The University Church of St. Mary the Virgin dates from medieval times. St. Mary's stands in the center of the old walled city, and Oxford University grew up around it.
In fact, St. Mary's had become the seat of university government by the early 13th century. Although university business is no longer conducted at St. Mary's, the formal university sermon is still preached there.
St. Mary's is renowned for its 13th century pinnacled spire and its Baroque porch added by a friend of Archbishop Laud in 1637. In fact, the porch was considered "too Catholic" and was cited as evidence of the Archbishop's treason in 1640. The archbishop was executed in 1644.
The interior of St. Mary's (see below) is a bit disappointing, but the tower claims to offer the best view in Oxford (tower admission: £3 for adults, £2.50 for children under 16, £10 for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 2 children)).
From the tower, visitors can enjoy spectacular views like the one below of All Souls College.
St. Mary's is located on High Street in Oxford and is open daily from 9-5. Admission is free.
University Church of St. Mary the Virgin
High Street, Oxford
Tel: 01865 279111
Map of University Church of St. Mary the Virgin
© 2010 John Westby
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