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St Mary the Virgin

Ewelme,

The church, almshouses and school here, all built by the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk in the mid-15th century, are a unique medieval complex and are justly celebrated. There was an earlier church, of which the tower survives, but otherwise the building was completely rebuilt in the Perpendicular style, with enormous windows lighting the nave and aisles. Inside the door is a font with an extraordinary ornate cover stretching towards the roof. It dates from 1475. St John the Baptist's Chapel, on the south side, is the chapel for the almshouses and contains the tomb of Thomas Chaucer (son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer) and his wife. Their daughter, Duchess of Suffolk (Alice de la Pole), is buried in a magnificent tomb next to the altar. Her beautifully carved alabaster effigy shows her in simple habit and coronet and wearing the Order of the Garter on her left arm. Below is an effigy of the Duchess as a decaying corpse - a reminder of the fate of all, no matter how great or famous.

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St Mary the Virgin

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Parson's Lane, E of Wallingford, off A4130

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