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Oxford  -  St Mary Church
Mainly 15th century

Click on photos to enlarge.
Notes in italics from Oxfordshire by Jennifer Sherwood and Nikolaus Pevsner (1974)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London.



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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 clerestory. ...
 
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. ...


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North side of the church from Catte Street. To the left, All Souls College, and to the right, the Radcliffe Camera


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