The village of Launton lies on the eastern outskirts of Bicester.

The manor of Launton was granted to Westminster Abbey in 1065 by King Edward the Confessor. The abbey surrendered the manor to the Crown during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, but in 1542 the Crown granted it to the abbey’s Dean and Chapter.

Queen Mary restored the Roman Catholic church in England so in 1556 the manor was again surrendered to the Crown, who restored it to the reinstated abbott and convent of Westminster. Then Queen Elizabeth I restored the English church, so in 1560 the manor was surrendered to the Crown for a third time, who again granted it to the Dean and Chapter.

In 1649 the Commonwealth of England assigned Launton manor to Westminster School, a part of Westminster Abbey. Then in 1860 all the lands of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster were vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The present manor house is 17th century, with a court room that was re-ordered in the 19th century. Its farmyard has a 14th/15th century barn of ten bays, with 17th century roof timbers, which may have once been a tithe barn and is now a grade II* listed building.

Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 1904
Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 1904

The grade I listed Church of England parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in the 12th century. The four-bay aisles of its nave were added in the 13th century but it is not clear as to whether the west tower was part of the original 12th century church or was added as part of the 13th century alterations.

Originally the chancel had an apse, but in the 15th century this part of the church was reordered with a rectangular east end. The nave has a clerestory with 15th/16th century windows and some of the aisle windows are also 16th century.

In 1891 a pair of flying buttresses, designed by Reginald Blomfield, were added to the west tower. In 1910 an Arts and Crafts style screen, designed by John Oldrid Scott, was added to the south aisle.

The bell tower has a ring of six bells, all cast by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon in 1907. The church also has also a Sanctus bell that was cast in 1352.

Launton had a Presbyterian congregation in 1772, when a meeting house was licensed for it. The congregation lapsed by about 1800, but was re-established by 1806. Zion chapel was built on the western edge of the village in 1807 to house this congregation. Later in the 19th century the chapel was used as a school.

Bethel Chapel - 1978
Bethel Chapel - 1978

Bethel chapel was built in 1850 for an independent Nonconformist congregation. By 1855 it had a lending library and a school. It later combined with the Congregational Church.