Tucked away on the north east edge of the village, the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Kidlington is a magnificent architectural gem.
St Mary’s Kidlington is a holy space where people have prayed for over eight hundred years. The spire of the church is visible for many miles around as a sign of the active Christian community there.
The mellow limestone church seen today dates from 1220, when a new church was built on the site of a smaller Saxon church. There are many fascinating features inside, including a superb collection of ancient woodwork.
In medieval times, much of Kidlington was under the control of Osney Abbey in Oxford, and it was masons from Osney who built St Mary’s. The church was designed in the shape of a cross, with a nave for parishioners, a chancel for monks, two transepts and a low tower.
Many of the features date from the 14th century, when Thomas of Kidlington, who became Abbot of Osney in 1330, remodelled the church. The spire was added in the 15th century.
St Mary’s is well known for its fine peal of eight bells, but for many years, the church had six bells like Osney Abbey (hence the name of the Six Bells pub on Mill Street).
Two new bells were added in 1895, and two years later, the eight bells gained a national reputation when the ringers rang a record peal of 17,024 changes in 11 hours and 15 minutes without a break. Many memorable peals have been rung since then.
The regular congregation is active and creative in their attitude to worship, using the Common Worship services in a flexible way. Most services are eucharistic, vestments are worn, and there is a lot of lay participation.
The refectory to the rear of St Mary’s Kidlington is available for hire. Kindly contact the parish office for more details. The church is also well-used for concerts and community events.
The Baby and Toddler Group meets in the refectory at the rear of the church on Thursdays from 9.30am until 11.00am for parents, grandparents and carers to bring little ones for a fun busy morning.