We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Edmund and St George, Hethe, Oxfordshire

(51°57′38″N, 1°8′12″W)
SP 594 295
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • Jane Cunningham
  • Janet Newson
13 May 2013, 17 April 2015

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=10786.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


Hethe is a hamlet in NE Oxfordshire, 4 miles N of Bicester. A church existed here by the mid-12thc., probably a small two-cell structure with an apse. The present church comprises a square-ended chancel, a clerestoried nave, S and N aisles, a S porch and a W open wooden belfry and spire. In the early 13thc. the apse was replaced by the existing chancel with pilaster buttresses and part of a keeled half-roll string course. The S aisle was added in the 14thc. There was a drastic restoration by G.E. Street in the 19thc. Surviving Romanesque decoration is found in the chancel, in the E wall a re-set stone bearing a beast head, pilaster buttresses at NE and SE corners, and the remains of a string course, and in the S wall a priest’s door and a round-headed window. In the nave W wall is a similar window. The plain tub font may also be Romanesque.


At the time of the Conquest, Hethe was held by the thegn Wulfward the White, who also held Finmere nearby. By 1086, assessed at 8 hides, it belonged to Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances, whose tenant at Hethe was a certain Roger. By the early 12thc. the manor appears to be the property of the wife of Geoffrey de Clinton, Henry I's chamberlain, of Cassington and Glympton, Oxfordshire. She gave the whole village as a marriage portion to her daughter Lesceline, wife of Norman de Verdun. A church was in existence during the lifetime of Norman de Verdun, who died in 1154, and it was given by his widow to the priory of Augustinian canons at Kenilworth, founded by her father in 1122.

Originally the church was dedicated to St Edmund, but around 1300 on St George’s Day, it was rededicated to St Edmund and St George (VCH).

Hethe belongs to the Shelswell benefice, comprising Cottisford, Finmere, Fringford, Goddington, Hardwick, Hethe, Mixbury, Newton Purcell, Stoke Lyne and Stratton Audley.


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

String courses




Sherwood (1989) suggests that the two corner pilasters at the E end of the chancel, and also the remaining lengths of string course at the E end, were part of the early rebuilding of the chancel. This could have been c. 1200, and so they are included. The beast head was most probably re-set at the same time. It probably represents a headstop rather than a beakhead.


J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 645-6.

Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 6 (1959), 174-181.