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St Lawrence - Besselsleigh, Oxfordshire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 51° 42.381 W 001° 20.463
30U E 614627 N 5729681
Quick Description: St Lawrence's was established during the 12th century, including its west wall, Norman south door, and some other parts. Saint Lawrence Church of Besselsleigh had undergone rehabilitation in the later part of the 13th century.
Location: South East England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/7/2015 7:48:33 AM
Waymark Code: WMNN5V
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 0

Long Description:
"The church of ST. LAWRENCE consists of a chancel 30 ft. by 15 ft., nave 34 ft. by 13 ft. 9 in. and south porch, total length 64 ft., all the measurements being internal.

A church consisting of a nave and chancel existed here in the 12th century. Of this structure the west wall and possibly some other portions are still standing, but the church appears to have been considerably altered and perhaps lengthened in the 13th century and windows were inserted during the two subsequent centuries. In 1632 the building was restored and the chancel arch inserted; the south porch and bellcote are probably of the same date.

The chancel has a late 13th-century east window of three trefoiled lights under a pointed head; the rear arch is cinquefoiled. In the north wall is a two-light window of the middle of the 14th century with a pointed head and a chamfered rear arch. In the south wall there are two square-headed windows, both of two lights and of 15th-century date, and between them is a priest's door. The eastern window has the recess carried down to form a sedile, and in the east jamb is a shallow niche of uncertain use. Further east is a trefoil-headed piscina, the bowl of which is apparently the scalloped capital of a 12th-century column with a square abacus and drain hollowed in the centre. There is no chancel arch, but the nave is divided from the chancel by a timber lintel resting on two massive posts, the framing above being plastered. On the east face is painted a coat of six quarters of Lenthall. It is of the 17th century, but has probably been repainted, as the colours are incorrect. On the west face is the inscription, 'This church was beautified and repaired in the year 1632 by the Hon. William Lenthall, Master of the Rolls and Speaker of the Parliament of England and again by his descendant William John Lenthall, in 1788.' The soffit of the lintel has pierced ornament and Jacobean pendants. The chancel roof of the trussed rafter type is ceiled, but the embattled oak plate is of the 15th century.

In the north wall of the nave is a square-headed two-light window of the 15th century, and there is a similar one opposite it in the south wall. The north doorway is blocked, but the lower part of the jambs and an oak lintel are visible externally. The south doorway has inner and outer semicircular arches of the 12th century, but altered and restored in the 18th century. The west window is of three trefoiled lights similar to the east window, but without a rear arch. There is a small modern west gallery. Externally on the north side of the nave there is a square projection containing a rood stair and formerly lighted by a loop now blocked. There is no indication of the rood doorways inside the building. In the west end of the south wall the sill of a blocked singlelight window is visible externally. The west wall has three flat buttresses of the 12th century and on the gable is an early 17th-century bellcote with two semicircular arches containing as many bells. The nave roof is modern, but has a 17th-century cornice, ornamented with cherubs at intervals holding shields with the Lenthall quarterings. The early 17th-century south porch has wooden sides and outer archway and stands on a stone base with seats on each side. The building is covered externally with a continuous roof of stone slates.

The chancel is fitted with 18th-century box pews; those in the nave have been cut down in modern times. The communion table is of late 17th-century date, with carved and twisted legs. The stone font has a rusticated cylindrical stem and a circular bowl enriched with swags of foliage, and is perhaps local work of the 18th century, but may be earlier. The south door retains some ancient ironwork and the upright guard bars of the east window have ancient scrolled heads. The centre of the chancel is paved with 13th-century slip tiles, formerly in the sacrarium. They are of geometrical design in sets of four, and their preservation is so perfect that there is some doubt as to their antiquity. In the centre of the sanctuary is a floor slab to Sir John Lenthall of Bessels Leigh (1681), and bearing a shield with the quartered coat of Lenthall impaling a saltire, for Andrew. On the south chancel wall is a painted inscription to William third son of William Lenthall (1639), and on the north wall is a carved marble tablet to Susannah wife of Charles Brome of Sandford (1717), with a shield of Brome impaling Franklin.

The plate includes a cup, London, 1635, inscribed 'The communion cup of the parish church of Besselsleigh. June, 1635.' The cover-paten of the same date is inscribed' of Besselsleigh.' There is also an almsdish given in 1845 and a plated flagon.

The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) mixed entries 1659 to 1715; (ii) mixed entries 1715 to 1812 (marriages to 1754 only); (iii) marriages 1754 to 1812."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Building Materials: Stone

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