St James the Less, Denchworth, Berkshire

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Feature Sets (2)


Denchworth is a village in the Vale of the White Horse, 3 miles N of Wantage. The church is in the village centre alongside a moated site.  It consists of a nave with 13thc. N aisle, chancel, S transept and NW tower all apparently post-12thc. Late 12thc. sculpture is found on the simple S nave doorway.


In 1086 the church was recorded on a fief held by Henry de Ferrers and tenanted by Rayner. It subsequently became part of the Duchy of Lancaster. 


Exterior Features


S doorway

Round-headed, of one order. Chamfered jambs with imposts, upright above a double-reed (the lower reed fatter) and a hollow chamfer. In the arch, an angle roll, then a flat band. The label has a chamfer bearing single roll billet inside a flat face, chamfered on the outer edge.

h. of opening 2.13 m
w. of opening 1.02 m


There is little to say about this simple doorway. Pevsner (1966) and Tyack and Pevsner (2010) date it to the late-12thc, VCH prefers 12thc but much restored, while Keyser (1913-14, 98) simply calls it Norman.  I see no reason to date it late; the only ornament is billet, which was around from the 1st quarter of the century onwards, the arch is round, and the angle roll is very heavy, all of wich points to a date before 1150.


  • Victoria History of the Counties of England: Berkshire. London. Vol. 4 (1924), 280-85.

  • G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire.  New Haven and London 2010, 268-69.

  • C. E. Keyser, “Notes on the Churches of Hanney, Lyford, Denchworth and Charney Bassett”, Berks, Bucks & Oxon Archaeological Journal, 19 (1913-14), 2-10, 33-37, 65-70, 97-103

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 126-27.

Exterior from NW
Exterior from SE
Interior to NE.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SU 382 917 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Berkshire
now: Oxfordshire
medieval: Salisbury
now: Oxford
now: St James the Less
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
27 May 1990, 04 December 2013