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St Nicolas Church

St Nicolas Church

The rebuilding was completed towards the end of the century, and this small church was built by the gate, partly within and partly outside the abbey precincts for the numerous lay officials and servants attached to the abbey, and for visitors. The earliest reference to the church, or chapel, of St Nicholas is in a ruling by Pope Alexander III to the prior and brothers of Abingdon in 1177 that the yearly income from the chapel be assigned to the care of the poor.

The original church had no tower and the only parts of it now remaining are the lower part of the west wall with its magnificent Norman doorway, and the north wall of the nave. The church is on a constricted site and when, in the fifteenth century, a tower was added it had to be built inside the nave. For the same reason there was no churchyard or burial ground until 1797. The Stert stream then, as now, passed under the nave.

Modern Times

In 1836 Berkshire was removed from the diocese of Salisbury, in which St. Nicolas' had always been, and transferred to the diocese of Oxford. In 1845 the sinecure rectory came to an end, and since then the Vicars of St. Helen's have been Rectors of St. Nicolas'. In 1881 the church was drastically restored and Blacknall's tomb transferred to the north side of the church, and in 1953 the chancel had largely to be rebuilt after a disastrous fire. Statutes of 1882 and 1894 brought to an end the civil parish of St. Nicolas', but the ecclesiastical parish remained as it was created in 1372 until 1992. The church continues to provide regular services and to work in close co-operation with the other churches of the town through the Council of Churches

Distance: 0.7 miles (1.1 km)
OX14 3NZ

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