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Presbytery, Church of the Holy Trinity, Hethe

A Grade II Listed Building in Hethe, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9619 / 51°57'42"N

Longitude: -1.1453 / 1°8'43"W

OS Eastings: 458822

OS Northings: 229610

OS Grid: SP588296

Mapcode National: GBR 8WK.Z4Y

Mapcode Global: VHCWR.3YCD

Entry Name: Presbytery, Church of the Holy Trinity, Hethe

Listing Date: 10 May 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1433595

Location: Hethe, Cherwell, Oxfordshire, OX27

County: Oxfordshire

District: Cherwell

Civil Parish: Hethe

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Hethe

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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The presbytery to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Hethe built in 1832.


Presbytery, built in 1832.

MATERIALS: squared coursed limestone, with a slated roof and brick end stacks. The majority of the windows have been replaced with UPVC.

PLAN: L-shaped, with the principal section to the south, and the wing – probably slightly later – to the north-west. The house is linked to Holy Trinity Church, standing to the south-east, by a single-storey sacristy. The north extension of the sacristy is set against the eastern part of the north elevation of the principal section.

EXTERIOR: the principal elevation is of three bays, with a central entrance. The doorway is sheltered by a late-C20 porch with a slated roof. Within this, the original doorcase remains, having a rectangular fanlight with geometric glazing; the six-panel door is probably also original, the upper panels now glazed. The windows have stone lintels, those to the ground floor having keystones contained within the lintel. The west return elevation is blind. The north-west wing is entered to the west; the entrance is enclosed by a modern porch. The windows on this elevation have segmental heads; there is a large window to each storey to the north of the doorway – that to the first floor retaining its leaded casements – and a small window to each storey to the south. The north elevation is blind.

INTERIOR: the principal section contains two rooms to the ground floor, and two to the first floor. The ground floor rooms retain original moulded cornices, and doors and doorcases. The eastern room retains what appears to be an early-C19 chimneypiece, with fluted jambs and frieze. The chimneybreast to the western room is of unusual concave form; the fireplace is gone. To either side are shelves with cupboards below, thought to be original. The straight open-string stair has decorative brackets and panelling to the ground floor; the moulded newels and stick balusters carry the handrail which is ramped towards the landing, and turns to enclose the stairwell. The wing contains the kitchen, which does not retain original features, other than a chimney opening, and a heavy panelled door, leading to the exterior. The cellar retains its stone steps and original proportions. The first floor rooms retain some original doors and doorcases, and there is a small C19 chimneypiece to the eastern room. There has been some partitioning to the first floor.


The Catholic parish of Hethe owes its existence largely to the long presence of the Catholic Fermor family in the area, first at Somerton, with which the family was connected from the late C15, and from 1642 at Tusmore, where a free-standing chapel was built. The servants and tenants on the Tusmore estate were largely Catholic, and the area was known for having many Catholic inhabitants. In addition to the chapel at Tusmore a place of worship was provided during the C18 in the neighbouring Hardwick manor house, also belonging to the Fermor family. Following the death of William Fermor in 1806, Tusmore was rented to a succession of tenants, all Protestant, and eventually sold in 1857 to the 1st Earl of Effingham, who demolished the chapel.

The Second Catholic Relief Act of 1791 had allowed the building of Catholic chapels, and the 1829 Act of Emancipation removed many other obstructions. The establishment of a public chapel to serve the spiritual needs of the many Catholics who remained in the Hethe area was undertaken by Father Alfred Maguire in 1831, who was charged with providing a building to hold 300. The cost of £800 was raised partly from local people; Maguire also made an appeal in the Catholic Directory, explaining that the death of the local squire had left his people ‘destitute of a place where they may be enabled to be present at the adorable sacrifice of the Mass’. The new church opened on 22 May, 1832. The identity of the architect is not known.

The presbytery was erected at the same time as the church, its modesty presumably reflecting the limited budget. The church and presbytery are linked by the sacristy. There is also a school, not completed until 1870.

Reasons for Listing

The presbytery to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Hethe, built in 1832, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date: the building precedes the 1840 date before which most buildings are listed;
* Historical interest: as part of the historic group centred on the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity, built shortly after the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 and one of the earliest of the many Catholic churches built in the decades following that Act;
* Architectural interest: for its restrained symmetrical design, and the retention of original features including the front door with decorative fanlight, open-string stair, a chimneypiece and joinery.

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