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Bampton Church

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Church of St Mary; Bentonensi

In the civil parish of Bampton.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP31260332
Latitude 51.72775° Longitude -1.54867°

Bampton Church has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Mainly 12th century parish church with evidence that it was formerly an Anglo Saxon minster. Some 10th and 11th century fabric survives in the base of the central tower. The church was remodelled in the late 12th century on a cruciform plan and various alterations were made through the 13th century, including the heightening of the tower and the addition of the spire. The church was remodelled again between about 1290 and 1320, with the nave being totally rebuilt. Further work was undertaken through the 14th and 15th centuries. The church was considerably altered as part of major reconstruction work carried out between 1867-70 and the top of the spire was rebuilt following a lightning strike in 1872. A chapel, in use as a store by the 19th century, was converted into a vestry in 1894. A documentary source indicates that the church was used as a castle between 1141 and 1142, but it is not known what form this fortification took. (PastScape)

Major discovery was number of ditch cuts outside the present churchyard, intepreted as Medieval recuts on or near line of original Saxon Minster ditch. This appears to have been maintained into C13. (Oxfordshire HER)

Fry writes 'A motte castle was raised by Queen Matilda' but there does not appear to be any evidence that the fortification of the church by Matilda involved a motte. The church 'occupies one corner of large oval enclosure of Anglo Saxon date' (Oxfordshire HER). This was an urgently constructed military camp based on a church rather than a fortified church.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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