St. Mary's parish church
Adwell shown within Oxfordshire
|Population||27 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Adwell Parish Meeting|
Adwell Cop, 0.5 miles (800 m) southeast of the village, is a hill 148 metres high crowned with a Bronze Age burial mound. Iron Age pottery has been found nearby. Formerly the Cop was erroneously attributed to the Danes who were in Oxfordshire in 1010.
The Domesday Book of 1086 records the village as Advelle.
The manor house is Adwell House. There had been a 17th-century house on ths site, but it was rebuilt in either the late 18th or early 19th century. Early in the 19th century the manor was inherited by John H. Birch, who took the name Newell Birch as a condition of the legacy. He left the house to his nephew Henry Birch Reynardson, in whose family the house has remained. In the 20th century three generations of Birch Reynardson served as High Sheriff of Oxfordshire: W.J.B. Birch Reynardson in 1913, Lieutenant-Colonel H.T.B. Birch Reynardson C.M.G. in 1958 and W.R.A.B. Birch Reynardson in 1974.
The original parish church is believed to have been built late in the 12th century, although the earliest documentation of it is dated 1254. It had only a nave and chancel. The latter may have been enlarged in the 13th century, judging by its east window which was early Decorated Gothic. In the 14th century new windows were inserted in the nave and a new west door was added. In 1553 the building was recorded as having a bell-cot with two bells. All of the walls were repaired around 1800, but by the early 1860s the building was considered too weak to be restored.
The old church building was demolished and in 1865 it was replaced with a new Church of England parish church of Saint Mary designed by the Gothic Revival architect Arthur Blomfield. Blomfield's design replicated the early Decorated style, but the new building retained the south doorway of the old church, which is in the transitional style between Norman and Early English Gothic. The new church also retains the memorials from inside the old one, including a stone effigy of a knight from about 1300. The new building has no aisles, but has north and south chapels arranged as transepts either side of the chancel. There is no tower, but a bell-cot with one bell. The bell dates from about 1350 and so may be from the old church building.
The Oxfordshire Way footpath passes the western edge of the village.
- Lobel, Mary D, ed. (1969). "Adwell". A History of the County of Oxford. Victoria County History. 8: Lewknor and Pyrton Hundreds. pp. 7–16.
- Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). Oxfordshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 419. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.
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