The Table of
Continuity in the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury begins with the
appointment of one Henry in 1258, but there was a Church at Northlew
('Lew' being Celtic for 'bright but running stream') in Saxon times.
The last stone relics of this Church are incorporated in the Village
Cross nearby. The date of the actual building of St Thomas is
unknown, but note the unmistakably Norman arch in what is now the
gateway to the Rood Screen staircase.
Embellishments from the 12th to the 15th Centuries were due largely
to the prosperity of the wool trade. The carved Bench-ends and
Barrel roof date from the reign of Henry VIII. there was
considerable vandalism by Cromwell's men, including smashing the
screen and throwing out the Font, which was not rediscovered until
There followed an age of 'miserable neglect' common to many rural
churches, which ended with the appointment in 1847 of Thomas England
as Rector. By 1885 much had been accomplished. Work was continued
under subsequent Rectors, the dilapidated Gallery being replaced by
Choir stalls, the Bells modernised and the new screen installed in
1923. The fine little Willis organ has provided music since 1889.
first published in Northmoor News
Written by Mrs Brenda Zielinska