For other uses, see Longworth (disambiguation).

St Mary's parish church
 Longworth shown within Oxfordshire
Population 566 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSU3999
Civil parishLongworth
DistrictVale of White Horse
Shire countyOxfordshire
RegionSouth East
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town Abingdon
Postcode district OX13
Dialling code 01865
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK ParliamentWantage
WebsiteLongworth Village on the Web
List of places

Coordinates: 51°42′00″N 1°26′53″W / 51.7001°N 1.4480°W / 51.7001; -1.4480

Longworth is a village and civil parish about 7 miles (11 km) west of Abingdon-on-Thames and a similar distance east of Faringdon and south of Witney. Longworth was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 566.[1]

The parish is bounded by the River Thames to the north, the A420 road to the south, and by field boundaries to the west and east. The land slopes generally from the A420 in the south to the river in the north. The exception is Harrowdown Hill near the northeast corner of the parish, which at 325 feet (99 m) high is the highest point in the parish.

Parish church

The oldest parts of the Church of England parish church of St Mary are 13th-century. The current chancel, west tower and north aisle were built in the 15th century.[2]

The tower has a ring of five bells. Richard Keene of Woodstock cast the third, fourth and tenor bells in 1662. Henry III Bagley of Chacombe, Northamptonshire cast the second bell in 1746, presumably at his foundry at Witney. James Wells of Aldbourne, Wiltshire cast the treble bell in 1807. St Mary's has also a Sanctus bell that was cast in about 1890 by an unknown founder. The five bells are currently unringable.[3]

The church is a Grade I listed building.[2] St Mary's parish is part of the benefice of Cherbury with Gainfield.[4]


Longworth has a County Primary school.[5]

Bus route 63 links Longworth with Oxford from Monday to Saturday via the villages of Southmoor, Hinton Waldrist, Appleton, Eaton and Cumnor. It is currently run by Thames Travel under contract to Oxfordshire County Council.

Public houses

The Blue Boar public house

There is a pub, the Blue Boar[6] in the village. The Lamb and Flag about 1 14 miles (2 km) southwest of the village was in the parish until boundary changes in 2011 transferred it to Kingston Bagpuize with Southmoor. The Blue Boar is late 17th-century and has a thatched roof.[7]

On the Blue Boar pub sign, the white boar and the white rose on the pennant are the symbols of King Richard III. The blue boar was the personal badge of the De Vere family who were the Earls of Oxford. It is claimed that when Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, any White Boar pub signs were quickly repainted as Blue Boars, as an acknowledgement that the white boar was dead and the blue boar prevailed.

Blue Boar RFC

Blue Boar Rugby Football Club[8] is based at the Blue Boar pub in Longworth. It normally plays home games at Oxford RFC.

The club played its first game of rugby in March 1977, as a result of a challenge by staff of Blackwells Bookshop in Oxford. The occasion proved so enjoyable that the following season several more matches were arranged against local sides and the club affiliated to the Oxfordshire Rugby Football Union. In succeeding seasons the number of fixtures and strength of opposition increased, and in May 1981 the club was elected to the Rugby Football Union.

In September 1980 the club made its first tour of Cornwall. It made further visits to the Duchy in 1987, 1988 and 1989. It made its first foreign tour in 1981, when a party of 35 players and supporters went to Brittany and enjoyed themselves so much that they returned there a year later. In 1991 the club was the first English RFU club to make an official tour of Hungary, which was hosted by the Hungarian Rugby Union.

The club reached the final of the Oxfordshire Knockout Cup Plate competition in the 2003–04 and 2008–09 seasons.

Economic and social history

Squirrel Cottage on Hinton Road, south of the village

At a farmstead about 34 mile (1.2 km) south of the village is a 17th-century tithe barn. It has a queen post roof seven bays long, and it is a Grade II* listed building[9] and a scheduled monument.[10]

Sir Henry Marten, a 17th-century judge of the Admiralty Court, and his son, Henry Marten, the regicide, lived at Longworth House.[11][12]The Old Rectory at Longworth was the birthplace on 7 June 1825 of the novelist R. D. Blackmore, author of Lorna Doone, whose father was briefly curate-in-charge of the parish.[13]

Harrowdown Hill is where biological warfare expert David Kelly died in 2003 during the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction controversy.[14] This gave rise to a public enquiry concluded by the Hutton Report, and to the title of Thom Yorke's song Harrowdown Hill, which questioned the UK Government's handling of the matter.


Sources and further reading

Stone gazebo in the garden of Longworth Manor (centre left), with the manor house in the background (centre right)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Longworth.
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