History - Deddington Map Group article

This article was originally published by Deddington Map Group in the Millennial project book 'Discovering Deddington'. Links to other relevant articles on this website have been inserted for convenience of browsers

There was a Norman church on the site. The present church first appears in historical records in 1254, and parts of the chancel and south wall of the nave date from this period. By 1327 (the next historical reference) the church, with the exception of the west wall, had taken on the basic form we see today

An annotated map (pdf) showing the location of this church is available the church is indicated by the letter A.

In the 15th century, the roof of the nave was raised to accommodate the clerestory and several chapels. Two flights of steps in the centre of the north and south walls are all that remain. The large window on the south wall also dates from that century, as do the slightly later east windows of both aisles.

The 16th century saw the religious upheavals of the Reformation. The parish records have been lost, but the Royal Coat of Arms above the north door and the removal of the figures from the chancel screen presumably date from the introduction of the new Prayer Book (1548).

The most dramatic change occurred in the 17th century. The massive west tower had a tall spire, which fell down in 1634, causing much damage to the rest of the church. Rebuilding was halted by the Civil War and King Charles I had the bells melted down for artillery. The Crown did not honour its pledge to replace them, and new bells were not hung until 1791.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the church interior was remodelled to conform to Anglican principles. A new roof, new glass in many of the windows, a new vestry and south porch as well as plaster work, tiles and pews date from this period. From 1858 the work was directed by G. E. Street.

The church clock was replaced in 1833. Twentieth-century changes include the pulpit and lectern by Franklins of Deddington (early 1900s), the organ by Binns of Leeds (1912), stained glass windows (1924 and 1936), kitchen (1994) and the replacement cross over the south porch (1996). In 1994 the parish was granted a Coat of Arms; the Letters Patent are displayed in the north aisle.

Please click on the small "thumbnail" images below to see illustrations and pictures at full size

Key Features

West tower 


Tower - west face. Carvings either side of the 17th-century door resemble Oxford gargoyles. The figures of St Peter and St Paul are part medieval and part 17th century.

Font - first used in 1663. The cover was replaced by a Victorian one, though the present one is more modern. (The medieval font was smashed when the spire fell down.) The bell tower above has a set of eight bells.

North door 


North door - date uncertain. The position is medieval, but the saucer shaped ceiling with fan tracery may be 17th century. It is surmounted by the Royal Coat of Arms and surrounded by crosses which once marked the graves of local men killed in the 1914-18 war.

Memorial window 


'Charity' window by C. E. Kempe shows the traditional personification of Charity with attendant saints. Kempe's wheatsheaf logo dates the window as post-1895.

Memorial windows to Emily May Jones (1924) and Muriel Vane Jones (1936) commemorate the first and second wives of Dr George Horatio Jones, of Deddington.

Under the 1936 window is the altar tomb of William Billing, Merchant of the Staple at Calais, who died in 1533.

Chancel screen

Chancel screen - basically 15th century, although much restored. The brackets on top would have held the pre-Reformation rood figures.

Chancel - the oldest part of the church - contains the four 13th-century sedilia on the south side of the altar. The east window depicting the Crucifixion with St Mary Magdalen and St John, is by C. E. Kempe (1888) and has his earlier logo of a triple wheatsheaf on a red shield.

Large 15th-century window on the south aisle in the style of Richard Winchcombe, master mason of the Divinity School, Oxford.


The effigy beneath is a 14th-century lawyer, possibly Ralph de Bereford, or Barford.





The base of the column in the east respond is perhaps a fragment of the old Norman church.

South porch - rebuilt in the 18th century and again in 1865. The old medieval porch had a room above it, and traces of stairs can be seen in a small gothic arch by the south door.