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St Nicholas, Idbury, Oxon - - 1609112.jpg
St. Nicholas' parish church
Idbury is located in Oxfordshire
Location within Oxfordshire
Population124 (parish, including Bould and Foscot) (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSP2319
Civil parish
  • Idbury
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townChipping Norton
Postcode districtOX7
Dialling code01993
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
List of places
51°52′52″N 1°39′40″W / 51.881°N 01.661°W / 51.881; -01.661Coordinates: 51°52′52″N 1°39′40″W / 51.881°N 01.661°W / 51.881; -01.661

Idbury is a village and civil parish in the Cotswold Hills in Oxfordshire, about 4+12 miles (7 km) southeast of Stow-on-the-Wold in neighbouring Gloucestershire. The parish includes the hamlets of Bould and Foscot. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 240.[1]


About 13 mile (540 m) west of the village is a hillfort, Idbury Camp. It was used in the Iron Age, Roman occupation and Saxon era, and possibly earlier. The village's toponym is derived from the Old English for "Ida's burh", further attesting to the fort's continued use in the Saxon era.[2] The remains of its rampart are about 33 feet (10 m) wide, up to 16 inches (0.4 m) high and enclose an area of about 9 acres (3.6 ha). The fort is a scheduled monument.[3][4]

Parish church[edit]

The Church of England parish church of St Nicholas was originally Norman, but little survives from this period except the ornate north doorway.[5] Early in the 14th century the bell-turret, north aisle, south porch and south doorway were added, new windows were inserted in the chancel and the chancel arch was altered.[5] The east window is Decorated Gothic.[5] The bell tower was added shortly afterwards.[5] Later a clerestory was added to the nave and other windows were added to the nave and north aisle, all of them Perpendicular Gothic.[5] The church is a Grade I listed building.[6]

The tower has three bells, two of which are medieval. The second and tenor bells were cast in about 1420 by an unknown bellfounder, and the treble was cast in 1749 by Abel Rudhall of Gloucester.[7] There is also a Sanctus bell that was cast in about 1320[7] and hangs in a bellcote on the gable end of the nave above the chancel arch.

The tower also has an early turret clock of a type that is unusual for this part of England.[8] It has a wooden frame more characteristic of the Midlands.[9] Early in the 18th century the clock was modified with the addition of a new escapement of unusual design,[9] but the clock itself is considerably older.

St Nicholas' parish is part of the Benefice of Shipton-under-Wychwood with Milton-under-Wychwood, Fifield and Idbury.[10]

Social history[edit]

Idbury had a Church of England school from 1845 until 1966. The building is now a private house.[11]

The engineer Sir Benjamin Baker, noted for his work on the Forth Bridge, London Victoria station and the first Aswan Dam, is buried in the churchyard.[12]

The Countryman[edit]

J. W. Robertson Scott[13] moved to Idbury Manor in 1922 and founded The Countryman[14] magazine there in 1927.[15] In 1924 the novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner rented a cottage in Idbury from Robertson Scott.[16] In 1934 the Canadian poet Frank Prewett moved to Idbury where he briefly worked as assistant editor of The Countryman.[17] In 1949 Robertson Scott retired and the magazine moved to Burford, Oxfordshire. Apart from a short period in a London office, the magazine remained at Burford until 2003,[18] when publication moved to Broughton Hall, North Yorkshire.


Historic hearse displayed inside St Nicholas' parish church
  1. ^ "Area: Idbury (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  2. ^ VCH 2014, p. 1.
  3. ^ Harden 1954, pp. 142, 143.
  4. ^ Historic England. "Idbury Camp hillfort (1014558)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 657.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Nicholas  (Grade I) (1367780)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  7. ^ a b Davies, Peter (22 December 2011). "Idbury S Nicholas". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  8. ^ Beeson, Northcote & Simcock 1989, p. 166.
  9. ^ a b Beeson, Northcote & Simcock 1989, p. 170.
  10. ^ Archbishops' Council (2015). "Benefice of Shipton-under-Wychwood with Milton-under Wychwood, Fifield and Idbury". A Church Near You. Church of England. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Idbury school". Idbury. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011.
  12. ^ Kerrigan 1998, p. 123.
  13. ^ John William Robertson Scott (1866–1962); author of England's Green & Pleasant Land and other works
  14. ^ The Countryman Magazine
  15. ^ "J. W. Robertson Scott and the Countryman Magazine". Idbury. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009.
  16. ^ "Sylvia Townsend Warner in Idbury". Idbury. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011.
  17. ^ "Frank Prewett in Idbury and Fifield". Idbury. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009.
  18. ^ "Countryman profile". Countryman Publications Ltd. Archived from the original on 26 August 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011.


External links[edit]

Media related to Idbury at Wikimedia Commons