St Mary's Church Charlbury with Shorthampton

A Tour of the Interior

The font is of unknown date and stands at the entrance to the church, between the main door and the new altar. The nave is entered via the 13th century arches on the south side. Note the new chairs, and the kneelers made by parishioners which represent religious themes, organisations in the town and particular interests. Their blue and gold colours and the diamond pattern round the edge were chosen to fit in with the single lancet window at the west end behind the altar.

font       altar

The Sanctuary and Tower now form the focus for the main Sunday services. The altar and lectern were made specially for the church in 1998. The fine 17th century spiral staircase, which has been brought into greater prominence by the re-ordering, leads to the ringing chamber. The Bells: Since 1716 St. Mary’s has had a peal of six bells, all cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester. The inscriptions are as follows: 1. Peace and Good Neighbourhood A.R. 1716 2. Prosperity to this Town and Parish A.R. 1716 3. God preserve the Church of England A.R. 1716 4. Abr.Rudhall of Gloucester cast us all 1716 5. Prosperity to all our Benfactors A.R. 1716 6. Wm Ryman, Tho Cooke, Jn Rogers, Edwd Brain, Churchwardens 1716 The quarter chimes of the church clock strike bells 1,2,3 and 6. There is an older sanctus bell.

stairs3        bell-1

The North Aisle : the rounded Norman arches were built in the 12th century. The organ console and choir area are situated here. The vestry, kitchen and Upper Room are at the east end of this aisle, and coffee is served here after services. The Old Chancel was restored in1874-75; the blocked in door that once led to the rood loft in the chancel arch is still visible. The wrought iron gates, given in 1973 in memory of Aubrey Lloyd, were moved here from the tower arch during the recent restoration.

arch       eastalt

The only remaining pews found here are choir stalls given in 1948 in memory of Dr.Mcneight, a GP in Charlbury. The east window is in memory of the Rev’d Charles West, vicar from 1874 to 1897. The Memorial Chapel is contained within the glass screens. The window on the east wall was given in memory of the men who fell in the First World War and depicts on the left St.Edward the Confessor and on the right St. Louis of France. The War Memorial is placed in the north east corner. The window on the right of the altar depicts St.Elizabeth with her son John the Baptist, St. Martin of Tours, the Visitation and St.Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar. The chapel is used by the Sunday Club for the children, and other activities, as well as services for a small weekday congregation. The south aisle contains a small niche which once held a statue. In the south wall there is an opening which was almost certainly a piscina, so this part of the church was probably a side chapel before the Reformation. Above there are some interesting corbel heads, said to represent the Abbot of Eynsham, a wool merchant and other citizens. The list of Rectors and Vicars of Charlbury, and the old parish chest which may be 16th century or earlier, are found at the west end of this aisle. The Porch was built in the 15th century and was restored in 1903 by the Rev’d A.C.Smith, vicar from 1898 to 1903.   Over the inner door there is the 13th century trefoil-headed archway.  Glass doors were added in 2011.

door       inside