St Lawrence

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1 - 3  Three views (NE, NW and SW) of the exterior of St Lawrence's Church, Oxhill.

 

There are a number of churches in Warwickshire dedicated to this Saint, who was roasted slowly on a gridiron in retribution for displaying the beggars in his care when ordered to display the church's treasures.  St Lawrence's Feast Day is celebrated on August 10th, and until the early 1930s Oxhill Wake (a small fair) was held in the week following the Feast.

 

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4    View of the chancel from the west end.

 

 Both nave and chancel date from the mid-twelfth century, but considerable repair and alteration has been carried out over time. At the end of the 19th century extensive restoration was carried out by the rector, Rev'd V H Macy, in  two stages - the chancel in 1865 and the nave in 1876-78.  A report in the Banbury Guardian for 20th January 1876 stated that the church had "suffered much from the ravages of time and from injudicious alterations before much thought had been given to ecclesiology by anyone".  The architects were to be Messrs Bodley and Garner of London, and  "we may therefore hope that every portion of the original work will be most carefully preserved. . . ."

Bodley being a pupil and relative of Gilbert Scott, the work carried out appears to have been of high quality  (Church Guide)

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5    View of the nave, font and tower screen from the chancel.

 

 A Faculty was granted in August 1876 for the removal of the frames containing the Creed, Ten Commandments and The Lord's Prayer -(referred to in the Vestry Minutes of March 1876 as 2the unsightly frames over the chancel arch . . .");  also to remove the pews in the body of the church and to retoare the floor: to remove the clerestory windows on the south side, and insert others of a similar character to those on the north side: to replace the roof with one of a more suitable character, and to take down the gallery and dispose of the organ.

There was an organ set up in the gallery in a photograph of unknown date, quoted in the short church guide, and apparently by 1865 it was already giving trouble, and the Vestry Meeting had voted to replace it.  The following year it was reprieved and repairs were carried out, but obviously it remained an unsatisfactory instrument.  [Was it a barrel organ?]

The cost of the repairs was estimated at 1000, but difficulty was experienced in raising this amount, as was reported in January 1876 in the Banbury Guardian, when only some 400 had been raised. - "a very small amount of it has been given by the parishioners"  This was thought to be as a result of the more affluent of the parishioners, farmers, being Methodists, and supporting their own church.

 

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6 and 7.      The font at the west end of the church.  This is 12th century, and the carving around it includes the thin naked figures of Adam and Eve. This was removed at one time from the church and eventually retrieved by the Lord of the Manor Mr E P Shirley in 1879, who rescued it from a garden where it was being used as an ornament.  The serpent - equally thin - can be seen in the tree in the centre between them.

 

The pews date from 1876, replacing "twelve pews in the body of the church", which an old photograph shows to have been high box-pews.  The new pew ends were copied from some 15th century pews that had been retained over the years at the back of the church, and which previously had been reserved for the poor of the parish. 

 

 

Dove's reference for the bells:

Oxhill, Warwick, S Laurence (GF), 5, 8-3-13 in A flat. 

ACCESS

Map reference : SP317455

The church stands at the north western edge of the village, and appears to be open to visitors at all reasonable times (March 2002)

 

 

Photographs: © Edwin Macadam

 

 

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