The Old Parsonage

Iffley, Oxford


This quiet site is just two miles downstream from the centre of Oxford. It has handsome rooms and, from the sitting room, you may watch the Thames slide by.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave

Beds 2 Twin 1 Double

4 nights from
£1076 equivalent to £44.83 per person, per night

A long garden with the Thames at the bottom

The elegantly panelled parlour and dining room look out over a charming garden. The staircase, in a square tower of its own, is strong and plain, and reminiscent of those in the nearby Oxford colleges. 

The house is entered straight off the pavement of Mill Lane, giving no hint of the long garden on the other side running down to the river at the tail of Iffley lock. The contrast is very agreeable.  Walking or cycling along the riverside path into Oxford takes you along an attractive part of the river and often past college rowing crews and other craft enjoying the water.

A parson’s life

Not only an important building in its own right, this house also conveys a strong impression of a parson’s life in former days. A rectory was first built here at the same time as the elaborate Norman church a few yards away. In about 1500, a smart new wing was added, and in it are the handsome rooms that you can occupy. Some of them were later panelled and given new fireplaces.

Floor Plan


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Map & local info

The Old Parsonage stands next to the church, in the picturesque village of Iffley. Its long garden runs down to  Iffley Lock, where you can take a leisurely stroll along the towpath by the River Thames, to the beautiful city of Oxford, which lies less than 3 miles away.

Admire the wonderful, panoramic views of  Oxford, the 'City of Dreaming Spires', by climbing to the top of one of its many towers . Take a tour around some of the colleges  of the unique and historic University of Oxford and visit its many museums, libraries and places of interest. Browse the peaceful grounds of the Botanic Garden, the oldest of its kind in Britain and enjoy the contrasting hustle and bustle of the Covered Market, with its wide variety of enticing stalls, in the lively city centre.

The Pendon Museum of model railways and Didcot Railway Centre offer fun days out for rail enthusiasts of all ages.

About half an hour's drive north of Iffley will take you to Blenheim Palace with its wonderful gardens, maze and range of activities for all.

For more ideas and information on things to see and do during your stay at The Old Parsonage, take a look at our Pinterest page for our Landmarks at Oxford.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

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Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog.

    Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • Via a driveway off the main road.
  • Oxford – 3.5 miles.
  • Yes there are three parking spaces in the garden parking area adjacent to the property.
  • There is gas central heating and an open fire.
  • Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also a gas cooker, dishwasher and microwave.
  • There are two bathrooms, one with a shower over the bath and one with a bath.
  • No, normal staircase.
  • There is a garden which runs down to the fast flowing river (unfenced).
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

Parts surviving from before the Reformation

A house connected with the church has stood on the site of Iffley Rectory (as it was known for most of its history) for a very long time - possibly indeed from the date of the church’s foundation in the 12th century. Furthermore the building as it exists today is one of only two or three parsonages in Oxfordshire of which there is a substantial amount surviving from before the Reformation of the mid-16th century.

The image conjured up by the Old Parsonage is of a continuous succession of gentle and learned parsons writing their sermons in the panelled drawing room, with a soothing view of the river down the long garden, past the venerable mulberry tree. If they needed inspiration they had only to look up at the text from the Vulgate inscribed as a frieze - above their heads:

'For we know that, if our earthly house and tabernacle were destroyed, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; (2 Corinthians 5:1) I will walk in my house with a perfect heart.'

Inevitably the truth is not so simple. Certainly in 1475 it was described as the house 'wherein the parish priest hath been used to dwell', and dwell there he probably did for most of the Middle Ages. For most of the 19th century, too, it was a parsonage in the regular sense. But for long periods in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries the house was let to entirely unclerical gentlemen, who rented the land or 'rectorial estate'. The vicar meanwhile was probably living comfortably in an Oxford college. Some of them, to be fair, rode out to perform parochial duties themselves. More often they paid a curate to do this for them. Out of his small salary the curate would find himself lodgings, sometimes in the village, sometimes not. The presence of a priest at the heart of the village was by no means to be taken for granted, and it was a lucky parish that enjoyed this privilege, then as now.

