The exterior of Charlgrove St Mary is adequate but unexciting, though amazing wall paintings are hidden inside this modest exterior.
The window tracery, almost all of which is Decorated or Perpendicular in style, suggests that the structure was significantly altered in the fourteenth and fifteenth century. The three-stage tower belongs to the late thirteenth century or early fourteenth century. The spire is no more, lost in a storm in 1727.
The inside tells a totally different story. It is clear that this was an aisled church at least as far baack as the early thirteenth century. The Transitional south arcade, which has square bases and capitals, could even be of the twelfth century. The north arcade, which has moulded and stiff leaf capitals is more fully Early English in style and is later.
The chancel is a revelation. The paintings demonstrate how colour and image was used to illustrate medieval stories. The wall paintings are coeval with the chancel and thus mid fourteenth century. They show scenes from lives of the Virgin (south wall), Christ (north wall) and the Last Judgment (west end of south wal) and the Tree of Jesse (west end of the north wall). The windows have larger figures in the reveals and are scattered with stenciled red and gold flowers and foliage. The workmanship is utterly fabulous.
- Church Lane
- OX44 7SD
Grant of £15,000 awarded for heating and lighting, stonework, redecoration
Grant of £4,000 awarded for restoration of the bells
Grant of £2,000 awarded for wall paintings