St John the Baptist, Okewood

Few can approach Okewood Church without being touched by its beautiful setting. The visitors book reveals that people travel great distances to seek out and return to this oasis of peace and prayer in the woods. A favourite haunt for walkers, the Church is surrounded by a network of footpaths.

The present Church dates from about 1220, but religious connections with the site probably date even further back. Originally built as a Chapel of Ease to the ‘official’ Parish Church at Wotton, Okewood was restored and endowed with lands by Edward de la Hale in the 15th Century. A beautiful brass set into the old floor of the chancel commemorates his death in 1431.

By 1700 the Chapel was in a dilapidated state. At one time there were wall paintings all around the walls, and although eroded by damp, traces of them can still be seen on the south wall. Major restoration was undertaken in 1879 with the north wall replaced and the addition of the north aisle. The parish archives contain fascinating photographs recording these changes. The beautiful kneelers telling the history of Okewood were hand-worked by parishioners in the mid 1970s.

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