The decorated spire of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin is one of the most beautiful sights in Oxford. In fact, in my opinion it’s one of the most beautiful sights I have ever had the good grace to look upon, and I get to see it every day on my way home from work. Lucky me!
As well as being the one-time centre of the University, the church was also the site of the trial of the Oxford Martyrs and the location of the funeral mass for Amy Robsart, also known as Lady Dudley, the wife of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. I only found out that last one by chance while reading a Philippa Gregory novel!
Not pictured: most of the church. Mainly because getting the whole thing in a picture without tourists blocking the shot would have been utterly impossible. Plus it’s the tower that really catches the eye, not least because something that’s nearly a thousand years old surrounded by a bunch of homogenised shops and restaurants (as evidenced by the coffee shop in the picture).
The tower is another place in Oxford I’ve yet to have the time to visit, despite walking past it on my way home from work every day. It’s a bit like people who live in London never finding the time to do all the touristy stuff unless they have people visiting them, I guess. For reasons I’m not entirely (i.e. not at all) clear on, the door to the cell that housed the Oxford Martyrs is in the tower, despite the cell having been in a prison that was nearby… Maybe when I finally get around to visiting the tower I’ll find out why they’ve got it.
I’m quite pleased with today’s picture; it marks the first time I re-took a picture because I wasn’t happy with the framing of it. That’s got to be a sign of progress, right? I’m still not totally happy with it, but people wanted to get past and I had a bus to catch so I had to give up before I got it exactly how I wanted it.
Anyway, this is the Radcliffe Camera, originally an independent library but now part of the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libray. I’ve yet to actually go inside the Bod, but I did stand in Schools Quadrangle yesterday feeling very small and insignificant when I thought of all the people that had stood there before me. As odd as it may sound, it was a pretty amazing feeling.
I tried to come up with a pithy title for this post, but decided it felt a bit…well, disrespectful. I go past the Oxford Oratory Church of St Aloysious Gonzaga twice a day on the bus and I’m always stuck by its beauty. Tonight I discovered that the inside is even more stunning than the exterior, but Project 365 only gets one photo a day.
The lone fly in the ointment was that I managed to go on the only weekday that Mass is said in Latin…