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Elsfield StThomasC NW 01.JPG
St. Thomas of Canterbury parish church
Elsfield is located in Oxfordshire
 Elsfield shown within Oxfordshire
Area  1.53 km2 (0.59 sq mi)
Population 191 (2011 census, incorporates as to all figures 'very small' Woodeaton civil parish)[1]
   – density  125/km2 (320/sq mi)
OS grid reference SP539101
Civil parish Elsfield
District South Oxfordshire
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Oxford
Postcode district OX3
Dialling code 01865
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Henley
List of places

Coordinates: 51°47′17″N 1°13′08″W / 51.788°N 1.219°W / 51.788; -1.219

Elsfield is a village and civil parish about 3 miles (5 km) northeast of the centre of Oxford. The village is 310 feet (94 m) above sea level on the western brow of a hill with relatively steep sides above the River Cherwell. For relative reference purposes, the Oxford alluvial flood plain is at 60 metres above sea level.

Parish church[edit]

The chancel arch of the Church of England parish church dates from at least the latter part of the 12th century. The church formerly had a north aisle that may also have dated from this period. There is a canonical sundial on the south wall. In about 1273 the church was remodelled and rededicated to St Thomas of Canterbury. The Decorated Gothic east window was added in about the 14th century.[2] Either side of the south doorway are two Perpendicular Gothic windows that were added in about the 15th century.[2] The pulpit is Jacobean.[2]

In 1849 the church was heavily restored in an Early English Gothic style.[3] Until then, the blocked arcade of the north aisle was visible in the north wall of the nave.[3] During the restoration the arcade seems to have been removed; there are 12th century capitals in the Vicarage garden that may have come from it.[3] The floor and seating were renewed in 1859 under the direction of the Gothic Revival architect G.E. Street.[3] In about 1860 a mosaic reredos by Salviati was added in the chancel.[2]

St. Thomas's is a Grade II* listed building.[4]

Notable inhabitants[edit]

John Buchan's grave in St Thomas's churchyard

The novelist John Buchan (Governor General of Canada, 1935-1940) lived at Elsfield Manor from 1919 until 1935. His ashes are buried in St Thomas's churchyard.

Trump, the basis of the Jack Russell Terrier breed of dog, is said to have come from Elsfield.[5]


  1. ^ "Area: Elsfield: Parish: Key Statistics: Population Density". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 592.
  3. ^ a b c d Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 591.
  4. ^ "Church of St Thomas a Beckett". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford University Press. p. 343. ISBN 978-0-19-820171-7. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 

Sources and further reading[edit]

Elsfield Manor
Home Farm house is Georgian, built in the early or mid-18th century. Its porch was added early in the 19th century

External links[edit]

Media related to Elsfield at Wikimedia Commons