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Holy Rood, Cuxham, Oxfordshire

(51°39′5″N, 1°2′14″W)
Holy Rood, Cuxham, Oxfordshire
SU 667 952
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval Lincoln
now Oxford
medieval Holy Rood
now Holy Rood
  • Nicola Lowe
  • Nicola Lowe
11 March 2017 and 17 April 2021

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Cuxham is about 5.5 miles N of Wallingford and 6 mi S of Thame. Today it is part of the parish of Cuxham with Easington in the Deanery of Aston and Cuddesdon. The church of the Holy Rood is set back from the road behind a thatched terrace in the centre of the village. It comprises a W tower with pyramidal roof, aisleless nave, chancel and N vestry. The walls are of coursed chalk rubble with limestone ashlar dressings. The roofs are of red tile with some medieval tiles surviving, notably in the tower. Alterations took place in the mid-18thc. The chancel was entirely rebuilt by C. C. Rolfe after a fire in 1895. The W tower is 12thc with two round-headed windows in the lower stage and rebuilt arched doorways to the exterior and to the nave. The plain, tub-shaped font is probably also Romanesque.


Cuxham appears in Domesday as a settlement of moderate size and some wealth in the Hundred of Benson, comprising 15 households, taxed at 5 geld units. In 1066 the lord was Wigot of Wallingford from whom it passed to his nephew, Alfred. In 1086, the tenant-in-chief was Miles Crispin who had married Wigot’s granddaughter and who had extensive landholdings throughout the county.


Exterior Features



Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches




The W doorway into the tower and the arch from the tower into the nave are perhaps reconstructions: the nook shafts of the W doorway have no bases; there are no abaci for the transition from capital to arch, and the foliated panels are an unusual feature. The chevron fragments on the tower arch to the nave may have been reset (compare for example with the sections of zigzag moulding reset over the nave S. windows at Easington, Oxfordshire). Cuxham church suffered a chancel fire in 1895. The wholesale rebuilding by C.C. Rolfe that followed provides a probable occasion for the salvaging and reuse of sculptured elements, ie. the exterior and nave tower arches are perhaps remnants from a former chancel arch.

  1. F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications (London, 1899), III, 101.

W. Hobart Bird, Old Oxfordshire Churches (Cheltenham, 1932).

J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), 567-8.