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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:
Statutory Address:

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

West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 24911 02530


LANGFORD CHURCH LANE SP2402-2502 (North side) 6/98 Church of St. Matthew 12.9.55 GV I

Church. Mid-to late C11 on earlier site; aisles added c.1200; chancel rebuilt mid-C13 and south porch added early C14. Restorations by Richard Pace in 1829 and Ewan Christian in 1864-7. Uncoursed limestone rubble, retaining traces of former render, with ashlar dressings; stone slate roofs with C19 ornamental tile cresting and C19 floriated stone crosses to gables. Nave; chancel; central tower; aisles; south porch and C13 staircase projection against north-east corner of tower. Tower. Mid-to late C11 in 3 stages with parapet and carved corbel table of c.1200. Corner pilasters, stepped slightly inwards to top stage, pilaster strips with stepped capitals and bases to first and second stages of each face. Plain moulded string coursed and stepped plinth. North and south sides have narrow double-splayed windows with shouldered heads on either side of central pilaster strip to second stage, each on north blocked by later staircase projection. Paired and louvred round-headed belfry windows to each side have continuous roll-moulding to the arch and jambs and, instead of capitals, a band with leaf decoration (now weathered but probably acanthus) carried straight across the moulding and the plain inner order with a palmette leaf in the spandrel. Forming part of central pilaster strip immediately above lower string course on south side is a relief of 2 figures in tunics with arms pointing upwards: possbly formerly supporting a sundial. Chamfered C13 lancet immediately to right of pilaster strip on bottom stage. Low-pedimented gable ends above corbel table on each and west sides. Nave: west end only visible; 2 late C12 pilaster buttresses to former angles given chimney-like pinnacles in C16. Shallow-pitched lean-to aisles have chamfered lancets to west walls. 2 flying buttresses to north aisle, west inscribed "ANNO/DMI/1574/REGINI ELIZABETH/REGINAE DECIMO/SEPTIMO". C19 louvred chimney to centre of aisle. Chamfered rectangular opening (possibly C17) to far left and early C14 two-light window with mouchettes and quatrefoil to head and hoodmould immediately to left of eastern flying buttress. Doorway (c.1200) immediately to left of western flying buttress: richly moulded round-headed arch with chamfered inner order and nook-shafts with weathered leaf capitals. Square-headed late C15 window with label to right of buttress has 3 cinquefoil-headed lights with contemporary iron bars. Chamfered C13 lancet to east wall. South aisle has late C15 window to west like that in north aisle with date "1867" on railwater head to right. Gabled porch has double-chamfered segmental-arched outer doorway with weathered head-stops. Trefoil-headed recess inside to east wall. South doorway (c.1200) is round-headed with 3 sections of deep roll moulding with fillet to centre and nail-head ornament to hoodmould terminating in head-stops. Re-set over outer doorway is late-Saxon Road, large sculpture depicting Christ's crucifixion. The attendant figures of the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist have been transposed and their heads incorrectly face outwards; the position of Christ's arms is reversed. On east wall is re-set late-Saxon sculpture of Christ triumphant. The now headless figure is shown with arms outstretched clad in a long corded tunic, weathered smooth on the outer face but arranged in narrow fluted folds to sides. Early C14 three-light window with reticulated tracery and weathered head-stops to right is followed by narrow round-headed chamfered window (c.1200) with rainwater head dated "1867" between. Late C15 square-headed window with 2 cinquefoil-headed lights and label in east wall. Chancel. Mid-C15 and apparently shortened by at least one bay to east before C19 restorations by Pace and Christian. Moulded eaves cornice terminating in carved head to south-east corner, cill band and continuous hood mould. South side has 2 sets of paired broad lancets with cusped lozenges to heads, eastern with pilaster buttress beneath cill band. Infilled priest's doorway to east has richly moulded pointed arch with weathered head-stops; gabled canopy above supported on shafts with mutilated foliated capitals. Date "1864" to rainwater head in west corner. East wall has 2 windows like those on south but apparently re-assembled: masonry to gable belongs to Christian's restoration. Stepped diagonal buttress to south corner and C13 gabled buttress (probably not in situ) with floriated finial to north corner. North side has 2 windows like those on south, again with pilaster buttress, beneath that to east. Rainwater head with date "1864" to west