City Branch Towers

The first section of this page shows City Branch towers which hold a ringing practice on a regular basis. Other towers can be found in the second section. Given are the number of bells and the weight and musical note of the tenor (heaviest bell), as found in Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Details the individual bells can be found by clicking on the link showing their number. Look out for the audio clips, which allow you to hear most of these towers ringing. You can get a map, showing the tower's location, by clicking on the Ordnance Survey (Landranger grid) reference number after its name. If you would like to join the ringing, then please contact the Tower Correspondent using the details given on the contacts page. More details, such as the methods most often rung, can be found on the ringing page. The descriptions of the churches were written by Hugh Deam. Photographs are by Paul Lucas and Hugh Deam. Most of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.


Section 1 Practising Towers




Saint Aldates, Oxford OX1 1BP
6 bells 11-1-12 cwt-qr-lb 577 kg in G

St James, Cowley, Oxford OX4 3LF
6 bells GF 5-3-3 cwt-qr-lb 293 kg in C

St Mary, Garsington, Oxon. OX44 9DJ
6 bells 8-1-6 422 kg in G

St Giles, Oxford OX2 6HT
8 bells 14-0-1 cwt-qr-lb 712 kg in F#

St Andrew, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DL
8 bells 7-3-0 cwt-qr-lb 394 kg in A

St Lawrence, Nth Hinksey, Oxford OX2 0LZ
6 bells 5-2-27 cwt-qr-lb 292 kg in B

St Giles, Horspath, Oxon. OX33 1SE
6 bells GF 5-2-9 cwt-qr-lb 283 kg in Bb


SMV, Kidlington, Oxon. OX5 2AZ
8 bells 21-2-27 cwt-qr-lb 1104 kg in D

St Nicholas, Old Marston, Oxford OX3 0PR
6 bells 5-0-19 cwt-qr-lb 263 kg in C

St John, Stanton, Oxon. OX33 1DN
5 bells 9¼ cwt 470 kg in G#

St Mary, Wheatley, Oxon. OX33 1LZ
6 bells 9-3-10 cwt-qr-lb 500 kg in Ab

St Peter, Wolvercote, Oxford OX2 8BW
6 bells GF 8-0-2 cwt-qr-lb 407 kg in Bb
Section 2 Other Towers




ABVM, Beckley, Oxon. OX3 9UT
5 bells 11-1-13 cwt-qr-lb 577 kg in F#

All Saints, Cuddesdon, Oxon. OX44 9HD
6 bells 14-2-16 cwt-qr-lb 744 kg in F

St Ebbe, Oxford OX1 1QF
8 bells 4-3-19 cwt-qr-lb 250 kg in Bb

St Clement, Oxford OX4 1BG
Originally a chime of three



St Barnabas, Jericho, Oxford OX2 6BH
10 tubular bells plus one hung for ringing

St Peter, Marsh Baldon, Oxon. OX44 9LS
5 bells GF 7½ cwt 381 kg in A

St Michael, Oxford OX1 3EY
6 bells 12 cwt 610 kg in F#



 
 

 
 


1 long cwt [hundredweight] = 4 qr [quarter] = 112 lb [pound] = 8 stone = 50.80 kg
1 long ton [imperial] = 20 cwt = 1016 kg    1 tonne [metric] = 1000 kg = 19.68 cwt



Section 1 · Practising Towers



St Aldates · City Centre

City Centre


St Aldates SP513060
40 Pembroke Street
Oxford OX1 1BP


6 bells 11-1-12 cwt-qr-lb in G

Monday Practice

Correspondent

Stedman Doubles
Ringing down
Hear each bell strike

St Aldates, Oxford City The historic street of St Aldate’s leads south from the epicentre that is Carfax. It boasts a rich variety of architecture in the Town Hall, the C16th facade of Christ Church and Christopher Wren’s inspirational Tom Tower, with St Aldates’ Church directly across the road. The majority of the building is the work of JT Christopher, who heavily restored the church in 1862, and then again in 1873. This embroiderment subsumed most of the original Norman work. It still retains its C14th crypt, below the east end of the south aisle, that was the work of John de Dockington. The church has long been noted for its revivalist outlook to worship that has ensured larger congregations than many similar centralised churches. The bells here are an engaging six with a tenor which, when working, requires fine-spun handling. A ringing simulator has now been added, allowing practices to take place every Monday.



