Slough Express

Gateway is a Grade II structure

Stoke Poges: National recognitio­n

- By David Lee davidl@baylismedi­ @DavidLee_BM

A picturesqu­e carved wooden gateway which featured in the opening scene of James Bond film For Your Eyes Only has been given protected status.

The Victorian lych gate stands at the entrance to the churchyard at St Giles’ Church, Stoke Poges, and is now listed as a Grade II structure.

Harvey Whittam, chairman of the Stoke Poges Society, applied for the ornamental gateway to be considered for listing by Historic England.

He said: “I first saw the lych gate in 1981 in the opening scene of the James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only’, when I thought it was beautiful and in a delightful country setting.

“Last year, I started volunteeri­ng with others to help to compile a list of historic sites in Stoke Poges for the Parish Council – it was then I realised again, but this time in real life, that it's a fine structure.

“I am delighted the lych gate has received national recognitio­n. There's no doubt having it listed adds cultural, social and environmen­tal value to the area.”

Grade II status means extra controls are put in place for what changes can be made to a listed building or structure.

The wooden gateway and its flanking knapped flint wall are also associated with poet Thomas Gray’s ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’, published in 1751.

The Elegy is said to be one of the best-known poems in the English language and was routinely learnt by school children until relatively recently.

It is widely acknowledg­ed to refer to Stoke Poges, where Gray was known to be staying when the poem was written in 1750.

Gray is buried in the churchyard and his tomb is listed at Grade II.

Emily Gee, regional director for Historic England in London and the South East, said: “I’m pleased that new, thorough research has enhanced our understand­ing of this beautifull­y carved lychgate, which now takes its place on the National Heritage List.”

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