Church of St Mary


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Church of St Mary, Parson's Lane


Ordnance survey map of Church of St Mary
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Statutory Address:
Church of St Mary, Parson's Lane

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

South Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 64660 91405


SU6491 8/121

EWELME PARSON'S LANE (South side) Church of St. Mary


GV I Church. Early C14 west tower, rest of c.1432, north porch rebuilt 1832, south porch repaired 1874. Mixed flint and limestone rubble; banded knapped flint and ashlar limestone to porch; red brick crenellated parapets to clerestory and aisles; roof covering not visible. Aisled nave, chancel with chapel to St. John the Baptist to south, and west tower.

Perpendicular style. Porch to right with Tudor archway, and paired trefoil lancets to left and right returns. C15 double-leaf door with Perpendicular tracery pattern, ribbing and studding to flattened two-centre moulded stone arch with quatrefoil carving to spandrels and hood mould. Water-stoop to left of door. Ribbed wooden roof to porch. Three three-light stone Perpendicular tracery windows to aisle with diamond-leading and hood moulds. Stepped buttresses between aisle windows. Seven two-light trefoil-topped stone mullion windows to clerestory with hood moulds. Moulded string-course to clerestory parapet with carved stone faces between windows. Tower to right has two-light stone Y-tracery louvred opening to top with hood mould, crenellated stone parapet.

Left return: knapped flint and ashlar limestone in chequer pattern. Five-light stone Perpendicular tracery window to chancel. Four-light stone Perpendicular tracery window to chapel at left, two-light stone mullioned window with triangular cusped tracery top to vestry at right.

Rear: open timber frame porch to left of centre of aisle with C15 ribbed and studded door. Three three-light stone Perpendicular tracery windows with splayed reveals and hood moulds. C15 ribbed and studded door to left of chapel, with quatrefoil carving to spandrels and hood mould. Two three-light stone perpendicular tracery windows with splayed reveals and hood moulds to chapel. Seven two-light trefoil-topped stone mullion windows to clerestory with hood moulds. Moulded string course to clerestory parapet with carved stone faces between the windows.

Tower to left has two-light stone Y-tracery louvred opening to top with hood mould; crenellated stone parapet.

Interior: moulded two-centre arched arcades to aisles with piers of clustered columns, and carved angels bearing shields to spandrels, except to south of nave, which has blank shields to the spandrels. C15 ribbed roof, with feather-bodied angels with out-spread wings to intersection of beams to chapel roof.

Octagonal bowl font with quatrefoil carving with shields to each side, on a base panelled with blind ogee arches. The spectacular wood cover, presented by John, Duke of Suffolk, after the death of his mother in 1475, is of four tiers of cusped and crocketted arches with figure of St. Michael at apex; counterpoise is a carved Tudor rose.

Chest tomb to Thomas Chaucer (d.1434), and his wife, Matilda Burghersh (d.1436) with fine brasses to top and painted coats of arms to sides, in chapel. Alabaster chest tomb to Alice, Duchess of Suffolk (d.1475), between chapel and chancel with decorated arched canopy; effigy wearing coronet, robes and Order of the Barter; angels under canopies to sides; beneath in traceried base, stone cadaver. C15 wood screens, shortened in 1844, restored in 1925. Reredos and altar to chapel by Sir Ninian Comper, 1902.

History: Earlier church, dedicated to All Saints was rebuilt c.1432 at the expense of the Earl and Countess of Suffolk. The countess (nee Alice Chaucer) was born in Ewelme in 1409, the daughter of Thomas Chaucer, the lord of the manor, and grand-daughter of Geoffrey, the poet. She married William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk in 1430 (created Duke of Suffolk 1448). He "for love of his wife and the commodity of her lands felt much to dwell in Oxfordshire". They rebuilt the church, established the adjoining almshouse and built the school. The use of brick, in the church parapet and the other buildings, is one of the earliest in the county.

Listing NGR: SU6466491404


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Guide to St Marys Church Ewelme and to the Almshouses and the School, (1980)
Pevsner, N, Sherwood, J , The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, (1974), 595-600
Malcolm Airs, , 'Ewelme' in Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 135, (1978), 275-280


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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 06 May 2001
Reference: IOE01/03456/18
Rights: Copyright IoE Dale Venn. Source Historic England Archive
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