St James the Apostle · Cowley

Cowley


St James the Apostle SP540039
Beauchamp Lane, Cowley
Oxford OX4 3LF


6 bells GF 5-3-3 cwt-qr-lb in C

Thursday Practice Correspondent

Listen to this ring of bells
Hear each bell strike

St James, Cowley, Oxford The first documentation of a settlement here was in 1004, when the area was known as Couelea “Cofa’s clearing”, and later Covelie in the Domesday Book. The church was once in the possession of Osney Abbey (1149), and is situated between Church Hill Road and the narrow Beauchamp Lane. The lane still evokes memories of the old Cowley village, despite being adjacent to the incongruous Templars Square multi-storey car park at the bottom end. The capacious tree-lined churchyard on the eastern side of the church exudes an air that belies just how built up an area there is surrounding it. The somewhat stunted appearance of the tower is a consequence of the heightening of the nave roof that formed part of the restoration by GE Street from 1862. This was more of a rebuilding in all truth, leaving few Norman parts remaining. The bells are a light ground-floor six, with the front three sallies set quite close together.



St Mary · Garsington

Garsington


St Mary SP580020
Southend, Garsington
Oxfordshire OX44 9DJ


6 bells GF 8-1-6 cwt-qr-lb in G

Monday Practice Correspondent

Listen to this ring of bells
Hear each bell strike

St Mary’s, Garsington, Oxfordshire is circa 1200, with a transitional period tower, and is located on high ground that affords views for some ten miles out over Wittenham Clumps. Its exposed situation does mean that it can get very windy. The picturesque manor house here is where Cromwell and Fairfax met to plot the siege of Oxford. More recently, the manor was the venue of the famous Garsington Opera, during the summers of 1989 until 2010. The main body of the church was subject to restoration in 1849, giving it a 14th century style. It is approached through an old lych-gate. Before the restoration of June 2013, this ground-floor ring of six was both heavy going and odd struck, and so it was recommended for those who demand a challenge. The exterior of the tower was repaired in 2007, since it has endured the brunt of the elements over the years. Note there is very limited parking outside. Nearby, the Three Horseshoes is a cosy country pub, with a function room added at the rear. It makes for a good lunchtime stopover for larger groups of visiting ringers.



St Giles · City Centre

City Centre


St Giles SP511070
10 Woodstock Road
Oxford OX2 6HT


8 bells 14-0-1 cwt-qr-lb in F

Thursday Practice Correspondent

The bells now retuned
Before the retuning
Hear each bell strike

St Giles, Oxford City This primarily Norman church is situated at the northern end of St Giles and it marks the convergence of the Banbury and Woodstock Roads. The church is first mentioned in 1138, with the lower part of the tower dating from before 1200. The 13th century saw the completion of the tower and the addition of the nave arcades. At that time, the parish encompassed an area from the River Cherwell in the east, to Jericho in the west and Summertown to the north. The south chapel was rebuilt between 1850 and 1852 using the original materials in the main. The large and well maintained churchyard enjoys a splendid view along what is the widest main street in the country. The eponymous St Giles Fair takes place on the first Monday and Tuesday after St Giles Day on the 1st of September. Traditionally, a quarter peal is rung on the Sunday evening before the start of the fair. The sound of the bells is immortalised by New Bats In Old Belfries (1945), a collection of poems by Sir John Betjeman. Before the Anaesthetic, or A Real Fright describes a stay at the nearby Radcliffe Infirmary: "Intolerably sad, profound St Giles's bells are ringing round, They bring the slanting summer rain To tap the chestnut boughs again." Eight syllables per line (iambic tetrameter) match the number of bells here precisely.



