You are warmly invited to visit this beautiful church which stands at the heart of South Hinksey. The church is open for Sunday services and on certain Sunday afternoons in the summer months, details of which can be found on the calendar. At other times please contact the churchwarden.
Our service is on the first and third Sundays of the month at 9.15am. Please view the St Laurence Kalendar for full details.
The core of the church in South Hinksey is the community which meets here every week. Here we celebrate the Eucharist and pray for the community, and attempt to reach out to the village and its visitors alike, in our ministry of welcome and hospitality.
Father Ben Drury (email)
About the Church
The Church of St Laurence is one of two churches in the parish of South with New Hinksey. South Hinksey connects with New Hinksey, in south Oxford, by means of a footbridge and wooded path. This attractive walkway is the most convenient way to access South Hinksey from Oxford city. Travelling along it, the transition from Victorian suburb, with its red brick Comper church and gabled schoolhouse, to the medieval village of South Hinksey will be clear.
South Hinksey was first recorded as a settlement when given to the Abbey at Abingdon between 685 and 688 by King Caedwalla of the West Saxons. Among the most ancient buildings in the village, the church has a thirteenth century nave and tower of some time later in the century. The chancel is noticeably different from the body of the church, having been constructed in the eighteenth century.
In many ways a ‘typical’ English village church, the interior of St Laurence contains a number of attractive features. First among these must be the visually arresting rood and its accompanying loft. Prior to the Reformation, this church would doubtless have possessed a rood and loft not unlike this one; however, the present fitting dates from 1932, having been paid for by an anonymous donor. The rood proper is a delicate handling of the crucifixion of Christ, with Our Lady Mary on his right, and his disciple John on his left. Beneath the rood, the legend on the loft is taken from the Book of Common Prayer translation of the hymn ‘Te Deum Laudamus’: ‘We praise thee, O Lord’.
Beneath the rood loft stand pulpit and reading desk, both fitted in 1936, the desk being used traditionally for the reading of the Services, and the pulpit for the sermon. Above the pulpit is a fine window depicting St Laurence, the patron of our church. His portrayal here tells his story. Laurence was an arch-deacon at Rome in the third century. When his bishop, Sixtus, was denounced to the hostile pagan authorities, Laurence was put in charge of the church’s valuables, which he in turn entrusted to the poor of his congregation. Finally arrested, and charged to disclose the whereabouts of the church assets, Laurence showed the authorities the poor and sick of the church, saying, ‘Behold, here are the treasures of Christ’s Church’. Laurence was thus martyred for his refusal to comply by being roasted on a bed of hot iron bars. So in this window, the saint bears the iron griddle in one hand, and the gospels and thurible in another – it being the duty of a deacon to proclaim the gospel at the Eucharist.
In addition, the church contains a number of pieces of attractive contemporary carving, including two wands, a fine remembrance candlestick, and processional cross. These were crafted by the brother of the present church warden.
The interior church was renovated in recent years, the walls being freshly whitewashed and the roof timbers cleaned to reveal the original oxblood-coloured staining. The attractive proportions of the nave are complimented by the light spaciousness of the chancel, with its round-arched clear windows and carefully proportioned altar. The porch has also been extended to add toilet and kitchenette facilities.
There are lots of photographs of the church in the Gallery.