Present (right) and former (left) St Swithun's parish churches
Kennington shown within Oxfordshire
|Population||3,881 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|District||Vale of White Horse|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Oxford West and Abingdon|
Kennington is a village and civil parish in the Vale of White Horse district of Oxfordshire, just south of Oxford. The village occupies a narrow stretch of land between the River Thames and the A34 dual carriageway. It was in Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.
Kennington was partly in South Hinksey parish and partly in Radley parish until 1936, when a new Kennington civil parish was constituted. Apart from the village, most of Kennington civil parish is wooded, including all of Bagley Wood and West Wood to the west of the village.
The manor house is Jacobean, built in 1629 during the Great Rebuilding of England. It is half-timbered, i.e. its upper storey is timber-framed but its lower storey is not. In this case the lower storey is of local limestone.
The Church of England parish of St Swithun has two churches. The first is a very early example of the Norman revival, designed by the architect Daniel Robertson and built in 1828. The second was built alongside it in 1956-58, designed by a local architect, T. Lawrence Dale, and the vicar, Rev. S.S. Davies. The 1828 building is now deconsecrated.
There are two sports fields: Playfield Road and Forest Side. Playfield has recently been fitted with floodlights to enable training after sunset.
The local primary school is St Swithun's Church of England School. The village is in the catchment area for Matthew Arnold secondary school. Matthew Arnold School is not located in the village but a bus service is provided. Chandlings School, an independent co-educational preparatory school, is nearby.
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Over the last few years there has been a great increase of building development in the village. This is to allow more housing. The developments are all large houses with large gardens which have been turned into flats. The two exceptions are the new houses at the site of the former public house The Scholar Gypsy (named after the local poet, Matthew Arnold) and flats on the site of the former Kennington Service Station. Recent developments include Strode Court, and Chestnut Place on Kennington Road, to the north of the village. A new development has been completed at the site of Cranbrook House in the south of the village on The Avenue.
A brass band was set up in the village in 1973, originally named the Kennington (Oxford) Youth Band. The Musical Director was Ron Sudworth. The band grew and developed and was soon entering and winning contests all across England. The name Youth was dropped as the age of the members rose. It won the National 4th Section title at Pontins Holiday Camp in 1977 and progressed to the upper reaches of the National 2nd section by 1981. Although contesting has long since passed the band is still very active. It practices each Sunday morning in Youth Club and performs regularly throughout Oxfordshire and beyond.
Sources and further reading
- Page, W.H.; Ditchfield, P.H., eds. (1924). A History of the County of Berkshire, Volume 4. Victoria County History. pp. 410–416.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). Berkshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 159–160.
- Media related to Kennington, Oxfordshire at Wikimedia Commons