OxfordshireBLOXHAMStMary(michaelgarlickCC-BY-SA2.0)1 MichaelGarlick

St Mary

Bloxham is in a small valley in the ironstone country of North Oxfordshire, on its southern side is the church of St Mary, outstanding even in an area of such splendid churches.

Bloxham, Oxfordshire

Opening times

The church is open 7 days a week from 10am to 5.30pm from March until October.


Church Street
OX15 4PY

Little is left of a Norman church built here in the 12th century, apart from a few details in the chancel arch and windows, a rebuilt doorway in the porch and a fine doorway to the left of the altar. The south porch, with its stone vault, and the nave arcades, show good Early English work of the 13th century.

The following century brought the chief glory of St Mary's: its magnificent tower and soaring spire, a prominent landmark for miles around, giving rise to the rhyme 'Bloxham for length, Adderbury for strength, Kings Sutton for beauty'.

The outside of the tower, the west door and the attractive parapet round the base of the spire all have a profusion of decorated ornamentation, typical of the early 14th century. Above the parapet is a corbel table of heads, animals and birds, and the cornice on the outside of the north aisle shows grotesque figures: pigs, foxes, rabbits and two men fighting with a sword.

There is also fine window tracery especially in the west window, which has carved heads outside, a curious and rare feature. More good carving can be seen inside the church, especially in the corbels of the nave and south aisle and a capital in the north transept. The latter has heads and linked arms in a pattern that seems to be unique to Oxfordshire.

In the early 15th century the nave roof was raised to allow more light through the new clerestory, and the superb Milcombe Chapel was built. The chapel has tall, elegant pillars and four massive windows that flood the church with light.

Between 1860 and 1870 much restoration work was done and fine stained glass was inserted, especially in the east window, designed by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones.

The church's best monument is in the Milcombe Chapel, and is to Sir John Thorneycroft. Dating from 1725, he is wearing a periwig and flowing draperies and reclines languidly on one elbow, with his other arm gesturing upwards as if to warn Heaven of his impending arrival.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • National heritage here

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Peter ad Vincula

South Newington, Oxfordshire

This handsome many windowed Norman and Early English church is entered through a splendidly pinnacle porch, which gives it a particularly theatrical effect.

St Mary the Virgin

Broughton, Oxfordshire

St Mary's was built almost entirely in the early 14th century, at the same time as Sir John de Broughton was building the adjacent castle.