All Saints - Great Bourton, Oxfordshire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 06.369 W 001° 20.101
30U E 614027 N 5774152
Quick Description: Medieval church of All Saints, Great Bourton.
Location: South East England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/19/2020 12:00:20 AM
Waymark Code: WM12FY2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 0

Long Description:
"Architectural evidence shows that Bourton church was in existence in the 13th century. In 1279 reference was made to Gilbert, son of the clerk of Bourton. Until it fell out of use in the 16th century, and again from its revival in 1863 until 1872, the church was dependent on the mother church of Cropredy; in 1872 Bourton was constituted a separate vicarage; from 1928 to 1956 the living was held in plurality with Cropredy; and in 1956 the benefices of Bourton and Cropredy were united.

In the Middle Ages Bourton may have been considered inferior in status to the other daughter churches of Cropredy, for in 1489 Richard Danvers left bequests to the churches of Claydon, Mollington, and Wardington, but to the chapel only of Bourton; in Roger Lupton's bequest of 1512 the churchwardens of Cropredy and Bourton were coupled together; and in the 1526 subsidy, Bourton alone was not separately mentioned under Cropredy, and was probably served by the curate or possibly the second priest named under Cropredy itself. The chapelry had its own curate, however, in 1545. No reference has been found to a burial ground at Bourton.

It seems that regular services ceased to be held there at or soon after the Reformation, and that the chapel was desecrated. No mention is made of the chapel in a deed concerning the three other chapels of Cropredy in 1564. Entries for Bourton appear in Cropredy parish registers as early as 1542, and (more significant) in 1544 four churchwardens appear at Cropredy, of which two are likely to have been from Bourton, as in later times. In 1549 the chapel was granted to Thomas Hawkins alias Fisher, and was subsequently used, with the permission of a group of trustees, for various purposes, including a school and a vestry room. In spite of the recollection of Walter Gostelow of Prescote that in his youth (c. 1620) Cropredy had four great churches and one little chapel of ease (i.e. Bourton) it seems clear that by then the chapel had ceased to be used. In the 17th-century peculiar court the Bourton churchwardens usually made presentments with the churchwardens of Cropredy. References to the parish church and even to the 'parish church of Bourton' in 1619 and 1621 presumably refer to the church of Cropredy itself. When the churchwardens of Cropredy and of Great and Little Bourton presented their clerk in 1620 for reading divine services without being licensed, they were probably presenting the parish clerk of Cropredy.

For three hundred years the churchgoers from Bourton used the north aisle in Cropredy church; they paid a half share of the expenses incurred by Cropredy church (in 1611 there is a reference to a yearly contribution of straw), and received a half share of the Cropredy Bell Land profits. They continued to maintain their own churchwardens, and in 1830 the Bourton villagers gave notice that they would pay no bills for their share of repairs to Cropredy church unless their churchwardens approved them.

In the mid 19th century an effort was made to revive services at Bourton. From 1850 the chancel of the former chapel, which served as a schoolroom, was used, with the bishop's consent, for a Sunday evening 'lecture' by the curate of Cropredy; but the chapel remained unconsecrated, though the school moved elsewhere in 1854. The Anglican church needed to assert itself to stem the advances made by nonconformity in the village. At a poorly attended public meeting in 1861 it was agreed by seven votes to three to build a church and exchange land with the trustees of Bourton poor for a churchyard. The vicar, Hoste, was active in raising money both from the parish and outside. The original scheme to build a new church was changed and the old chapel was rebuilt and consecrated in 1863.

The chapel was served by the Vicar of Cropredy and his curate. Bishop Wilberforce (quoting Hoste) wrote in 1865: 'I am sure that if we took the field there in force with a resident incumbent and parsonage, the position of the Church would be immensely strengthened.' In 1866 Hoste purchased a site with £500 given by his curate, C. Cubitt, and in appealing to the Church Commissioners for help stressed his anxiety lest the proximity of Banbury, 'a hotbed of dissent', should affect Bourton. He appealed to Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1868, stressing the need for 'the permanence of the ministry in that quarter', and to the Diocesan Church Building Society in 1869, when he claimed that the value of land in the area had risen some 15 per cent, since the rebuilding of the church and the 'consequent improvement in the parish'. With the help of subscriptions Hoste was able to build a parsonage in 1869; it cost about £1,000, but the Vicar of Bourton, Alfred Highton, found it inadequate and 'perfectly mad', for it was built for a bachelor. It was sold in 1955.

The living created in 1872 was in the gift of the Bishop of Oxford. Its endowment was meagre, consisting mainly of £33 6s. 8½d. yearly granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners on a mortgage of the glebe house, and £25 yearly provided, at the bishop's request, by the Vicar of Cropredy. The latter payment ceased when in 1877 the Commissioners endowed the living with a further £264.

Hoste's curate, Cubitt, became the first Vicar of Bourton, but resigned in a year. In 1878 his successor, Highton, was holding two services with sermons on Sunday, administered the Sacrament monthly and at great festivals to nearly 40 communicants, but noted that church attendance was static; half the parish was habitually absent, and a quarter were professed dissenters. He catechized every Sunday at Sunday school, where he was helped by five voluntary teachers, gave religious instruction twice a week in school, and gave cottage lectures in Lent and Advent. Perhaps as a result of the labours of Hoste and the 19th-century vicars of Bourton, the village, once a centre of dissent, came to be regarded as a 'Church' village.

The church of ALL SAINTS is a small stone building of 13th-century origin, consisting of a nave, chancel, north aisle, and south porch. In 1852 the chancel arch was walled up, the chancel was used as a schoolroom, the nave was a dwelling-house for the schoolmaster, and part of the building was used as a grocer's shop. In 1862–3 the church was restored by William White, architect, and the north aisle was added to his designs. Wilberforce thought it a good restoration of the old chapel. The rebuilding cost £900. The churchyard wall was constructed between 1877 and 1880 and the detached Gothic campanile, Bourton's principal architectural ornament, consisting of a gabled timber belfry standing on a vaulted gateway, was built at the south-west corner of the churchyard.

The glass in the east window is a memorial to Mary Ann Gunn (d. 1862), that in the south window to the Revd. Alfred Highton (d. 1906). The small bell housed in a recess in the west wall of the nave was made in 1673 by Henry Bagley. The larger bell in the campanile was supplied by Messrs. Smith and Sons of Clerkenwell, clockmakers, who also made and fixed the clock. Electric light was installed in 1934, and electric heaters in 1957. The wooden partition dividing the vestry from the church dates from 1935. The slates on the chancel roof were replaced by concrete tiles in 1954–5.

Bourton's share of the proceeds of Cropredy's 'Bell Land' amounted to £16 a year in the early 19th century, and was used partly to pay for ringing the Cropredy church bell, the remainder in aid of the church rate.

The Bourton register of baptisms begins in 1863, of burials in 1864, and of marriages in 1872."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Building Materials: Stone

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