The last time I visited St Helen's Benson a few years the church was closed so I had to make do with the churchyard. This time I was pleased to find the church open and was very pleased it was when I went inside. History is take straight from Wikipedia
"The Church of England parish church of Saint Helen is partly ancient. John Marius Wilson described it as "variously late pointed Norman and decorated; has a modern tower; contains a Norman font and two [monumental] brasses; and is very good." The parish includes the hamlets of Fifield and Crowmarsh-Battle or Preston-Crowmarsh. The village is often confused with RAF Benson, which is a well-known RAF station and airfield. The RAF airfield boundary is immediately adjacent to the village, and the aerodrome's construction closed the former "London Road". The RAF buildings are on the opposite side of the airfield to Benson village, adjacent to the village of Ewelme.
The church tower was rebuilt in 1794. It has a single clock face on the east-facing side with hours displayed in Roman numerals. The clock face erroneously has the nine o'clock marker painted as "XI". The eleven o'clock marker is also XI. This mistake gained fame during the Second World War when Germany's English-speaking propaganda broadcaster, William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) promised an air raid on "an airfield near the village whose clock had two elevens". RAF Benson was bombed soon afterwards.
The bell tower has a ring of eight bells. Six including the tenor and treble were cast by Thomas Janaway of Chelsea in 1781. The current second and third bells were added by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry: the second cast by Charles and George Mears in 1852 and the third cast by Mears and Stainbank in 1922. In October 2009 White's of Appleton removed the original oak bell frame of 1794 and replaced it with a modern steel frame White's refurbished the bells and fitted them with new headstocks for installation in the new steel frame."
I noticed after writing it there was no Pulpit and I think it was removed so no view of a pulpit or view from it this week. You might want a coffee before we start
St Helen has been rendered in one of the renovations though under the skin it hides its age well
The north which when I first saw it I felt they had really done a bad job with the new extension as it was not sympathetic with the church but I cannot fault why it was done as it gives a meeting room and office along with toilets for the church
Looking west from the east end of the church
Above the tower and the clock with two 11's on to the right is the porch leading to the church
This was a very pleasant surprise to see in the church
Above I feel I could have framed the photo better, left is the chancel
Above the altar and chancel window
while on the right is the altar that is used for services now
Looking back out to the nave
Another view to the nave and on the right the Church Organ though nearby is a grand piano
Memorial to George Henry Witaker a past vicar of the parish
Bequest from Robert Aldworth Newton that the interest from two hundred pound be given to the poor of the parish, now adays that would get you diddly squat
Under the stained glass window the other end are these two plaques
Near the door is this old plaque to Ralph Quelche and his wife Jane who died in 1619 &1629
At the end of the South Aisle is the church font
The ceiling joists are interesting having painted carvings on them
They look Tudor to me
I presume this one above is a demon.
On the right the entrance door and a British Legion Flag
The floor has some old tomb slabs and one with the brass missing
and you can still see some of the original tiles form the church
Last look over to the south aisle
Outside you can walk around many old headstones and tombs
Tombs of differing stiles
The churchyard beside the roadside wall
Around the west end
and a little further north
these are around the east end of the church
along with this tomb and cross
The headstones have taken on differing colours over the years
others have gotten a covering of Ivy
Like this tome
Further along the road is another Lychgate leading to the churchyard extension
The war graves you see belong to the Airmen lost in their duty, the ones on the left belong to Polish and Czechoslovak personnel
You can help feelling the lost when you see all these graves in a village churchyard
Further along the churchyard which is still in use can be seen is filling up.
The grave on the left is that of Major Anthony Geoffrey Brian Wainwright who died in 1942
on the right
Group Captain Jones, CVO ADC RAF, died tragically with his wife Imogene on 19th June 1989.
The war graves of the airmen killed in World War Two