The first mention of a place of worship in Ashford is given in a record in the reign of King Edward I, dated 1293, granting a dispensation of taxes during the time of the Crusades. This ancient chapel, dedicated to St. Michael, had a south door of Saxon architecture with zig-zag mouldings. The location of the chapel was some 50 yards in a direct line from the east window of the present church.
In the centuries following the Norman Conquest, the little village of Exeforde was ceded to the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster (Westminster Abbey), until the Dissolution of the Monasteries c. 1539. In the Domesday Book (1086): "Exeforde is in the Spelthorne Hundred and hath 1 hide (124 acres) value being for fourteen shillings and is held by the Count of Mortain. The jurisdiction lay in Staines".
From Saxon times until the middle of the 19th century St. Michael's Chapel was a 'daughter church' - along with Laleham - of the Parish Church of Saint Mary's, Staines. Served by curates sent by the Vicar of Staines, these clerics were "removable at pleasure"!
By the end of the 18th century the population of Ashford had risen to about 400. The chapel became too small for the needs of the parish, and the structure was in a ruinous state. A new chapel was built of plain brick with a small steeple.
The coming of the London and South Western Railway to Ashford Halt led to further growth in population, and William Butterfield, an architect of considerable fame, was appointed to build the current church. It is not known why the dedication was changed from St. Michael to St. Matthew.
To locate this church micro you first will need to have found a number of other Amberel church micros. My church micros are divided into 2 groups - those which are Bison capsules hidden in fake rocks, and those which are not. You will need to visit all those which are not:
2230 St. Mary Magdalene, Littleton
2363 St. Dunstan's, Feltham (now archived, answer provided below)
2373 St. Jude's, Englefield Green
2375 Christ Church, Virginia Water
2423 Holy Trinity, Lyne (now archived, answer provided below)
At each church you will need to collect information about the cache. Finally, visit the site of the original St. Michael's church, as mentioned in the first paragraph, for the answers to some more questions. The listed co-ordinates take you there. You may find some information on the web, and you may find information on a notice board at the church but not at the listed co-ordinates. Both these alternative sources of information are likely to be incorrect.
When you have all the answers, visit http://www.amberel.com/stmatthews.htm to enter them. All the answers are numeric. As many cachers will be using a web browser on a mobile phone to access this page it has been kept plain and minimal. The questions are listed here, with explanations, so you can prepare in advance.
The answers to some of the questions are chosen from a list of keywords:
1 - steel
2 - ice
3 - cream
4 - cardboard
5 - brick
6 - wood
7 - paper
8 - plaster
9 - chipboard
St. Mary Magdalene
1) Which of the keywords best describes the material the cache is made of? Enter the number of the keyword.
2) How many bells (a single digit)? This question may have to be made easier. My good caching friend factotem tells me the question is ambiguous, and even when it isn't ambiguous it may be too difficult :-) If you have problems with this one I will add extra hints :-)
3) Which of the keywords is most closely associated with the material the cache is made of? Enter the number of the keyword.
4) How many flowers?
5) How many windows have black grilles?
NOTE: this cache is now archived, the answers you need are "brick", "9 (flowers)" and "6 (grilles)".
6) Which of the keywords is most closely associated with the material the cache is made of? Enter the number of the keyword.
7) What is the time? Use 4 digits, before noon, no punctuation, e.g. 0715
8) Which of the keywords is most closely associated with the material the cache is made of? Enter the number of the keyword.
9) What is the time? Use 4 digits, before noon, no punctuation, e.g. 0715
10) Which of the keywords best describes the material the cache is made of? Enter the number of the keyword. NOTE: this cache is now archived, the answer you need is "plaster".
11) In which year was the Church of St. Michael rebuilt?
12) In which year was it demolished? Both questions refer to St. Michael's, so the second date is later than the first.
When you get all the answers right, you will be shown another page with details of the cache.
This is going to be a fairly tricky cache, but at the end of the day I do want you to be able find it. If you have tried, but are having trouble with the answers, I'll work with you to sort them out :-)
If you are not local, and need to complete all the caches in one visit, contact me before you leave.
Note that the difficulty and terrain ratings reflect that you have to visit 5 other churches first. The cache itself is easy to find and easy to get to.
For the first 99 finders the cache contained customised trackable "geocoins. THESE HAVE NOW ALL BEEN CLAIMED.
Please only look for this cache in daylight hours.
If anybody would like to expand this series please do, I would just ask that you let Sadexploration know first so he can keep track of the numbers and names to avoid duplication.
To view the church micro stats page, please click here.