Please see the below article for Oxford Historic Churches Trust:

The new vestry at St Michael and All Angels, Great Tew

The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels sits a hundred yards from the road surrounded by a large churchyard and the rural setting of Tew Park.  It is a mediaeval building dating from the 12th century and expanded in the 14th and 15th centuries.  It was re-ordered in the 1820s which left the mediaeval building largely intact, but added a small cramped vestry, hiding a fine 14th century effigy of a knight.  The church has a regular congregation and many pastoral services, especially weddings each year. It had no water, no toilets, and coffee cups, cleaning paraphernalia, flower arrangers stands etc were stored at the back of the church.


The project developed with architects Acanthus Clews was for a separate building to the north side of the church utilising the existing north door, to accommodate a new vestry, two toilets, a storage area and a room for flower arrangers with a sink and water. There is a tendency to use space at the back of old churches to fit in kitchen space and toilets, but we were clear that this would impact the clean lines of the church and the excellent acoustics. The congregation did not want the interior substantially altered.  In addition the view of the church as approached down the main path should remain unaltered.


After initial discussions with the DAC a modest stone building to the north was agreed and construction started just before the first lockdown in March 2020. Luckily because the project is isolated and outdoors Midland Builders were able to continue with construction, which was completed in April 2021.


The building is in the graveyard and a few markers had to be moved but no graves. The exterior is constructed of local ironstone with a rusticated base and ashlar stone above. The roof which is surrounded by a stone pediment is zinc, but not visible from ground level.  The new vestry is linked to the church by a glass atrium, with gently sloping ramps allowing step free access, which was not possible from the main South door. The old wooden north door was retained.


The interior of the new building has a wide corridor and a large window looking out over the churchyard and gives views over the valley beyond. Off the corridor are the two toilets, flower room and storage space, with a door to the vestry, which contains storage for vestments, secure storage for valuable items and adequate room for small group meetings and/or Sunday School.


In the church the old vestry has been cleared and the room can be re-purposed as a prayer space, and the knight’s effigy can be properly viewed. Old cupboards have been removed and the church de-cluttered.


The overall cost of the project would have been in the region of £400,000, but thanks to the generosity and support of Nicholas Johnson, who arranged for the donation of the stone amongst other help, the costs were kept down. We also benefited from the skilled advice of a structural engineer, who is a member of the congregation. The support of OHCT who committed support early on with a generous grant was also important to encourage other donors. The vestry was blessed and inaugurated at a special service in May 2021 by Revd Ginny Thomas, who had done so much to bring the project to fruition.