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Church of St Matthew, Langford

Description: Church of St Matthew

Grade: I
Date Listed: 12 September 1955
English Heritage Building ID: 253849

OS Grid Reference: SP2491102530
OS Grid Coordinates: 424911, 202530
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7209, -1.6408

Location: 1 Church Lane, Lechlade GL7 3LG

Locality: Langford
Local Authority: West Oxfordshire District Council
County: Oxfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: GL7 3LG

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Listing Text

SP2402-2502 (North side)
6/98 Church of St. Matthew

Church. Mid-to late C11 on earlier site; aisles added c.1200; chancel rebuilt
mid-C13 and south porch added early C14. Restorations by Richard Pace in 1829
and Ewan Christian in 1864-7. Uncoursed limestone rubble, retaining traces of
former render, with ashlar dressings; stone slate roofs with C19 ornamental tile
cresting and C19 floriated stone crosses to gables. Nave; chancel; central
tower; aisles; south porch and C13 staircase projection against north-east
corner of tower. Tower. Mid-to late C11 in 3 stages with parapet and carved
corbel table of c.1200. Corner pilasters, stepped slightly inwards to top stage,
pilaster strips with stepped capitals and bases to first and second stages of
each face. Plain moulded string coursed and stepped plinth. North and south
sides have narrow double-splayed windows with shouldered heads on either side of
central pilaster strip to second stage, each on north blocked by later staircase
projection. Paired and louvred round-headed belfry windows to each side have
continuous roll-moulding to the arch and jambs and, instead of capitals, a band
with leaf decoration (now weathered but probably acanthus) carried straight
across the moulding and the plain inner order with a palmette leaf in the
spandrel. Forming part of central pilaster strip immediately above lower string
course on south side is a relief of 2 figures in tunics with arms pointing
upwards: possbly formerly supporting a sundial. Chamfered C13 lancet immediately
to right of pilaster strip on bottom stage. Low-pedimented gable ends above
corbel table on each and west sides. Nave: west end only visible; 2 late C12
pilaster buttresses to former angles given chimney-like pinnacles in C16.
Shallow-pitched lean-to aisles have chamfered lancets to west walls. 2 flying
buttresses to north aisle, west inscribed "ANNO/DMI/1574/REGINI
ELIZABETH/REGINAE DECIMO/SEPTIMO". C19 louvred chimney to centre of aisle.
Chamfered rectangular opening (possibly C17) to far left and early C14 two-light
window with mouchettes and quatrefoil to head and hoodmould immediately to left
of eastern flying buttress. Doorway (c.1200) immediately to left of western
flying buttress: richly moulded round-headed arch with chamfered inner order and
nook-shafts with weathered leaf capitals. Square-headed late C15 window with
label to right of buttress has 3 cinquefoil-headed lights with contemporary iron
bars. Chamfered C13 lancet to east wall. South aisle has late C15 window to west
like that in north aisle with date "1867" on railwater head to right. Gabled
porch has double-chamfered segmental-arched outer doorway with weathered
head-stops. Trefoil-headed recess inside to east wall. South doorway (c.1200) is
round-headed with 3 sections of deep roll moulding with fillet to centre and
nail-head ornament to hoodmould terminating in head-stops. Re-set over outer
doorway is late-Saxon Road, large sculpture depicting Christ's crucifixion.
The attendant figures of the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist have been
transposed and their heads incorrectly face outwards; the position of Christ's
arms is reversed. On east wall is re-set late-Saxon sculpture of Christ
triumphant. The now headless figure is shown with arms outstretched clad in a
long corded tunic, weathered smooth on the outer face but arranged in narrow
fluted folds to sides. Early C14 three-light window with reticulated tracery and
weathered head-stops to right is followed by narrow round-headed chamfered
window (c.1200) with rainwater head dated "1867" between. Late C15 square-headed
window with 2 cinquefoil-headed lights and label in east wall. Chancel. Mid-C15
and apparently shortened by at least one bay to east before C19 restorations by
Pace and Christian. Moulded eaves cornice terminating in carved head to
south-east corner, cill band and continuous hood mould. South side has 2 sets
of paired broad lancets with cusped lozenges to heads, eastern with pilaster
buttress beneath cill band. Infilled priest's doorway to east has richly moulded
pointed arch with weathered head-stops; gabled canopy above supported on shafts
with mutilated foliated capitals. Date "1864" to rainwater head in west corner.
