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St. James, Fulbrook, Oxon
Chipping Norton branch of the ODG
St. James, Fulbrook
St. James, Fulbrook ©BJC December 2004
Dedication: St. James, Fulbrook

Service Ringing: Sun 9.00 (not 1st)

Practice night: Friday 7.30pm (1st)

Availability and Restrictions One visiting band per month; no peals nor quarters.

The Bells (6) 4-0-13

Access to ringing chamber: Inside via the vestry, from rear of nave. Step ladder with 15 paddle steps, good handrail support.

Fulbrook bells in workshop
The Fulbrook bells in Whites workshop in 2004. ©KMC 8 Jun 2004

Prior to 2004 there were 3 bells in St. James’ tower. The two heaviest of these were retained to make the 5th and Tenor of the new ring of 6; these are the 2 largest bells with canon retaining headstocks in the centre of the photo above. The new 4th is on the left of that row. The old treble was also by Edward Neale of the Burford foundry but had been heavily ‘skirted’, ruining its tone. This bell is now in Burford Church, north aisle, beside 2 other Neale bells, previously hung in Burford belfry, and close to the wall-mount of the memorial tablet to Neale‘s wife.

The new third is an ex-Trinity House buoy bell found by the Keltek Trust, this can be seen on the right at the back with a brownish tinge presumably from immersion in sea water. The headstocks of the two new trebles can just be glimpsed behind the new pulleys and other fittings.

Whites of Appleton made a new metal frame and rehung the bells in July 2004 following building work to install the new ringing floor. (The ring of 3 was rung from the vestry on the ground floor). We thank Brian White for supplying the data about the bell weights, diameters and strike notes in the table below and allowing us to photograph the bells in his workshop. The dates of casting of the old bells are recorded in the inscriptions with the founders initials. Kate and David Crennell transcribed the inscriptions in 2004.

A ring of 6; tenor 4-0-13 tuned to C
Bell Weight
Diameter Strike
Founder Foundry
Treble 2-0-22 21 A 2003 Whitechapel Foundry London [border]
on the sound bow

2 2-1-05 22 G 2003 Whitechapel Foundry London [border as treble]
1911 - 2003
on the sound bow
3 2-3-02 23½ F 1968 Taylor Loughborough TRINITY HOUSE LONDON
on the back
19 [TAYLOR] 68
4 3-0-05 28½ E 2003 Whitechapel Foundry London [border on 4]
1943 - 2002
5 3-2-00 27½ D 1732 Henry Bagley III Witney WILLIAM    PATRICK    WILLIAM GARDNER C WARDENS H    B    MA    MAJ732
Tenor 4-0-13 293/8 C 1662 Edward Neale Burford THOMAS   :   IORDEN   :   AND   :   WILLIAM   :   CRIPES   :   CHVRCH = WARDENS   :   E[C13]N 1662   :  
Sanctus 0-2-0     1649 Edward Neale Burford THOMAS   :   IORDEN   :   AND   :   JOHN   :   BARTHOLOMEW   :   CHVRCHWARDENS   :   1649   :  


  1. 1,2 and 4 were cast by the Whitechapel foundry in 2003. They all have a border and 2 inscriptions. The one on the front is listed in the table above; that on the back is the same for all of them.

    Just below the border and inscription band:
    and lower down the casting the date is in 2 parts, with the Founders mark between them and below that the word:

    inscription on the back
    The back of one of the bells cast in 2003.©KMC 8 Jun 2004
    border bells 4
    Detail of the border on bell 4.©KMC 8 Jun 2004

      section of border bells 1,2
    Detail of the border on the two new trebles.©KMC 8 Jun 2004

  2. An article by David Kelly of the Keltek Trust describing 'Trinity House bells' was published in 'The Ringing World' on Oct 24 2003 p1013.
    inscription on Trinity House buoy bell
    The inscription on the Trinity House buoy bell. ©KMC 8 Jun 2004

    Founders mark on Trinity House buoy bell
    Founders mark on the Trinity House buoy bell. ©KMC 8 Jun 2004

The village of Fulbrook is ¾ mile north east of Burford, overlooking Burford and the Windrush valley.


The Church was built in the Norman period and shows traces of earlier Saxon work in the herring-bone external walling on the south side of the Nave. The North Aisle was added in about 1200.

