Oxford Church Iffley road Oxford

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Church Iffley road oxford

The Splendid Architectural Marvels of Oxford Churches in Oxford City

Oxford, a city renowned for its prestigious Oxford_University, is one of the top Oxford places to visit for its rich history and architectural wonders. Among the best things to do in Oxford, touring the famous Oxford churches, nestled within the heart of the city, stands out. These beautiful churches are striking symbols of the city’s religious heritage and architectural prowess, making them a must-see on any tour and a highlight of what to do in Oxford. A great option especially if you have a short time in Oxford city is to take a guided tour and is highly recommended and one of the top things to do in oxford 

this is outside st Mary's church oxford iffley

The Jewel of Oxford

St Mary the Virgin Church, Iffley

One such outstanding example of the beautiful church in Oxford is St Mary the Virgin Church, located in the charming village of Iffley, South East Oxford. This stunning edifice, also known as Iffley Church, is celebrated for its extraordinary architectural beauty and historical significance, making it a top choice for those looking for things to do in Oxford and a must-visit on any church tour.

Historical Significance

The church, a grand edifice, was constructed in the 12th century, around 1170-1180, by Robert de St Remy, a Norman lord, and his wife, a member of the affluent Clinton family. The financial resources from the Clinton family likely contributed to the creation of this grand church.

when churches was built in oxford

Architectural Brilliance

St Mary the Virgin Church is a testament to the Romanesque style of architecture, setting it apart from other beautiful churches and cathedrals. Its bold and uncompromising design, coupled with its grandeur and opulence, sets it apart from other English cathedrals of similar ground plans and style. The architectural elements and ornate detailing of the church narrate a compelling story of the vigour, capability, purpose, and skills of its benefactors, builders, and preservers.

West Front

The west front of the church, one of the most impressive features of this beautiful cathedral, is adorned with intricate carvings. The west doorway, framed by tall blind arches and crowned with a restored oculus, features two continuous layers of beakhead carvings, a wide inner layer of zig-zag patterns, and a hood with a chain motif featuring signs of the Zodiac and symbols of the Evangelists. This makes it a must-see on any church tour.

The round window, although a Victorian restoration, replicates the original Norman design, thereby maintaining the Norman symmetry of the west wall of this famous church, similar to the Christ_Church_Cathedral. Above the doorway are three arched windows in an arcade, separated by columns and a small blind arch at the pinnacle of the façade, making it a highlight of any cathedral tour.

South Door

The south door is another marvel of this beautiful church. Here, you can enter a world of fantasy, with carvings of dragons, serpents, lions, centaurs, fabulous birds, and beasts. The carvings are still in excellent condition, thanks to the porch that once stood outside the door, protecting the carvings from the elements. This is a must-see on any cathedral tour.

Inside the Church

The interior of the church, one of the most famous cathedrals in Oxford, is divided into distinct squares and rectangles, based on a mathematical proportion of one to the square root of two. This design, similar to the Christ_Church_Cathedral, may have been used to express religious ideas of harmony and perfection, making it a highlight of any cathedral tour.K. But it is the Blackwell’s Oxford shop that was the first and stand out shop and still remains the most popular.uk bookshop

Baptistry and Nave

The first chamber of this beautiful church is the baptistry, where the massive square bulk of the font stands. The baptistry leads to the nave, which is dominated by massive, lavishly carved arches under the central tower. The nave arch is carved with a band of flowers and fruit decoration, making it a must-see on any cathedral tour.. You can visit this and many other places on an oxford city tour with a professional tour guide 

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Choir and Chancel

From the tower, you proceed through another marvellously carved arch to the choir, which served as the original chancel of this famous church, similar to the Christ_Church_Cathedral. In the 13th century, a new chancel was added at the east end, accessed through yet another magnificently carved arch. The chancel is home to a 13th-century sedilia and a piscina of the same date, making it a highlight of any cathedral tour.

The Anchoress of Iffley

Iffley road Church annora in prison

Interestingly, the history of the church is also intertwined with the life of an anchoress named Annora. Living in a cell in the church from 1232-1241, Annora may have contributed to the construction of the new chancel of the church.

Charity Fundraising Events

fundraising at a church in oxford

In addition to its religious and architectural significance, St Mary the Virgin Church is also a hub for community activities and stands as one of the best things to do in Oxford. Various charity fundraising events, including carol singing around the village during the festive season and the Advent Lunch, are held at the church, making it a center for Oxford activities. It’s a tour de force of community spirit and can be one of the fun things to do in Oxford.

Online Presence

Oxford churches online presence

The church has a robust online presence across multiple platforms. Its official website, iffleychurch.org.uk, provides comprehensive information about the church and its services. Additionally, the church can be found on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where further updates and news are shared

An Architectural Treasure

In conclusion, St Mary the Virgin Church, Iffley, stands as a magnificent architectural treasure among famous churches in Oxford city. Its splendid Romanesque architecture, coupled with its rich history and vibrant community, make it one of the beautiful churches and a must-visit destination for architecture enthusiasts, history buffs, and spiritual seekers alike. It is indeed a highlight among the best things to do in Oxford and a tour of this beautiful church in Oxford is highly recommended.


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