Oxton possesses no Gothic wood work, that now left being of the 17th century, one specimen being the communion rails, which are of plain but good pattern. However, throughout England the custom of screening off the altar by means of rails only arose in that century, and the circumstances which brought this result about are interesting. In mediaeval times, when a rood screen with doors shut off the whole of the chancel from the nave, there was no necessity to put any separate railing near the altar, but upon the removal of the rood screens the altar became exposed. Bishop Wren, of Norwich, in 1655, plainly states the chief reason for altar rails, saying they must be "so thick with pillars that doggs may not gett in." In those days it was customary for the villagers to take their dogs with them to church, hence it became necessary for each church to have a "dog whipper," who, armed with "dog tongs," went about ejecting any unruly members of the canine tribe that interfered with the service. Hence the rails, which were then merely a protection to the altar in many cases, for even in the time of Elizabeth the practice prevailed in some places of carrying the consecrated bread and wine to the congregation in their seats. This was the outcome of the Puritanism of the time, then a religious rather than a political sentiment, founded upon an intense hatred of Rome. By 1641 the usage of making communicants come up to the rails was complained of, and in consequence many of the then existing altar rails were done away with, and the communion table placed in the centre of the chancel. At the Restoration the old order of things was restored, and new chancel rails made. Such is perhaps the history at Oxton, for the rails belong to the second half of the 17th century rather than the first. They have none of the bulbous swellings seen in Elizabethan patterns, and their turning resembles in style that executed in the reign of Charles II.

Another piece of old wood work is a communion table, and the history of its discovery is interesting. Some years ago an old oak chest, called the "deed chest," stood under the tower. Tradition said it was the old communion table, and when the paint was scraped off, and the sides and bottom knocked out, it was found to be a solid oak table. Perhaps it, like the communion rails, belongs to the second half of the 17th century, although it might date back as far as the reign of Charles I. The Caroline communion tables are numerous, and, as in this example, the pillar legs of the frame are plain, but turned in a conventional fashion, with no bulging portions.

In the reign of Henry VIII. Oxton had seen the Monasteries broken up, and the lands in the parish, formerly held by religious houses, transferred to lay hands. But this was not the only spoliation the vicar and his parishioners were destined to witness, the next was to be nearer home. In the reign of Edward VI., the policy of spoliation continued, and the churches were attacked. In 1551 the Council decreed that "forasmuch as the King's Majestie had neede presently of a Mass of Mooney therefore commissions should be addressed to all shires of England to take into the Kinge's handes such church plate as henceforth to be emploied into his Highness' use." The Act was in consequence of the known wealth of the churches in plate, and vestments which had been gradually gathered together during centuries.

Independently of the plate the vestments were costly, and belonged to the parish, having been provided by the parishioners own efforts. In the year 1280 the parishioners were to provide ornaments for their church. The following are a few on the list expected to be found:—The chalice, missal, chasuble, alb, amice, stole, maniple and girdle, two towels, processional cross, small bell, thurible, lenten veil, banner, handbells for the dead, bier, vessel for holy water, pax, candlesticks, bells in the belfry, font, etc., and to repair the nave inside and out.

This serves to show what it was considered necessary for a parish to have and more or less the decree was. complied with. Oxton had her fair share of goods, but they were soon to go, for on the 19th of September, 1552, the King's Commissioners appeared in the village, and summoned the churchwardens and leading inhabitants to show their plate and vestments, and make inventory of them. Luckily, we can see how much went for the inventory made that day still exists in the Public Record Office. It reads as follows:—

Inviatorie of all the church goodes mayde the xix day of September yn the sext yeyre of the rayne of Edward the sext by the grace of God, Kyng of yngland, ffrance and yrelande, Kynge defensor of the faith, and on erthe under God supream heyd of the churche of yngland.

Yn Primis. iij bells in the stepull and a hand bell. One chalys of sylver and a corpus, ij cruetts.
A crosse of brasse.
A pyxe of brasse.
ij candyllstykes of brasse.
ij  halterclothes.
ij towells.
A vestment of blew satyn and amose to it.
A vestment of greensaye and a robe to it.
A vestment of wite fustian w'oute a robe.
A cope of wite fustian.

We will now take the goods in order in which they occur in the above inventory. The three bells were those used for service, and it may be one escaped the spoliation, its metal being incorporated in one of those now in use, for it was customary to leave one bell.

