

St Mary's in 1870

The Church was built in the 13th Century, with 12th Century remains and 14th Century additions. In 1870 it was restored, with north and south walls taken down. The Chancel was restored in 1872.

It is built of squared limestone, with a stone slate roof. The building comprises a west tower with spire, nave, north transept, south boiler house, and lower chancel. The ribbed spire has lucarnes of two trefoiled lights, and corner pinnacles, set back behind an embattled parapet.

The Bellcote

The tower is of three stages with diagonal buttresses to the lower stage and has bell openings of two trefoiled lights with a foiled opening under a pointed head. The middle stage has a similar west window set within a larger blocked opening. Above the west doorway is a window of two trefoiled ogee lights under a flat head.

The North Niche
The South Niche

The nave is entered from the tower through a restored doorway of circa 1130 - 40 which has a round arch with a roll moulding between two square orders and angle shafts with cushion capitals. Between the nave and the middle stage of the tower is a window of two round-headed lights. The nave roof is 19th century and has king- posts rising from arch-braced collar trusses.

On the north and south sides of the nave are niches with cinquefoiled heads and crocketted gables. The chancel arch is pointed and is hollow-chamfered between two wave mouldings. The inner order springs from engaged shafts. On the north side of the chancel is a blocked archway into a former north chapel. At the east end of the chancel are early 13th Century triple clustered shafts with trumpet-scallop capitals, intended for rib vaulting.

The pulpit and choir stalls re-use some woodwork with carved tracery decoration. The restored octagonal font appears to be 17th Century.

The South Window

The west doorway is pointed and moulded in two orders with sunk quadrant mouldings. The south wall of the nave is of three bays and has 19th Century windows of three cinquefoiled lights undera pointed head with Perpendicular tracery. Against the east bay is a boiler house with parapet and chimney. The north wall of the nave is of two bays and has similar windows. The north wall of the transept has a window of two pointed lights with a quatrefoil over, which appears to be early or mid-19th century In the east wall of the transept is a 19th century moulded pointed doorway and a window with round head. The east wall of the nave is coped and has a stone bellcote. The south wall of the chancel has a window of three trefoiled lights with Perpendicular tracery within a deeply-splayed opening. In the north wall of the chancel is a blocked arched opening. The east window is of three cusped lights and has a cusped circle under a pointed head.

Village and Community

Childswickham village has an active village hall and community group organising various events throughout the year. A full and varied list of scheduled activities is available on their website, as well as a booking form and other local village information.

It has an active ambitious Cricket Club with its own ground and holds regular well attended quizzes with evening meal at the Childswickham Inn.

Parish Council

The Parish Council is the level of local government in Wychavon nearest to the people of Childswickham. The old parishes were formed at a time when there was little difference, to the local people, between the Church and the State. A parish like Childswickham usually formed around a village or other small settlement and used to be centred around the Parish Church. In the late 1800s Church and State separated but the same area is now represented as a local authority by the Childswickham Parish Council (the PC) and the Church of England by the Parochial Church Council (the PCC).

The Parish Councils have many powers and some duties. An example of a PC power is the control of the purchase and operation of street lighting. An example of a duty is the requirement for the council to open the meetings to the press and public, with few exceptions.

They manage local amenities in Childswickham and have a watching brief on local issues and their opinion is noted by those higher authorities in matters concerning them such as local planning issues.

What's in a name? Childswickham or Childs Wickham

The name Childswickham is believed to have derived from:

the young son of a nobleman
a clearing in the wood
short for hamlet

This ancient and distinguished name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any one of the places so called, for example in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Hampshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Most of these places are recorded in the Saxon Chartulary of circa 821 - 974 as "Wicham" or "Wichaema", and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as, variously, "Wiceham, Wicham, Wikham", and "Wic(c)hamm".

The Olde English pre 7th Century term "wicham", from which the majority of the placenames are derived, was used to denote a settlement (Olde English "ham") associated with a Romano-British town, "wic" being an adaptation of the Latin "vicus". Sometimes the placename may derive from the Olde English "wic", dairy-farm, with "hamm", water-meadow.

Childs Wickham in Gloucestershire, another possible source of the surname, recorded as "Wignenna, Wicvene", in Domesday, is so called from ancient British elements meaning "lodge in a plain or moor", or "plain in a wood". The surname is first recorded as a byname in the 10th Century: Wulfric aet Wicham (955), and other early examples are William de Wykeham (1305, Yorkshire), and Walter Wykham (1400, Gloucestershire). One Richard Wickham, of Kent, is listed in the Register of the University of Oxford in 1594.

One of the Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts a black chevron between three red roses on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Wikam, which was dated 1218, in the "Feet of Fines of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.