Oxford, England

Oxford
Radcliffe Camera (left) and the "dreaming spires" of All Souls College in the heart of Oxford. Photo © Sacred Destinations.

Oxford is a city of about 135,000 residents in southern England. It is known as the "City of Dreaming Spires," a phrase coined by Matthew Arnold for its beautiful architecture and aspiring student population. Oxford is home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, many beautiful college chapels, an ancient cathedral and shrine, and many important sites in the history of English Christianity. Notable religious figures such as John Wycliffe, John Wesley, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien have called Oxford home, and so has your humble webmaster. Oxford also boasts a number of historic and interesting parish churches, including the fantastic Iffley Church, which has been called the best Romanesque church in England. Follow a link below to explore the fascinating history, architecture and religious sites of the beautiful city of Oxford.

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Merton College
Founded in 1264, Merton College is the oldest college and its buildings are among the most interesting in Oxford. The large 14th-century chapel has plentiful medieval stained glass.
University Church of St Mary
The official church of the university, St. Mary's has seen many historic sermons over the centuries and holds regular services today. Climb the tower for spectacular views of the city.
Bodleian Library
This world-famous university library houses several important religious manuscripts and the beautiful, fan-vaulted Divinity School.
St. Michael at the North Gate
This parish church has the oldest building in Oxford (1040) and some of the oldest stained glass windows in England (1290). Thomas Cranmer was imprisoned here before his martyrdom.
Martyrs' Memorial
This grand memorial spire in the center of Oxford commemorates the Oxford executions of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and other bishops under "Bloody" Queen Mary.
Christ Church Cathedral
This unique cathedral is also the chapel of Christ Church College, the most prestigious college in Oxford. It incorporates the ancient shrine of Oxford's patron saint, Frideswide.
All Souls College
Founded in 1432 to pray for souls in purgatory, All Souls College consists entirely of post-doctorate fellows. Its lovely chapel features a large stone-carved screen behind the altar.
Church of St Philip and St James Church
This attractive 19th-century parish church now houses the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. The interior is not accessible without an appointment.