St Andrew · Headington

Headington


St Andrew SP544076
33 St Andrew's Road, Headington
Oxford OX3 9DL


8 bells 7-3-0 cwt-qr-lb in A

Wednesday Practice Correspondent


Listen to this ring of bells

St Andrew, Headington, Oxford belongs to an ancient parish some 2 miles north of the centre of Oxford. It straddles the escarpment of the Oxford Heights, a ridge of hills that stretches from Faringdon to Brill. The Corallian limestone and sandstone resulted in Headington becoming synonymous with quarrying. King Ethelred the Unready (c.968 - 1016) is thought to have been christened here. The first documentary reference to the church here was in a charter of Henry I from 1122, granting the chapel at Headington to the Canons of St Frideswide’s. The tower and south aisle are 14th century, with a chancel from a century later, and the nave is 19th century, as is the north aisle extension and vestry. The church sits at the heart of Old Headington, and its eight bells are ideal for very fluent ringing.



St Lawrence · North Hinksey

North Hinksey


St Lawrence SP495055
North Hinksey Lane, North Hinksey
Oxford OX2 0LZ


6 bells 5-2-27 cwt-qr-lb in B

Friday Practice Correspondent

Listen to this ring of bells

The Hinksey villages were a rural haunt of Matthew Arnold’s Scholar Gypsy, and despite being not much more than a mile from the centre of Oxford, they were actually in the county of Berkshire. Much of the area is now suburbanised or penned in by the Oxford Ring Road, with the church of St Laurence, North Hinksey, Oxford being accessible directly from the southbound A34. At the time of the local government boundary reorganisation in 1972, with Hinksey moving from Berkshire to Oxfordshire, the four bells in the church were augmented to a six. A plaque, made from a section of the old frame, now hangs within the ringing-room. The first peal on the bells did not take place until 1981. The church, set on high ground, is basically Norman, with an Early English tower that had to be partly rebuilt after suffering damage during the English Civil War.



St Giles · Horspath

Horspath


St Giles SP571049
Church Road, Horspath
Oxfordshire OX33 1SE


6 bells GF 5-2-9 cwt-qr-lb in B

Tuesday Practice Correspondent

Grandsire Doubles
Simulated Ringing
Hear each bell strike

St Giles, Horspath, Oxfordshire The village lies below the viewpoint of Shotover Hill and retains many groups of attractive cottages. Horspath is one of the very few villages around Oxford still to have a feast every September, where its centre is transformed on the Monday night by quite a few of the fairground attractions still in the area after St Giles Fair in Oxford. The 13th century church was drastically altered during the 19th century, with the chancel being rebuilt and north transept added. The church contains medieval stained glass and, amongst a number of notable details, a handsome Jacobean pulpit. The tower is 15th century, and the bells are an extremely smooth flowing ring of six, with long ropes for exceptionally short ringers.



St Mary the Virgin · Iffley

Iffley


St Mary the Virgin SP527035
Church Road, Iffley
Oxford OX4 4EJ


6 bells 10 cwt in A

Wednesday Practice Correspondent

Listen to this ring of bells
Hear each bell strike

SMV, Iffley, Oxford was built circa 1170, due to the gift of a rich patron. It is one of the best preserved in the country, with fine carvings, and a priest’s chair and desk fashioned out of a 1600 year-old yew tree. There is a superb south-west window, designed by John Piper, that allows light to diffuse to best advantage within the church. The tower formed part of the original design, with the current timber bell-frame having been installed in 1911. The spacious ringing chamber is reached via a spiral staircase of about 40 steps. The church is generally open from 8am – 7pm. Toilet facilities are available in the vestry on the north side of the churchyard. The nearest pubs are The Isis Tavern, adjacent to Iffley Lock, or The Prince of Wales, on the road through the village which leads to the church.



St Mary · Kidlington

Kidlington


St Mary the Virgin SP497148
Church Street, Kidlington
Oxfordshire OX5 2AZ


8 bells 21-2-27 cwt-qr-lb in D

Tuesday Practice Correspondent

Bob Triples
Extended ringing

St Mary, Kidlington, Oxfordshire Being England’s second largest village (Cranleigh in Surrey currently claims the distinction of being the largest), Kidlington derives its name from the Old English description for an estate owned by Cydela. The Domesday Book notes it as being called Chedelintone. The Georgian houses of the village are somewhat hidden by new developments which dominate the central, southern and western sides. The original design of this primarily Early English church was of a cruciform nature with a central tower and no aisles. A series of major additions during the later Decorated period have drastically altered the layout. There are a plethora of monuments within, including memorials to two Bishops of Exeter. The imposing spire is surprisingly not apparent from the road entrances to the village, the church being tucked away on the north-east side of Kidlington and backed by large areas of open ground. Many thousands of pounds have been raised in recent years to restore and maintain the tower and spire, with the superb eight bells installed here being the heaviest in the branch.



