St Giles’ Church

St Giles' Church

The Church of St Giles was probably built as a private church by Edwin, son of Godegose, between 1123 and 1133, but soon had a huge but thinly populated parish of its own stretching northwards as far as the present northern bypass, and extending from Walton Street in the West to to the River Cherwell in the east. St John’s College has held the advowson of the church since 1553.

It is Grade I listed (List Entry No. 1047140).

St Giles' Church

The church was damaged during the siege of Oxford in the Civil War, and in 1643 its furniture was burnt by parliamentary troops who were being held prisoner in the church.

St Giles' Church in 1834

The above picture shows the church in 1834, when it marked the beginning of the countryside. As outlying parts of Oxford were developed, it gradually lost chunks of its parish: Summertown in 1834, St Paul’s in 1837, and St Philip & St James (which then included the present St Margaret's parish) in 1863.

The churchyard

Note that the churchyard of St Giles's Church was closed in 1848, and (except for a few burials in existing graves), from that date the people recorded in its burial register were buried in the section allocated to the church in St Sepulchre's Cemetery in Walton Street: you can read the biographies of some of them here. When that cemetery in turn became full, burials were likely to have taken place in Wolvercote Cemetery, which opened in 1894. Oxford Crematorium opened in 1939, and from that date there were also many cremations.

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

Oxford History home