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St James Old Church, Bix, Oxfordshire

(51°34′37″N, 0°57′13″W)
SU 726 870
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Oxfordshire
now Oxfordshire
  • John Wand
25 July 2017

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Bix is a rural parish set in a typical Chilterns landscape of woodland and steep valleys, small road-side hamlets and isolated farms. The now ruined church of Bix Brand is a two-cell Romanesque structure with late medieval alterations and later rebuilding. The main structure is made from unknapped flints, with stone dressing and areas of brick and plaster.


In 1086 the estate that came to be known as Bix Brand was held of the king by a royal servant called Hervey. By the 13thc Bix Brand was held as half a knight's fee of the honor of Wallingford. Robert Brand married the heiress to the manor in the mid 13thc.

In the medieval period the area comprised two main manors, Bix Brand and Bix Gibwyn, each with its own church and parish; the parishes were united in the 15thc. In 1875 the medieval church in Bix Brand (or Bottom) was abandoned and replaced by a new church on Bix Common, dedicated to St James, in response to a shift in population.


Exterior Features



Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

VCH gives the dedication in 1540 as St Michael; Arnold-Forster gives a combined dedication of St Michael and St James as the medieval dedications of Bix Brand and Bix Gibwyn.

Greening Lamborn (1936, 129-39) notes that the central voussoir of the chancel arch had fallen out, and Pevsner (1974, 457-58) records that it was still missing. It has now been replaced as the photos show.

Greening Lamborn (1936, 129-39) considers the S doorway to be original, but Pevsner (1974, 457-58) states that it is modern.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications, London 1899, III 54.

E. A. Greening Lamborn, 'The Churches of Bix', Oxoniensia 1 (1936) 129-139

Historic England Building Listing no. 1180736

J.R. Kirk, 'The Church of St James, Bix Brand', Oxoniensia 19 (1954) 121.

J. Sherwood and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire, Harmondsworth 1974, 457-458.

Victoria County History, Oxfordshire, XVI, Woodbridge 2011, 196-230.

A. Williams and G.H. Martin (ed.) Domesday Book. A Complete Translation, London 2003, 442.