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Bampton Church Bampton Parish Church Bampton-in-the-Bush Church Church of St Mary Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Bampton St. Mary's Church, Bampton
Church View BamptonOX18 2LW
Bampton  locality
Oxfordshire  county
England  country
United Kingdom  country
Europe  continent
Main date(s)
c. 1270-1350
51.727782° N, 1.548686° W
OS Grid Reference
SP 31262 03325
Opening hours
Daily 9am-4pm

Historical Timeline of the Church of St Mary

Listed Building Description

SP3003-3103 BAMPTON CHURCH CLOSE (South-west side) 13/56 Church of St. Mary 12/09/55

GV I Church. C10/C11 origins visible in herringbone stonework in tower and stair turret; rebuilt C12 on cruciform plan, with C12 features surviving in tower and transepts; remodelled, with aisles, late C13-early C14; transepts raised and aisles re-roofed C15; Horde chapel remodelled 1702; extensively restored 1868-70 by Ewan Christian, as dated on rainwater heads.

Limestone rubble, with stone slate roofs to nave and chancel, and lead roofs to remainder. Cruciform plan with central tower and transept chapels. C15 moulded parapets with carved gargoyles, except to nave and chancel.

West end of nave has much restored 5-light window with intersecting tracery, originally early C14, and fine C14 moulded doorway with ballflower and fleuron ornament. Shallow gabled west porch of same date, with wide chamfered arch and gabled side niches. 4-bay aisles are late C13 and have windows with trefoil-headed lights arranged in 3's with taller central lights. External window surrounds are unmoulded but rere-arches are cusped. North and south doorways are also trefoil-headed.

North aisle has later buttresses, and gabled stair turret rises from east end. South aisle has C15 battlemented porch with diagonal buttresses and Tudor hoodmould over 4-centred arch.

Inside porch are stone side shelves, shallow cusped niche, late C17 memorial tablet, and moulded roof beams.

South chapel, to west of transept, has cusped niche over late C13 south window, and C15 and C16 2-light west windows. Transepts have 2 bays of late C15 clerestory windows with 3 cusped lights and Tudor hoodmoulds. 4-light south window is also late C15 with Perpendicular tracery. Below is fine C12 doorway with chevron-moulded semi-circular arch of 2 orders, on shafts with carved caps.

North transept has late C13 north doorway with trefoil head, contemporary 3-light west window, and C19 3-light traceried north window. Later C14 chapel to east of north transept has 3-light window inserted 1908.

Central tower has tall bell-chamber with pairs of arched transomed lights and narrow arcaded frieze. Octagonal spire with large 2-light gabled lucarnes at base, and flying buttresses. Each buttress consists of a quatrefoil cluster of shafts with a statue on top, much restored.

Chancel has C19 carved head corbel table, restored 5-light east window with intersecting tracery, and C19 3-light traceried south window. Lean-to vestry along north side. In angle with south transept is Horde chapel, dated 1702 on inscription frieze, with south window of six arched lights, blocked 2-light east window, and lean-to porch.

Interior: is much restored and stripped of plaster. Double-chamfered nave arcades on cylindrical piers with moulded caps and bases and square plinths. Arcades terminate on piers with slender corbel shafts and restored carved heads. Nave roof is C19, as is that of chancel. Aisles, transepts and south chapel retain C15 roofs with moulded beams on restored carved stone corbels. South chapel has double-chamfered arch to transept, and 2 piscinae, that near pulpit with restored trefoil head and carved corbel. Stair turret at east end of north aisle has small internal windows, aisle piscina, and heavily reworked east doorway with semi-circular tympanum.

Central tower is Transitional and has ashlar piers and pointed unmoulded arches of 2 orders, those to nave and chancel with nailhead or billet ornament. Within arch to chancel is retained Cll-C12 semi-circular arch with dogtooth voussoirs. Over north arch is C12 window of 2 arched lights with octagonal mullion shaft. West walls of transepts also retain C12 arched lights with deep splays, only the head surviving in north transept. South transept has C12 arch in east wall, now blocked, with old door in moulded 4-centred arch to Horde chapel. North transept has wide C14 moulded arch to east chapel. This has tall gabled niche, possibly Easter sepulchre, with elaborate cusping, crockets, and finials on carved stone heads. Aumbry and moulded piscina in south wall.

Chancel has semi-circular headed doorway in north wall, and much restored C15 Easter sepulchre with 2 tiers of cusped arches and blind tracery. In south wall is fine late C13 triple sedilia with trefoil arches, shafts and carved spandrels. Moulded trefoil-headed piscina. Inset below east window is early C14 carved stone reredos with figures of Christ and 12 Apostles in crocketed niches. Recess with 2 arched openings below.

Fittings are mostly C19 but do include a C14 font base with trefoil-headed arcade, a strapped medieval chest, and some reused C15/C16 panels in choir stalls.

Monuments: in south transept: 1) very worn medieval effigy of lady, in carved stone; 2) wall monument to George Tompson 1603, with carved stone effigy lying in tabernacle with Corinthian columns, carved frieze and strapwork base and pediment; 3) stone coffin with cross on lid. In north chapel: carved stone effigy of a knight, said to be Sir Gilbert Talbot, d.1419. In Horde chapel: 4 wall tablets with oval or round inscription panels of grey stone in carved white stone surrounds with putti, mask-heads and sculls, to Thomas and Elizabeth Cooke 1669 and 1668, Stephen Philips, 1684, Barbara Trinder, 1671, and children of John and Anne Gower, 1679. In chancel: 3 brasses, to Thomas Plymmyswode, c.1429, Robert Holcot, 1500, and Frances Gardner, 1633.

(Buildings of England: Oxfordshire: 1974: pp429-431)

Listing NGR: SP3126403324

Source: The National Heritage List for England. Reprinted under license.

Description of the Church of St Mary

The exterior of Bampton's church is attractive, with a large and elegant spire supported by minature saint-topped flying buttresses, a large west window, and multiple porches. Bits of the original Saxon masonry can still be seen in the lower part of the tower and the northwest turret.

The interior has some interesting elements, foremost among them being a miniature carved reredos behind the altar in the chancel, depicting Christ and the Twelve Apostles (c. 1400). Some traces of its original paint remain.

In the nave, some herringbone-work from the Saxon church can still be seen. The font in the back of the nave is finely carved with flower and ball-flower decorations. A variety of symbols are carved into the ends of the choir stalls. On display in the nave is an almost unrecognizable statue of John the Baptist, who fell from the exterior in 1990.

A side chapel in the east end contains a badly worn effigy of a knight. He is thought to be Sir Gilbert Talbot (b. 1390), who served in the Hundred Years War and lived at Bampton Castle.

Holly Hayes
October 17, 2011

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