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St Mary the Virgin, Buckland, Berkshire

(51°40′56″N, 1°30′19″W)
SU 343 983
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
20 November 2013

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Feature Sets

Buckland is a village in the NW of the traditional county, 3½ miles NE of Faringdon and now part of Oxfordshire. The church is at the N end of the village, alonside Buckland House. St Mary's is a cruciform church with a wide, early 12thc. nave with unusually large N and S doorways described below. The N transept and crossing tower are 13thc.; the chancel 14thc., and the S transept bears the date 1787. Many 12thc. moulding fragments (not described) are incorporated in the exterior wall facings, and a single-billet 12thc. string course has been reset under the later W nave window.


A manor in Buckland was held in demesne by the Bishop Osbern of Exeter in 1086, and Wulfric Cemp lived there in 1066. The bishop’s ownership was in dispute and at the time of Domesday the case was still to be decided by the king. The manor was assessed at 15½ hides in 1066 but at 8 hides in 1086. There was a church recorded there, along with a mill, 4 fisheries, 220 acres of meadow and a dairy farm rendering 10 weys of cheese. A second manor here was held by Abingdon Abbey in 1086, and by Almaer in 1066. This was assessed at 5 hides and also included half a fishery and 15 acres of meadow.

The main manor was later acquired by the descendants of Hugh of Buckland, who held the second manor under Abingdon. By the end of the 12thc it was in the hands of William of Buckland, perhaps Hugh’s great-grandson. For the history after 1215, when William died leaving his three daughters as heirs, refer to VCH. The advowson of the church followed the descent of the manor until the 14thc.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration

String courses

Unusually the two doorways are almost identical in size and ornament. The chip-carving and cushion capitals indicate a date in the first quarter of the 12thc.


C. E. Keyser, “An Architectural Account of the Churches of Buckland, Hinton Waldrist and Longworth”, Berks, Bucks & Oxon Archaeological Journal, 12 (1906-07), 97-107, 13 (1907-08), 1-5, 33-36, 65-70.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 103-04.

G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. New Haven and London 2010, 213-14.

Victoria County History: Berkshire IV (1924), 435-60