On your doorstep: Burford Church

burfordchurchawvWhen historian, Simon Jenkins, wrote his mammoth guide entitled England’s Thousand Best Churches, he identified just 18 to which he gave five star rankings.  Only one of those is in Oxfordshire and that is just down the road at Burford.  Back in 1870, architect G.E. Street said of the church: “There is, in my opinion, no church in the whole diocese of Oxford which exceeds it in beauty and architectural interest.  It is not only that in scale it is grander than most parish churches, but also in its architectural detail it is singularly rich and beautiful.”

Nestling in the Windrush valley, by the river, its spire dominates the scene.  Inside, this church that dates back to the twelfth century, is a vista that is often compared to a cathedral in its splendour.  Nave and chancel stretch under a soaring timber roof between arches that have evolved over the centuries. Among its many highlights are the graffiti on the font, scratched by captive Levellers in the 17th century, the elaborate tomb of the dastardly Tanfield family and the first known tombstone to South American Indians in this country.

But it is the overwhelming and awe-inspiring building itself which leaves the most lasting impression on its thousands of visitors each year from around the globe; if you have not been inside, prepare to be amazed.

August-September 2019