Great Haseley Church

The Church of St. Peter in Great Haseley, Oxfordshire, dates mostly from the 13th and 14th centuries and includes some fine Early English and Decorated features.


History of Great Haseley Church

Great Haseley's church was probably built in the Norman period, around 1200 AD, although the exceptionally long nave may be evidence of an earlier church, which used the fourth bay as a chancel.

The west door and nave arcades are the only survivors of the Norman period; the remainder dates from the 13th and 14th centuries.

The present chancel was added by an unknown benefactor in the late 13th century. Robert de Gaston, Abbot of Abingdon who died in Great Haseley, has been suggested. He died in 1331, so the work would have had to start during his lifetime. The chancel was restored in 1897 by Thomas Garner.

What to See at Great Haseley Church

The plan of Great Haseley church consists of a long nave with south aisle, a large embattled tower at the west, large chancel at the east and south porch. Entrance is via the west door. There is a single distinguishable gargoyle on the exterior; above the drain at the west end of the south aisle.

The fine west door dates from about 1200 AD and represents the end of the Transitional period between Norman and Early English Gothic. It consists of a pointed arch with three orders of roll-molding and a band of dog tooth. The jamb shafts have well-worn, stiff-leaf capitals.

The nave has three-bay arcades from c.1200, also products of the Transitional period but retaining more Norman features than the west door, including the large square projecting abaci and capitals with stiff-leaf and flat upright leaves. The pointed arches with roll-moldings are more characteristic of Early English.

A fourth bay at the east end of either side of the nave is 14th-century and has an arch of two chamfered orders and irregular hexagonal piers. This bay may have formed the chancel of a pre-Norman church, since four bays is otherwise exceptionally long for a nave.

The tower arch to the nave is High Perpendicular Gothic (c.1400). The clerestory, roof, and NE chapel are all Perpendicular Gothic (c.1350-1530).

The large chancel is Early Decorated (late 13th century) and of very high quality. Along the south wall are the sedilia, piscina and founder's tomb, all with cusped arches divided by pinnacles. Over two of the arches are crocked gables with finials. The tomb recess is unusual, cusped and sub-cusped forming a series of trefoils.

The windows of the chancel are late 13th-century with geometrical tracery. The north and south chancel windows have a uniform design: two lights with trefoils and a quatrefoil. Over the windows is a continuous hood and above this is a frieze of ballflower and quatrefoils.

The great east window is Decorated and has five lights and spherical triangles enclosed in a circle in the head. Along the windowsill is the battlemented cresting of the original reredos.

Two windows at the west end of the south aisle are by Charles Gibbs, 1872. There are medieval tiles on the walls also at the west end of the south aisle. Further east in the south aisle is a row of three tomb recesses with cinquefoiled arches.

Among the many monuments in the church are:

Quick Facts on Great Haseley Church

Site Information
Names:Church of St Peter · Great Haseley Church
Categories:parish churches; Grade I listed buildings
Styles:Decorated Gothic style; Perpendicular Gothic style; Gothic; Early Decorated
Dates:c. 1200-1400
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:51.710292° N, 1.068892° W
Address:Great Haseley, England
Lodging:View hotels near Great Haseley Church
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Personal visit (September 24, 2007)
  2. Nikolaus Pevsner and Jennifer Sherwood, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Yale University Press, 2002), 618-19.

More Information

West front of Great Haseley parish church. © Holly Hayes
View from the southwest in September. © Holly Hayes
Well-worn Romanesque capitals of the west door. © Holly Hayes
South side of the tower. © Holly Hayes
View from the south. © Holly Hayes
View from the southeast. © Holly Hayes
Tombstones of the churchyard, near the south porch. © Holly Hayes
Priest's door on the south side. © Holly Hayes
West front of Great Haseley Church from outside the gates. © Holly Hayes
Great Haseley church and the 17th-century manor house next door. © Holly Hayes

Map of Great Haseley Church

Below is a location map and aerial view of Great Haseley Church. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.