St Mary, Waterperry, Oxfordshire

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Feature Sets (3)


The first phase was a small Saxo-Norman 'overlap' church comprising aisleless nave and apsidal chancel; of this the chancel arch survives, tall, round-headed and undecorated (Taylor and Taylor 1965, 641; Hassall 1972). In the later 12thc. the S aisle was added, with a two-bay arcade; apparently shortly afterwards, the nave, arcade and aisle were lengthened by one bay westwards. Early 13thc. chancel, with late 14thc. chancel arch inserted into Saxo-Norman one.


The Domesday Book records the village under its early name, Pereiun, but there is no mention of a church. The manor was in possession of Robert D'Oilgi (or D'Oilly), the builder of Oxford Castle. Between 1175 and 1178 William Fitz Ellis and his wife Emma, lords of Waterperry under the d'Oillys, granted the church to Oseney Abbey, which retained in until the Dissolution (V.C.H. Oxon. v, 304).


Interior Features



S arcade

Three bays (the westernmost slightly later than the other two). pointed arches of a single plain square order.

E respond: Arch dies into plain wall.

Pier 1: Column. Base apparently buried in floor, only the upper round moulding visible. Capital square, trefoil scallop with recessed shields. On the E, N and W sides this field is cut away to reveal a gently curving horizontal band, as though the top moulding of a bell capital were showing through. Plain roll necking and quirked, hollow-chamfered impost.

Pier 2: Square, plain. The E face, originally the W respond of the arcade in its primary form, has an impost resembling that on pier 1. On the W face the impost (which carries the added arch) is chamfered, with double-stepped lower arris below quirk.

W impost
h. on E face 0.10 m
h. on W face 0.13 m
Pier 1
h. (excl. necking) 0.38 m
h. (incl. necking) 0.43 m
max. w. (all faces) 0.77 m



At W end of nave. Made of oolitic limestone. Reused as the base of the late medieval font is what appears to be a cut-down Romanesque font. Tub-shaped, plain, on plain drum-shaped base.

ext. diam. at top approx. 0.80 m
h. of base (incl. surviving part of bowl) 0.68 m
h. of bowl (clearly cut down) 0.37 m



  • Waterperry Church, Compiled from papers left by the Rev. J. Todd, Oxford, 1955, 2nd ed. with photographs by I. Taylor, 1969.
  • N. Pevsner and J. Sherwood, The Buildings of England. Oxfordshire, London, 1974, 826f.
  • H. M. and J. Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture, ii, Cambridge, 1965.
  • T. G. Hassall, 'Excavation at the Saxon church at Waterperry, Oxon.', Oxoniensia, xxxvii (1972), 245.
General view from NE.
Nave, S arcade looking E.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SP 629 063 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Oxfordshire
now: Oxfordshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Oxford
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Mary
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
John Blair, Sarah Blair