There is a rich flow of history on this site from the Bronze Age (or earlier) through all the major stages of English history to the current day. The project represents a unique chance to present to the wider public a historical perspective of their local heritage and to introduce specific characters who influenced the course of history.
There is an early Bronze Age barrow close to the church and both may be sited on a Neolithic earthwork. An extensive geophysical survey in 2013 by Cranfield revealed a previously unknown encompassing ditch to the barrow, suggesting that it may well be one of a relatively rare type. In addition, an inital archaeological dig was carried out on extensive Medieval manorial remains which were also detected close to the church.
The earliest part of St Andrew’s church building dates from 1130 or so, with additions in the 14th and 15th centuries and partial rebuilding in the 19th. It has been suggested that it was built on the site of an existing Saxon church, but certainly there are fascinating connections to a variety of periods:
The Bronze Age through its proximity to and alignment with the barrow – a juxtaposition unique in Wiltshire.
The Anglo Saxon period with an interment in the prehistoric barrow in the Christian tradition of a high status Saxon, probably an example of an early (partial) conversion from Pagan to Christianity.
The Norman Conquest with its impact on society and the start of the building of new churches.
Building of the church during the Anarchy (12th C) and the formation of "Ogbourne Priory" to administer the very extensive Abbey of Bec holdings in England.
The suppression of the alien monasteries (14th C) and their acquisition by the English Crown.
The grant of the churches to St George’s Chapel, Windsor (early 15th C) [as "Royal Peculiars"]
Wars of the Roses - Henry VI (Lancaster) grant of the surrounding lands initially to King’s College, Cambridge then revoked by Edward IV (York), finally to be regained by King’s in 1490 (Tudor). It is possible that the manorial remains predate this time – hence the need for the archaeological dig.
Reformation and Civil War (17th C) "purification" of the churches and a connection to Obadiah Sedgwick (buried in the Chancel), a Puritan preacher and teacher born in Marlborough who not only preached to Parliament but is still revered and read in Holland to this day.
Victorian involvement (19th C) with an "update" by the prominent architect William Butterfield, then rebuilding by Ewan Christian and Charles Ponting (local architect). A connection with Sir Samuel Canning, born in the village and who laid the first transatlantic telegraph cable.
Twentieth Century to date: a changing face and community need for the church as a focus for both spiritual and secular activity.