St Nicholas · Marston

Marston


St Nicholas SP527089
Elsfield Road, Old Marston
Oxford OX3 0PR


6 bells 5-0-19 cwt-qr-lb in C

Friday Practice Correspondent

Listen to this ring of bells

St Nicholas, Marston, Oxford The toponym Marston references its origins as a farmstead in marshy ground. Several brooks wend their way almost unnoticed through and around the village on their way to feeding into the River Cherwell. The low-lying nature of the village has resulted in certain areas being prone to flash-flooding down the years. During the English Civil War in 1646, Sir Thomas Fairfax accepted the surrender of Oxford by representatives of Charles I in the manor house behind the church, the house now being known as Cromwell House. Although not conclusively established, Oliver Cromwell is thought to have met with Fairfax at the house prior to the surrender, but he was not present at the time of the surrender, contrary to some sources. During the 20th century, two of the most notable members of the Oxford penicillin team, Howard Florey and Norman Heatley, lived in the village. The 12th century church was once partly surrounded by a moat. These short-draughted six were augmented from five in 1972. They are rung from a floor reached by a straight staircase of 12 steps. A toilet is available, with tea and coffee facilities in the new vestry. Visitors are welcome 09:30 - 17:30 on weekdays. Peals are attempted three times per year. Food is available from the Victoria Arms and the Red Lion. St Nicholas Church is in Elsfield Road, Old Marston, near to the A40 Marston Flyover on the Northern Bypass. Please click on the Ordnance Survey reference number (above) to see a map. Vicar Revd Tony Price, Captain Roy Jones, Vice Captain Judy Kirby, Secretary Hugh Deam.



St John · Stanton

Stanton St John


St John the Baptist SP577094
Middle Road, Stanton St John
Oxfordshire OX33 1DN


5 bells cwt in G

Thursday Practice

Correspondent

The village of Stanton St John lies adjacent to the Roman road between Dorchester and Alcester. It is well known to television viewers as its shop and main street have featured in several episodes of Midsomer Murders. Close by is a large pick-your-own farm that is popular for its strawberries and asparagus. The son of John White of Stanton St John, Revd John White of Dorchester (1575-1648), went on to become a founder of the New England colony of Massachusetts. The grandparents of John Milton are buried in the churchyard here. St John has a 12th century chancel arch and a perpendicular gothic period tower. Although the bells were deemed unringable circa 1982, the ODG reclassified them as safe to ring in 2008, after the work that was carried out by Rod Bickerton.



St Mary · Wheatley

Wheatley


St Mary SP597058
Church Road, Wheatley
Oxfordshire OX33 1LZ


6 bells 9-3-10 cwt-qr-lb in A

Friday Practice Correspondent

Listen to this ring of bells
Hear each bell strike

St Mary, Wheatley, Oxfordshire is situated on the route of the old London to Gloucester road, with the River Thame running through the lower part of the village. This area was the site of a Roman settlement and later a Saxon cemetery. The old stone lock-up of the village is still preserved. The church is 18th century, but was subject to a rebuilding 1855-57 in C13th style at the instigation of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, although the distinctive broach-spire faceted tower was not completed until 1868. The bells were re-hung to great effect in 1996.



