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St Mary, Salford, Oxfordshire

(51°57′2″N, 1°35′6″W)
SP 286 281
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Janet Newson
  • John Blair
  • Sarah Blair
19 November 1993, 10 June 2014

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Salford is 3 miles NW of Chipping Norton in rolling countryside near the Warwickshire border. The small church is situated on a slope to the W of the village. It was rebuilt by G.E. Street in 1854-5, retaining amongst other material the original Romanesque N and S nave doorways. The N doorway has a sculpturedtympanum. There is also a spectacular arcaded Romanesque font.


There may have been two ancient manors associated with Salford from 1086 onwards (Murrell, 1985), and their history seems a little confused. One of these estates formed part of a much larger holding that included not only the advowson of St Mary's church at Salford, but also manors in neighbouring Cornwell and Chastleton, Oxon. One manor seems to have been held by Roger de Lacy in 1086. Another entry refers to lands held by Archbishop Thomas of York, but this is intermingled with a Chastleton entry under the lands of Odo of Bayeux, who had seized 5 hides at Salford from Evesham abbey sometime after the Conquest. The monks in their turn laid claim on estates at Salford, Chastleton and Cornwell. (A Saxon land charter, of questionable origin, stated that king Offa of Mercia had granted an estate at Salford to the Evesham monks in 777).


Exterior Features





Only a few years before it was rebuilt, the Oxford antiquarian, J.H. Parker, described in 1848 what was evidently an entirely Romanesque small church: the nave with N and S doorways, a small plain chancel arch, and a small window in the N chancel wall. Drawings by J.C. Buckler in 1820-1 show the doorways, the font and a general view from the SE.

The Maltese cross on the tympanum of the N doorway is remarkable for being carved with its arms split and intersecting as if it were made of leather. Apparently a similar cross is found on a tympanum at St Nicholas, Ipswich (Hodges, 1985). The other images on the tympanum, of Sagittarius and Leo from the Zodiac, are simpler versions of those found on the font at St Peter's, Hook Norton, only four miles away.


C.H.W. Hodges, 'Salford Parish Church - a Historical Sketch', in Salford, More History of a Cotswold Village, Salford History Group (Kidlington, 1985), pp. 9-17.

S. Murrell, 'The Descent of Salford Manor', in Salford, More History of a Cotswold Village, Salford History Group (Kidlington, 1985), pp. 5-8.

Oxford, Bodleian MSS Top. Oxon. A 68 Nos. 439-441; b 91 No. 317 (drawings by J.C. Buckler showing a general view from the SE, and the N and S doorways; the font).

J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), p. 749.