St Peter’s, Hanwell, is 2.5 miles NW of Banbury, in a unique setting overlooking Hanwell Castle, of Tudor redbrick built from 1498 onwards by William Cope, cofferer to King Henry VII. It is another ironstone church like those at Horley and Hornton nearby, and like them had 12thc. origins. However, St Peter’s was largely rebuilt in the 14thc., and now comprises chancel, nave, N and S aisles, and a W tower. It has some fine figurative sculpture of c. 1340: a frieze of men and monsters decorates the external walls of the chancel, and the nave capitals bear figures with linked arms. The only remaining Romanesque feature is the tub font, with intersecting arches and three little heads.
The existence of a rector was recorded in 1154, and the advowson probably belonged to the lord of the manor then and subsequently (VCH).
The church belongs to the Ironstone Benefice, comprising Alkerton, Balscote, Drayton, Hanwell, Horley, Hornton, Shenington and Wroxton.
Located in the S aisle just W of the S door, a tapered limestone font decorated with intersecting blind arcades and three carved heads. The bowl has a roll moulding below and stands on a modern cylindrical base. There is a lead lining and a drainage hole. There is damage to the stone rim to the SW where the lead lining has been bent over the gap, and to the NE there is repaired lock damage.
|h. of bowl||0.70 m|
|inner w. of bowl||0.58 m|
|outer w. of bowl||0.76 m|
The font bears raised chamfered ridges that form six round-headed arches, intersecting to form twelve pointed ones. To the SW, near the top, are three projecting carved heads:
Head 2, in the top of the next pointed arch to the right, a raised oval shape with depressions for two eyes, and a hollowed mouth containing a tongue.
Head 3 shares the space to the right of head 2. It is of similar shape, but too worn to describe.
J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 631.
Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 9 (1969), 112-23.