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St Mary the Virgin, Ambrosden, Oxfordshire

(51°52′11″N, 1°7′32″W)
SP 603 194
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • Jane Cunningham
  • Janet Newson
25 May 2013

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Feature Sets

The village of Ambrosden is 2.5 miles SE of Bicester in NE Oxfordshire. The present church comprises a chancel and vestry, a nave with a S clerestorey, a S aisle, a S porch and a W tower. The original was probably a 2-cell structure. The W tower dates from the 13thc. and the chancel and nave were rebuilt in the first half of the 14thc., when the S aisle was added. The only survival from the Romanesque period is the reset round-headed N nave doorway.


After the Conquest Hugh d'Ivry, butler to William I in Normandy, and brother of Robert d'Ivry, supplanted the lady Elveva who had held freely an estate assessed at 10 hides at Ambrosden in the time of Edward the Confessor (VCH). On his death, c. 1101, Hugh was succeeded by his nephew Roger(II) d'Ivry and it is probable that Ambrosden eventually passed with the Ivry barony to the St Valery family. Ambrosden was not definitely recorded as belonging to the house of Valery until 1194. The manor followed the same descent as neighbouring Beckley until c. 1288, when Edmund of Cornwall gave it to the house of canons that he had founded at Ashridge, Herts. They held it until the Dissolution. The first notice of advowson occurs in 1239 when the lord of the manor, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, presented Nicholas de Anna to Ambrosden church. In 1283, Edmund gave it, with the manor, to the college at Ashridge.

Ambrosden belongs to the Ray benefice that consists of Ambrosden, Charlton-on-Otmoor, Islip, Merton, Noke, Oddington, Piddington and Wood Eaton.


Exterior Features



J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 422.

Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 5 (1957), 15-30.