OxfordshireHome / St Mary's Churches / Oxfordshire
What a lot of lovely St Mary's Churches I've visited in Oxfordshire. Please click on a picture to read a bit more about the church (and maybe see more pictures of me!).
This is another big church but it really is very nice inside and they seem to have a lot going on.
I climbed onto the font to have my photo taken but it had a funny wooden lid and I had to hang on to the cross on the top really tightly so that there wasn't another "falling incident".
This church is actually called St Mary's, Ardley with Fewcott. I think these are two villages that have joined together over the years, but the church is in the Ardley bit.
This is an old church that's been recently renovated. It has a very old font. I had my photo taken beside the notice board and on the font (of course) The pulpit has a handy door just so's you can lock the vicar in (you can see it behind me in the photo). This St Mary's also had a very nice millennium window.
Uncle Les took photos of the churchyard which had nice meadow-like bits.
Another big notice board and what a lovely big church this is!
I met some lovely ladies who all said "Hello" and admired my special T Shirt. I left them one of my visiting cards and they pinned it on to a board for the children to see. Isn't that great.
I had to sit on an odd grating next to the wheelie bins to have my photo taken beside the sign - and SOMEONE [whoops, sorry, Big Ted] let me fall off and bang my head!
What a big church it is. I met the vicar here and the man who rings the bells [he's called the Tower Captain, Big Ted] they were both really friendly.
Then I met two teddy bears and sat with them for a chat, but one kept falling over which was a bit silly.
Inside, this is a modern-looking church but it has some really old wall paintings.
They were having an art exhibition here so the church was open and I had a look round at the paintings and pottery bits they had on display.
There were more nice ladies who offered me tea and CAKE. I sat on my final font of the day here (the cover has some rather uncomfortable pointy bits).
Outside I saw some really big birds that made a funny noise. Uncle Les managed to take a photo of one; he says they are called Red Kites. I thought they were big enough to capture a bear and carry him away, fortunately that didn't happen (just think of the damage one could have done to my splendid fur)!
This is a very bright church with three altars and a nice flat font. It also has a really big tree in the churchyard. I sat on a branch to have my photo taken.
Later, in the town, I climbed inside a Victorian drinking water fountain, which was really quite funny.
63. Chipping Norton
Golly, this is a really big church and it has a very posh sign. The church is down a fairly steep road which is OK when you're going there, but it was hard work going back up.
The font had a harvest arrangement on top so I was really careful not to knock it over.
A trip to Oxfordshire today to this St Mary. I couldn't get inside to look around the church but found this interesting pillar thingy and sat on the top for a photo in the sun. I seem to be rather small in the photo but it was quite a tall pillar!
This St Mary's is in a very sad state - scaffolding and building stuff all over 'cos they're making the nave roof better. I couldn't go inside because they've got a special person trying to catch all the bats - maybe he's Batman [snigger!] - so they can be moved somewhere safe.
This is a really big church attached to alms houses by a covered passageway which must be handy when it rains.
This St Mary's has a very tall and ornate flying font cover that wobbled when I touched it - I thought it would be fun to swing on it but Auntie Fiona said "no" very quickly. I got a good photo sitting next to it though. [The font cover is very large and presumably very heavy. It is suspended just above the font, not touching it as that might damage the font, Big Ted]
What an interesting notice board; lots going on. In the church I had to sit at the bottom of font 'cos there were some really lovely flowers on top (I think they were going to have a wedding in the church). There are also lots of big angels holding roof up; I'm told they're called corbels.
The church is at the top of a hill so there is a splendid view outside (or there would have been if the weather hadn't been dull and gloomy).
90. Great Milton
This is my NINETIETH St Mary's isn't that exciting!
At this church there were lots of people tidying the churchyard. I met a lady in the church who said "Hello". There were some funny musical instruments near the font that they think they used before they had an organ. You can see them behind me in the photo. There's also an interesting knob on the font lid - very handy for a bear to hang on to.
64. Lower Heyford
I couldn't get in this church and it didn't have a notice board either so I sat on the wall to have my photo taken.
66. North Aston
This St Mary's is down a really long narrow driveway and is right next door to the manor house (you can see a bit of it in the photo, it's behind the church tower). That's handy 'cos they don't have far to go to get to church.
This is an old church and doesn't have a notice board. But it does have a very comfy font!
It also has something called a "Leper's window" in the Chancel and a funny-shaped tree in the churchyard.
65. Upper Heyford
This St Mary's is in the next village along from Lower Heyford. You'd have thought they'd have given it a different name!
Anyway, it did have a notice board, but I had to sit in a really spiky bush for my photo opportunity. (I may be a cynical bear, but this seems to happen a lot.)
We looked around inside and found another comfy font for me to sit on; but there were some smelly lillies as well.
This church is through a garden centre and down a path beside the cafe, which is a bit odd. It is next to a big house.
The church has really tall box pews; they're just right for a bear to hide in and snooze during a sermon - not that I would, of course!
This church has a tiny notice board and name board. I had a real struggle to sit near enough for my photo.
Inside the church, it's very interesting. It's really square with a flat ceiling painted white, which looks a bit odd. I took the opportunity to have a font photo taken.
I also met a man and dog by the gate and he took my photo for the village newsletter (the man, of course, not the dog - snigger).
