"University Church of St Mary the Virgin" Top 5 Page for this destination Church of St. Mary the Virgin Tip by evaanna
Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford: 15 reviews and 25 photos
Wherever you go in Oxford and even from the countryside nearby, the spire of this church is clearly visible, the highest of the Oxford 'dreaming spires'. St. Mary's is situated at the very heart of Oxford - it is around this church that the university grew. In the Middle Ages, when the university still had no buildings and the scholars lived in their teachers' houses it was the centre of university life.
The earliest part of the church is the Tower erected in 1280 while the wonderfully ornate spire was added to it in the years 1315 - 1325. If you feel up to it, climb the 124 steps to its top to admire the marvellous view of Oxford and the area around it.
It was at St. Mary's that the three Anglican bishops (see my tip on the Three Martyrs): Latimer,
Ridley and Cranmer were put to trial before being burnt at the stake. It was here that Cranmer listened to the sermon pointing out his alleged 'crimes' on the last day of his life and was made to swear that the hand, his hand, that had signed papers proclaiming his 'outrageous' Protestant beliefs would be the first to feel the flames of the pyre.
St. Mary's is worth visiting also for the sound of its magnificent organ and one of the best choirs in Oxford. Don't miss the Gift Shop, which offers Oxford guidebooks and souvenirs, rather more interesting than those available at other Oxford shops. If you are exhausted after climbing the Tower, you will find refreshments in their coffee shop. For details, see my Oxford restaurants tip.
Church and Tower open: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., July - August 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sundays 11.45 - 5 p.m.
Last entry to the Tower 30 mins before closing
Admission to the Tower: adults 2.50 GBP, children 1.50 GBP, concessions 2 GBP
Address: High Street
Directions: Entrances from the High Street or Radcliffe Square
Phone: 01865 279112
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