Catholic church: Contacts & Services; Location Map >>
Serving Cassington, Eynsham, Freeland, the Hanboroughs, South Leigh, Stanton Harcourt, Sutton and Northmoor. Part of The Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, Registered Charity no. 234216.
The vestibule houses a number of fragments from Eynsham Abbey and a new archaeological trail opened in the grounds on 30 March 2011 to indicate the scale and complexity of the buildings - view feature & slideshow >>
A Requiem Mass was celebrated by the Most Revd Bernard Longley Archbishop of Birmingham on 23 June 2012, at the burial of nine mediaeval bodies found on the site - view slideshow >>
|13/04/2013 St Peter's Church Report 2012/13|
|10/01/2011 Guide to St Peter's Church Eynsham|
|01/01/2008 History of St Peter’s Catholic Church 1929-2008|
|by Sara Ruane (2004) and Martin Flatman|
The vestibule connects the church, to the right, with the Tolkien Room directly ahead.
The back wall of the church - facing east - is the oldest part of the church and original site of the altar. A stone at the bottom left corner records the foundation: 1 August 1940. The grand Romanesque style was a fitting response to the site of Eynsham Abbey but war made further building impossible.
So for almost 30 years the altar stood here, whilst the rest of the church was a large wooden hut. A portrait over the entrance shows Father John Lopes, the priest behind the project. The more modest building you see now was begun after his death and consecrated in 1968. Fr. Lopes is buried in the graveyard but still remembered in the name of a local road.
The new church was turned round with an altar at the west end. The east end now has the font and a bowl of Holy Water just inside the door for use as a reminder of baptism.
you will see a ceramic by Adam Kossowski of Mary receiving her message from God by the Angel. Most of his other work can be seen at Aylesford priory in Kent.
Walking up the church to the sanctuary step, you will see the main altar where the priest takes bread and wine at Mass and calls upon God to make it for us the Body and Blood of Jesus. The candles are a sign that this is a holy place where God becomes present. The crucifix on the wall behind the altar is a reminder that Jesus died on the cross to bring his followers to life with God. Below the crucifix is a carving of the crossed keys of St Peter, carved by Peter Nicholas whose grave you can find outside. The reading desk, or lectern, is where passages from the Bible are read out.
In the right hand corner is another altar, often used for Mass on weekdays. Behind it is a decorated cupboard, called the tabernacle, in which is kept some of the blessed Bread or Sacrament – the Body of Christ – which is taken regularly to members of the church who are sick or housebound. The tabernacle is decorated with a pelican feeding her young with her own blood: a symbol of how Christ feeds and supports us. Above it is a wooden figure of Christ in Majesty.
Stations of the Cross: On the right wall is the first of 14 carvings depicting the last walk of Jesus. Here he receives his sentence from Pontius Pilate. Following the story round the church, you will see him take up his Cross, fall with it three times, meet various people, including his mother Mary, then be stripped, nailed to the cross and left to die, before being taken down into his mother's arms and put in a tomb.
Statues: Walking round you will see a statue of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus and so the Mother of God. Following the words of Jesus from the cross, we honour her as our Mother and ask her to pray for us. We light a candle as a sign that she never stops praying, even when we do. The statue of Jesus in a red robe, showing his heart, is a reminder that he is eternally pouring out his love for those who are prepared to receive him.
This drawing of Fr Lopes's vision for his Eynsham church shows the ground plan and the building designed for him by the Oxford architect Gilbert Flavel. The most conspicuous features are the tall basilica to the south and the columned entrance.
St Peter's Church in the 'wooden hut' days ca. 1940.
An unusual old view, taken from the 'Nursery' field, of St Peter's in its 'wooden hut' days
A rear view showing the original grand design linked to the later main building. The more recent church hall, the Tolkien Room, lies to the right.
Snapped in a Slovenian privy; official reason for the visit was conducting a wedding after a short holiday in Portugal.