Taynton, St John the Evangelist Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Taynton is located at the western extreme of Oxfordshire, just a mile from the market town of Burford, at the edge of the Cotswolds. Tucked away down a quiet lane is the parish church of St John the Evangelist.
Taynton Stone has been quarried here since early medieval times at least. During the Middle Ages it was highly prized, and used by almost every church with 20 miles of Taynton, and quite a few further afield. Many of the colleges and churches of Oxford used Taynton Stone. Sir Christopher Wren used Taynton Stone in most of his London churches, and to make sure that the stone was properly carved for St Pauls Cathedral he hired his Master Mason from Taynton.
The manor of Taynton once belonged to Tewkesbury Abbey, but at the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was bought by Edmund Harman, and the Harman family vault is under the south aisle. The church informational booklet lists a series of ordinances drawn up by Edmund Harman to keep order amongst his tenants. These are well worth reading for the picture they paint of daily life in the Tudor period. For example, Harman declared
It is ordained that none shall tye their horses or mares in ye cornfoieldes untyl harvist is endyd every yearAnd also
That the miller take not his toll more than he ought to have.The Font
The font is a marvel; an octagonal bowl with kneeling angels at each corner, and between them figures of beasts, Evangelists, and a mermaid. Beneath this layer of figures is another layer with eight figures of men with their hands on their knees. See our photo gallery for a look at the carving in detail.
Other Heritage Highlights
Over the south door is a beautifully carved and painted royal coat of arms. These have been dated to the period 1714 - 1801. Also on the south wall is a white stone memorial to Thomas Sumner, dated 1624. Against the south wall is a simple oaken parish chest, carved with the date 1609. The wooden roof is decorated with gilded rosettes and a central coiled serpent figure. Finally, in the churchyard are several excellent examples of 18th century table tombs, and the gravestone of Admiral Thomas Gilbert (d. 1902), ornamented with naval scenes.
If you have time, do take a few minutes to stroll about Taynton village; its a peaceful place, with some very enjoyable older buildings of local stone.
Address: Church Lane, Taynton, Cotswolds, Oxfordshire, England
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Photo Credit: David Ross
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Historic Time Periods:
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15th century (Time Period) - 18th century (Time Period) - Christopher Wren (Person) - Decorated (Architecture) - Henry VI (Person) - Medieval (Time Period) - Perpendicular (Architecture) - Tudor (Time Period) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Burford, St John the Baptist - 1.4 miles (Historic Church)
Great Barrington, St Mary's - 1.6 miles (Historic Church)
Little Barrington, St Peter's Church - 1.8 miles (Historic Church)
Widford, St Oswald's Church - 2.6 miles (Historic Church)
Swinbrook, St Mary the Virgin - 2.9 miles (Historic Church)
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Manor House - 3.3 miles (Garden)
Great Rissington, St John the Baptist - 3.4 miles (Historic Church)
Asthall, St Nicholas Church - 3.5 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Taynton: