History Group Visit to Langford, 20th January 2020

19 members of the History group met for our first outing of 2020. We visited the Grade 1 listed church of St Matthew in Langford, said to be the most important late Saxon-early Norman building in Oxfordshire.

We were met by one of the churchwardens, who showed us the delights of this tranquil church. In 1066, Langford village was listed in the Domesday survey amongst the royal estates, which accounts for the high quality of the stonework. Set in the walls of the Saxon porch are two early Saxon sculptures, one is a monumental headless figure of Christ with arms outstretched, wearing a pleated cloak. Nothing quite like this statue survives anywhere else in England. Over the porch entrance is a Rood group with the figures of Mary and Joseph reversed and Christ’s arms upside down, possibly reconfigured at a later date. The clothing on these sculptures indicate they are from the early eleventh century. Inside, the Saxon chancel has been widened, but the original roof line is still visible. The bell tower is largely unaltered, and bells have been continuously rung since the church was built around 1080 by Aelfsige of Farringdon.

We all enjoyed this peaceful church and feel lucky to have such a gem on our doorstep.

Christine

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