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St Leonard's

St Leonard's, 14 St Leonard's Lane, Wallingford, OX10 0HA 

Saxon origins

St Leonard’s is the oldest church in Wallingford and stands on the Thames Path, just a few steps from the River Thames. There has been a church here since at least the late Saxon period, though it is possible that the first church on the riverside site dates back as early as the 6th century. You can easily make out the distinctive late Saxon stonework, with stones laid in a herringbone pattern. This stonework is most easily seen in the north wall and over the round-headed windows. The oldest part of the current structure is the tower, much of which is 11th century.

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During dissolution

In the 13th century St Leonard was united with St Lucien’s church (now demolished) and it formed one of 14 medieval churches in Wallingford. Henry I granted the church to the monastery of St Frideswide at Oxford, and after the Dissolution of the Monasteries it reverted to the crown.

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Angel murals

One highlight of the church interior is a series of 4 murals of angels painted in 1889 by artist George Leslie, who lived in St Leonard’s Lane. Other highlights include a series of finely crafted 18th century monuments in the nave.  The church was heavily damaged in the 1646 siege of Wallingford, when Parliamentary troops used the church as a barracks. It took repairs in 1656, 1695, and 1700 before the church could finally be reopened for worship. From 1849 the church was rebuilt in Gothic Revival style, under the direction of Henry Hakewill, preserving sections of the original Saxon building.

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