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Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST EDBURG
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Statutory Address:

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

Cherwell (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 58302 22278


BICESTER CHURCH STREET SP5822S (South side) 3/24 Church of St. Edburg 31/01/52 GV I

Church. Probably C11, C12, C13 and C14, altered C15 and C16; tower C15/early C16; restored 1862 by C.N. Beazley in consultation with G.E. Street. Part-coursed limestone rubble with ashlar and some marlstone-ashlar dressings; lead and Welsh-slate roofs. Cruciform plan with north chancel aisle, nave aisles, west tower and north porch. Restored chancel retains C12 ashlar clasping buttresses and a small Gothic priest's door to south, but has a 5-light east window and 2- and 3-light side windows in C19 Geometrical-Decorated style. The aisle to north formerly incorporated a priest's dwelling, and has 2 square-headed C15 windows facing east, both with cinquefoil lights and labels, one originally serving an upper floor; a C15 stair with 3-centre arched entrance projects at the north-east-angle; north wall has two 2-light C19 windows, plus a blocked rubble archway in the lower part of the wall. The north transept retains fragments of a C12 chevron string course, interrupted by a large 4-centre-arched 5-light window with Perpendicular drop tracery and a deep casement mould. A later extension to west has a restored 2-light window with reticulated tracery plus the outline of an arched opening, and is continued westwards by the narrower early-C14 north aisle which retains two 2-light C14 windows to north plus a later large single-light window to west. The C14 porch has an entrance arch with wave mouldings, and shelters the north door with earlier C14 mouldings; the small 2-light traceried window to west is also C14, but the 2-light east window is C15 as is the former upper floor with its square-headed 2-light C15 north window and crenellated parapet. The south transept also has remains of the C12 chevron string plus a large restored Perpendicular window; it was extended eastwards, probably in the C15, but now has a C19 east window similar to those in the chancel. The south aisle is early C13 with 3 restored 3-light Cl4 windows to south and a C15 parapet panelled with quatrefoils; it retains a fine doorway with a deeply-moulded arch and 3 orders of shafts (2 detached and one enlarged) with 4 early stiff-leaf capitals. Above the door are fragments of carved stonework, probably from tombs in the demolished church of Bicester Priory. The west wall contains a 3-light C16 window with uncusped heads and a label. The C16 clerestory has 4 arched windows to north and 4 square-headed windows to south, all with 2 uncusped 4-centre-arched lights. Over the crossing is a large square-headed C15 window, facing south, with 4 cinquefoil lights within a deep casement moulding; on the north face is a fine lead rainwater head, decorated with moulded shafting and ornamental cresting, and dated 1655; 2 plainer lead heads on the north clerestory are dated 1704. The 3-stage battlemented tower, with heavy moulded plinth and strings plus diagonal stepped buttresses, has an arched west door with quatrefoil spandrels, set within a deep casement moulding and with big blank shields terminating the label drops; the large 2-light window above was probably altered in 1750, the date inscribed in the casement moulding; bell chamber stage has 2-light arched openings with Perpendicular tracery and transoms, but the panelled and crocketed pinnacles are probably C17/C18. Interior: chancel is entirely C19 except for the wide archway to north, of 3 chamfered orders, which is probably early C14. The round-headed chancel arch, of unchamfered orders, is matched by the tall plain transept arches of one order, which have linked abaci; they are probably C11 and formed part of a pseudo-cruciform arrangement with narrower flanking "wings" or transepts but not necessarily with a fourth arch to west. The 4-bay south arcade of c.1200 (which must post-date the demolition of a fourth crossing arch) has pointed arches with deep angle rolls, probably later reinforced by the inner chamfered orders and partly rebuilt, and set on late-C14 clustered columns set diagonally, one with the remains of crocketed canopy work; the moulded capitals to the responds survive but the 3 main capitals are C19. Further salvaged panels of carved stonework are set in the spandrels. The-arch from the south transept to the aisle is completely C14 except for re-used Transitional capitals with square abaci and stiff-leaf foliage. The 3-bay south arcade of c.1300 has arches of 3 chamfered orders, octagonal columns and moulded capitals, one with pellet decoration; a crude triangular-headed arch to east is probably simply a large squint linked with the western extension of the transept; the outer spandrels of the arcade retain sections of the C12 chevron band, formerly external. The fine tall narrow tower arch is C15/early C16. Except for the chancel, all roofs are probably C15/C16 with moulded timbers; the nave roof, which looks C16 but is noted as renewed 1803, has large cambered tiebeams with pierced panelled infill to the trusses and to the spandrels of the curved braces. Fittings are all C19 and C20 except for a C15 screen in the north transept with 2 tiers of traceried panels, and the strange tapering polygonal font with its C18 flat wooden cover; the vestry screen in the north chancel aisle, with C19 painted decoration on a gilt ground, is signed "H.L. Busby 1882". 4 ancient chests: one dated 163(?), another 1668. Small window over the priest's door said to contain C14 glass; remainder of stained glass (mainly chancel and south aisle) is C19, including a window of 1866 by Morris and Co. with panels by Burne-Jones and Webb, one of 1853 by O'Connor and 2 by Mayer and Co. of Munich. The numerous monuments include a C15 figure brass, C17 engraved brasses, tablets and carved cartouches, and many elaborate C18 wall monuments. The large marble memorial to Sir Thomas Grantham (died 1718) by Delvaux and Scheemakers has weeping cherubs supporting a large portrait medallion against a fine Baroque surround; a monument to Sir Edward Page Turner (died 1766) by Joseph Wilton has a big urn and portrait medallions; one of the many monuments to the Cokers of Bicester House is a relief of c.1794 by Sir Richard Westmacott. (V.C.H.: Oxfordshire, Vol.VI, pp.46-7; Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, pp,452-4).

Listing NGR: SP5830022279


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

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Sherwood, J , The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, (1974), 452-4
Salzman, L F, The Victoria History of the County of Oxford, (1959), 46-7


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: 05 Feb 2005
Reference: IOE01/13419/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Dale Venn. Source Historic England Archive
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