St Giles Church, Oxford
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 13th century chancel roof timbers
This first church was completed around 1120, but in 1139 Edwin gave the church and its estates to the Benedictines of Godstow Abbey, just west of the city.
Bishop Hugh would still recognise the lower section of the bell tower and a pair of windows in the nave clerestorey. The top of the tower followed in the 13th century, when a pair of aisles were added, and in the late 13th century the chancel was built in Decorated Gothic style.
The Civil War ChurchLike so many places in Oxford St Giles was affected by the turbulent events of the Civil War, when Charles I made the city his headquarters. In 1643 a group of Parliamentary soldiers were held prisoner in the church, and burned all the furniture. A few years later, in 1645, the vicar of St Giles, John Goad, continued to hold church services through Parliament's bombardment of the city defences, and once again the church was damaged.
The church has been heavily restored over the years, and much of what we see today is Victorian. The chancel rood is a marvel, however, and the Bosworth tomb figures are beautifully carved and painted. There are several carved corbels at the north west end of the church, but what really struck my eye was the impressive 13th century font near the south door.
Outside in the churchyard is what looks like a modern interpretation of a medieval maze, with coloured paths in the turf.
St Giles is a very pretty church, full of history, and is well worth a short visit if you can get there for the limited opening hours!
About Oxford, St Giles Church
Address: 10 Woodstock Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, OX2 6HA
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: At the top of St Giles Street, where it splits into Woodstock Road and Banbury Road
Website: Oxford, St Giles Church
Email: 01865 510460
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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