Church of England Diocese of Oxford Oxford Saint Frideswide with Binsey

History of the church, Part 3


In the chancel, notice the carved reredos, in Bavarian boxwood, from a convent at Littlemore which closed in 1949. The 13th century piscina has its original carved drain still in place. In the east window are fragments of medieval glass, which may include representations of St Margaret and of the martyrdom of St Thomas Becket. Note the unusual carved knots in the corbels of the chancel arch.

In the nave, note the paraffin lamps, still used to light the church, and the brass candle holders still remaining on some of the pews. On the wall, the large coat of arms is of Queen Anne (1702-1714). After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, it was compulsory for the Royal Arms to be displayed in churches, but this is so large that it may have come from elsewhere, possibly Christ Church Cathedral. In one corner is a harmonium dating from the 1900s, which is still in use. The stained glass Annunciation in the west window came from Littlemore in 1950.

Outside, look for the faint outlines of the two sundials, which once were the only way of indicating the time; and the iron supports for the shutters of the tall lancet window of the chancel. In the bell-cote are two bells; the larger, by Henry Knight, is dated 1650.

In the graveyard, notice the number of Pricketts. This family lived for many generations in the nearby farmhouse, and one member of it was the governess of Dean Liddell's daughter, Alice, for whom Lewis Carroll wrote his famous stories.

Before you leave, take a look at St Margaret's Well, with Prout's inscription of 1874, and absorb the peaceful atmosphere of this historic place before you return across the fields to the busy world of today.

Text by David Clark, 1997