Wootton church commemorative doors

ftwork, Oxfordshire, 2021



All photographs Chris Honeywell     Download Original

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A gift to the community and a celebration of local craftsmanship, the doors commemorate the long contribution of the architect’s family to the village where she was born.

Mainly 13th century with Anglo-Saxon origins, the church sits at the heart of a beautiful village once surrounded by the royal Wychwood Forest. Majestic horse chestnuts remain an important local feature of the village and churchyard and in turn influenced the design.

The decorative bronze work evolved from the picking of chestnut branches and buds as they emerged and opened, and 1:1 hand drawings followed by ‘natural’ casting – painting with latex, forming in plaster moulds and casting using the lost wax method. The architect and blacksmiths then worked together to manipulate both the wax and bronze elements into their final three-dimensional form.

The handles were hand carved in wood before casting and the 3.2m steel frames hand welded. The profile of the chestnut surround borrows from the 13th-century arches, to complete a modern design that pays homage to its setting.

Located in the south porch the new doors replace a heavy pine inner enclosure, allowing sunlight to penetrate to the heart of the church and revealing the beautiful uninterrupted run of ancient pavers from the outer face of the porch to the font, recreating a fitting entry to a beautiful building. They also complement the shape and foliate decoration of the fine set of outer Victorian doors.

Importantly for ftwork, with its commitment to supporting sustainable communities, the new doors have been part of a local collaborative effort to extend the use of the church, which now provides facilities for the village school and local events. As befits a commemorative monument in a historic church, the new set of inner doors at St Mary the Virgin, Wootton, will outlast us all.


  • Begun: Feb 2021
  • Completed: Nov 2021
  • Sector: Religious
  • Total cost: £19,800
  • Funding: Private donation
  • Tender date: Apr 2020
  • Procurement: Letter of appointment
  • Address: The church of St Mary the Virgin, Wootton, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1DH, United Kingdom


Bronze, Glass door

Professional Team