St Matthew's church stands slightly adrift of the village, which has over time shifted north west to the junction with the Lechlade road. As well as having Saxon fabric of exceptional interest in its tower and porch it also contains beautiful and unusual Early English stonework in its chancel and nave.
The most immediately striking aspect of the church is the square central tower, the most conspicuous surviving part of a large Saxon church dating to the 11th century.It may possibly postdate the Norman conquest but is certainly the work of Saxon masons.
There are also two Saxon relief sculptures, set into the walls of the south porch, both of which have been moved at some time in their history: outside, over the entrance, is a depiction of the Cruxifixion - Christ's arms drape down instead of up and the figures of Mary and John have been switched so that they now seem to be turning away in indifference!; inside, on the east wall of the porch, is the (headless) figure of Christ - the Langford Rood. Nothing quite like it survives in England.
The exterior of the church also has two flying buttresses, added to the north side in the reign of Elizabeth I - one bears a Latin inscription giving the date (1574).
The aisles belong to c1200 and the chancel to the second half of the 13th century, a fine example of Early English architechture.The east wall is unusual in being lit not by a single central window but by a symmetrical pair of windows. The fine pulpit is Jacobean,made in 1673 and a clock was installed in the latter part of the 17th century but is now a static exhibit in the south aisle, where you can also find a rustic memorial (1691) to the Howse family with the punning inscription "Within this little house three Howses lye".
Beneath the altar is another treasure: memorial brasses of the Prunes, Walter (d 1594) and Mary (d 1609). The detail is exceptional and shows very clearly the style of late Elizabethan noble dress.
The vestry is fronted with beautifully carved 15th century oak screens with (modern) painted panels.
Download the Langford Church Guide (3.37Mb pdf)
|Open (1 Jan 2017 - 31 Dec 2017)|
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