Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST MICHAEL
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Vale of White Horse (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 46147 04134


CUMNOR HIGH STREET SP4605 (South side) 13/33 Church of St. Michael 09/02/66 GV I Church. Late Saxon origins: mainly late C12 tower, nave and chancel: c.1300 south transept and early C14 north aisle. Uncoursed limestone rubble with ashlar dressings: squared masonry blocks to C12 tower and C15 clerestory. Gabled stone slate roofs. Chancel, nave with north aisle, south transept and west tower. Three-light reticulated east window. 2-bay chancel has 2-light windows of c.1300 to south, pointed chamfered priest's door and adjoining Transitional lancet to north. South transept of c.1300 has reticulated 3-light south window, 2-light curvilinear east window and unusual west window with triangular head and lozenge tracery (see Church of St. Lawrence, North Hinksey (q.v.)). South wall of nave: tall late C13 transomed 2-light window lies west of recessed section of wall which has late C12 corbel table with anthropomorphic heads and stone lintel over late Saxon doorway: clerestory has one C15 two-light cinquefoil-headed window and late C14 two-light trefoil-headed window: parapet has corbel table with fleuron frieze, and is swept round east gable of nave to north clerestory, which has three C15 two-light ogee-headed windows and one early C16 two-light round-headed window. Early C14 north aisle has two 2-light reticulated windows flanking late C19 stone porch: pointed and hollow-chamfered doorway frames C14 door: door made of lapped planks to front and crossed battens dovetailed into outer edge to rear, with scrolled hinges and iron-twist knocker. Late C12 tower of 3 stages marked by string courses: pointed lancet over Transitional doorway with roll-moulded arch set on one order of shafts with plain abaci: Transitional belfry windows with stone-slate louvres and continuous linking hood moulds: late C12 corbel table with gargoyles and parapet. Interior: chancel windows have roll-moulded Transitional rere-arches. Early C18 communion rail with barley-sugar and fluted balusters. C15 bench ends have poppyheads carved with monsters, chameleons and the Emblems of Christ's Passion. Early C17 chancel rail with turned balusters. C15 two-bay waggon roof has moulded cornice and tie beams with angel corbels. Transitional (probably early C13) chancel arch with ballflower-carved and scalloped corbels. Nave: fine Jacobean 2-decker pulpit and Clerk's Stall-cum-Lectern with relief carving. Flamboyant style late C19 font at west end. C15 five-bay cambered tie-beam roof supported by arch braces with quatrefoil spandrels springing from reset late C12 head corbels. Late C13 four-bay north arcade: hood moulds with face-mask and leaf-paterae stops over chamfered pointed arches set on circular and octagonal piers with octagonal abaci. North aisle has C15 lean-to roof with moulded and quartered beams supported by thin arch braces springing from reset late C12 head corbels: some C18 panelling, late C17 communion table and early C14 piscina. Pointed moulded arch to south transept which has blocked door to former rood loft, 2 face corbels for statues and ogee-headed piscina; C17 parish chest and 2-bay queen-post roof. South transept was chantry chapel of Abingdon Abbey: 2 Decorated tomb recesses have cinquefoiled arches with ballflower carving, and 2 coffin lids carved with floreated crosses. Late C12 Transitional arch to west tower: triple roll-moulded pointed arch set on shafts of 3 orders with scalloped capitals. West tower has very fine spiral staircase inscribed TB/GN/1685 which rises to belfry: winders are tenoned into octagonal newel post and into closed string with turned balusters: an excellent example of traditional joinery. Monuments: Anthony Forster, d.1572 and wife Anne d.1599, of Purbeck marble: Gothic-style tomb chest and Gothic carved canopy with Tudor-flower cresting supported by unfluted Ionic columns: carved back-plate has brasses of Forster and his wife set out over long Latin elegy to Forster, who was involved with the death of Amy Robsart at Cumnor Place. C17 ledger stones set in nave floor. Wall brass in nave to James Welsh, d.1612, and wife Margery, d.1615, has long epitaph. Wall monument to Norris Hodson, d.1740 on Commodore Anson's circumnavigation of the globe and "buried in the great South Sea": coloured heraldic achievement with angels' heads and doggerel verse inscribed on the tablet. Wall tablet to antiquary Dr. Benjamin Buckler, d.1780, and coloured marble tomb chest to Sir William Hunter, historian and surveyor of British India who died 1900. North aisle: memorial in floor to infant Frances Peacock, d.1685: two C18 wall monuments to Peacock family; wall monument set in architectural frame with palm sprays to Dudson Baker, d.1715, and wife. Fine late C16 statue of Queen Elizabeth at west end of north aisle: was removed from Dean Court, and has C19 head, dexter hand and sceptre. Stained glass: east window by kempe, 1901, in memory of Sir William Hunter. West window of St. George also by Kempe 1889. South transept window of 1858. West window of south transept has 3 roundels of armorial glass. North aisle window has part of C15 Flemish glass reset at head. This church shared its ancient hill-top site with Cumnor Place which was built for the abbots of Abingdon Abbey, achieved notoriety for the supposed murder of Amy Robsart by the Earl of Leicester and Anthony Forster, and was demolished in 1811: features from it were reused at and around the Church of All Saints, Wytham (q.v.). (Buildings of England: Berkshire, pp. 124-5; V.C.H.: Berkshire, Vol.IV, pp.402-3).

Listing NGR: SP4614804132


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Ditchfield, P H, Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Berkshire, (1924), 402-3
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Berkshire, (1966), 124-5


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 12 Jun 2002
Reference: IOE01/05411/15
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Roger Cumming. Source Historic England Archive
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