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St Mary, Cokethorpe, Hardwick, Oxfordshire

(51°45′14″N, 1°27′34″W)
SP 374 063
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • John Blair
  • Sarah Blair

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Hardwick is a village in the civil parish of Harwick-with-Yelford in West Oxfordshire, 2.5 miles SE of Witney on the River Windrush. On the N side of the village centre is Cokethorpe Park, begun in 1709 and subsequently enlarged, which became a school in 1957. The former parish church described here is now the school chapel. It consists of chancel, nave, NW tower, and Victorian N aisle. The W end of the nave is 13thc.; the rest of the church is late 15thc. or later. Romanesque features recorded here are a reset tympanum over the S doorway inside the church, a r-used window head, and an elaborately carved font with intersecting arcading.


The `old church at Æstlea' is mentioned in the Ducklington charter of 958, and the parson of Estle witnessed a grant by one of the lords of Ducklington in about 1210; these references are evidently to Cokethorpe church. Until the late 13thc. it seems to have been regarded as an independent parish church, but its status declined thereafter and by the mid 16thc. it was merely a semi-abandoned chapel-of-ease of Ducklington. It is now the chapel of Cokethorpe School.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration





The window-head fragment is evidently the earliest piece, perhaps of the late 11thc. The tympanum could be any time in the 12thc.; the font, on the basis of the nailhead, is presumably relatively late. The font is notably finer than that in the mother church of Ducklington (q.v.), where extensive use of miniature nailhead in the S arcade suggests a workshop link.


Notes of an Excursion to Ducklington, Cokethorpe, Stanlake, Yelford and Bampton, North Oxfordshire Archaeological Society, 1871, 15f.

N. Pevsner and J. Sherwood, The Buildings of England. Oxfordshire, London, 1974, 633.

Victoria County History, Oxfordshire, vol. XIII (forthcoming).