The village of Oddington is about 5 miles south of Bicester. It lies close to the River Ray on the northern edge of Otmoor.

St Andrew’s Church, on the edge of Otmoor.
St Andrew’s Church, on the edge of Otmoor

The toponym is derived from the Old English for “Otta’s Hill”, possibly after the same person who gave his name to Otmoor.

A mention of Oddington in a Papal bull written in 1146 suggests that the village had a parish church by the middle of the 12th century. But the present Saint Andrew’s church was built at the end of the 13th century. The buttresses of the nave are late 13th century, and the font is believed to be from that time. Some features of the chancel are early 14th century, but in 1821 the chancel was demolished and rebuilt.

St Andrew’s Church
St Andrew’s Church

Around 1885 the church was heavily restored under the direction of the architect E.G. Bruton. The bell tower and the north wall of the chancel were rebuilt, the vestry and north aisle were added and several windows inserted.

Ralph Hamsterley monument
Ralph Hamsterley monument

Inside the church are two unusual monuments. The first is an early 16th-century monumental brass in memory of Ralph Hamsterley, who had been parish priest and died in 1518. It is a cadaver monument, showing his corpse in its burial shroud with worms protruding from his skeleton, which is an unusual style for monumental brasses in England. The second unusual monument is a large pieta at the west end of the nave. It is decorated with Maori totems in memory of Maori servicemen killed in the First World War.

The tower has three bells. The treble was cast in 1609. James Keene, of Woodstock, cast the tenor in 1626. Thomas Mears, of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, cast the youngest of the three bells in 1804. There is also a Sanctus bell, cast by an unknown founder in about 1614.

Gilbert Sheldon held the living of the parish from 1636. Sheldon already held the living of Hackney and received that of Ickford, Buckinghamshire, at about the same time as that of Oddington. After the Restoration of the Monarchy, Sheldon was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury in 1663.