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All Saints, Spelsbury, Oxfordshire

(51°53′27″N, 1°29′39″W)
SP 349 215
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • Janet Newson
06 June 2011

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Spelsbury is a small village in the NW of Oxfordshire, 3 miles SE of Chipping Norton, on the oolitic limestone belt. Of the original Romanesque church, only the central tower survives, now at the W end. In the C13th the nave was rebuilt on the site of the previous chancel, and the transepts and aisles were probably added at this time. In the C14th the W door and a window above were added to the tower. The tower was restored in 1706, and the chancel rebuilt in 1740. In 1774, when the nave and aisles were remodelled, blind arched recesses in the classical style were added at the ends of the transepts and at the W ends of the nave aisles, giving the impression of a larger and grander church. The Romanesque two-stage tower has round-headed bell openings on all four sides, original flat pilasters, and on the W face, the arch of a round-headed window. Internally, the remodelled E tower arch retains its restored responds with billet and cushion capitals.


In 840 Botwulf gave the manor of Spelsbury to Herbert, the Bishop of Worcester and it was still held by the Bishop of Worcester in 1086.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

The pilasters may recall examples such as those on the tower at Earls Barton in the neighbouring county of Northamptonshire, although at Earls Barton the pilasters are very narrow and closely-spaced.


J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), 774-5.