The Church Recording group has now started to work on a Record for the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Beckley. More volunteers to join the group are always welcome so if anyone is interested in joining the group please get in touch with Liz Rhodes firstname.lastname@example.org
Children’s Trail of Discovery September 2018
For the last few months a small group from the Oxford Society have worked on developing a Children’s Trail of Discovery for the University Church of St. Mary’s, Oxford. One of the Arts Society’s volunteer activities, such a trail is a way of discovering more about places of worship and historic buildings. It consists of a Question Sheet for children aged 8-12 that takes them around a church and teaches them about it’s meaning and history, encouraging them to investigate it’s architecture, art and furnishings. There is also an Answer Sheet for accompanying adults that gives them additional information and a Word Search Puzzle.
The completed Trail was presented to the Rector, William Lamb, at a Service on Sunday, 23rd September, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Arts Society, attended by Volunteers from the Wyvern Area.
Completed Record for St Mary’s, Garsington. November 2017
For the past two and a half years a small group of Church Recorders from the Arts Society Oxford, have been working on a Church Record for St Mary’s. This is a comprehensive document listing the furnishings, artefacts and some of the fabric of a church. Objects are divided into sections entitled, Memorials, Metalwork, Stonework, Woodwork, Textiles, Windows, Paintings, Library and Miscellaneous. Each object is described in a prescribed format and may be photographed. Thus the final Record is a document of local and social history. Copies of the Record are placed in the V&A in London, the local County Heritage Centre and Historic England so that it becomes a source of information for future researchers.
Standing on the site of a Saxon look-out post, the Church is a prominent landmark facing across the Thames Valley to the Wittenham Clumps. Part of the Tower dates back to the late 12th Century , the North Aisle was added at the end of the 13th century and the South Aisle added in the early 14th century. The Church contains a number of monuments, the most notable being a memorial by Eric Gill of the literary figure Lady Ottoline Morrell who lived in Garsington. Other interesting features include a turret clock, medieval and Victorian floor tiles and a stained glass window which came from St. Giles Church in Oxford.
The group met once a month and spent a couple of hours in the church making notes on the particular sections they were working on, undertaking further research between the meetings and then writing up their notes in the format required. Measurements were taken, some items weighed, Latin on some of the memorials translated, and a lot of time spent looking up historical archives to ensure as much information as possible had been collected. Memorials in any church are probably one of the most fascinating to research and two in particular threw up some unexpected stories. Research into the first, ‘to the memory of Henry W.M. Singleton’ a Commoner of Trinity College Oxford, produced the fact that the burial register states he was killed at the turnpike gate at Gosford (Kidlington). He and a fellow student appear to have raced on horseback along the turnpike after going to the races and his horse ran into the toll-bar throwing him insensible, whereupon he died two hours later.
Liz Rhodes, Convenor, Church Recorders
Photographs: Carolyn Brown