Salford is 3 miles NW of Chipping Norton in rolling countryside near the Warwickshire border. The small church is situated on a slope to the W of the village. It was rebuilt by G.E. Street in 1854-5, retaining amongst other material the original Romanesque N and S nave doorways. The N doorway has a sculpturedtympanum. There is also a spectacular arcaded Romanesque font.
There may have been two ancient manors associated with Salford from 1086 onwards (Murrell, 1985), and their history seems a little confused. One of these estates formed part of a much larger holding that included not only the advowson of St Mary's church at Salford, but also manors in neighbouring Cornwell and Chastleton, Oxon. One manor seems to have been held by Roger de Lacy in 1086. Another entry refers to lands held by Archbishop Thomas of York, but this is intermingled with a Chastleton entry under the lands of Odo of Bayeux, who had seized 5 hides at Salford from Evesham abbey sometime after the Conquest. The monks in their turn laid claim on estates at Salford, Chastleton and Cornwell. (A Saxon land charter, of questionable origin, stated that king Offa of Mercia had granted an estate at Salford to the Evesham monks in 777).
2nd order. Detached nookshafts. Bases of simplified Attic form (two rolls and scotia but no fillets). Plain roll necking. Capitals, similar to L and R and on both faces, triple scallops with recessed semicircular shields and spear-points. Imposts identical and continuous with first order, returned along wall.
Arch plain, and arises not from the shafts but from the outer faces of the jambs, an arrangement that probably results from the C19th rebuilding. Label with chamfered lower arris below quirk. Rere-arch higher and round-headed.
|h. of opening||2.32 m|
|w. of opening||1.18 m|
Jambs plain with chamfer, possibly not as original. Imposts with hollow-chamfered lower arris below a double quirk, returned along wall, and stopped on each side with a pair of small curling fluted leaves.
|h. of doorway opening||1.55 m|
|h. of tympanum||0.72 m|
|max. w. of tympanum||1.41 m|
|thickness of tympanum||0.20 m|
|w. of doorway opening||0.98 m|
The tympanum has a slightly recessed central panel, dominated by a central Maltese cross within a circle formed by two incised lines, the arms of the cross being split and intersecting. To the L is a centaur whose bow or shield points behind him (Sagittarius), and to the R a lion (Leo) whose tail curves beneath him and up over his back ending in a fluted tassel.
At the W end of the nave, a sculptured font of oolitic limestone. It now stands on a later octagonal base. A lead lining is present, just overlapping the rim. This may originally have been tub-shaped, and decorated in two registers.
The main decoration consists of intersecting blind arcading, with 27 columns. Most of the columns lack capitals and have rudimentary triangular bases, but about four bays on the SW face have minute decoration on the arches, as well as base mouldings and neckings. The arch decoration includes small beads that diminish in size from top to bottom, as well as a short length of two chevrons with pellets in the vees, and transverse ridges. Most of the spaces between the columns show slight vertical keeling. Below this the font has been re-worked from the probable original tub shape to tapered octagonal form. Most of the original decoration has been lost, but it may have been decorated by a frieze of chevron, as the tips of four chevrons are just visible.
|h. of bowl||0.65 m|
|inner diam. of bowl||0.59 m|
|outer diam. of bowl||0.74 m|
|total h. of font, incl. stem||1.03 m|
C.H.W. Hodges, 'Salford Parish Church - a Historical Sketch', in Salford, More History of a Cotswold Village, Salford History Group (Kidlington, 1985), pp. 9-17.
S. Murrell, 'The Descent of Salford Manor', in Salford, More History of a Cotswold Village, Salford History Group (Kidlington, 1985), pp. 5-8.
Oxford, Bodleian MSS Top. Oxon. A 68 Nos. 439-441; b 91 No. 317 (drawings by J.C. Buckler showing a general view from the SE, and the N and S doorways; the font).
J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), p. 749.