OxfordshireHARDWICKStMary(motacillaCC-BY-SA4.0)1 Motacilla

St Mary the Virgin

An atmospheric mediaeval church, extensively remodelled in the late Victorian period, containing significant stained glass windows, situated in a peaceful rural location.

Hardwick, Oxfordshire

Opening times

Open daily 10am to 4pm.


Church Lane
OX27 8SS

The church has Norman origins, with the present chancel and some of the nave dating from the 14th century. It was substantially restored and extended in 1877-79 under the famous church architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott and his son George Gilbert Scott Jr, with a south aisle, a porch with Madonna and Child, and a turret housing a single 14th century bell being added. A new altar, font, pulpit, lectern, and organ were installed shortly after. As there have been no subsequent alterations, St Mary’s is a remarkably intact example of late Victorian church restoration.

The church contains some significant stained glass windows. These include depictions of a Jesse Tree in the east window and the Te Deum in the west, which are thought to be 14th or 15th Century. Windows depicting the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple were added in the 1890s. The Baptism of Christ is depicted in the window next to the font, which was installed to commemorate the year 2000 millennium.

From the time of the English Reformation up to 1857, the neighbouring Tusmore Estate was held by the strongly Roman Catholic Fermor family. As they housed their tenants and workers, in Hardwick, the village became something of an outpost of Roman Catholicism, with Mass being said in the attic of the adjoining Hardwick Manor, as practicing their religion was illegal during this time. Many of the church’s graves and memorials from that period show traces of Catholic iconography and inscriptions, revealing the likely true faiths of those they commemorate.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access throughout

  • Dog friendly

  • Church of England

Contact information

OxfordshireHARDWICKStMary(motacillaCC-BY-SA4.0)1 Motacilla

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