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St Peter and St Paul, Swalcliffe, Oxfordshire

(52°2′17″N, 1°27′1″W)
SP 378 379
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • Janet Newson
  • John Blair
  • Sarah Blair
01 November 1994, 01 July 2014

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Feature Sets

Swalcliffe is in North Oxfordshire, 5 miles SW of Banbury. The large stone church of St Peter and St Paul now comprises a chancel, nave, and N and S aisles which extend to the W end of the tower. It was originally a Saxon church, built as a rectangle whose chancel occupied the E bay of the present nave. The nave still carries two small partially blocked round-headed Saxon windows, now only visible in the interior above the S and N nave arcades. The N aisle was built in the late C12th, piercing the N wall with an arcade of three round-headed arches and round piers with scalloped and waterleaf capitals. The wider S aisle is of the early C13th with octagonal piers. In the C14th the nave was lengthened by one bay eastwards over the site of the former chancel, and a new chancel and aisles were built. The S arcade and door of the S aisle are clearly well into the C13th and are not described here, even though the S arcade contains one trumpet-scalloped capital. The Romanesque features are the early round-headed windows and the three W arches of the N arcade, with circular piers and square capitals.


The early parish of Swalcliffe was large, containing the townships of Epwell, Shutford, and the Sibfords. Shutford, also with a small church with C12th origins, thus partly shares its history. In 1086 Swalcliffe parish formed part of the Bishop of Lincoln's ancient estates in Banbury hundred, and part of the 50 hide Banbury manor. In the C12th and C13th the Lincoln estates in Swalcliffe were held by several of the Bishop's knights. In 1166 Richard of Stoke held 3 fees of the Bishop, and these were identified with 3 fees held in the early C13th by Robert of Stoke.


Interior Features



Although a pier in the S arcade bears a trumpet-scalloped capital, this is regarded as a relic motif, as the S arcade and door of the S aisle are clearly of the C13th.


J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), 795-6.

Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 10 (London, 1972), 225-260.