Church of St John the Baptist


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Church of St John the Baptist, Church Lane
Statutory Address:
Church of St John the Baptist, Lawrence Lane


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Statutory Address:
Church of St John the Baptist, Church Lane
Statutory Address:
Church of St John the Baptist, Lawrence Lane

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

West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 25313 12402


SP2512 (Enlargement) 7/8



GV I Anglican Parish Church. C12 (? earlier origins) developed to present complex plan by late C15. Heavily restored by Street in 1870s, one of the cases which led to William Morris's founding of the SPAB.

Coursed rubble and ashlar too (especially tower and Gild Chapel), lead and copper roofs concealed by parapets large Cotswold wool church; roughly cruciform in plan with central tower and spire. Five bay aisled and clerestoried nave, north and south chapels, three storey south porch and the Gild chapel to south west.

Outside: of the C12 the mighty crossing tower and the mid C12 door at west end with its typical inner order of beak-heads and outer order or chevron, see also chevron window surrounds to tower. Otherwise largely Perpendicular in appearance; the clerestory, the heightening of the tower and addition of spire envisaged by 1396. The south porch is magnificent with its elegant tracery-panelled facade, crocketed finial and canopy work; three large figures with C19 heads. The Gild Chapel, started in the early C13, extended to the west and was incorporated with the church (having been previously separate) in the C15, when it was reduced from the west; Early English south door with defaced Rood over. Through the fan-vaulted porch to the interior.

Low C12 crossing arches, partly blocked to north and south to support added weight of tower and spire: the C12 billet mould and roof-lines can be traced, they continue across the stair-turret at south west corner which partly masks the west crossing arch, the tympanum of its doorway matches the design of the adjacent caps so the irregularity was presumably an error in design and not an accident of history. Tall arches with C15 label-heads with amusing hats. C15 tie-beam roof. Weird caps to arcades opening into non-parallel Gild Chapel (empiric solutions). Between the south transept and the porch, the Chapel of St Thomas of Canterbury raised on a crypt; some wall-paintings survive. At the east end of the north arcade a chantry with (restored) polychrome wooden screens and stone canopy over altar (now the Chapel of St Peter, restored by Street in 1873). The south transept and south chapel, unusually, retain their clutter of tomb-chests, a large one in the south transept with colour and shield-bearing angels under crocketed canopies. Wide many-cusped relieving arch on east wall of south transept. Magnificent Tanfield monument in north chapel 1628 with cadavers below and a wrought-iron palisade.

Very numerous fittings: excellent font with Rood, Perpendicular pulpit (restored 1870), medieval glass in west and east windows' tracery lights, Hardman east window, much Kempe glass and a lot of memorials. The best known of these are to Christoper Kempster (died 1715, a local quarry-man and favourite of Wren, who used him at St Paul's), and the c.1569 Harman memorial on north wall with its Gill-like Red Indians in relief on the north wall. In the Gild Chapel the south wall is lined with roughly similar pedimented tomb-chests mostly to the Sylvester family; a similar chest in south choir aisle.

Listing NGR: SP2531312405


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Gretton, M S, Burford Past and Present, (1945)
Pevsner, N, Sherwood, J, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, (1974)


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: 30 Jun 2001
Reference: IOE01/03716/18
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Michael Clarke. Source Historic England Archive
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