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Longworth StMary SSE.jpg
St Mary's parish church
Longworth is located in Oxfordshire
Longworth shown within Oxfordshire
Population 566 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SU3999
Civil parish
  • Longworth
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Abingdon
Postcode district OX13
Dialling code 01865
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
Website Longworth Village on the Web
List of places
51°42′00″N 1°26′53″W / 51.7001°N 1.4480°W / 51.7001; -1.4480Coordinates: 51°42′00″N 1°26′53″W / 51.7001°N 1.4480°W / 51.7001; -1.4480

Longworth is a village and civil parish about 7 miles (11 km) west of Abingdon-on-Thames and a similar distance east of Faringdon and south of Witney. Longworth was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 566.[1]

The parish is bounded by the River Thames to the north, the A420 road to the south, and by field boundaries to the west and east. The land slopes generally from the A420 in the south to the river in the north. The exception is Harrowdown Hill near the north-east corner of the parish, which is the highest point in the parish at 325 feet (99 m).

Parish church[edit]

The oldest parts of St Mary's Church, Longworth, the Church of England parish church, are 13th-century. The current chancel, west tower and north aisle were built in the 15th century.[2] The church is a Grade I listed building.[2] St Mary's parish is part of the benefice of Cherbury with Gainfield.[3] The theologian and philosopher J. R. Illingworth was Rector of St Mary's from 1883 to 1915.

Economic and social history[edit]

Squirrel Cottage on Hinton Road, south of the village

At a farmstead about 34 mile (1.2 km) south of the village is a 17th-century tithe barn. It has a queen post roof seven bays long and is a Grade II* listed building[4] and a scheduled monument.[5]

Sir Henry Marten, a 17th-century judge of the Admiralty Court, and his son, Henry Marten, the regicide, lived at Longworth House.[6][7]The Old Rectory at Longworth was the birthplace on 7 June 1825 of the novelist R. D. Blackmore, author of Lorna Doone, whose father was briefly curate-in-charge of the parish.[8]

Harrowdown Hill is where biological warfare expert David Kelly died in 2003 during the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction controversy.[9] This gave rise to a public enquiry concluded by the Hutton Report, and to the title of Thom Yorke's song Harrowdown Hill, which questioned the UK Government's handling of the matter.


Longworth has a County Primary school.[10]

Bus route 63 links Longworth with Oxford from Monday to Saturday via the villages of Southmoor, Hinton Waldrist, Appleton, Eaton and Cumnor. It is currently run by Thames Travel under contract to Oxfordshire County Council.

Public houses[edit]

The Blue Boar public house

There is a pub, the Blue Boar,[11] in the village. The Lamb and Flag about 1 14 miles (2 km) south-west of the village was in the parish until boundary changes in 2011 transferred it to Kingston Bagpuize with Southmoor. The same boundary changes resulted in the Maybush Inn at Newbridge being incorporated into the parish boundaries. The Blue Boar is late 17th-century and has a thatched roof.[12]

On the Blue Boar pub sign, the white boar and the white rose on the pennant are symbols of King Richard III. The blue boar was the personal badge of the De Vere family, who were the Earls of Oxford. It is claimed[clarification needed] that when Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, any White Boar pub signs were quickly repainted as Blue Boars, as an acknowledgement that the white boar was dead and the blue boar had prevailed.[citation needed]

Blue Boar RFC[edit]

Blue Boar Rugby Football Club[13] is based at the Blue Boar pub in Longworth. It normally plays home games at the Oxford R.F.C. ground.

The club played its first game of rugby in March 1977, as a result of a challenge by staff of Blackwells Bookshop in Oxford. In the following season several more matches were arranged against local sides and the club affiliated to the Oxfordshire Rugby Football Union. The number of fixtures and strength of opposition increased in subsequent years, and in May 1981 the club was elected to the Rugby Football Union.

In September 1980 the club made its first tour of Cornwall, followed by further visits in 1987, 1988 and 1989. It made its first foreign tour in 1981, when a party of 35 players and supporters went to Brittany and returned there a year later. In 1991 the club was the first English RFU club to make an official tour of Hungary, hosted by the Hungarian Rugby Union.

The club reached the final of the Oxfordshire Knockout Cup Plate competition in the 2003–04 and 2008–09 seasons.


Sources and further reading[edit]

Stone gazebo in the garden of Longworth Manor (centre left), with the manor house in the background (centre right)

External links[edit]