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St Mary, Kidlington, Oxfordshire

(51°49′49″N, 1°16′48″W)
SP 497 149
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Janet Newson
07 September 2014

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Feature Sets

This large church stands near the river Cherwell, looking over open flat countryside on the NE edge of the original village of Kidlington before it became an outer suburb of Oxford. It is cruciform, largely built in the 13thc., replacing an older church on the site. It comprises an aisled chancel, a central tower with a high spire, transepts and clerestoried nave, with a S aisle and porch. It has a relatively plain font, attributed to the 12thc. by VCH and Sherwood and Pevsner (1974).


In 1086 Robert d'Oilly held Kidlington in demesne, and the manor descended with his barony of Hook Norton to his brother and his descendants into the 13thc. There was a church existing on this site by the early 12thc. and it was granted by Robert d'Oilly to Oseney Abbey at its foundation. The abbey appropriated it by 1226. The present church was largely built in the 13thc. and externally remodelled in the early 14thc., possibly under the orders of Thomas of Kidlington, abbot of Oseney 1330-73 (VCH).





VCH, and Sherwood and Pevsner (1974), agree that the only surviving piece from the 12thc. church is a plain tub font. However, this font is not straight-sided or completely plain. It has gently curving sides, and has slightly projecting bands at upper and lower edges, both chamfered. Amor (2013), who describes it as a plain round bowl, suggests it is of the decorated period, and that it may have been given by Thomas of Kidlington, abbot of Oseney. Its base is probably 14thc., but the font bowl itself seems appropriate in its 13thc. milieu and the author believes the 13thc. a more likely time of origin.


J. Amor, Kidlington Parish Church: a brief guide to St Mary's Church, n.p., 1981, revised 2013.

F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England's Patron Saints, vol. 3, 1899, 168.

J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth, 1974, 670-71.

Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 12 (1990), 206-9.