Nuneham Courtenay is an unusual village of small, mainly
semi-detached, single storey, and very uniform
which line each side of the main road. The
brick built with tiled roofs and dormers in the attic
and shutters to the windows on the ground floor. The
'Nuneham' means 'new village' and the 'Courtenay' part of the name comes from the Curtenay Family,
who lived here in the thirteenth century.
was originally listed
as 'Newham' in the
Domesday Book. It
was originally inside Nuneham Park and consisted of pretty
white cottages scattered around a piece of water and shaded
by a number of fine trees. However
1760 the whole
village was rebuilt and relocated on the main road because
Earl of Harcourt thought
medieval cottages spoiled the view from his new house
and landscaped park.
village church went too, replaced by All Saints Old Church
built in the style of a classical green domed
a site overlooking the Thames. Inside
there are 17th and 18th century Italian fittings introduced
in the 1880s, and effigies and busts of the Harcourts.
The church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation
Nuneham House itself is a Palladian villa, built for the
1st Earl of Harcourt in 1756. It is currently used as
a retreat centre by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual
University. Its landscaped grounds were designed by Lancelot
the cottages are listed as are many of the buildings and
features in Nuneham Park, and the whole village and the
park are in a conservation area.
south of the village is the
Harcourt Arboretum on part of the former grounds
of Nuneham House. The arboretum is
of the tree and plant collection of Oxford University's
Oxford Botanic Garden. It includes ten acres of woodland,
and a thirty-seven-acre wild-flower meadow.
Conduit stands on the hill overlooking the Thames. This
stone cistern was moved here in 1786 having once stood
at Carfax in the centre of Oxford dispensing fresh water
from a reservoir outside the city.
Nuneham Courtenay is five
miles south-east of Oxford on the