Holy Trinity church in Headington Quarry was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who also designed the Martyr’s Memorial and the Exeter College Chapel. It was built in 1848-49, to serve the spiritual needs of those living and working in the then-active quarry. Its foundation stone was laid on June 19, 1848, by Samuel Wilberforce, the son of William Wilberforce and then Bishop of Oxford, who consecrated the building on completion. Above the altar is the “Christ in Glory” stained glass window, installed in 1951 as a memorial to those who died in World War II. It was designed by Sir J. Ninian Comper. C. S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia books, began attending here in 1930 and continued to come to the church until his death in 1963. His grave is in the graveyard alongside that of his brother, Warren Hamilton Lewis. The church is known for its Narnia window, which features images from C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. It was installed in the north aisle in 1991 in memory of children George and Kathleen Howe, who died young.
What a lovely church with an amazing tapestry reredos. We read that C.S. Lewis was buried in the cemetery here and when the verger arrived I asked him where the grave was. What followed was an interesting half hour of him explaining all about Clive Staples Lewis. He has a group of Americans arriving soon and was going to give them a talk. He showed us the pew where Lewis and his brother would sit in church. Apparently, they were not keen on organ music so they used to come to 8 am Holy Communion instead of the main service at 11 am. He showed us the wonderful etched window which shows scenes from C.S.Lewis’s books. We then went to the grave where Lewis and his brother were buried. C.S.Lewis died on 22 November 1963 which is the same date that J.F. Kennedy was assassinated so his death went by relatively unnoticed. It was also by coincidence the birthday of Holy Trinity church which was dedicated the same day in 1849.
We collected the numbers and walked towards the final but we could not get close. We finally decided that we must have miscalculated somehow so we walked back looking for the hint instead. We found the hint and after a brief look found the cache too, so all was good. A favourite point was awarded for the lovely church and the challenging cache.
We did another church micro in Headington at All Saints church which was a nice easy find and a traditional for a change. We walked from the car as we were stopped from driving by bollards in the road and decided it would be easier on foot. At Forest Hill, we found a chapel and a cemetery but not St Nicholas’s church. We did find the cache easily on a road that had been diverted for maintenance but we were able to drive there anyway.
St Mary’s Church in Wheatley was built in 1885 in the Gothic revival style. It is a Grade II Listed Building due to unusual cast iron pillars. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s father, Rev. Hubert Brasier was a former vicar. Mrs May was married in St Mary’s. We collected the numbers and then walked around the long way until we came across an obstacle. We found the cache without any problem once we found the right spot and walked back to the car using a shortcut. We found another cache at Wheatley’s United Reformed Church and then went on to Our Lady of Lourdes. Although Wheatley claims to have its beginnings in the Anglo-Saxon era, Roman coins were excavated on Castle Hill on the outskirts of the village, three quarters of a mile from Our Lady of Lourdes Church.
The name Wheatley means ‘the clearing (or leah) where wheat is grown’. In 1719, the Stokenchurch Turnpike Act turned the road through Wheatley into a turnpike. Stagecoaches travelled from Oxford over Shotover Plain to the west of the village and then on to London. Then came the railway in 1864, as part of an extension of the Wycombe Railway from Thame to Oxford, that becoming a better way to travel. However, the station and line closed in the same decade as work began on Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The church building and adjoining properties were previously a large stone tithe barn which is believed to be around 300 years old. It is a listed building for its architectural interest.
The village church of St. Bartholomew Church in Holton was built in cruciform style around 1200. It is a Grade 1 listed building in the transitional style between Norman architecture and Early English Gothic. Unfortunately, the church was closed but we quickly found the cache.
St Leonard’s in Waterstock was a lovely church with a brass engraving listing all the rectors of Waterstock, Bishops, Kings and Patrons. The first rector was John de Hadenham from 1235. Beside it is a wonderful armorial window with 36 shields depicting the genealogy of the Asshehurst family. There was also a magnificent gilt and painted metal-sheet reredos with some Victorian wall paintings in several places. There was also a great wall monument to George Croke. The numbers were soon collected and we followed a footpath across the fields through a temporary electric fence around a horse. We made a quick find and returned the way we came.
St.Giles Church in Tetsworth was originally Saxon but re-built in the 12th century. The chancel was re-built in the 13th century and new perpendicular Gothic windows inserted in the 15th century. However in 1855, the church was demolished and the church as it is now was built in the Early English Gothic style. The church was closed and the ground unkempt and we were unable to find any of the numbers required. We were also getting tired as it has been a long day so we gave up quite quickly and moved on.