When looking at a modern map of Oxfordshire, please do remember that until the local government reorganisation of 1974 much of modern south-west Oxfordshire was in Berkshire. The river Thames (or Isis) which runs through Oxford, defined the southern boundary of the county until 1974 (as shown in the nearby image). Prior to that date towns such as Shrivenham, Faringdon, Wantage, Abingdon, Didcot and Wallingford (to name but a few) were in Berkshire as, indeed, was a considerable piece of what is now the south-west corner of the City of Oxford.

Significant boundary changes have taken place between Oxfordshire and Berkshire in the past. Please use the link below if you cannot find a church which you think has been misplaced:


Churches which still retain west gallery features or connections

Baulking, St Nicholas

Small. rustic, mainly 13th C. good nave roof and Jacobean pulpit. (CEPC)
Bessels Leigh, St Lawrence Parkland setting, it retains all its box pews, original seating and ritual arrangements. (CEPC) 17th/18th C.(No ref. in Pevsner.)
Blewbury, St Michael and All Angels Large cruciform church in a picturesque village of brick and cob. Church of various mediaeval styles. Included because of its association with Michael Beesly, who is probably the earliest of west gallery composers who used fuguing tunes.
Buckland, St Mary the Virgin Jacobean balustraded tower gallery set in a church of various dates.
*Bucklebury, St Mary Village church, 15th C. with early 18th C. interior. (CEPC)?19th C. gallery . #
Hampstead Marshall, St Mary Little rustic and mediaeval church, mostly Jacobean and Georgian inside, with some old high pews, three-decker pulpit and brick floors. (CEPC)17th C (or 18th C ? ) gallery.
Little Coxwell, St Mary Gallery with remains of former rood screen.
Newbury, St. John the Evangelist Not really a "west gallery church" in the true sense of the implied term, but this is a Dykes-Bower church, modern, brick-built and dating from the 1950s, with 'good galleries'.  (Info: John Salmon)
Reading, St. Mary "Above is a good carved gallery [erected in 1631] and extending one bay eastwards at that time. It was moved back in 1864 when the organ was moved to the north transept." (Churches of the Thames Valley) (NB Pevsner says 1631 screen.)

Windsor, St. John Baptist

Dating from 1822, this church has west and side galleries supported on cast iron columns.

Churches which are known to have had west gallery features or connections

Abingdon, St. Helen Gallery 1725. (? Ref.) (No ref. in Pevsner.)
Abingdon, St. Nicolas One of the few remaining buildings of the great Benedictine abbey at Abingdon which was dissolved in 1538. It was built outside the gate of the Abbey for lay people connected with the abbey - servants, tenants and visitors, etc. The church existed by 1134, west front and north wall rebuilt under the Norman abbots, in middle 12th C, together with the abbey itself. Formerly a three-decker pulpit, with desks for the reader and clerk, which stood in the centre of the chancel arch, it was removed to its present position minus the high wooden back and tester in 1880-81. At this time the old box-pews in the nave were also removed, as was the gallery at the west end. At the time of the restoration the gallery housed an organ given by Trendell in 1868. The 1880 Faculty also records the removal of the altar rails and the staircases to the gallery. (The 1880 Restoration of St Nicolas' Church, R C M Barnes, Revised 2000)
Asterisks denote churches in preparation



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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
July 2001 -