The church in the pretty little village of Barley is dedicated, unusually, to St. Margaret of Antioch and was originally constructed around 1100. It isn’t really clear just what this church was and although it stood for centuries there is now almost nothing left of it.
By 1853 the church was in such a sorry state that an almost complete rebuild was commissioned. The Revd. Robert Augustus Gordon drew up plans (and contributed £4,700 to the restoration funds personally) and instructed the eminent church architect William Butterfield to rebuild.
Butterfield left very little of the old church, the two lower floors of the Tower are 12th Century and the bell chamber retains much of its 15th Century work, but otherwise the rebuild was sweeping. Butterfield, as was his habit, rebuilt in a rather ‘Catholic’ looking way with lavish coloured marbles and patterned floors. He replaced the original spire with the new one with its distinctive cupola top.
Work began in 1870 and the church was reconsecrated in 1872. Further restoration and cleaning work was undertaken in the 1960s.Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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