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St Helen, Great Oxendon, Northamptonshire

(52°26′53″N, 0°55′6″W)
Great Oxendon
SP 736 839
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Northamptonshire
now Northamptonshire
medieval St Helen
now St Helen
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

St Helen's stands alongside the busy A508, the main road from Northampton to Market Harborough, from which a short and extremely steep track provides access, clearly not the original means of approach. Its location, in open fields 0.4 miles N of the present village of Great Oxendon can only be explained by assuming that it also originally served medieval Little Oxendon, now a deserted village 0.5 miles to NW. The small size of these two holdings given in Domesday adds weight to this assumption. The present village of Little Oxendon lies 0.5 miles to the W of the church. The rolling countryside provides a convincing explanation for the abnormal height of a tower built to be seen from both medieval settlements. The church has an aisled nave, chancel and W tower. The nave has no clerestorey and three-bay arcades, the N 14thc. with pointed arches carried on quatrefoil piers with ballflower on the moulded capitals; the S 13thc., similar but with cylindrical piers and no ballflower. The nave doorways are 14thc. and protected by porches, the N porch blocked to form a vestry. The chancel arch is 14thc. too, but largely replaced; the chancel is very plain. At the W end the tower arch is tall and Perpendicular. The tower itself is extremely tall and of four storeys with a battlement. The two lower storeys are buttressed and the upper ones are set back in steps. The W tower window is Perpendicular while the bell-openings have replaced heads. The font is Romanesque, and is the only feature described here.


In 1086, 1 hide and 1 virgate in Great Oxendon belonged to the royal manor of Rothwell, and a further hide was held by Ulf from Countess Judith. Little Oxendon (1 hide and the third part of 1 virgate) was held by Humphrey from the Count of Mortain.

Benefice of Arthingworth and Harrington with Oxendon and East Farndon.





N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire, Harmondsworth, 1961, rev. by B. Cherry, 1973, 236.