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St John the Baptist, Stanton St John, Oxfordshire

(51°46′49″N, 1°9′54″W)
Stanton St John
SP 577 094
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • Janet Newson
27 Sept 2012

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Stanton St John is situated 5 miles E of Oxford. There is evidence of an earlier church here in the mid-C12th. The present building comprises chancel, nave, N and S aisles and a W tower. The fine Early English style chancel was a rebuild of c. 1300. The only remaining possible Romanesque work from an earlier church is the Transitional N nave arcade. There is a plain pointed chancel arch, thought to be of the same period (Sherwood and Pevsner), but it is also claimed as a rebuild of c. 1700 (VCH). The plain octagonal font is possibly of Transitional date.


In 1086 Ilbert de Lacy held 10 hides in Stanton, of Odo of Bayeux. He is also entered in Domesday Book as holding of Odo two other tenements in Stanton each of one hide, later to become attached to Forest Hill. Ilbert de Lacy's Stanton lands were forfeited by his son Robert when he was expelled from the country by Henry I in 1100, and his Domesday holding of 10 hides had passed to the St John family by 1149, or before. The connection of Stanton with the St John family was to last more than two centuries.

Between 1135 and 1150 the church was granted to Eynsham Abbey by John de St John, then lord of Stanton. The abbey held the advowson until 1537 but never appropriated it. In 1538 the abbey sold it to the bishop of Lincoln, who granted it to New College, Oxford, who still retain it.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches






Opinions differ as to the age of the chancel arch. If it were Transitional, it is strange that it lacks even a chamfer, for these are abundantly used on the simple arches of the N arcade and their two piers. The lighter style of execution of the arch in the author's opinion seems more in keeping with a date of c. 1700, but it is neverthless included so that readers can make up their own mind.

The octagonal font could be Transitional from its size, thickness and simplicity. Possibly it was chamfered at that time from a plain tub shape. VCH does not venture a date, and Sherwood and Pevsner suggest C14th, but that seems unlikely for one so heavy and simple in style.


J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), 784-5.

Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 5 (London, 1957), 282-293.