An outline of the building's history

Iffley Rectory is now divided in two. Only the northern half, owned by the Landmark Trust and called the Old Parsonage, is open today. The southern half is still the Rectory, the home of the Vicar of Iffley and his family. For historical purposes, however, the building will be described as one.

The main range of Iffley Rectory runs from north to south, with a staircase tower on the north-east corner, and a larger wing at the south-east. The building divides naturally into two separate halves - a great advantage when work began there in 1979. Of these the southern is the older, and the more complex, while the northern contains the finer rooms. The south end contains the walls of a small stone hall of the 13th century. In the late 14th century, apparently, a timber-framed second storey was added to these. Slightly later again a solar wing was added on the east, with an arch-braced roof. In one wall are curious carved stone fragments of the 13th century, reassembled and possibly imported from the church.

Traces of other structures have been found to the north of this small house, some of them dating back to the 12th century, but the north end in its present form did not exist before about 1500. Its fine rooms, with their mullioned windows and wide fireplaces, were clearly intended to form the principal living quarters. The service rooms were in the south end, which now had new floors, and walls rebuilt entirely in stone.

The Tudor rooms of the north end were altered in small ways over the following centuries. The sitting room has a late 16th-century moulded plaster ceiling; the ground floor rooms are lined with 17th-century panelling (this does not fit very well, and may only have been brought here in the 19th century). Upstairs there are 18th-century fireplaces. On the staircase is a piece of stained glass on which is inscribed 'William Moore new leded ye window 1753'. Soon after this, however, the Rectory suffered a period of neglect, because in 1790 it was declared unfit for habitation.

It remained in this state for another 30 years. Not until 1819/20 were improvements carried out by a new vicar, Rev. Edward Marshall, who happened also to hold the lease of the Rectory. A two-storey corridor was added on the east, to make communication between the two halves of the building easier. A hall was made in part of the dining room, which meant reducing the width of the windows, but they were made deeper instead. The inscriptions from the Vulgate in the sitting room may date from this time, or they could date from 1857/8, when J.C. Buckler was employed to carry out improvements to the service quarters, forming a new kitchen and sculleries, with a new housekeeper's sitting room and bedroom.

Alterations in the 20th century, before the restoration of 1979-80, consist of the little oriel window above the garden door; the replacement of Stonesfield slates by tiles in 1953; and a new kitchen and larger windows at the south end in 1960.

A short history of The Old Parsonage

Read the full history album for The Old Parsonage

Download the children's Explorer pack for The Old Parsonage


Reorganising the building

The Landmark Trust bought Iffley Rectory in 1979 from the Church commissioners. The idea was not just to carry out essential repairs and provide our visitors with an exceptional place to stay, but more importantly to reorganise the building so that it could still benefit the Church, without being a problem to it. This was to be done simply by dividing it in two, and the architect Philip Jebb was asked to draw up plans to this effect. A small and manageable house was to be provided for the vicar next to the church, while the north end would be let for holidays and thus generate income for its maintenance.

To make the alteration possible the 19th-century corridors and porch were stripped off the east side of the house. This had the additional advantage of returning the north end to its Tudor proportions, and revealing the two great chimneystacks. To complete the division only one door, on the ground floor, had to be blocked. The Landmark was to be entered from the lane, so that the new Rectory would have its own private courtyard. To make the new entrance, a window in the staircase tower was turned into a door, which was then given the stone surround from the demolished 1850s porch, which had also opened onto the lane.

The east wall, where the corridors had been, was repaired and repointed. Part of a Tudor window was found on the first floor, between the chimneys, and this was reinstated. On the west (garden) front, the two blocked lights of the sitting room window were reopened. The dining room window had to be left as it was, however, because of the partition that had been inserted in 1820 to form the garden hall. This garden hall was in fact the only place where a kitchen could be fitted without spoiling the appearance of the two main rooms. In the dining room some of the panelling had been removed by the last vicar, and this was now put back in position. The floorboards in the dining room are old, but a new elm floor was laid in the sitting room. Upstairs, partitions for two bedrooms and a bathroom were rearranged so that they did not cut across the windows. A new landing was formed at the top of the stairs, lined with a mixture of old and new panelling. In the attics, at the top of the staircase with its solid oak treads, a further bedroom was made, where a window found in the north gable enjoys a distant and romantic view of the spires of Oxford.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.