The interior of Charlbury church is something of a surprise.
The Manor of Spelsbury features in the Domesday Book as part of the Royal Hunting Forest of Wychwood, which covered most of what is now west Oxfordshire. Spelsbury today is a small rural village lying at the edge of the Cotswolds between Chipping Norton and Charlbury, with just over 300 inhabitants, in a conservation area designated in 1991. The scattered nature of the surrounding farms and hamlets, and the undulating topography, contribute to the isolated and unspoilt rural character that is typified by the church and its surroundings.
All Saints' is listed Grade II* due to its particularly special architectural and historic interest. It was rebuilt on the site of an original Norman church. It has 13th century arcades, a west tower restored in 1706, nave, north, south aisles, chancel and transepts, almost all rebuilt in 18th century by the Earls of Litchfield. The chancel was extended again in 1851, and contains five monuments to the Earls of Litchfield and Viscounts Dillon, sequential owners of Ditchley Park in the parish. These monuments make a fine cross section of English funerary art, from Jacobean to Victorian (by Gaffin & GF Fuller) times, with especially good Georgian examples (by Henry Keene & William Tyler) of national importance.
The monument to the 1st Earl of Litchfield is particularly fine. He married the favourite (illegitimate) daughter of Charles II, and they are buried in the crypt. It was an arranged marriage, and the monument describes their happy and successful life together, their loyal service to King and country, and records that 'their conjugal affection was blessed by their numerous offspring, thirteen sons and five daughters'. The 1st Earl’s uncle, the notorious 2nd Earl of Rochester, is also buried in the crypt, and his coffin plate is on display in the church. He was a favourite at the court of Charles II and penned poetry to amuse the revellers there.