AN Oxford vicar who worked tirelessly on behalf of poor parishioners in Oxford has been honoured with a commemorative plaque.

Rev Canon John Stansfeld was rector of St Ebbe’s between 1912 and 1926, at a time when the parish was overcrowded.

He set up a medical dispensary in the rectory garden and campaigned to get public baths built in Paradise Square.

Members of the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board gathered at the Old Rectory in Paradise Square, now part of Cherwell College, on Friday to unveil the plaque, which secretary Eda Forbes said was “long overdue”.

She added: “We thought the memory of Canon Stansfeld should be revived because he made a wonderful contribution to the lives of the people of St Ebbe’s.”

Local historian Malcolm Graham, former head of the Centre for Oxfordshire Studies, added: “Canon Stansfeld’s nickname was the Doctor and his passion was giving pre-medical treatment to poor people in Bermondsey, south east London, and then in St Ebbe’s.

“He had a wider interest in improving living conditions for people and setting up clubs for boys and young men where they could socialise.

“He never tired and set off to Kenya aged 72 to set up a mission school.

“He was a social reformer, an evangelical and a missionary — an all-round good egg — and there are still people who remember him.”

Mr Stansfeld, who was born in 1854, remained a parish priest until he died aged 85 in 1939, after going out to visit a sick parishioner on a cold December night.

His funeral at Spelsbury was attended by more than 100 mourners from St Ebbe’s and three bishops were at a crowded thanksgiving service in Bermondsey parish church in January 1940.

The Rt Rev Colin Fletcher, the Bishop of Dorchester, attended Friday’s ceremony.

The plaque was the 47th erected by the county’s blue plaques board in the past 10 years.

Other plaques include those to remember Narnia author CS Lewis, The Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien and Victorian photographer Henry Taunt.