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St Mary Magdalen, Wardington, Oxfordshire

(52°6′49″N, 1°17′3″W)
SP 491 464
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • Janet Newson
18 July 2013

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Wardington is in the extreme north of Oxfordshire, 5 miles NE of Banbury. It is known that a chapel existed here by the C12th. The church now consists of chancel, nave, N and S aisles, a S chapel, W tower, and vestry. The existing nave and both aisles were built in the C13th and the W tower c. 1400. Although the chancel was remodelled in the C14th, it retains some fragmentary Romanesque features, including two window arches in the chancel, visible internally, and parts of the imposts of the N side of the chancel arch. The E arch of the N arcade, which may have been the entrance to a N transept, also has responds with imposts dating from the C12th.


In 1086 Wardington was part of the Bishop of Lincoln's manor of Cropredy. The identity of the tenants is unknown, but a fee in Wardington was soon in the hands of a Chacombe (Northants) family. Godfrey of Chacombe, known from the early C12th, may be the same Godfrey who held Chacombe from the bishops in 1086. In 1166 his son Matthew held 6 fees of the see of Lincoln, and in 1186 his son Hugh succeeded him. He made grants of tithes to Eynsham Abbey and endowed, or even founded, the Augustinian Priory of Chacombe, where he eventually took the cowl.

Wardington chapel, in existence by the C12th at least, was dependent on the mother church of Cropredy until 1851, when a perpetual curacy was created in the gift of the Bishop of Oxford.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

The chancel S window has a particularly deep splay, indicating the depth of the original chancel walls. The R groove on the outer side of the window probably indicates that it was at least that height, as also suggested by the lower jambstone inside the chancel.

The remains of the Romanesque responds and imposts of the N side of the chancel arch now flank the E arch of the N arcade, which is wider than the other arches, indicating that it was probably a previous N transept (VCH).

Transept: As the imposts look restored, we suggest that the R one may have been remounted.


J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), 822.

Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 10 (London, 1972), 210-25.