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St Peter, Stoke Lyne, Oxfordshire

(51°57′4″N, 1°10′35″W)
Stoke Lyne
SP 567 284
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval St Peter
now St Peter
  • Janet Newson
07 Sep 2012

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St Peter’s church, Stoke Lyne, is situated in NE Oxfordshire, 4 miles N of Bicester. Dating from the mid-C12th, it was originally a two-cell build of chancel and nave. The present church comprises a chancel, nave, and N and S transepts with a tower over the S transept. The S transept was added in the C14th and forms the lower stage of the tower. There was once a N aisle. Although the church was built of limestone rubble and dressed stone, blocks of the local rust-brown Hornton ironstone have been introduced as replacements in later restorations. In a restoration by H. Woodyer of 1868-9, the chancel was rebuilt on its old foundations, and the S chancel doorway restored, but leaving the original Romanesque chancel arch. The nave remains as a C12th. build, and there is a fine Romanesque S doorway with a niche overhead containing a figure, probably St Peter, and also the remains of a nave string course.


Before the Conquest, Stoke Lyne was one of two Oxfordshire manors held by Tostig, Earl of Northumbria, who was killed at Stamford Bridge in 1066. By 1086, it was assessed at 10 hides and was held by Walter Giffard, a cousin of William I and shortly to become earl of Buckingham. In the mid-C12th St Peter’s was given to Notley Abbey, Buckinghamshire, by Walter Giffard, the lord of the manor, who had founded it sometime before 1164. It was one of the few houses of Arrouasian canons in England. By the Giffards' charter, Notley was granted not only the advowson but also the demesne tithes of Stoke Lyne. In the early C13th the Abbey appropriated the parish, one of the richest in the Bicester deanery (VCH). Originally the parish was united with that of Caversfield nearby, and both, though physically in Ploughley hundred, Oxfordshire, were administered in Buckinghamshire.


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

String courses

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

The label of the chancel arch shows variations between the nailhead and dogtooth motif, varying from conventional nailhead to an elaborate version of it that resembles dogtooth, surmounted by a small knob.

The figure over the south doorway fits the proportions of the niche so well that looks as if this sculpture could have been made for this location; if so, one wonders how it survived the Reformation.


J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), 789.

Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 6 (London, 1959), 312-23.