We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St James the Great, West Hanney, Berkshire

(51°37′57″N, 1°24′53″W)
West Hanney
SU 406 928
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
06 May 1990, 26 June 2017

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=4783.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


West Hanney is a village in the Vale of White Horse district of the county, 3 miles N of Wantage. Along with East Hanney it forms a settlement alongside the Roman road linking Oxford and Wantage, now the A338. The church is in the village centre and consists of a 12thc nave with a short tower on its N side, added in the later 12thc. The S transept dates from the 13thc, and in the 14thc the nave was lengthened westwards and a S arcade and aisle were added. The chancel was rebuilt in the 15thc. In the 19thc the church was restored, the nave was heightened and a clerstory added, and a S porch was built. Romanesque sculpture is found on the N nave doorway, the respond capitals of the arch linking the nave to the N tower, and the font. The church also has an impressive, but completely plain altar, illustrated here but not treated as a feature. It was described as being under the Jacobean communion table - i.e. the nave altar- by VCH (1924), 291-92.


The Domesday Survey records two manors, both held by Walter Giffard with a church on the larger held from Walter by Thorold the priest. The larger holding was assessed at 7 hides and contained the church and a mill. Walter Giffard founded the priory of Newton Longville (Bucks) and gave the vill of Hanney to it; a grant confirmed by his on Walter. The priory held a manor here until its property was confiscated, as an alien monastery, in the reign of Henry V.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches




There seems no workshop connection between the three groups of sculpture at West Hanney. The doorway, with its simple chevron, chip-carved imposts and tall bases, is good-quality work of c.1130-50. The distinctive inner order of cusping is similar to that on the S doorway of Stanford-in-the-Vale, and to cusping shown in an 1808 print of the W doorway of St Nicholas, Abingdon, drawn before it was heavily restored, which could point to an Abingdon origin for the workshop. The font could be this early or considerably later. In any case it is certainly not a product of the same workshop. The transept tower arch capitals are probably in their original location, and the trumpet scallops date them c.1170-90. The pointed arch and outer orders are later, as indicated by the overbuilding of the 12thc bases.


Historic England Listed Building 250200

C.E. Keyser, 'Notes on the Churches of Hanney, Lyford, Denchworth and Charney Bassett,' Berks, Bucks and Oxon Archaeological Journal 19 (1913), 2-10, 33-37, 65-70, 97-105.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth, 1966, 263.

G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. New Haven and London 2010, 609-10.

Victoria History of the Counties of England: Berkshire. London. Vol. 4 (1924), 285-94.