Shorthampton
All Saints' Church

View through the plain glass of the east window, September 2000. This is described in the church guide (when you can obtain one) as "the lovliest of all altar-pieces, green fields and the good earth".

A small and humble church situated adjoining the local farmyard in the hamlet of Shorthampton, itself lying at the end of a cul-de-sac to the east of Chilson, and approached from the minor road leading from Charlbury to the Burford road. The churchyard looks out over the Evenlode valley, a wide sweep of agricultural land close by to the ancient Royal Forest of Wychwood.

The church is a simple oblong nave, originally built in the twelfth century, but added to in the fifteenth when the roof was also renewed. The small chancel is perhaps thirteenth century, but was never added to, even when it was rebuilt in Tudor times, which gave it its typically round headed window (above).

The squint on the south side of the tiny pointed chancel archway was needed for the new 15th-century worshippers to see the altar, and 18th-century worshippers sat (today's still do) in box pews and listened to sermons fom the Georgian two-decker pulpit, complete with wig-stand. There is a larger pew for the squire, longer (but equally uncomfortable) boxes for the farmers, and benches at the back for the farm-workers, woodsmen and domestics . . . or were these intended for the quire as well?

Local people were perhaps immortalised in the corbel heads, which feature a lady with a head-dress, a bearded man and a monk. There are traces of wall painting depicting scenes from the Bible, including the Last Judgement and Jonah. Another depicts a Saint teaching a child.

Photograph © Rachel Jordan 2000

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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 -