The Church of St. Nicholas, Emmington

Ambrosden church

St. Nicholas' Church in Emmington is a small stone building dating mainly from the 19th century. It comprises a chancel, nave, and 14th-century tower. Before they were rebuilt in 1873–4 the have and chancel appear also to have been substantially of the 14th century, but in the course of demolition the architect found what he believed to be 'relics of Norman masonry worked in the walls', thus suggesting 'that an earlier church stood on the same spot'. Buckler's drawing of 1822 from the south-east shows that the east window of three lights had early Decorated tracery and that there were two windows of the same date in the south wall of the chancel. The tower of two stages had a steeply pitched saddle-back roof. The nave roof was of a slightly lower level than that of the chancel. The round font on a moulded circular base appears to date from the 13th century. 

The windows were once filled with stained glass. At the herald's visitation of 1574 Lee recorded sixteen shields in five windows, bearing the arms of Malyns, Sackville, De la Beche, Hampden, and others. Neither Wood nor Rawlinson has left any description, and the archdeacon's orders of 1759 are the only surviving record of the church in the 18th century. A new reading-desk and pulpit were to be made partly out of the old material, the king's arms were to be painted over the door into the belfry and of a smaller compass, and the Creed, Lord's Prayer, Commandments, and texts were also to be painted. 

Repairs to the church and chancel were carried out in 1802–3 and 1841, but their state in 1852 was nevertheless described as 'very dilapidated'. 

In 1873–4 the church was rebuilt on the old foundation except for the north wall of the nave and the exterior of the tower. It has an open timber roof and tiled floor. The architect of the chancel was Charles Buckeridge of Oxford and London and the builder was Giles Holland of Thame. The cost, including that of the interior fittings, was £952. Herbert Wykeham of Tythrop House bore the cost of rebuilding the nave and the rector mainly paid for the chancel. The new woodwork to the interior of the tower and the rehanging of the bells was paid for by the three farmers of the parish, all of the North family. When completed the church seated 120, as it had done before its restoration. It is still (1958) lit by lamps and candles.

The armorial glass had evidently been removed before Parker's visit in about 1850, and no other ancient monuments or church fittings remain. A carved reredos of the Ascension in memory of the Revd. Greville H. Lambert was dedicated in 1908. There are memorial tablets to Thomas D. Crowdy, who died in the First World War, and to the Revd. Leonard Baldwyn (d. 1935). An oak reading-desk was installed as a memorial to four parishioners who died in the First World War.

In 1553 the only church plate was a chalice without a cover. In 1958 there were a silver chalice, without a paten cover, of 1575, and a silver paten of 1873. In 1553 there were three bells and in 1958 there were still three bells: the second of about 1550 by one of the Appowells of Buckingham, the tenor of 1584, and the treble of 1664. There was also a sanctus bell of 1723. 

The registers date from 1539, but there is a gap between about 1640 and 1715. There are churchwardens' accounts for 1818–70 and 1874

Historical information about St. Nicholas' Church is provided by 'Parishes: Emmington', in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 8, Lewknor and Pyrton Hundreds, ed. Mary D Lobel (London, 1964), pp. 91-98. British History Online [accessed 20 March 2023].

St. Nicholas' Church is a Grade II* listed building. For more information about the listing see CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS, Chinnor - 1368901 | Historic England.

For more information about St. Nicholas' Church see Parishes: Emmington | British History Online (