Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Oxford churches

Oxford churches

When I visited Oxford in 2012, my wife my little boy and I, picked up a leaflet from the Tourism office on Broad Street. If I remember rightly, the walk was about 3 miles, and is easy walking, taking in many of Oxford's interesting buildings including the churches shown here.

Information on the walk and some of its interesting buildings can be found here.

Here is a good map showing a number of the more interesting buildings that can be found within easy walking distance of the city centre.

Carfax Tower

The only portion of the church of St Martin that survives, is the 12th century tower, sitting at the junctions of St Aldgate, Cornmarket Street, Queen Street and the High Street. 

Between 1122 and 1896 the church was the City Church of Oxford, a postion now held by St Michael's at the North Gate. When the main body of the church was demolished (1896) the church lost it's significance to the city.

The church has a peel of bells dating from 1676, and the tower, like at St Michael, is open to the public. 

St Michael at the North Gate

This is probably Oxford's oldest building (competing with Oxford Castle's tower), and probably dates from around 1040....a rare pre-Norman structure. The church sits on Cornmarket Street the junction with Ship Street.  

The church is built on the site of the original Northern entrance or gate into Oxford, town defences that are now sadly much diminished. William Morris, the pre-raphaelite designer, painter and writer was married here in 1859. St Michael's church holds the position of City Church of Oxford, the church where the Oxford's Mayor and its City Corporation are expected to worship. It is open to the public, and access is available to the summit of the tower which provides great views over the city of Oxford.

There is some interesting information at St Michael's official website.

Wythburn, St John

St John

What a little gem of a church this is. It's hidden from the road and resulted in an emergency stop when I saw it through the trees. The church lies at the South Western tip of Thirlmere, set back off the A591 about four miles North of Grasmere.

Above. The church from the yard.

There has most likely been a church here since the mid 1500s, though nothing remains of this original building. A new building was erected here in 1640, and major rebuilding was undertaken in 1740. The beautiful apse was added in 1872. When the valley nearby was flooded by the Manchester Corporation to create Thirlmere reservoir, the size of the congregation significantly reduced, leaving the church to be a place of worship for a tiny number of nearby farms.

Above. Looking down the nave towards the apsed chancel.

Above. St Cuthbert holding the head of St John the Baptist (?)

One of the three small windows in the West end of the church. The window bears the inscription "Gifted to Rev. B.R. Lawson vicar of Wythburn."

Above. Another window in the West wall, showing a king holding an orb.

This window bears the inscription "A token of love and esteem from @@@@@@ parishioners."

Above. Third of the three windows with an image of St Heribert

This is the first window I've ever seen showing St Heribert. The window bears the simple inscription "August 1888. Glory to god". I've never heard of St Heribert.....but there's some information here about him.

Above. The set of three windows in at the West end of the church.

Above. Looking into the apse at the East end of the church.

The three windows in the apse are reputedly by Henry Holiday, a painter, artist and designer working from London in the 1860s, who also has windows in Westminster Abbey.

Above. Window depicting St Peter with his traditional key.

Above. Window depicting Jesus with a lamb. The dedication is obscured.

Above. Window depicting St David.

This is quite an odd window, in that although it states that the window is dedicated to St David, it actually shows the Old Testament David with his slingshot, not the traditional image of St David with his Scottish styled saltaire cross.

Above. View down the chancel towards the West wall and its three windows.

Above. The tiny belfry at the West end of the church.

Above. Wythburn's beautiful apse with its three windows.

The secluded grade II listed church is open for viewing most days, and is well worth a visit....both for the church itself, and for the surrounding scenery.

Shap, St Michael

St Michael

Skelton, St Michael

St Michael

Salkeld Dykes Methodist Chapel

Salkeld Dykes Methodist Chapel
Near Salkeld

Lazonby, St Nicholas

St Nicholas

Hesket in the Forest, St Mary

Hesket in the Forest
St Mary

This is a very prim and proper looking church, very similar in architectural details to the many Wesleyan Methodist chapels in the area. St Mary is a Grade II listed building, rebuilt in the early 18th century. The Chancel arch (not pictured here) dates from the late 13th or early 14th century. The tiny belcote above the 18th century West porch probably dates from the 1600s.

Above. The Parker Mausoleum.

Above. Possibly the remains of a mounting block incorporated into the church yard wall.

Unfortunately the church wasn't open on my visit. There are windows by Shrigley and Hunt, and the Royal Arms of Queen Victoria.