WOODSTOCK, Oxfordshire – St Mary. 

Restoration of arcade 1896

This was mentioned in Fellowes Prynne’s notes of 1897, but added later under “restorations etc.”.

The County Archivist was unable to locate any records naming Fellowes Prynne as involved here, though records do indicate that a little restoration was done “anonymously” to the south arcade 1896-8.

However, the Oxford Times reported on various stages of restoration work in its edition of 17 October 1896, which sheds some light on Fellowes Prynne’s involvement, and that it was indeed the restoration of this arcade.  He presumably undertook it in his role as Oxford Diocesan Architect.

The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, dates in some parts of its structure, notably the south aisle, as far back, probably, as the fourteenth century… Eighteen years ago, the church – with the exception of the south aisle – was thoroughly restored, at a cost of about £7,000…  As little as possible was done to the south aisle and arcade, owing to the great archaeological interest attaching to that part of the structure, for the arcade has five Early English arches on plain round pillars with sculptured caps, and a Perpendicular clerestory, while in the aisle are Early English windows and the remains of a rich Norman doorway.  Lately, however, cracks have been found in the columns of a sufficiently serious nature to call for immediate attention, and Mr. Prynne, a well-known church architect, being called in to inspect and report, it was found that the damage was so extensive as to necessitate the practical reconstruction of the south aisle, the pillars of which are said to be something like 14 inches out of the perpendicular.  The clerestory wall will have to be taken down, the south arcade re-built and the wall re-buttressed.  The cost is estimated at £1,500…  It is proposed to proceed with the work as soon as the weather permits.