The hand bell may have been the "sacring bell," rung when the priest elevated the host, but it is more likely to have been the bell which was carried round the village and rung at intervals after a death, or at a funeral. Sometimes a perambulation of the village was made with such a bell on the anniversary of the death of anyone; wills now and again specify that this shall be done. Also when the priest was called to Communio Infirmorum, he caused a handbell to be rung before him and when he entered the sick room it was muffled.

"The chalys of sylver and a corpus." Of the various vessels required for service at the altar the most indispensable were the chalice and paten. This chalice mentioned may have escaped the pillage, as it was customary to leave one in each church, only to be melted down and made into a Communion Cup later on, for gradually the abandonment of the old chalices was insisted upon at various episcopal visitations. In 1569 Archbishop Parker asked: "whether they do minister in any prophane cuppes, bowles, dishes, or chalices heretofore used at Mass. In 1571, Archbishop Grindal of York gave injunction to the clergy concerning celebration of Holy Communion in these words: "And shall minister the Holy Communion in no chalice, nor any prophane cup or glass, but in a Communion oup of silver, and with a cover of silver appointed also for the ministration of the Communion bread." In face of the spoliation and subsequent bitter feeling against "mass cups," it is no wonder the mediaeval chalices were done away with. The paten always went with the chalice. It was the vessel in which especially the altar bread was offered in the holy sacrifice, before consecration, and where also the host was laid immediately before the communion of the  priest.

"ij. cruetts." Two cruets, one for wine and the other for water, formed an invariable part of the Eucharistic plate from the earliest times. Mostly they were of metal, very rarely glass.

"A crosse of brasse." A cross was not considered to be an essential ornament for the altar of a mediaeval church' though it commonly occurred. This cross mentioned, may have been the processional one, for the parishioners were bound to provide one for that purpose. Processional crosses, however, were frequently used for the altar, and when this was the case they were provided with a foot to stand in, as well as a staff for carrying round in the procession.

"A pyx of brasse." The pyx was a box of wood, metal, or ivory, in which the reserved sacrament was preserved. It was usually hung over the altar either in a hanging receptacle called the tabernacle or else with a cloth over it.

"ij. candyllstykes of brasse." Altar candlesticks came into general use about the 13th century, being supposed to have been introduced by Pope Innocent the Third, at or about the time of the fourth Lateran Council.

"ij. halterclothes." The usual embroidered coverings for the altar ornamented according to the wealth of the parish.

"ij. towells." Used in various ceremonies of the ancient church. In old inventories two towels are more often specified than any other number.

"A vestment of blew satyn and amose." By the term vestment we may take it this was a chasuble. This was the upper or last vestment put on by the priest before celebrating the mass. In form it is nearly circular, being slightly pointed before and behind, having an aperture in the middle for the head to pass through, and its ample folds resting on either side up on the arms. The two points fell before and behind, and may be plainly seen in old incised slabs of priests. It was richly decorated with embroidery, and even with jewels.

The "Amose" was an amice, an oblong piece of linen with a richly embroidered border, called an apparel, worn by all the clergy above the four minor orders, and resembling an embroidered collar when reposing on the shoulders. It had two strings attached to the ornamental part, by which it was fastened behind the back and tied on to the throa. It then covered the neck, and might be drawn up over the head like a hood. Following this are two more vestments mentioned, one with a robe to it. Perhaps this robe was the dalmatic, a vestment worn by the deacon at mass, which resembled a modern surplice, and was in its significance  a robe of dignity.

"A Cope of wite fustian." The cope was a vestment like a cloak, used originally to protect the priest from the inclemency of the weather. It was worn in processions, at vespers during the celebration of mass, by some of the assistant clergy, at benediction, consecration and other ecclesiastical functions. Its form was an exact semi-circle, without sleeves, but furnished with a hood, and fastened across the breast with a morse or clasp. Copes were ornamented with embroidered borders and even jewels. As early as the thirteenth century they had become the most costly and magnificent of all the ecclesiastical vestments, and so continued to be.

In the last four items of the Inventory the materials of which the vestments were made are given, so we will now turn to them.

The first is "blew satyn." The old satin was a thick closely-woven silk, and is mentioned as early as the 13th century in wardrobe accounts and inventories.

The next vestment is "greensaye." Say was a wollen cloth, much used in ancient times. As early as the reign of Rufus, stockings were made of this material, and at the beginning of the 17th century it was still used for external garments.

The third vestment, and the cope are made of fustian. Eustian was a cotton material much used by the Normans, more especially by the clergy for the making of their chasubles. The Cistercians were forbidden to wear any vestments made of any thing but linen or fustian. It was first manufactured in England in the reign of Ed. VI., being made at Norwich. Norwich had been the place where woollen fustians were made as early as 1336.