St Mary in the High Street is the
parish church of Oxford ... a stately church by any parish
church standard. It has a nave six bays long and a chancel five bays long
and a total length of about 165 ft. ... It is a Perp church, with little that is older.
In order of time, one must start with the tower. This must be of the late
C13 to about 1320. ... One of the most spectacular spires of England. Its
date c.1315-25 is determined by the lavish use of ballflower. The
buttresses, one pair projecting at r. angles at every corner, end each in
a canopied niche with a statue. Then set behind them and placed
diagonally, are uncommonly long pinnacles, each outer side with steep twin
gables and each pinnacle above them with its own smaller pinnacles. And,
to add to the confusion, there are four large lucarnes starting from the
foot of the spire and again ending in a steep gable. The present
arrangement is an attempt by Sir T.G. Jackson, who restored the church, to
get back from Buckler's to the original appearance. ...
Dates are 1463 for the chancel, c.1485 to c.1495 for nave and aisles. The
chancel windows are very high, of three lights, with two-centred arches,
and transomed. They look spectacular from the S, i.e. the High, where
there are no accretions and where the many pinnacles add to the feel of
festiveness. The E windows is of seven lights and placed high up. To
continue along the S side, the S aisle has four-light windows with
four-centred arches and decorated battlements, as have those of the
A south porch which has not quite its par in the country.
It is by Nicholas Stone, he made it in 1637, and received £230 for it.
It has a round-arched entrance and twisted
columns l. and. r., ... The columns carry a wild superstructure of classical
elements, fragments of a segmental arch ending in scrolls, and, squeezed
between them and dropped to just above the arch, a niche with a shell top
and a statue of the Virgin - and another pediment above the niche. ... The
porch was originally erected by Dr. Morgan Owen, chaplain to Laud, and the
inclusion of the statue of the Virgin was made one of the indictments at
Laud's trial. ...