Reverend Canon Adrian Daffern at St Mary Magdalene church in Woodstock. Picture: John Lawrence

St Mary Magdalene in Woodstock is currently undergoing a total refurbishment

An Oxfordshire church, which has been at the heart of its community for more than 1,000 years, is set to be transformed as part of a major renovation programme.

St Mary Magdalene in Woodstock is currently undergoing a total refurbishment as part of a £600,000 restoration and improvement programme following a huge fundraising campaign.

The works involve installing new heating, electrics and lighting. A new servery, toilets and sound system are also being put in while local joinery firm Bates & Lambourne have been commissioned to create a set of new chairs in place of the old pews.

The church will also be given a complete redecoration, including cleaning and sealing the floors, and cleaning the stained glass windows.

The work, which began at the end of May and is expected to be completed by December, is being carried out by architects JBKS of Thame and the contractor is Edgar Taylor of Buckingham, both specialists in church work.

Blenheim Palace and the Duke of Marlborough are also supporting the project with a significant charitable donation which has enabled the renovations to get under way on time.

“The reordering of St Mary Magdalene’s is going to not only transform the life of our church, but the life of our town,” said The Reverend Canon Adrian Daffern.

“The whole community will benefit from a much-loved building which is open, accessible, and available to all, whether they are members of the Christian family in Woodstock, or not.

“We’re so grateful to His Grace and his staff at Blenheim for their generous support – without them, we could not have achieved our goals in the timeframe we’d hoped,” he added.

The donation is part of Blenheim Palace’s 10-year programme which will see them doubling their charitable impact on the local community.

“I am delighted to see such an ambitious project taking place at the church which has played such an important role in our family history,” said His Grace the Duke of Marlborough.

“Everyone involved in the project should be congratulated for their vision and commitment. We are proud to be able to support them to complete this extraordinary transformation,” he added.

As well as St Mary Magdalene’s, Blenheim Palace is also helping to design and create a new community garden at St Hughes in Woodstock as part of a larger fundraising project.