East wall has 2 windows like those on south but apparently re-assembled: masonry
to gable belongs to Christian's restoration. Stepped diagonal buttress to south
corner and C13 gabled buttress (probably not in situ) with floriated finial to
north corner. North side has 2 windows like those on south, again with pilaster
buttress, beneath that to east. Rainwater head with date "1864" to west corner.
Gabled staircase projection against north-east corner of tower has continuation
of cill band from chancel. Narrow chamfered rectangular opening to apex and 2
chamfered rectangular openings to chamfered north-east corner. Narrow
segmental-headed doorway in angle with chancel on east side. Interior.
Transitional 3-bay north and south arcades have round-headed arches with
head-stops (including to spandrels) on tall circular piers with foliated
capitals of stiff-leaf type, except the north-west respond which has late
Romanesque knob volutes and the south-east respond with archaic upright leaves.
Cruciform abaci and moulded plinths on square bases. Trussed rafter roof
(c.1867) to nave and low-pitched roofs to aisles, C15 to north, C19 to south.
Trussed rafter roof (c.1864) to chancel. Corbels of C15 flat-pitched roof and
outline of earlier roof pitch visible against east face of tower. Tunnel vault
to tower probably C13 but round-headed east and west arches are C11, former tall
with a rolled outer order, an inner soffit roll, both continued on the responds,
and a plain arch and respond on the east side. These are broken by a band of
mouldings in place of an abacus, then bell capitals with roll necking. Bases
also formed from a continuous band. West arch is a single unchamfered order with
large plain imposts and a hood of rectangular section continued down the jambs.
Painted consecration crosses on north and south sides. Infilled recessed
rectangular doorways high up above arches on both sides of tower are also Cll.
Infilled square-headed opening to south of west arch associated either with
former rood loft or the recess for a statue. Traces of steps to infilled
round-headed doorway which lead to former chamber in porch, visible to west of
south doorway. Elaborately cusped rere arch with short shafts terminating in
head-corbels to C14 window in south aisle; tall ringed nook-shafts to east
windows in chancel. Reset C13 trefoil-headed piscina in infilled priest's
doorway and plainer piscina to west. C13 aumbry in north wall comprises 2 rows
of 3 compartments, gabled to top. Polygonal panelled pulpit (1673) on
Perpendicular traceried stone base (1867). C15 octagonal panelled font with
quatrefoils and blank shields. Portions of C15 oak screen with open
Perpendicular tracery patterns in one-light divisions reused in screens to organ
chamber and vestry at east end of north and south aisles respectively; C19
paintings of saints on boards within divisions. Oak parish chest in front of
north screen. Langford clock mechanism (c.1680, overhauled 1883 and 1978)
formerly in tower now in north aisle by font. Stone spiral staircase in
staircase projection leads to chamber on second stage of tower. Stained glass:
c.1868 in C14 window in south aisle and early C20 in west window of nave.
Monuments. North aisle: late C17 and C18 engraved floor slabs. South aisle,
south wall: memorial with armorial device to Anne Hamersley (d.1694); rustic
memorial (1691) to the House family surmounted by a bewigged head with the
punning inscription "Within this little house three houses lye". Brass plates in
raised sanctuary to John Copley ld.1634) and his wife, Mary (d.1665) and under
communion table figurative brasses to Walter and Mary Prunes (d.1594 and 160q
respectively). C19 armorial brsss in infilled doorway to west face of tower.
When Christian restored the church he removed the C15 nave clerestory and
re-instituted the higher of the 2 chancel roof pitches shown by J.C. Buckler in
a drawing of 1821 (now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford). The parish of Langford
is included amongst the royal estates in Domesday and this may account for the
high quality of the work, which may have been carried out immediately after the
Norman Conquest. The late Saxon features are considered to be the most important
in the county. There are well-preserved shrunken village earthworks in the field
to the north west.
(Buildings of England: Oxfordshire: pp678-81; H.M. Taylor: Anglo-Saxon
Architecture, 3 vols. (1965 and 1978, Vols. 1 and 2 with John Taylor), passim
but see especially pp.367-72; Nigel and Mary Kerr, A Guide to Anglo-Saxon Sites.
(1982), pp170-1; Bodleian Library: Oxford, Topagraphical Drawings Collection: MS
Top. Oxon. a.67 no.363; MS Top. Oxon. d.28 f.140)

Listing NGR: SP2490602526

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.