Iffley Church. 1859. From The Book of the Thames from its Rise to its Fall, p. 114. [Click on image to enlarge it.] Text and formatting by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the University of Pittsburgh and the Internet Archive and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Commentary by the Halls

The current carries us gently to Iffley lock, distant about two miles — rich flat meadows on either side; but the landscape receiving grace and beauty from the hills of Shotover, Bagley Wood, and the slope on which stands the fine and very venerable church. The voyager, how- ever, will often look back, for gradually, as we remove from the city, the view gains in interest; the lower houses disappear, while towers, and domes, and spires of churches and colleges rise above the trees, standing out in high relief, backed by the sky. Iffley is justly considered "one of the finest and most beautiful examples in England of an Anglo-Norman parochial church." It consists of a nave and chancel divided by a tower, forming, indeed, "an interesting school of ancient architecture," affording a series of examples of almost every age and style, and being "accepted" as high and pure "authority" by church architects.

The date of its foundation is probably as far back as the reign of King Stephen, when it was built by the monks of Kenilworth; authentic records prove it to have been in existence at the end of the twelfth century; it has endured with very little change from that far-off period to this; and many of its elaborate and beautiful decorations, exterior as well as interior, are now as perfect as they were when they left the hands of the sculptor-artizan.

The churchyard contains an aged yew-tree — so aged that no stretch of fancy is required to believe it was planted when the first stone of the sacred structure was laid. The rectory is in admirable keeping with the church, although of a much later date: also at the adjacent weir is a venerable mill, the successor of that which flourished here so far back as the time of the first Edward. [120-121]

References

Hall, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. The Book of the Thames from its Rise to its Fall. London: Arthur Hall, Virtue, and Cp., 1959. Internet Archive version of a copy in the William and Mary Darlington Memorial Libray, the University of Pittsburgh. Web. 10 March 2012.


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