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St Peter ad Vincula, South Newington, Oxfordshire

(51°59′51″N, 1°24′25″W)
South Newington
SP 408 334
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
medieval Lincoln
now Oxford
  • Janet Newson
15 Aug 2011

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South Newington is a small village in the ironstone area of N Oxfordshire between Chipping Norton and Banbury. The early church probably existed in the mid-C12th, consisting of a chancel, nave and N aisle. There was a major remodelling c. 1300 that doubled it in size, adding the tower, S aisle, lengthening the nave, adding to the N aisle and adding a new chancel. The E bay of both aisles is of this date and wider than the others, indicating that the new chancel was extended further east. Clerestories were added in the C15th. St Peter’s is renowned for its high quality wall paintings. Remaining Romanesque features are two external buttresses, a N nave arcade of two bays with round arches and decorated capitals, and a font. There is also a sculpted head on the W respond of the N arcade, and some loose sculpture, that may be Romanesque.


The size of the church reflects its medieval prosperity. It was first documented in the mid-1160s but probably existed by c. 1150. Between 1163 and 1166 Hugh de Chesney and his wife Denise granted the church to Eynsham Abbey. In 1893 a series of C14th wall paintings was discovered in the N aisle, and a damaged Doom above the chancel arch. The paintings are in oil on plaster, contributing to their fine condition and rare in the C14th, especially in a village church. Fragments of C14th glass are also present in the church.


Exterior Features


Interior Features





Loose Sculpture


The head carved on the W respond seems to be unique, but its age is unknown and it is not referred to in the literature. The provenance and age of the loose sculpture is also unknown. The four holes towards the centre of the square stone block suggest that it may have been used as a piscina.


Anon., Saint Peter ad Vincula, South Newington, near Banbury, Oxfordshire (2010).

J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Harmondsworth, 1974), 771-2.

Victoria County History: Oxfordshire, 11 (London, 1983), 157.