History of the Church

A Short History of the Church

Please click here to download a Short History of the Church.

Churchyard Plan

Please click here to view a plan of the graves in the 20th century section of the churchyard.

Church and Churchyard Monumental Inscriptions

Please visit our churchyard recording websiteThis contains photographs and transcripts of
the inscriptions of all of the in-church and churchyard monuments.

the inscriptions of all of the in-church and churchyard monuments.the inscriptions of all of the in-church and churchyard monuments.

There is also a site (here) containing a survey of the inscriptions (graffiti) on the lead roof of the tower. This was compiled to preserve them for the future, since it is intended to replace the tower roof lead in 2023. The lead has been there for nearly 150 years, and has accumulated a large number of graffiti.

St Mary's contains many treasures - here are just a few

o  The Mynheer Polyptych - read this article by Victoria Emily Jones discussing the symbology of the modern seven-scene painting in the Wilcote Chapel.

o  Ernest Gimson's altar reredos - fine oak panelling behind the altar -  it may be quietly unassuming, but this is an outstanding piece of work by a designer of the "arts and crafts" movement with a world class reputation. 
o  Silver communion tankards of 1717. Kept for reasons of security in the Oxford Cathedral Treasury. Seen here on a rare visit to the church under the monument to their donor, James Perrott.                       

o The Gask Reredos incorporates fine tapestry scenes by Miss May Gask embroidered in the 1930s.

o Four grotesque carvings decorate the corbels supporting the nave roof. 

The Record of Church Furnishings was compiled in 1994

 See the following documents:

 Title PageContentsMemorialsMetalworkStonework,


History of the Wilcote Chapel

"Death and Representation in the 15th Century",  by Kate Heard, which describes the history of the Wilcote Chapel and the significance of the architectural styles it uses.

The monument on the south wall of the Wilcote chapel commemorates William Lenthall, of Wilcote (d.1549), his wife Francis, and their four sons and four daughters.

His second son, William, was to become famous as the Speaker in the House of Commons, when in 1642 he clashed with King Charles I who had come to apprehend some 'disruptive' members. It is quite likely that this episode led to this monument being vandalised during the time of the Commonwealth. This portrait shows Speaker Lenthall with his family in 1642.

A nineteenth century vicar...

Read the story of the Rev Benjamin Churchill, who was the vicar of North Leigh from 1810 to 1838.

The Church Choir 1951/1952

Here is an annotated photograph of the church choir of 1951-2 when there were 31 members.

Some old North Leigh personalities...

The story of some old North Leigh personalities from times gone by.

For additional information about the history of the church, please email here.