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St Mary, Great Shefford, Berkshire

(51°28′34″N, 1°27′15″W)
Great Shefford
SU 380 754
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now West Berkshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
27 August 1990, 20 November 2013

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Great Shefford is a village on the River Lambourn in West Berkshire. It clusters around a junction of the A338 between Wantage (8 miles to the N) and Hungerford (5 miles to the SW). The church is at the W end of the village, is substantially a church of the end of the 12thc., with chancel, nave and a round W tower. Romanesque sculpture is found on the S doorway and the font.


The manor was held by Hugh de Port in 1086. It remained in direct line of inheritance until 1274 when John St John, whose grandfather had taken his mother's family name of St John rather than his father's, enfeoffed Sir Richard of Hautot of the manor, reserving the advowson. This is the earliest record of the advowson, but it is assumed to have resided with the manor before that date.


Exterior Features





Pevsner suggests that the S doorway was originally round-arched, on the basis of the chevron and capitals. There is no physical evidence for this; the voussoirs were clearly made for the present arch. The capitals are of a W French type (e.g. Cunault), and not common in Berkshire. The same type appears at Avington, earlier in date and different in style. The scallops of the font are paralleled in capitals of the crossing arch at Lambourn, there may be a workshop connection. On this basis it seems probable that both the S doorway and the font date from the very end of the 12thc.


N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 148-49.

G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. New Haven and London 2010, 314-15.

Victoria History of the Counties of England: Berkshire. London. Vol. 4 (1924), 238-42.