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ChurchEnstone StKenelm NorthEast afternoon.JPG
St Kenelm's parish church
Enstone is located in Oxfordshire
 Enstone shown within Oxfordshire
Population 1,139 (parish, including Chalford, Cleveley, Fulwell, Gagingwell, Lidstone, & Radford) (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SP3724
Civil parish Enstone
District West Oxfordshire
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Chipping Norton
Postcode district OX7
Dialling code 01608
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Witney
Website Enstone Parish
List of places

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Enstone is a village and civil parish in Oxfordshire about 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Chipping Norton.

The civil parish is the largest in Oxfordshire, comprising the villages of Church Enstone and Neat Enstone (referred to collectively as Enstone) and the hamlets of Chalford, Cleveley, Fulwell, Gagingwell, Lidstone, and Radford. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 1,139.[1]


Enstone's toponym is derived from a standing stone called the Ent Stone, part of the ruins of a neolithic tomb just off the Charlbury Road. The site is also known as the Hoar Stone.[2] It is a scheduled monument.[3]

Church and chapel

Church of England

Grotesque on the exterior of St Kenelm's parish church

The earliest parts of the Church of England parish church of Saint Kenelm are Norman, but the building has been rebuilt in stages since the 12th century. The south aisle with its four-bay arcade was built in about 1180.The north aisle was added late in the 13th century.} Its arcade has alternating round and octagonal piers. At about the same time a new chancel arch was made in the east wall of the old chancel, and the present chancel was added east of the previous one. The two-storey south porch was added late in the 13th century. It has octopartite rib vaulting springing from head corbels.[4]

In about 1450 the south aisle was widened, wide arches were opened in both sides of the former chancel and both aisles were extended eastwards to form side chapels beside these new arches. Most of the present windows in the north aisle were added in the 15th or early in the 16th century. Early in the 16th century a chantry chapel with a rib vaulted ceiling was built on the south side of the later chancel, and a wide arch was built to link it with the chancel.} Little of the chapel now remains except the corbels of the vaulting. The bell tower was built in the middle of the 16th century.[4] The side windows of the chancel are also Tudor.[5]

In 1856 St Kenelm's was restored under the direction of the Oxford Diocesan architect G.E. Street,[4] and the lych gate[5] and west doorway were added. In about 1870 the present east window of the chancel was inserted along with a window on the corner between the chancel and the northeast chapel.[4]

A stained glass window installed in the north aisle as a First World War memorial may have been made by Morris & Co..[5] St Kenelm's is a Grade II* listed building.[6]

The tower has a ring of six bells. W&J Taylor of Loughborough cast the treble, second, third and fifth bells in 1831,[7] presumably at the foundry they had at Oxford at that time. John Taylor & Co cast the fourth and tenor bells at their Loughborough foundry in 1961 and 1981 respectively.[7]

East of St Kenelm's church is a mediaeval tithe barn that was built for Winchcombe Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Gloucestershire that owned the manor of Enstone. The barn has a cruck roof and a date stone from 1382 but its manner of construction suggests it is a late 15th century building. It may therefore have been rebuilt at that time, retaining the date stone from an earlier structure.[5] The barn is a Grade II* listed building and a scheduled monument.[8]

In 1657 an attempt to merge the Benefices of Enstone and Heythrop was abandoned in the face of local opposition.[9] They were finally merged in 1964.[9] In 2001 the Benefice of Enstone and Heythrop merged with that of Ascott-under-Wychwood, Chadlington, and Spelsbury to form the Chase Benefice.[10]


Former non-conformist chapel in Neat Enstone

There is a former non-conformist chapel in chapel lane, Neat Enstone. It is no longer used for worship.


Enstone Primary School, Neat Enstone
The Harrow Inn, Neat Enstone
Post Office and village store, Neat Enstone
The Thatch, Church Enstone

Enstone has two public houses: the Crown Inn in Mill Lane at Church Enstone which was built late in the 17th century and extended in the 20th century[11] and the Harrow Inn on the A44 main road at Neat Enstone. The County Council primary school, at Neat Enstone, was built in 1875.[12] Also in Neat Enstone are shops including a Post Office and general store, an art gallery[13] and a retirement home. Enstone also has a Women's Institute.[14][15]

Enstone Sports Sunday Football Club plays in Cherwell Trophies Sunday Morning League Division Two.[16]

Main roads

The Crown Inn, Church Enstone

Enstone is at the junction of two old main roads: one between Oxford and Chipping Norton and the other between Enstone and Bicester. Both were once turnpikes, the Act of Parliament for the latter having been passed in 1797. Since the 1920s the Oxford — Chipping Norton road has been classified as part of the A44 and the Enstone — Bicester Road has been the B4030.

RAF Enstone

RAF Enstone, northeast of Church Enstone, was a Bomber Command Operational Training Unit in the Second World War.[17] It was decommissioned in 1947[18] and is now the civilian Enstone Airfield. The area of the former RAF buildings has been redeveloped as an industrial estate, and the northwestern perimeter of the airfield has been redeveloped as a poultry farm.

Formula One team

South of Enstone Airfield is a disused quarry. This is now the site of the Whiteways Technical Centre, where the Formula One motor racing Renault Sport F1 Team is based. The F1 team, then named Benetton Formula, moved from Witney to the Enstone site in 1992.[19] Renault purchased the team in 2000, and in 2002 they renamed it as the Renault F1 Team. At the end of 2009, Genii Capital acquired a majority stake in the team and, with the involvement of Lotus Cars, it was renamed, first to "Lotus Renault GP" and then to the Lotus F1 Team. In 2015 Renault re-acquired the team and named it the "Renault Sport F1 Team". Drivers with the team have won the drivers' championship four times; Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995, and Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006. The team has won the constructors' championship three times; as Benetton in 1995 and as Renault in 2005 and 2006. The team's car for the 2012 season was named the Lotus E20, "E20" being a tribute to the team members and their 20-year history and achievements at the Enstone facility.[20]


  1. "Area: Enstone (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  2. Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 595.
  3. "Hoar stone portal dolmen situated in Enstone Firs". National Heritage List for England. Historic England. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 593.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Sherwood & Pevsner 1974, p. 594.
  6. Historic England. "Church of St Kenelm  (Grade II*) (1052805)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Davies, Peter (8 January 2007). "Church Enstone S Kenelm". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  8. Historic England. "Rectorial Tithe Barn  (Grade II*) (1368063)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Crossley 1983, pp. 131–143.
  10. Archbishops' Council. "Enstone: St Kenelm, Enstone". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  11. Historic England. "The Crown Inn  (Grade II) (200432)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  12. Enstone Primary School
  13. Sycamore Gallery
  14. Oxfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes
  15. Enstone Village
  16. Webteams.co.uk page for Enstone Sports Sunday F.C.
  17. Old Airfields website: Oxfordshire. RAF Enstone
  18. Control Towers website: RAF Enstone
  19. "F1 Interview: Michael Schumacher". F1SeasonReview.com. Hubbaguru. October 1992. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  20. "Lotus names 2012 F1 challenger". Autosport.com. Haymarket Publishing. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 

Sources and further reading

External links