Coordinates: 51°42′58″N 1°09′40″W / 51.716°N 1.161°W / 51.716; -1.161
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St Mary's parish church
Garsington is located in Oxfordshire
Location within Oxfordshire
Area8.42 km2 (3.25 sq mi)
Population1,689 (2011 census)
• Density201/km2 (520/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSP5802
Civil parish
  • Garsington
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townOXFORD
Postcode districtOX44
Dialling code01865
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
WebsiteGarsington Parish Council
List of places
51°42′58″N 1°09′40″W / 51.716°N 1.161°W / 51.716; -1.161

Garsington is a village and civil parish about 8 kilometres (5 mi) southeast of Oxford in Oxfordshire. "A History of the County of Oxfordshire" provides a detailed history of the parish from 1082.[1] The 2011 census recorded the parish's population as 1,689.[2] The village is known for the artistic colony and flamboyant social life of the Bloomsbury Group at Garsington Manor when it was the home from 1914 to 1928 of Philip and Ottoline Morrell,[3] and for the Garsington Opera which was staged there from 1989 to 2010.


Garsington Manor[edit]

Garsington Manor in Southend was built in the 16th century and remodelled in the 17th century.[4] It is a Grade II* listed building.[5][6] It was the home of Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873–1938), doyenne of the Bloomsbury group of writers and artists who used to meet at the manor. These included the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the writers Aldous Huxley, W. B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf and D. H. Lawrence and the artists Mark Gertler, Eric Gill and Dora Carrington. Garsington Manor was bought in 1982 by Leonard Ingrams who established the Garsington Opera, an annual open air opera festival which was staged there each summer from 1989 until 2010. The opera moved to Wormsley Park, Buckinghamshire in 2011.

Parish church[edit]

The oldest part of the parish church of Saint Mary includes the tower, built towards the end of the 12th century in the transitional[7] style between Norman[8] and Early English.[9] The chancel is pure Early English and was built or rebuilt in about 1300.[4][7] St Mary's has Decorated Gothic north and south aisles, which were added in the 14th century and have four-bay arcades.[4][7] St Mary's was restored in 1849 under the direction of the Gothic Revival architect Joseph Clarke.[4][7] Clarke's alterations included rebuilding the chancel arch to match the north arcade,[4] adding gargoyles to the south aisle and much remodelling of the north aisle.[7] St Mary's is a Grade II* listed building.[7] Inside, next to the entrance door, is a memorial to Garsington's most illustrious inhabitant, Ottoline Morrell, by Eric Gill.

The west tower has a ring of six bells. Richard Keene of Woodstock cast the treble bell in 1696.[10] Abraham II Rudhall of Gloucester cast the second bell in 1720. Henry III Bagley of Chacombe, Northamptonshire cast the third bell in 1733, presumably at his then foundry in Witney. John Rudhall of Gloucester cast the tenor bell in 1788. W&J Taylor cast the fifth bell in 1825, presumably at their then foundry in Oxford. The fourth bell was cast in 1732 but Mears and Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry recast it in 1929. The bells were restored in 2013.[11] Thomas Thwaites of Clerkenwell in London built the turret clock for the tower in 1796 at a cost of £172 4s 0d.[12] It is a 30-hour clock and it strikes the hours on the tenor bell.[12] Its dials still have only an hour hand.[12]

St Mary's parish is now part of the Benefice of Garsington, Cuddesdon and Horspath.[13]

The wedding scene in the 2006 film Amazing Grace was filmed at the church.[14]


A parish school was built in Garsington in 1840. It was reorganised as a junior school in 1923.[8] It now occupies more modern premises and is a Church of England primary school.[15]

Village hall[edit]

The village hall was built in 1911 and given to the village by Philip Morrell. For most of the 20th century it served the needs of the villagers and a number of small improvements were made over the years. It was recently renovated to bring it up to modern day standards. The building retains its original appearance as well as adding modern-day facilities.[16]


Garsington has a public house: the Three Horseshoes, with the Red Lion and the Plough having closed.

Garsington Sports and Social Club is in Denton Lane. It has two men's football teams that play in the Oxfordshire Senior Football League and two youth teams that play in the Oxford Mail Youth League[17] Garsington Cricket Club[18] plays in the Oxfordshire Cricket Association League Division Five.[19]

The Garsington Society seeks to expand the knowledge of the history and geography of Garsington and its surrounding areas, and organises talks, walks, and social events.

Garsington has a Women's Institute.[20]

The most recent dramatic production by the Garsington Players was Stoppard's Arcadia in July 2023.

The village has an exceptionally rich network of footpaths and bridleways which are maintained by local volunteers. This includes a section of the Oxford Green Belt way.[21]

The city11 bus service connects Garsington to Oxford and Watlington.[22] There has never been a railway station. Nearby stations include Oxford, Didcot Parkway, and Thame and Haddenham Parkway.


In addition to the Bloomsbury Group and the Garsington Opera residents have included historians John Wheeler-Bennett, Raymond Dawson[23] and Russell Meiggs, writers Rider Haggard, Adrian Townsend,[24] Howard Marks and Janet Bolam,[25] surgeon Edgar Somerville,[26] medical scientists Paul Bolam,[27][28] John Hall[29][30] and Philip Cowen,[31][32] and mathematician Roger Heath-Brown.



  1. ^ "Parishes: Garsington". British History Online. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  2. ^ "Area: Garsington CP: Parish Headcounts: Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  3. ^ Seymour, Miranda (1885–1900). "Morrell (née Cavendish-Bentinck), Lady Ottoline Violet Anne" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  4. ^ a b c d e Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 611
  5. ^ Historic England. "Garsington Manor (Grade II*) (1001095)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Manor House, Southend (Grade II*) (1047686)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Historic England. "Church of St Mary, Southend (Grade II*) (1284943)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  8. ^ a b Lobel 1957, pp. 134–156.
  9. ^ Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 610.
  10. ^ Davies, Peter (28 January 2009). "Garsington S Mary". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  11. ^ Nunn, Andy. "Towers". Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers, Oxford City Branch. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  12. ^ a b c Beeson 1989, p. 38
  13. ^ Archbishops' Council. "Benefice of Garsington, Cuddesdon and Horspath". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  14. ^ Archbishops' Council. "Garsington: St Mary, Garsington". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  15. ^ Garsington CE Primary School
  16. ^ Garsington Village Hall
  17. ^ "Boys League". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  18. ^ Garsington Cricket Club
  19. ^ "Clubs". Oxfordshire Cricket Association. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Your Nearest WI". Oxfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  21. ^ "New kissing gates help walkers in Garsington on Oxford Green Belt Way". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  22. ^ "city11". Oxford Bus Company.
  23. ^ "Raymond Dawson". Good Reads. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  24. ^ "Adrian Townsend". Waterstones. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  25. ^ Pawsey, Jan. "Lady Morrell and her bohemians amok in Garsington Manor". Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Somerville, Edgar William (1913 - 1996)". Royal College of Surgeons of England. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  27. ^ "Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit". Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  28. ^ "Paul Bolam". Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  29. ^ "CalmView: Record". British Psychological Society. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  30. ^ "My shelfie… John Hall". British Psychological Society. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  31. ^ "Philip Cowen". Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  32. ^ "Professor Philip Cowen". Academy of Medical Sciences. Retrieved 27 December 2022.


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