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St Peter and St Paul, Broadwell, Oxfordshire

(51°44′6″N, 1°38′11″W)
SP 252 041
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • Janet Newson
  • John Blair
  • Nicola Coldstream
  • Sarah Blair
31 July 2014

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Broadwell is a village about nine miles W of Witney. The church lies to the N of the village and was built around 1190 of coursed rubble limestone (Sherwood and Pevsner (1974), 488-9). The church originally consisted of a chancel, a presbytery bay, a nave and a W tower. In the 13thc the whole building was remodelled: the chancel and the presbytery were united to form an enlarged chancel, new windows and buttresses were added to the chancel and tower, and the N and S chapels were built. The church was extensively restored in 1873 by Edward George Bruton. The surviving Romanesque features are the nave N and S doorways, the E tower arch and the Transitional, or possibly later, font located at the W end of the nave.


In 1086 Broadwell, a large manor assessed at 24 hides, was held by Christine, the sister of Eadgar AEtheling. Christine's property passed to Ralph de Limesi, whose son Alan gave some of Broadwell, including the church, to the Templars (Fisher (1968), 4-5). In the early 13thc Broadwell church was the mother church of Kelmscott and Holwell chapels.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches




The rather grand tower arch, which is clearly earlier than the doorways and font, reflects the higher local status of Broadwell as the mother church of two chapels. The N and S doorways and the font are probably close in date, a conclusion reinforced by the very similar base mouldings of the S doorway and the font. These are examples of 'Romanesque survival', perhaps made well after 1200. The use of frontal chevron on the S doorway is especially striking in this context, together with the three dimensional clasps. Nailhead and dogtooth motifs were also largely employed in the late 12thc.

The font is clearly from the same workshop as the simpler version at Westwell.


A. S. T. Fisher, The History of Broadwell, Oxfordshire, with Filkins, Kelmscott and Holwell, Burford 1968, 4-5.

J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, Harmondsworth 1974, 488-9.