Finmere is 7 miles NE of Bicester in the extreme NE corner of Oxfordshire, bounded by Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire. The present church is largely 14thc., of limestone rubble, comprising a chancel, clerestoried nave, S porch, N aisle and W tower. Only the Romanesque font remains from an earlier church.
Before the Conquest and for 20 years after, the larger of two estates in Finmere was held by Wulfward the White, a thegn of Queen Edith. By 1086 it had been granted to Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances. On Geoffrey's death in 1093 his lands passed to his nephew, Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, who forfeited them by his rebellion in 1095. The smaller estate was held by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, but was later joined to the larger estate when the whole of Finmere became part of the honor of Gloucester. The overlordship of Finmere followed the descent of the earldom of Gloucester. The tenant in both estates in 1086 was a certain Robert. By the mid-12thc. it was held by the De Turri family who were also tenants of the nearby manor of Tingewick, Bucks., and closely associated with the earls of Gloucester.
The first evidence for a church dates from the late 12thc. The advowson was granted before 1189 by William, son of Gregory, to the abbey of Augustinian canons at Bristol, where it was held until its dissolution in 1539. The church was largely or wholly replaced in the 14thc., and it was much restored again later due its decay during the 17thc.
St Michael and All Angels, Finmere, belongs to the Shelswell benefice, comprising Cottisford, Finmere, Fringford, Goddington, Hardwick, Hethe, Mixbury, Newton Purcell, Stoke Lyne and Stratton Audley.
Located in the N aisle, on the N side of the second pier, level with the S doorway. A vertical-sided limestone font on a vertical modern base. The rim has a chamfered edge, and just below it is an incised groove running around the top of the font, with incised chevrons hanging from it, extending for most of the bowl's perimeter. The chevron is missing where there is repaired lock damage on the S side, but this is concealed by the adjacent pier. A lead lining extends on to the rim but not on to the chamfer. There is a heavy oak cover with a raising device.
|height of bowl||0.49 m|
|inner diameter of bowl||0.49 m|
|outer diameter of bowl||0.69 m|
F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or Englands's Patron Saints, 3 vols, London, 1899. Vol III, APP. II, 124
Historic England Listed Buliding number 243605
Oxfordshire Historic Environment Record number PRN 4850
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth, 1979, 604-5
Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, VI. London, 1959, 116-25