Skip to content

St. Leonard’s, Watlington

May 10, 2014

St. Leonard’s, Watlington


Watlington is a small town at the base of the Chiltern escarpment. St. Leonard’s Church is rather hidden but worth seeking out. The church website can be seen at but this has no visitor information on it. The church appears to be open every day and there is a sign put out under the shelter of the lych gate.


I visited on a dull day and when I opened the door into the church I found the interior rather dark. However, walk a couple of steps and some lights come on automatically. They could do with staying on a bit longer but are certainly needed here.

DSCN0031On the table near the door is a lovely welcome notice, ‘whatever your reason you are very welcome’ – very good. There is a selection of the good Oxford Diocesan leaflets available but no church guide, which is a pity as this is an interesting church. There is a laminated guide hung on the wall to borrow as the visitor walks around but the lack of a guide is an omission here. There are mugs, shopping bags (these seem to be popular in many churches) for sale. Also a very good churchyard record with a lot of detail in it. Very welcome for those researching family history. This must have been a real labour of love.

Evidence of an active children’s work can be seen by the provision of a children’s corner. There is also a very good Easter Garden here – one of the nicest I have seen.

Easter Garden at Watlington

Easter Garden at Watlington

In the south chapel (Lady Chapel?) there is a prayer board for visitors to use but it is not very obvious and could do with some explanation on it.

DSCN0032DSCN0034There is a modern statue of St. Leonard in the south aisle but it is not easy to see against the dark stone of the building, which is a great pity as it is very good. It would also be good to see some biographical details of the saint as, although he is a relatively common patron, he is not at all well known. Exciting Holiness has this to say about him;

‘Leonard the Hermit

6 November

According to an eleventh-century Life, Leonard was a sixth- century Frankish nobleman who refused a bishopric to become first a monk, then a hermit, at Noblac (now Saint-Léonard) near Limoges. The miracles attributed to him, both during his lifetime and after his death, caused a widespread cultus throughout Europe and, in England alone, over a hundred and seventy churches are dedicated to him.’

St. Leonard statue

St. Leonard statue

I therefore rate St. Leonard’s church as good for the purpose of this study. It wouldn’t take much to make this very good. Certainly worth a visit.





From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: