Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire
St Leonard's Church, Woodcote, Langtree Team Ministry 450

St Leonard’s Church, Woodcote

St Leonard’s Church, Woodcote – Church History

Woodcote was originally part of the parish of South Stoke which in the eleventh century was given to Eynsham Abbey and subsequently granted as an endowment to Christ Church Oxford. In 1406 records mention a payment for repair at St Leonard’s.
The pre-1846 building was a chapel of ease, probably of Norman origin. In the 1590’s a few special services were held there but Woodcote inhabitants had to attend South Stoke church four times a year. There were attempts in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries to have Woodcote made into a separate ecclesiastical parish but this was only achieved in 1981 prior to the formation of the Langtree Team Ministry.

The Victorian Building

Woodcote Church Photo Gallery
St Leonard’s Church, Woodcote

This pretty village church was rebuilt in flint in 1845-6 at a cost of £1,108 at the instigation of the Revd. Philip Nind to the design of Mr Underwood of Oxford. Some of the original external walls of the chancel and apse may have been incorporated into the new building. The Bishop of Oxford, ‘Soapy Sam’ Wilberforce, preached at the reconsecration in April 1846.

The chancel windows are by James Powell and Sons of Whitefriars Glass and the nave contains memorial windows to members of the Ferguson family. There are several brasses to members of the Nind family, two of whom were vicars of the parish from 1844 -1936.  The tomb of the Revd. Philip Nind is in the churchyard along with those commemorating members of the Haines family, who were local landowners and farmers, and a 1780 memorial to John Clarkson.

A bell tower in an open western turret contains a bell some 3 inches thick and weighing half a ton. There is a

Pulpit stair rail, St Leonard's Church, WoodcoteChurch Photo Gallery
Pulpit, St Leonard’s Church, Woodcote

small neat gallery at the west end of the church, a stone pulpit and font both of which are decorated with illuminated text. Wooden rafters support the roof, bearing shields depicting the four apostles. Just outside the porch is a bowl thought to be a Norman pillar piscina.  The churchyard has a peaceful Garden of Remembrance and spring and early summer find the churchyard at its best with a colourful array of flowers flourishing on its grassy slopes.

20th Century

In 1982 the PCC began conservation management in the churchyard and by 1994 certain parts, mainly in the south-east corner, were designated wildlife conservation areas. Careful management of these areas has allowed older chalkland grasses and flowers to flourish and at one time over 170 different species could be found, as well as a haven for field mice, frogs and hedgehogs.
St Leonard’s is open every day and a detailed history is available in the church.

Our Services

8 a.m. Holy Communion (weekly)
A service without hymns or a sermon, in traditional language.
9.45 a.m. Parish Communion (1st and 4th Sundays)
Common Worship Holy Communion with hymns and music.
9.45 a.m. Worshipping Together (monthly on the 2nd Sunday)
A service with hymns, readings, and a sermon; often jointly lead with a Methodist Minister.
9.45 a.m. The Open Door (monthly on the 3rd Sunday).  A service for all ages with music, readings, and an
interactive reflection; particularly suitable for people new to church, those wanting to
learn about the Christian Faith, and those who enjoy a less formal approach to worship.
Messy Church Sunday afternoon in the Village Hall 3-4 times a year
A fun afternoon of crafts, music, games and general fun for families. We share in worship and finish with wonderful tea and cakes.
Dates are given in the Woodcote Correspondent and in the Church Diary
Children are welcome at all our services. We have a small play area for little ones. Coffee is served after all our 9.45 a.m. services. We have a strong tradition and commitment to welcome and hospitality – do come and see us!  The one thing we regrettably don’t have is a toilet – but we are working on that!
Parish Records are stored at the Oxfordshire Record Office, St Luke’s Church, Temple Road, Cowley, Oxford OX4 2HT Tel 01865 398200.

Church Contact Details:

Contact: Revd David Benskin
Church Address:  St Leonards Church, South Stoke Road, Woodcote RG8 0PG, UK
Tel: 07586419488

Woodcote Contacts and Links

Village Website:
St Leonard’s Church, Woodcote is also on Facebook – click to see our news.
You can also find us in the national directory for Church of England parishes:
A full gallery of images for this church can be found at this link.