St John the Baptist, Burford

Building work began in 1175 and was complete by 1500, probably on the site of an earlier church. The early work is most evident around the West Door, which has been dated at 1175 The wood and ironwork is original. The tower also dates from this period, although it was much smaller. Most of the building work was completed in the fifteenth century, including the addition of the spire. This was not without drama as ambition overcame caution and the whole tower started to move. Evidence of the shoring up process can be seen at the base of the tower and modern surveying techniques are employed to monitor any further movement.   The transept crossing arches are low Norman rounded arches. The crossing has a double Norman arcade round the top. The lower arcade arches are supported on round pillars with carved capitals. Above the arches have no pillars and chevron carvings. Some have a window. At a later date, some of the arches were blocked off to give extra strength, as the tower was in danger of collapse. Many of the windows in the church are the work of CE Kempe, whose work is now widely admired. These include the window above the West Door and those in the North aisle. The Friends of Burford Church is a corporate foundation member of the Kempe Society and his association with the church in Burford lasted for 35 years.  The south transept contains a huge table tombstone with carved angels round the base holding shields set under ogee arches. An inscription carved on the lead inside the font reads “Anthony Sedley 1649 Prisner” Soon after the end of the Civil War a group of Parliamentarians called the Levellers disagreed with Oliver Cromwell. About 340 were captured near Burford and imprisoned in the church. Three of them were sentenced to death by firing squad while the rest watched from the roof.   Post Code: OX18 4RY