Saturday, 18 October 2014

St Margaret Mapeldurham

St Margaret Mapeldurham a small church which sits on the edge of the village of Mapledurham beside the River Thames, the church also backs on the Mapledurham House which is a n Elizabethan Stately Home. Getting to the village entails driving along some narrow treacherous country lanes in South Oxfordshire. Some some of you might recognise the place was used for a film set in the Eagle Has Landed and the church featured heavily in the film. The church was build during the 14th & 15th century's and restored in 1863 by Gothic Revivalist architect  William Butterfield 

The entrance to the churchyard is through these gates on which either side is a stone plaque commemorating the fallen in the Wars
 St Margret's Church

These two photos are screen captures I found on an image search

The church can clearly be seen in the background. Michael Cane who was in the film only lived down the road (or river) at South Stoke though he has moved now.

The church tower with a mixture of brick & flint giving a checker board look. The clock is dated 1832
 View of the south side of the church with the south aisle which is closed

The entrance porch and south aisle

View of the north side of the church with the belltower to the right

 Heading in the church you can stop off and read about the making of the Eagle had Landed
I've not read the little notice above but this plaque looks like it commemorates the clock you see on the side of the church. The WR on the face gives it away as he gave 100 quid towards it though I note the vicar did not get a mention on it and he sourced £143.

 Inside you can see a wonderful looking church looking very light as you view down the nave

Here we look into the chancel

going into the chancel provides you a view the altar
and rather stunning stained glass chancel window

On either side of the chancel is more stained glass

Not to mention this beautiful memorial to Sir Frank Rose Bart killed in action on October 26th 1914 at the first battle of Ypres

Looking back from the chancel to the nave


 The church organ is just off the chancel in the north aisle
where if you look you can see more superb stained glass hidden from view

This beautiful one is easy to miss

Between the nave and south aisle is this tomb chest with  wonderful effigies on top. You can read about the south aisle and effigies in the note on the right

Some superb craftsmanship went into carving these effigies  it's just a shame the dedication and painting along the side is not easy to read due to the railings put up round them.

looking over is the south aisle which has not been used since the reformation as it is considered property of the catholic owners of Mapledurham house

you can see some beautiful memorials and stained glass and there is more hidden out of sight round the corner

Going round the church other things worth looking at is the war memorial in the corner of the nave

 While you were in the chancel take a look at the ceiling it painted most impressively

While the pulpit is probably carve during the restoration the font looks much older

Flowers always make a nice feature in any church

 This part of the churchyard is relatively new

You can find three wargraves round the churchyard dating from the first war

At the far end of  the churchyard you can see the graves of the Blount Family
 This one I think is the oldest one
 I noticed this on the wall of one of the buildings from the house that faces the churchyard

 This Tomb is under a Yew tree

There is mixture of old an new headstones and tombs around the churchyard that are worth a moment to stop and look at while you are there
Some are broken and the flora getting overgrown but the churchyard is well kept and tidy

I hope you have enjoyed your visit
Since writing this blog I have had the chance to visit the house and the Catholic chapel unfortunately as photography was no allowed in the house I could not get a photo of the chapel but I can tell you it is worth a visit if you get the chance.


  1. I've been intending to visit this village for years but never seem to think of it when the water mill is going . But now I know it's such a fabulous church I will go next time I am in the area ... And I'm quite often not far away. Butter field had a bit of a tendency to knock down the old but it has worked this time. he was suCh a good architect.

  2. Hi Bill,
    Once again you have a wonderful treat for us. I find the combination of stone and brick to be very interesting. Thanks for sharing this. Tom The Backroads Traveller

  3. i hope one day to get there. i love the clock tower & that brick design ... so cool. what a unique way. have a great day!! ( :

  4. Gorgeous old church. Love the flint and stone construction. The interior is just wonderful! Love that the movie was filmed there...I'm going to have to watch it again! Wonderful post!

  5. I love the checkerboard brickwork and your interior shots are wonderful!

  6. Wow, wonderful church and the fantastic graveyard.

  7. Wow, what an incredible place. Love the mix of brick and flint - very unusual. The inside is amazing with the painted ceiling and the stone memorials are amazing.

  8. A real surprise going inside after the outside being quite traditional, very light and bright. There are some wonderful sights in here.


  9. Great post, Bill. As usual, an excellent tour beautifully photographed. I was there once, but can't remember anything about it and didn't know about the film; not a lot of people know that (sorry, couldn't resist). Another absolute must for my site sometime!!

  10. More than enjoyed Bill, savoured :) You take the most amazing detail shots of these wonderful old beauties.. so glad you didn't miss the two lavender floral windows, sublime. The Eagle Has Landed is such a classic, one of my husbands favourite old movies.