St Peter · Wolvercote

Wolvercote


St Peter SP497099
First Turn, Wolvercote
Oxford OX2 8BW


6 bells GF 8-0-2 cwt-qr-lb in B

Thursday Practice Correspondent

Listen to this ring of bells
Hear each bell strike

Known as Ulfgarcote (Wulfgar’s Cottage) in the Domesday Book, Wolvercote manages to retain a strong village identity, with a wealth of local organisations, a thriving Sunday Market and many fetes and festivals organised and well supported throughout the year. Wolvercote was the scene of much bloody skirmishing during the English Civil War, including a raid on the church in 1644. In the more peaceful years that followed, Wolvercote became synonymous with its paper-mill, which supplied the paper for printing books for Oxford University. Although she did not adopt the religious life, Lord Clifford’s daughter, Rosamund did spend her later years in Godstow Nunnery after falling out of favour as mistress of King Henry II. Fair Rosamund as she became known is buried within the precincts of the Nunnery, and her ghost, red rose in hand, is said to haunt the garden. The ghost of the first Duke of Marlborough is reputed to drive a coach and horses past Wolvercote early on New Year’s Day. St Peter’s Church retains its Saxon font carved out of a single block of stone and ornamented with a diamond design round the rim. During the 19th century the parish became notable as a stepping stone to the Episcopacy, with several curates here eventually going on to become bishops of significance at Salisbury, Colchester, London and Zanzibar. The main body of the originally Perpendicular period church was rebuilt in 1859. The bells are rung from the ground floor and the enthusiastic band of ringers is very much an integral part of the community.




Section 2 · Other Towers

These remaining towers do not hold a regular practice. This is either because there isn't sufficient demand for one, or because they aren't hung for full-circle ringing. Alternatively, they may have been declared unsafe to ring.



ABVM · Beckley

Beckley


The Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin Mary
SP562113
Church Street, Beckley
Oxfordshire OX3 9UT


5 bells 11-1-13 cwt-qr-lb in F

Unringable full-circle

ABVM, Beckley, Oxfordshire Some five miles north east of Oxford, the village, along with the adjoining hamlet of Stowood, was the site of a Romano-British villa and is crossed by the Roman road from Alcester to Dorchester. Set on high ground, it enjoys fine views over Otmoor and across to Oxford. The Tudor residence of Beckley Park occupies the site referred to in King Alfred’s will. It became known as the Honour of St Valery after the Norman Conquest and was given by Henry III to Richard, Earl of Cornwall. This parish church is early Norman, with a massive 14th century tower that belies the fact that there are only five bells housed within. Last rung in the late 1970's, the configuration of the bells has an unconventional pattern, but they have become unringable due to a weak frame.



St Clement · St Clements

St Clements


St Clement SP527063
Marston Road
Oxford OX4 1BG


Originally a chime of three

St Clement, St Clements, Oxford This area of Oxford is sited to the east of the centre and is considered to be the direct route out of the city to London. Consequently, a decision eventually had to be taken to widen the road, a move which signalled the demolition of Harpsichord Row in 1929, although the similar terrace of London Place still survives. The Morrell family, famous for their brewing, long owned South Park until selling 50 acres to the Oxford Preservation Trust in 1959. Although the church now stands at the beginning of the Marston Road, in the wooded shadow of Headington Hill, it was originally situated just to the east of Magdalen Bridge, at what is now called The Plain. It was rebuilt in 1828 under the supervision of D Robertson. The style of the main body of the church, and the square west tower, are what is known as Georgian Norman. The windows are from the former church of St Martin at Carfax. This was originally a chime of three bells, but the two largest have been removed from the tower. They are now displayed within the church. One probably dates from the 13th century, making it the oldest in Oxford.



All Saints · Cuddesdon

Cuddesdon


All Saints SP601031
Church Road, Cuddesdon
Oxfordshire OX44 9HD


6 bells 14-2-16 cwt-qr-lb in F

Unringable full-circle

All Saints, Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire This handsome Cruciform church was built circa 1180 at the behest of Abingdon Abbey, and enjoys a superb view over rolling countryside out towards Buckinghamshire. The West entrance of the church is particularly impressive, and ideal for wedding photographs, as is the gateway to the churchyard. The church is one of the most aesthetically pleasing in the branch, and the bells had an excellent tone, although the 2 was somewhat odd-struck. Unfortunately there is currently no band in the village and the frame is in need of restoration. Only a short step away from the church is the Theological College, and in less than a minute’s walk is the singular Bat & Ball public house, which is crammed with an eclectic array of cricketing memorabilia.



