St Mary's Boveney, nestling on the banks of the Thames, almost within sight of Eton College but a world away in a small remote hamlet, was saved by the Friends in June 1983.
The building is listed Grade I despite its low-key exterior. What tips it into that highest of all listing categories is the remarkable vernacular interior with 18th and 19th Century fittings, its romantic location adjacent to the Thames and its very early origins in the 12th Century. The church was built to serve the bargemen or bargees as they were called who plied their trade on the river, although the quay immediately adjacent is long lost. Outside you will notice the little slivers of flint pressed into the mortar coursing lines - this is a partly decorative, partly functional technique known as galletting.
St Mary's has proved to be the biggest single challenge the Friends have ever faced. The church has just emerged from major building campaigns, grant-aided by English Heritage, especially to the tower and roof. Further works are planned which should be completed before the building is visited by the thousands who will attend the Rowing competition for the 2012 Olympics which will be held just a few hundred yards away.
We are very grateful to the local group of Friends who are helping us manage the church. They will particularly come into their own when it emerges early in 2012 from the final completion of the programme of conservation that has been a major pre-occupation of The Friends for almost a decade.