In the 16th century members of the
university sought refuge in the village when plague was raging in Oxford.
However, their precautions proved to be in vain, as some succumbed to the
disease and died here, and were buried in the churchyard (Dunkin 1823).
The earliest stones in the church yard date to the first half of the 17th century, starting in 1639. A total of fourteen stones have been Listed as having historical interest. They are mostly small plain stones with shaped or arched heads. Although no longer easy to read, they have been subject to painstaking examination and their inscriptions have been transcribed by Chris Cheetham and the late Peter Brown.
Some of these stones can be matched up with the burial records, whilst others span the period 1650 - 1667 when there are otherwise gaps in the parish registers.
|An altar tomb erected to the memory of John Harper the
Elder and his son, the grandfather and father of John Harper who emigrated to
Pennsylvania in 1682, lay on the southeast side of the church porch. A note
inserted into Volume II of the burial register on 9th August 1870 records:
This day took down and removed fifteen or sixteen inches nearer the S. wall of the Church, the Altar Tomb of the Harpers, father & son, the Tomb having become insecure by age - the stones bearing inscriptions are laid beneath the top slab of the Tomb:
The gravestones and tombs of several Rectors and their families survive in the churchyard. They include: the daughter of Alexander Litchfield (Rector from 1773-1804), Edward Turner (1804-1837), John Carlyle (1840-1864), Brisco Morland Gane (1864-1870) and John Thorp (1878-1883). There is also a tablet commemorating John Carlyle inside the church, on the south wall of the chancel, and there was also originally a stone to John Gilder, Rector between 1667 and 1698, in the chancel, which is no longer visible.