St Ebbe · City Centre

City Centre


St Ebbe SP512060
Pennyfarthing Place
Oxford OX1 1QF


8 bells 4-3-19 cwt-qr-lb in B

A full-circle ring with no practice

St Ebbe This area of the city and its church are named after Ebba, daughter of Aethelfrith, King of Northumbria. Her brothers, Oswald and Oswy, both went on to rule the county. After the death of her father, in a battle during 617, she became a nun and founded a religious house of which she was Abbess. Records show St Ebbe’s to be the earliest church in the city to be mentioned in print, with it being given to Eynsham Abbey in 1141. It has been rebuilt and enlarged on a number of occasions, most extensively in 1813, with just the tower and a south-west corner remaining exempt. William Fisher began the work, but later in C19th, the grandiloquent GE Street gave it his early Gothic revival treatment. The church has been dwarfed and partly surrounded by the Westgate shopping centre since the early 1970s. This development signalled the end for one of Oxford’s most loved department stores, F Cape & Co, which had long enticed shoppers into the area. The bells are an unusually light ring of eight that require great accuracy in handling. There is limited ringing due to their proximity to the shops and offices. Although this is a City Branch tower, the bells are rung by the Oxford University Society, on a Sunday at 11am during term time.



St Nicolas · Forest Hill

Forest Hill


St Nicolas SP582075
Main Street, Forest Hill
Oxfordshire OX33 1EB


3 bells

A chime

St Nicolas The parish of Forest Hill with Shotover was formed in 1883 and comes under the Wheatley Benefice which in turn is in the Aston & Cuddesdon Deanery. The church here was consecrated in 1273 by Reginald, Bishop of Cloyne acting on behalf of the Lincoln Diocese when a remodelling took place. The estate and chapel formed part of a grant by Robert D’Oiley to the church of St George at Oxford Castle, and later to Osney Abbey. The patronage has now long been held by Lincoln College, Oxford. The church consists of a chancel and nave under a single roof, with the western end dominated by a large Early English period gabled double bell-cote which houses two bells. The north aisle of the church saw a fine full pedal-board organ chamber added in 1852 during several years of general restoration to the interior of the building.



St Bartholomew · Holton

Holton


St Bartholomew SP605064
Holton, Oxfordshire OX33 1PR

3 bells 8 cwt

A chime

St Bartholomew, Holton, Oxfordshire This small village is now almost adjacent to Wheatley and derives its name from the Old English for a farmstead in a nook of land, being described as Healhtun as far back as 956 AD. With the exception of a doorway and a couple of arches, very little remains of the original transitional period church of circa 1200. The chancel dates from the early C14th, when there was a major restoration carried out by William Brome. The west tower is also known to date from around the same time, with the bells having been re-hung for chiming only. St Bartholomew has three bells, two of which are medieval with the other being C17th. The tenor weighs about 8 cwt.



St Barnabas · Jericho

Jericho


St Barnabas SP505069
Cardigan Street, Jericho
Oxford OX2 6BH


10 tubular bells plus one
other bell hung for ringing

Struck by the clock

St Barnabas church is situated at the heart of Jericho on Cardigan Street. It was the concept of Thomas Combe, then superintendent of Clarendon Press, who was a renowned Anglo-Catholic and avowed patron of the early Pre-Raphaelites. Arthur Blomfield was commissioned in 1869 to design this Italian Romanesque building. It is considered to be nearest to the Sicilian style, with a sumptuous and unabashed interior. The Campanile was built in 1872 and re-roofed in 1893. The church cost £6,500 and the Campanile £800 to build. This area of Oxford grew up during the 19th century alongside the canal. It experienced a rapid influx of inhabitants due to several major employers, such as the Oxford University Press and Lucy’s Iron & Brass Foundry, setting up here.



St Peter · Marsh Baldon

Marsh Baldon


St Peter SU562991
Baldon Lane, The Baldons
Oxfordshire OX44 9LS


5 bells GF cwt in A

Originally affiliated with the Oxford
City Branch, this tower moved to
the South Oxon Branch in 2012.