corner. Gabled staircase projection against north-east corner of tower has continuation of cill band from chancel. Narrow chamfered rectangular opening to apex and 2 chamfered rectangular openings to chamfered north-east corner. Narrow segmental-headed doorway in angle with chancel on east side. Interior. Transitional 3-bay north and south arcades have round-headed arches with head-stops (including to spandrels) on tall circular piers with foliated capitals of stiff-leaf type, except the north-west respond which has late Romanesque knob volutes and the south-east respond with archaic upright leaves. Cruciform abaci and moulded plinths on square bases. Trussed rafter roof (c.1867) to nave and low-pitched roofs to aisles, C15 to north, C19 to south. Trussed rafter roof (c.1864) to chancel. Corbels of C15 flat-pitched roof and outline of earlier roof pitch visible against east face of tower. Tunnel vault to tower probably C13 but round-headed east and west arches are C11, former tall with a rolled outer order, an inner soffit roll, both continued on the responds, and a plain arch and respond on the east side. These are broken by a band of mouldings in place of an abacus, then bell capitals with roll necking. Bases also formed from a continuous band. West arch is a single unchamfered order with large plain imposts and a hood of rectangular section continued down the jambs. Painted consecration crosses on north and south sides. Infilled recessed rectangular doorways high up above arches on both sides of tower are also Cll. Infilled square-headed opening to south of west arch associated either with former rood loft or the recess for a statue. Traces of steps to infilled round-headed doorway which lead to former chamber in porch, visible to west of south doorway. Elaborately cusped rere arch with short shafts terminating in head-corbels to C14 window in south aisle; tall ringed nook-shafts to east windows in chancel. Reset C13 trefoil-headed piscina in infilled priest's doorway and plainer piscina to west. C13 aumbry in north wall comprises 2 rows of 3 compartments, gabled to top. Polygonal panelled pulpit (1673) on Perpendicular traceried stone base (1867). C15 octagonal panelled font with quatrefoils and blank shields. Portions of C15 oak screen with open Perpendicular tracery patterns in one-light divisions reused in screens to organ chamber and vestry at east end of north and south aisles respectively; C19 paintings of saints on boards within divisions. Oak parish chest in front of north screen. Langford clock mechanism (c.1680, overhauled 1883 and 1978) formerly in tower now in north aisle by font. Stone spiral staircase in staircase projection leads to chamber on second stage of tower. Stained glass: c.1868 in C14 window in south aisle and early C20 in west window of nave. Monuments. North aisle: late C17 and C18 engraved floor slabs. South aisle, south wall: memorial with armorial device to Anne Hamersley (d.1694); rustic memorial (1691) to the House family surmounted by a bewigged head with the punning inscription "Within this little house three houses lye". Brass plates in raised sanctuary to John Copley ld.1634) and his wife, Mary (d.1665) and under communion table figurative brasses to Walter and Mary Prunes (d.1594 and 160q respectively). C19 armorial brsss in infilled doorway to west face of tower. When Christian restored the church he removed the C15 nave clerestory and re-instituted the higher of the 2 chancel roof pitches shown by J.C. Buckler in a drawing of 1821 (now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford). The parish of Langford is included amongst the royal estates in Domesday and this may account for the high quality of the work, which may have been carried out immediately after the Norman Conquest. The late Saxon features are considered to be the most important in the county. There are well-preserved shrunken village earthworks in the field to the north west. (Buildings of England: Oxfordshire: pp678-81; H.M. Taylor: Anglo-Saxon Architecture, 3 vols. (1965 and 1978, Vols. 1 and 2 with John Taylor), passim but see especially pp.367-72; Nigel and Mary Kerr, A Guide to Anglo-Saxon Sites. (1982), pp170-1; Bodleian Library: Oxford, Topagraphical Drawings Collection: MS Top. Oxon. a.67 no.363; MS Top. Oxon. d.28 f.140) [2393]

Listing NGR: SP2490602526


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

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Books and journals
Kerr, N, Kerr, M, A Guide to Anglo Saxon Sites, (1982)
Pevsner, N, Sherwood, J, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, (1974), 678-81
Taylor, H M, J , , Anglo Saxon Architecture, (1965)
Taylor, H M, J , , Anglo Saxon Architecture, (1965)


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: 15 Nov 2007
Reference: IOE01/17075/34
Rights: Copyright IoE Tim Belcher. Source Historic England Archive
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