St Michael and All Angels


  • Church Lane
  • Steventon
  • OX13 6SW

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Brief Description

A charming parish church, the earliest part of which is a column dating from 13th Century. The Decorated style of the window suggests it was substantially rebuilt in the 14th Century, probably when Steventon Priory, which was in effect a business venture supporting the Abbey of Bec in Normandy, had control of the church, the Prior being both Lord of the Manor and Rector of Steventon.

  • Main Description

    The church is essentially a medieval building with C15 pews. Only the stained glass windows are Victorian and some of the tracery in one or two of the windows may possibly have been altered to fit the stained glass. The east window of the south aisle chapel had stained glass in the C14 but this was sold in 1772 to Milton Manor in the next parish where it may still be seen in the chapel there.

    From outside the bell tower appears to be halfway down the nave because it stands at the west end of the south aisle while the main nave aisle extends some way past the tower to the west on its north side. The principal entrance to the church is through the tower by way of a fine, late Decorated doorway in the tower's south wall.

    Once inside the visitor may initially feel this building to be rather plain because of the huge area of whitewash that is the nave's north wall, but look up at the magnificent wagon roof. Both the chancel and the nave roofs are fine arch-braced timber constructions, without tie-beams or chancel arch but with original timbers. The roof's unencumbered loftiness adds considerable majesty to the church.

    Among other oddities to look for are:
    The remarkable series of wooden bosses that decorate the roof trusses with carvings ranging in subject from crowned heads to rabbits playing musical instruments
    The chancel is offset from the nave because enlargement of the nave in the C14 moved the north wall 4ft 9in to the north while leaving the south side in place
    The arcade of four arches dividing the nave and chancel from the south aisle and chapel, each arch is different in character and each is supported by very different piers. Notice the monkey's head facing into the nave above the composite pier.
    The half finished stone tracery of the C14 double sedilia, set into the sanctuary's south wall, possibly a result of the Priory's revenue having been sequestered by the King to help pay for the Hundred Years War.
    The window in the south wall of the sanctuary, above and to the left of the sedilia, appears to have been squeezed in judging by the niche in the east wall that seems to have been reduced in depth, and possibly a statue removed, to accommodate the window.

Church Grants

2013/2014 | £

repairs to weathered stone

2016/2017 | £1000