St Peter, Marsh Baldon, Oxfordshire is located on the right, just inside the western gated entrance to the village. The C14th tower has been transformed into an octagonal shape, with squinches at its upper bell-stage, and is unlike any other tower in the branch. The Early Decorated church was totally rebuilt in 1890, and the wooden porch has a sundial over the doorway. The bells are rung from the ground floor and require sensible handling. After an inspection by White's of Appleton, a quarter peal was rung on the 27th June 2009 to celebrate Marsh Baldon's Lunch on the Green. The village is replete with half-timbered and thatched cottages, and the extremely capacious village green is used for cricket matches in summer. The present name of the village derives from the De Le Meres family, who owned much land here in the 13th century. The picturesque and long established Seven Stars Inn is widely regarded and possesses a large log fire and friendly ambience.



St Michael · City Centre

City Centre


St Michael SP513064
Cornmarket Street
Oxford OX1 3EY


6 bells 12 cwt in F

Hung dead

Situated on the corner of Ship Street and Cornmarket, the City Church of St Michael-at-the-Northgate is not only Oxford city centre’s oldest building, with its late Anglo-Saxon tower, but also lends its name to the road opposite (St Michael’s Street). The main body of the church dates primarily to C13th, although the north aisle was totally rebuilt by John Plowman in 1833, with a general restoration overseen by the prolific GE Street in 1853/4. The damage done to the building following a severe fire in 1953 is not really visible today. This tiny enclave of the city has a somewhat Bohemian atmosphere with street buskers, a coffee stall and a silk garments seller. The magnificent church tower is much photographed and scaled by tourists, the roof allowing a splendid view of the city. The Protestant martyrs Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were imprisoned here in a cell known as the Bocardo. The very extensive gift shop is open nearly every day of the year, and includes a wide selection of Fairtrade goods. The church is known for its practical help for charities, having long permitted its grounds to be used for street collections on certain days of the year. If they were rung full circle, the six bells would be too heavy for the tower to support, so they are hung dead for chiming only.



St Andrew · Sandford

Sandford


St Andrew SP534018
Church Road, Sandford on Thames
Oxfordshire OX4 4YR


3 bells cwt

A chime

St Andrew, Sandford-on-Thames, Oxfordshire A settlement known as Sandforda, “a sandy ford”, existed here as far back as 1050. An early Norman church was built at the end of that century. Parts of the east and south walls of the chancel and nave still survive as does a small chancel window. Considerable alterations were made during Victorian times with the present Norman-style tower, dating to 1840, having replaced the previous wooden structure. The elegant porch was built at the behest of Eliza Isham in 1652, to whom an inscription is detailed: “Thanks to thy charitie religious dame, which found me old and made me new againe.” The church is situated close to the river, on the route of an ancient footpath leading to Toot Baldon. There is known to have been a preceptor of the Knights Templar here during the 13th century.



All Saints · Wytham

Wytham


All Saints SP475086
Abbey Entrance, Wytham
Oxfordshire OX2 8QA


A chime of 10 bells


All Saints, Wytham, Oxfordshire Although barely a mile west of Oxford, the village was actually in Berkshire until the boundary changes of the early 1970s. Documented as Wihtham in 957 AD, it appositely takes its name from the Old English for a homestead in a river bend. The land in this area was gifted to Abingdon Abbey by King Edgar, with Wytham Abbey long being the seat of the Earls of Abingdon and dating from the early C16th. The late C14th church at Wytham was rebuilt in 1811/12, by the Bertie family, using materials from their former manor house of Cumnor Place. For example, the entrance to the churchyard is via a small doorway taken from the manor. Some fine stained glass also remains from that earlier period. The ten bells, made by Gillett & Johnston, were installed in 1951 and are chimed by means of a baton keyboard. This was the last work done by Gillett & Johnston before they stopped working with bells. Wytham has long been known for its strawberry teas and the village shop still opens its garden for afternoon teas. The woods surrounding Wytham are now permanently used for nature studies and research purposes.

1 long cwt [hundredweight] = 4 qr [quarter] = 112 lb [pound] = 8 stone = 50.80 kg
1 long ton [imperial] = 20 cwt = 1016 kg    1 tonne [metric] = 1000 kg = 19.68 cwt