Blenheim Lecture 2021 – Parish Churches In Oxford.

On Wednesday 13th October 2021 about ninety members assembled in the Orangery at Blenheim Palace for the Autumn Supper and Lecture. It was lovely to be able to assemble together in person, enjoy each other’s company, and a delicious supper. Afterwards we gathered in the Marlborough Room to hear Simon Bradley talk about his work editing the revised edition of the Pevsner Buildings of England Volume on Oxford and South Oxfordshire. Concentrating on the Parish churches of Oxford, Simon shared some new discoveries and explained the method behind the revision of the Pevsner volumes, with their mission to ” correct, update, expand and enhance” the original text. He used the example of Carfax Tower to show how he has uncovered new knowledge and understanding of this well-known Oxford landmark.
Other examples he chose included All Saints, Headington by A.C. Blomfield and Sons, and St Nicholas, New Marston, with a tower and spire of 1937 by T Lawrence Dale, now used by Oxford’s Russian Orthodox Church. He also highlighted new discoveries, including Edward Fisher’s 1850s window of the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy at St Giles, and ” Alice’s Door” preserved at St Frideswide, on Botley Road, probably carved by the unmarried sisters of Alice Liddell.  A concluding slide of Sir Ninian Comper’s chapel at St John’s Home (1905-1907) served as a reminder of Oxford’s exceptionally rich provision of non-parochial places of worship, besides the celebrated college chapels.

Simon’s talk revealed how much fascinating detective work goes into the revision of the Pevsner volumes, and we eagerly look forward to the publication of this latest Volume in the series. As always, we are very grateful to His Grace The Duke of Marlborough for allowing us to hold the Autumn event at Blenheim Palace, a real treat after so many months of enforced isolation.