History Facts: #5 Transepts, Tombs and Turret Clocks


The Church of St John the Baptist, Burford, is one of the largest in Oxfordshire, yet hidden away from the throngs of tourists swarming around this ancient Saxon-Medieval town. Here are the most interesting facts about it:

1. The church was built in the 12th Century and expanded during the 14th and 15th Centuries as the town’s wool trade grew

2. The North Transept contains the mechanism of a turret clock, dating from 1685, which was used to time the hourly chiming of the old bell of 1330

3. At its peak, the church had 9 separate altars and 6 priests

4. The Norman tub font has a name carved inside it “Anthony Sedley, 1649, Prisner”, one of 340 Levellers captured by Cromwell’s forces and imprisoned in the church before 3 were executed

5. TOP FACT: The St Catherine’s Chapel contains the Tanfield Tomb, surrounded by metal railings. Sir Lawrence was Chancellor of the Exchequer to James I, reviled locally for his greed and corruption. After his death local people gleefully burned his effigy annually!

The Tanfield Tomb

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