This was a very busy church. They were having a book sale and serving tea, coffee and biscuits. I met the vicar and sat on the font. Everyone was very friendly and they were all most interested in my excursions. The church is not very old and was built because there were a lot of naughty people in the village (they're much better now!).
Apparently the Prime Minister's father was vicar here and she was married in the church. What's a Prime Minister? [When you wrote this, the Prime Minister was Theresa May, Big Ted]
This is a really large church at the end of a bit of grass called Church Green. I also sat on the edge of the font for a photo. I was a bit worried 'cos there was water in the bottom and I didn't want to get my splendid fur damp.
This is my 400th St Mary’s church; can you believe it! I was so excited I did a backwards somersault off the wall while having my photo taken (a less kind bear would have called this a “falling incident”). It’s another nice big church with a big square font just for me to sit on (The font is not there just for you, Big Ted).
The church and the village were quite busy. Not only was there a “Donkey Derby” going on (whatever that may be); but the church, along with the streets and buildings around it, has featured on a number of occasions in the hit television series Downturn Abbey (whatever that may be!).
Bampton is also called “Bampton-in-the-Bush” and sometimes “Bampton Proper” – that seems a bit silly and very confusing.
401. Black Bourton
My last church of the day didn’t have a noticeboard, so I sat on a gatepost with the church behind me for my photo. It looks very Autumn-y with all the leaves on the ground, but it was only August!
I then went inside and sat on the font. This is a nice church, painted orange mostly (although Uncle Les has somehow made the photo look less orange-y than I remember), with some wall paintings from the 13th century – that’s a long time ago-y (#snigger).
This church has a nice big central tower (sadly you can’t see it in my photo; the notice board and a tree are in the way) and I got to go inside to look around and check out the font.
There were a lot of very splendidly coloured mosaics on the walls of one bit off the middle of the church which were interesting. [It’s called the “Barcote Chapel” and is in the South Transept, Big Ted]. The rest of the walls are painted a nice yellow.
This was the last St Mary’s of my trip and, just after Uncle Les took my photo by the noticeboard, it really started raining. Auntie Fiona dashed for the door (in a particularly inelegant way I thought) BUT I GOT WET!
Fortunately, I was able to go inside the church and sit on the font for a damp photo. But then we had to go back outside to get to the car – and it was raining even more! I was not a happy bear – I don’t like to get soggy, it’s bad for my splendid fur – and so I sulked for the rest of the day (I may have snoozed damply too).
Another church with a square tower and, finally, one I couldn’t go inside. Instead, I had a mooch around the churchyard and found Agatha Christie’s headstone – she used to live in the village. P’raps I could write a murder story with a bear as the brave detective – I’ll have a think about that!
398. Little Coxwell
For a little village this church is very well hidden! I finally found the church sign on the way out after my second tour round the streets (and there’s only one street really). This St Mary’s wasn’t open, but it did have a lovely large bench in the sun, so I sat down for a quick snooze to rejuvenate myself.
402. Long Wittenham
Only one St Mary’s today and a very nice one too. There were some men putting up scaffolding at the bottom of the tower, but I was still able to go inside the church.
I met a Tigger there (fortunately he wasn’t too bouncy!) and we had a good chat before Uncle Les took my photo near this rather smart round lead font with matching jug.
The traffic today was not t’riffic and Uncle Les and Auntie Fiona were most dischuffed. ‘parently there was a fallen over lorry somewhere and a road was closed.
The flag was flying for me here – they must have known I was coming!
This church has recently been done up to include a “Community Hub” which means they’ve added a lovely mezzanine gallery thingy and various other handy facilities. It all looks very new and rather splendid.
They also had a font with a lovely solid wooden top and all the usual churchy things!
This is a lovely little church near a (not smelly at all – and I’m not being sarcastic here) farm. Sadly, it doesn’t have a notice board, but it does have an extremely comfortable wide wall for a bear to sit on (I’m doing a study of such things).
And it was open for me to look around inside and sit on the font for my photo.
Lyford is one of many villages that were part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes when they were transferred to Oxfordshire. That must have been really confusing for the postmen!
409. North Stoke
Another St Mary’s with a decent notice board – and a comfy wall to sit on – I do like these things.
Inside it’s quite a plain church (but it has some very faint wall paintings) with another round font which has an interesting lid where I had to wedge myself between two uprights.
This St Mary’s has a really good octagonal tower in the middle (can you see it in my photo). You can’t really see the church from the noticeboard, but Uncle Les took a photo of me in front of it anyway. (After all, you can’t have too many photos of ME!) [Hmm, I’m not so sure about that, Big Ted!]
The church was also open from me to visit and it has two fonts – a big one and a little one! Uncle Les took photos of me on both. (There was also a planter outside that could have once been another font, but Uncle Les said I’d had my photo taken enough times, and Auntie Fiona agreed.)
I was going to see a White Horse which is nearby, but Auntie Fiona discovered they were having a fair ‘cos of the bank holiday and things were a bit busy so we decided to go elsewhere instead.
As noticeboards go, this really doesn’t count – most unimpressive!
But the church was open and so I went inside to sit on this rather battered round font. It’s got cracks in and bands of metal holding it together; d’you think the baptismal water leaks out?