Oxfordshire Sketch - Barking and District Historical Society

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Oxfordshire Sketch

Pictures > E-K > Frank Tingey's Drawings
Oxfordshire Drawing



Oxford - St. Mary’s Church



Wikipedia tells us that the University Church of St Mary the Virgin (St Mary's or SMV for short) is the largest of Oxford's parish churches and the centre from which the University of Oxford grew. It is situated on the north side of the High Street, and  is surrounded by university and college buildings.



The Decorated spire with its triple-gabled outer pinnacles, inner pinnacles, gargoyles and statues was added in the 1320’s. The spire, which is not shown in the sketch, is claimed by some church historians to be one of the most beautiful in England.


The main body of the church was substantially rebuilt in the Perpendicular style in the later 15th and early 16th century.Frank’s sketch is centred on the south porch. This eccentric baroque porch was built in 1637 and was designed by Nicholas Stone (1586/87 – 24 August 1647), master mason to Charles I. It was a gift from Dr Morgan Owen, chaplain to Archbishop Laud and is highly ornate, with spiral columns supporting a curly pediment framing a shell niche with a statue of  the Virgin and Child, underneath a gothic fan vault. The style was too close to Roman baroque for the puritans of the day and the porch itself was used as evidence in Laud's execution trial, citing its 'scandalous statue' to which one witness saw 'one  bow and another pray'. The gate piers are original and the wrought iron gates are early 18th century. The bullet holes in the statue were made by Oliver Cromwell's troops.
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