Gypsy's Travels

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Travels with Charley - The Saxon Tower, Oxford, England

Road Scholar filled our days and evenings with varied literary and cultural activities but we did have a little free time. From the several church towers that offer good views of the city, we chose the Saxon Tower at the Parish Church of St. Michael at the North Gate. This tower dates from 1050, the oldest building in Oxford, and the only original portion of the church remaining. The church itself has been destroyed at various times, and has been rebuilt several times.

John Wesley preached from the 15th Century pulpit on 29 September 1726.

At least one of the stained glass windows dates from the 13th Century.

There is no charge to visit the church. There is a small fee to view the treasures in the tower and climb to the top.
Charlie could maneuver the many steps much more quickly than I.
There are six huge bells in the tower but ringing them would cause severe damage, so chimes are used instead.

For a few pence, a 19th Century clock mechanism will perform.

This is the door of the prison cell in which Archbishop Cranmer and Bishops Latimer and Ridley were held before they were burned at the stake on what is now called Broad Street. Their crime - refusing to convert to Roman Catholicism during the reign of Queen Mary in the 16th Century.
The cell was in Bocardo Prison which adjoined this church until it was demolished in 1771.

The stairs emerge on the roof of the tower for a commanding view of the city....

....and the street below.

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