The parish church of Chalfont St Giles is at the heart of the village and has been a centre of worship for over 800 years. It has many fine architectural features including many fine medieval wall paintings.
Chalfont St Giles Parish Church, High Street, Chalfont St. Giles, England HP8 4QF, United Kingdom
The earliest church on the present site was built between about 1150 and 1180 and consisted of a chancel, nave and south aisle, which were enlarged in the early 13th century, and a west tower, which was subsequently demolished and rebuilt farther west. From the original nave and south aisle, there remain only the bases of the pillars of the south arcade, those at the east and west ends having carved foliage at the corners. A north aisle, with an arcade of two bays, was added at about the same time.
The original Norman chancel of the church would have been small and square. The present chancel has a considerable inclination to the south, probably due to faulty orientation of the main building, with a subsequent attempt at correcting the orientation of the chancel when the latter was reconstructed.
In the early part of the fourteenth century, the nave was extended in a westerly direction and the south aisle was rebuilt and enlarged. These alterations necessitated the destruction of the tower, which was not rebuilt until about 1425.
The south doorway was built about 1330 and has a moulded two-centred arch, ornamented with a series of four-leaf ornaments and ball-flowers. The east window of three lights in the chancel was probably inserted around this time.
The church is well known for its 14th century wall paintings in the South Aisle and Chancel and also has a number of brasses dating from about the same time. There are also a number of hatchments, which are paintings of the coat of arms of someone who had died, which were displayed outside their home for three months or so after the death.
The chancel arch dates from the early fifteenth century; some of the stones of the arch are inscribed with masons' marks. At about the same the north aisle was widened and lengthened, and the south arcade was rebuilt, leaving only the Norman bases to the pillars. A clerestory was erected to raise the height of the nave and the nave roof renewed.
The tower was rebuilt about 1425. A blocked doorway in the north aisle is late fifteenth century and contains part of a coffin slab, on which is the head of a cross in relief.
There was extensive restoration in 1860 involving the building of a vestry on the North side of the chancel (replaced with the present one in 1955) replacement of the pews, and the installation of a heating system. The tower was restored and raised, and the battlements rebuilt. In 1884 an organ chamber and new organ was added at the east end of the south aisle. The south porch was erected in 1895, replacing one which had fallen into disrepair and had been removed in 1760.
The stained glass in the windows is largely Victorian although there are remnants of mediaeval glass in the tops of some of the windows.
The roofs of the chancel, north and south aisles all date from the 1950’s all having had to be replaced because of death watch beetle damage.
On the North side of the chancel there is the tomb of Thomas Fleetwood and his two wives and eighteen children and who died in 1570.