Ringing at St Matthew, Langford

6 bells (8-2-25). Stairs.

GL7 3LG. (Locate using  Google Map or  OS Map or  OpenStreetMap).

Practice: Tuesday 19:30 – Not regular.

Sunday: Monthly family service

About us

St Matthew’s Church, Langford

The church was established as a chapelry of the Anglo-Saxon minster of St. Mary’s, Bampton. Later in the Anglo-Saxon era Langford was elevated to a minster with its own dependent chapels at Grafton and Radcot. Both chapels are long gone, but Grafton and Radcot hamlets remain parts of Langford’s ecclesiastical parish.

Langford was part of the Diocese of Lincoln until the Diocese of Oxford was established under Henry VIII in 1541. Despite becoming part of the new diocese, Langford remained a prebend of Lincoln Cathedral until 1848, when the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1840 ceded all prebendal estates in England to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The church at Langford was formerly dedicated to St. Mary. It was later rededicated to its current patron, St. Matthew.

The oldest parts of the present church at Langford are the bell tower and nave, which were built in the second half of the 11th century. They may post-date the Norman conquest of England, but they are very high quality work by Anglo-Saxon masons and are the most important Anglo-Saxon remains in Oxfordshire.

The north and south aisles were added in about 1200 and the south porch in the 13th century, all in the Early English Gothic style. The west walls of the nave and two aisles each have a 13th-century lancet window. At one time the porch had two storeys. The upper storey has since been removed, but its blocked doorway and the outline of its stairs are still visible inside the south aisle.

The porch includes two Anglo-Saxon stone rood reliefs, but they are repositioned and their original sites are not known. The one on the east wall of the porch is 8th century and has lost its head. The one on the south gable of the porch is 10th century and has been assembled with Christ’s left and right arms swapped over and the figures of Saint Mary and Saint John the Evangelist also transposed.

About us

The Bells

No one knows of the exact arrangement before the mid 18th century however it is presumed that the bells have sounded out from this tower for many centuries perhaps dating back to the 11th century.

The tower held 5 bells on an Oak wooden frame which were believed to have been timbers salvaged from a ship. The roof of the ringing chamber is supported by ships timbers and oak beams which show evidence of having been cut for some previous purpose. Sydney Reading of rectory Farm was Chairman of the Parish Council from 1921-48 and Church Warden until his death in 1949, an event which seems to have prompted some action to repair the ailing bells and their frame and in 1953 a steel frame was created with the addition of a new treble bell.

There are now six bells in the tower, four were cast in 1741 by Henry Bagley who at the time had a foundry in Witney.

The tenor (6) and treble (1) were cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1953.

About us

Details and inscriptions of the bells

TREBLE (F♯):

3-3-17 c.w.t.

Forget all his benefits, in memory of Sydney Reading 1879-1949 Church Warden for 30 years.

Mears & Stainbank

1953

2 (E):

4-3-8 c.w.t.

Stephen Trinder Loveden Boucher: Church Wardens HB 1741

Henry III Bagley

1741

3 (D):

4-3-16 c.w.t.

Stephen Trinder Loveden Boucher CW H Bagley Made Mee (scroll) 1741

Henry III Bagley

1741

About us

Details and inscriptions of the bells

4 (C♯):

5-1-7 c.w.t

Unto the Lord Lift up yovr (scroll) and in his name let us rejoice (scroll) H B 1741

Henry III Bagley

1741

5 (B):

6-3-0 c.w.t.

Henry III Bagley

1741

Tenor (A):

8-2-25 c.w.t.

Stephen Trinder Loveden Boucher: Church Wardens H B 1741

Mears & Stainbank

1953

Langford Gallery

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