Kencot is a village about five miles S of Burford. The church lies to the W of the village and must originally have been a two-cell structure. The chancel dates to the 13thc, although it was largely rebuilt in the 19thc, whilst the nave is basically Romanesque. There are two Romanesque doorways to the S and N sides of the nave; in the chancel, the pointed arch retains the original imposts.
The Domesday Survey records that 'Chenetone' was held by Roger d'Oilly, being his uncle Robert tenant-in-chief. The manor valued £6. In the 1160s Roger d'Oilly mortgaged Kencot to a London financier (original deed, P.R.O. E210/5199). In the early 13thc the d'Oillys still held the presentation of the church (Fisher (1970), 18, 21).
The S doorway is of one order and consists of a round-headed arch framing a carved tympanum. The bases feature a double torus and triangular corner spurs; the R base is in better condition. On the sides, detached cylindrical nook shafts have a plain roll necking. On the L, the cushion capital is decorated with a shield on the S face bearing a two-stepped recessed panel, and there are setting-out lines for a similar panel on the E face. The R capital is similar to the L one, but with the recessed panels on the shields complete on both faces. The imposts have a chamfer below an upright decorated with a frieze of chip-carved saltire crosses within squares. In the arch there is a large edge roll moulding below a hollow, with a fillet between them. Only a few fragments remain of the label, which must have been chamfered on the inner side and with the face decorated as the impost uprights.
|depth of tympanum||0.24m|
|Height of opening||2.06m|
|Height of tympanum||0.64m|
|Width of opening||1.00m|
|Width of tympanum||1.02m|
The tympanum is monolithic, and is carved in low relief with a centaur holding a bow and shooting an arrow down the dragon's throat. Along the lower edge, a chip-carved frieze is found, and this is continuous with the imposts. Above the centaur is the label 'SAGITTARIUS' in a relatively developed Lombard script, and this is perhaps a later addition.
The e face is square, with chamfered plinths and imposts. The imposts have been dressed back on the soffit face, but on the E face they run back along the wall to the N and S walls of the chancel. The imposts are hollow-chamfered; on the S upright, the S side has a frieze of chip-carved saltires-in-squares above a shallow roll moulding, whilst the N side has the roll moulding only.
On the W face there are a pair of engaged nook shafts with damaged bases, but probably they were similar to those of the S door - traces remain of corner spurs. Both capitals are cushioned with a plain roll necking. The imposts run on N side as on N side of E face, on S side as on S side of E face; they also run back along the N and S walls of the nave.
A. S. T. Fisher, The History of Kencot, Oxfordshire, Burford 1970, 18, 21.
J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, Harmondsworth 1974, 667-8.
Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, vol. 15, London 2006, 167-7.