Church history
 
It is said that a church stood on this site in Noke (‘by the oak trees’) in the time of William the Conqueror. The present church dates from the thirteenth century, when a major evangelistic campaign was taking place in the whole region, and many churches were built or repaired. It is basically ‘Early English’ in style, though it has been extensively restored over the centuries. The list of Rectors goes back to 1272, about the same time as the church was built. But a priest was working here in 1191; possibly Noke was then a chapel of Islip (with which it has been joined in a single benefice since 1967). Traces of the foundations of an earlier building on a slightly different alignment to the existing church have been revealed recently in archaeological test pits dug close to the chancel wall.

Some land within the parish formed part of Edward the Confessor’s gift to Westminster Abbey, and Noke has been connected with the Dean and Chapter of Westminster at various periods in its history. As late as 1800 the Dean and Chapter claimed the overlordship of Noke and villagers were required to attend formal readings of documents in Islip, mainly concerning tithes. The advowson was purchased by the Dean and Chapter in 1915. Islip comes under the same patronage and Noke is currently held in common with Islip, as the parishes have been linked for many centuries.

The church itself is a small but beautifully proportioned stone building constructed in limestone rubble with ashlar dressings, under a plain-tile roof. The chancel arch is part of the original 13th century structure: so are the south wall, south door, porch, the plain double lancet window in the south wall and the site of the east window. There are two 14th or 15th niches on either side of the arch. The nave roof with its curved wind-braces was probably replaced in the Elizabethan period, when the church was extensively repaired by Joan Bradshaw and her grandson Benedict Winchcombe, and a family mortuary chapel was added to the north side, but this was pulled down in 1745 and its doorway blocked.


Further repairs were carried out in 1758, with restoration work in the Victorian period by W. Wilkinson, at which time the plaster was removed from the interior of the church, and the square wooden belfry replaced by the present bell-turret, carrying two bells. The east window is Victorian, though the site is original (as indeed is the window-sill beneath it).

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Lobel, M.A. (ed). 1959. A History of the County of Oxford. Victoria County History of Oxfordshire Vol. VI: 275 Sherwood, J. & Pevsner, N. 1974. The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire Penguin Books.