The medieval church of St. Giles at Stoke Poges is a rich array of chapels from several periods of history. The village is recorded as Stoches in Domesday Book and held by William Fitz-Ansculf but no church is mentioned.
St. Giles’ is however most famous its association with the poet Thomas Gray (d. 1771), author of the poem, ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’. Gray’s impressive monument dominates the park next to the churchyard and his tomb lies immediately to the east end of the church with a stone inscription recording his grief of a lost parent, the inspiration for the poem.
‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way
And leaves the world to darkness and to me….’