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St John, Barford St John, Oxfordshire

(51°59′47″N, 1°21′43″W)
Barford St John
SP 439 333
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval St John
now St John
  • Janet Newson
  • John Blair
  • Sarah Blair
05 September 1997, 14 August 2014

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Barford St John, together with Barford St Michael, are paired villages lying 5 miles S of Banbury in the rolling countryside of north Oxfordshire. Both have churches with 12thc. origins, but Barford St John is the smaller and lies to the north of the River Swere that separates them. The chapel of St John was built c. 1150, and now consists of chancel, nave and S porch with an octagonal bell turret. The chancel was rebuilt in the 13thc. The church was radically restored by G.E. Street in 1860-61, who demolished the earlier tower and built a new one over the S porch. Only the S nave doorway and the font survive from the Romanesque.


St John's was initially built as an independent chapelry of the parish church of Barford St Michael, and remained part of the ecclesiastical parish. However, the two lie in different hundreds separated by the river Swere. The parish of Barford St Michael is in Wootton (North) hundred, and Barford St John is technically in the parish of Adderbury in Bloxham hundred. Adderbury was the mother church over a wide area in the Middle Ages. From 1014-5 land at Adderbury had been granted to the bishops of Winchester. Between 1038 and 1044 Bishop Aelfwine leased estates to Osgod for life, but by 1086 it was back in the hands of the bishop of Winchester. In 1284 Adderbury was one of the manors confirmed to the See of Winchester. In 1086 the manor of Barford St Michael was held by Robert d'Oilly of Oxford. Barford St John's history is difficult to untangle from these two neighbouring parishes.

St John's is now in the benefice of Barford St John and Barford St Michael, together with Deddington and Hempton.


Exterior Features





The segmental arch of the S nave doorway may be a restoration as there is a clear mis-match between it and the 2nd order round-headed arch. The whole doorway may not be in situ.


J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth 1974, 445.

Victoria County History, A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 9, Bloxham Hundred. London 1969, 5-44. (Under Adderbury)