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St Nicolas, Fyfield, Berkshire

(51°41′14″N, 1°23′22″W)
SU 423 989
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
17 Sept 2001, 30 October 2013

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Feature Sets

Fyfield is a village in that part of the county that passed to Oxfordshire in 1974, and is 4 miles W of Abingdon on the N side of the A420. The church and manor house are in the village centre. The church has a nave with a Perpendicular N arcade, a large two-bay 14thc. chancel and a W turret, square in its lower stage and octagonal above. The S porch, described by Pevsner as comical, is probably J. C. Buckler's work of 1867–68. There was a fire in 1893, and after this a through restoration including the upper parts of the tower. The blocked N doorway is of c.1200 or slightly earlier. The W doorway is, stylistically at least, significantly later and is not included here.


Two 10-hide manors in Fyfield were held by Godric the Sheriff in 1066 and by Henry de Ferrers in 1086. The first was held from Henry by another Henry, and included the church and 100 acres of meadow. It had previously been held by Abingdon Abbey. The second was held by Ferrers in demesne and was reassessed at 5 hides and had only 12 acres of meadow. Henry de Ferrers was Lord of Tutbury in Staffordshire, and his demesne holding later became part of the Honour of Tutbury. The first manor, on the other hand, was later held by Richard de Fyfield whose family took their name from the manor, and who also held Catmore. Richard and his heir Roger held Fyfield in the 1170s and 1199.


Exterior Features



VCH dates the N doorway to c.1210, which is reasonable, but the form of the capitals and imposts suggests a slightly earlier date of c.1190-1200 to the present author.


C.E. Keyser, 'Notes on the Churches of Fyfield, Besselsleigh, Appleton, Cumnor, Wootton and Sunningwell', Berks, Bucks and Oxon Archaeological Journal 23 (1917-18), 1-8, 33-41, 70-88.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 145.

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

Victoria County History: Berkshire IV (1924), 344-49.