The Porch, which dates from the late 13th Century, makes a lovely canopied entrance with its deeply moulded arches. It stands before a fine Norman doorway. There is a votive cross on the western jamb of the inner doorway. On the east of the porch, and also on the external wall of the nave, are ‘scratch-dials’, possibly used with pegs in mediaeval times to indicate when services would take place.

The Nave is linked to the north aisle by an arcade of transitional pointed arches of about 1200. The narrow bay at the west end of the arcade was added in the 13th Century. Two of the stout columns from which the arches spring have unusual late Norman capitals. A remnant of a wall painting can be seen above the first column. In the south wall of the nave is a 13th Century window with two trefoil-headed lights and a panel commemorates the 1892 restorations. The other windows here and those of the Clerestory are Perpendicular. The plain, cylindrical Font resting on a low base is Norman.

The Roof of the Nave has several well-carved stone corbel heads at its west end, and there are a number of grotesque bosses in the wooden roof of the Nave and Chancel including a ‘Green Man’ or ‘Leaf Mask’ or ‘Foliated Head’ at the easternmost end of the Nave.

The Chancel was remodelled in the 13th Century. The east window, of three trefoiled lancets is of the same date, though the stained glass is 19th Century. The two south windows are Perpendicular; that in the Sanctuary contains fragments of stained glass of the 15th Century - an eagle and a peacock in two of its tracery lights, and rosettes in the cusps of the lights. The rounded Chancel Arch, with its roll mouldings and shafts with bell capitals, is Norman, Transitional Early English. The red rosettes painted on its east side probably date from the 13th Century. The old Chancel door was re-established in 1995.

There are two mural tablets in the Chancel to the memory of the Jordan family ( 1637-72 and 1693-l 732): the earlier one is particularly striking. There is also a brass plaque to Edmund Rous, who died on 3rd January 1633, which is mounted on ‘Thornback’ stone.

In the Sanctuary is a wall-monument of 1695 to the Thorpe family, one of whom, John Thorpe, was a vicar of Burford with Fulbrook from 1688 to 1701; the cherubs bear a strong resemblance to those on the memorial to Christopher Kempster, who died in Burford in 1715, was a local quarry owner and one of Christopher Wren’s master-masons when he was building St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The Altar is a fine piece of 17th Century wood carving incorporating the words:

AND NAY NAY AP 12 1659’

The interesting modern Lectern by Richard Fyson, an Oxfordshire craftsman, incorporates a similar design to that of the Norman capitals.

The North Aisle has a 13th Century trefoiled lancet window at the west end and perpendicular side windows. On the north wall are a number of small carved corbel heads. The simple round-headed doorway (long since blocked up) is probably early 13th Century. In its recess is the memorial (dedicated in 1952) to the men of the village who died in the two world wars. The gold lettering is by Sir Ninian Comper.

The North Transept was added in the 13th Century; it has a narrow pointed arch leading to the aisle. There are remains of a repetitive painting on the north wall of the transept. The organ, built in 1898, which was refurbished in 1986 and 1998, is unusually large for a church of this size.

The Tower was built into the west bay of the Nave in the 15th Century and has a 13th Century lancet to the west. Until 2003 there were just three bells hung for full-circle ringing. The tenor and treble were cast in Burford by Edward Neale in 1662 and bell no 2 by Henry Bagley in Witney in 1 732. The Sanctus bell, also by Neale, dates from 1649 and is still in use. In 2004 a new bell-frame with a ring of six was installed, including the restored original tenor and the Bagley bell. Three new bells were cast at Whitechapel Foundry, London in 2003 and bell no 3, a restored Trinity House buoy bell, commemorates the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2002. The original Neale treble now rests in Burford Church beside two others from the sane foundry.

The Churchyard contains a flat-topped 15th Century stone tomb with decorated sides, some fine wool-stapler 17th Century tombs, a tomb (said to have once been inside the Chancel) in memory of John Colyer, a citizen and ‘upholster’ of London who died in 1694, as well as some other interesting headstones. There is a fine English Yew of l9½ feet girth, professionally estimated to be over 1000 years old, which is registered with the Conservation Foundation. Many fine elms were killed by Dutch elm disease and were replaced in 1977 by a selection of trees donated by parishioners.

from a church pamphlet

Church facilities: toilet in church

Travel Details: OS Grid Ref: SP258131 - Limited parking around the war memorial. Visitors can be set down at the church gate, but no parking in the narrow lane to the church.

Eating Places:
  • Masons Arms, open Thurs eve to Sun eve.
  • Carpenters Arms, closed on Mondays.

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