Hello from 1066 – Medieval Mosaic
Today Mike and I drove towards Oxford, it is a bit further than we remembered. We parked at the Pear Tree Park and Ride and took the bus into Oxford as this is by far the easiest thing to do in the cities. It is nice to travel by bus and not have to contend with the traffic.
Th architecture and history in Oxford are wonderful. We were looking for a possible venue for the Oxford Open Doors which is part of the Heritage Open Days on 9th and 10th September. We visited the Wesley Memorial Methodist Church which was completed in 1878. The church is Gothic Revival and the architect Charles Bell designed it in a revival of Decorated Gothic. John Wesley was an English Anglican cleric and theologian who with his brother Charles and fellow cleric George Whitefield, found Methodism. John and Charles Wesley studied in Oxford.
The University of Oxford has 38 Colleges and six Permanent Private Halls of religious foundation. They are autonomous self-governing corporations within the university. A typical college consists of a hall for dining, a chapel, a library, a college bar, senior, middle (postgraduate), and junior common rooms, rooms for 200–400 undergraduates as well as lodgings for the head of the college and other dons. College buildings range from the medieval to modern buildings, but most are made up of interlinked quadrangles (courtyards), with a lodge controlling entry from the outside. The oldest colleges are Balliol founded in 1263, Hertford in 1282, Merton in 1264, University College in 1249 and St Edmunds Hall in 1226. All Souls College has no undergraduate students and graduates have to pass ‘the hardest exam in the world’ to gain entry.
The Radcliffle Camera is a building of Oxford University, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737–49 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.
We visited the Ashmolian Museum again as it is such a special place and huge so it will take many visits to experience it all. In particular Mike wants to photograph the Alfred jewel. It is a piece of Anglo-Saxon goldsmithing work made of enamel and quartz enclosed in gold. It was discovered in 1693 and has been dated to the late 9th century in the reign of Alfred the Great. The display of contemporary stump work embroideries were quite facinating and something we have never seen before.
We also visited the ‘Treasures of the Weston Library’ again. Its treasures have changed since last time we visited and we enjoyed the variey of special books. There was a lovely display of botanical and zoological drawings, the Magna Carta, as well as Rosa angelicana, a beautiful illuminated manuscript. The display of ‘Paint by Numbers’ by Ferdinand Bauer was especially amazing. He would go into the field and make fantastic pencil drawing of plants and animals carefully numbering the pictures to donate the colour. On retruning to his workshop he would then produce the finished drawing using his colour system.
We also visited the Universirty Church of St Mary the Virgin which had some amazing stained glass windows and St Michael at the North Gate. St Michael’s has a fantastic gilded reredos with St Frideswide the patron saint of Oxford. St Frideswide was an English princess and the first abbess of the Oxford double monastery. She is also one of the princesses, Mike and I researched last year for Westminster Abbey.