The Martyr's Memorial stands proudly at the end of Magdalen Street.
This Gothic spire was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and commemorates the Martyrs Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley & Thomas Cranmer who were burned at the stake in 1555-6 because of their adherence to the Protestant Church of England during the reign of Roman Catholic Mary Tudor. It was erected in 1841-3, by public subscription, close to the place of the execution in
the exact spot.
It has been likened to the spire of a sunken cathedral and there is an urban legend which says that generations of Oxford students have duped tourists into believing that there is in fact a church beneath the spire, offering tours at a price, and then directing their victims to nearby stairs which in fact lead to public toilets.
The street scene in Oxford is charming with lovely buildings (and bikes) everywhere
The Ashmolean Museum, the first purpose built museum in England, is one of the finest in the country.
The Radcliffe Camera is one of Oxford's most distinctive buildings. Originally one of the buildings of the Bodleian Library, it is now a reading room.
The University Colleges are everywhere. Many of the 39 individual colleges were founded between the 13th and 16th centuries with their quadrangles, cloisters and chapels often open to the public.
All Souls College
The 15th century bell tower at Magdalen College comes to life on May Day when at 6am the college choristers sing from the top of the tower, to be followed by bell ringing and Morris Dancing in the High Street.
Christ Church College was founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525 as Cardinal College, and re-founded by Henry V111 as Christ Church following Wolsey's downfall. Tom Tower above the main gate, was built by Sir Christopher Wren and when its bell, Great Tom, named after Thomas of Canterbury, was hung in 1648 the college had 101 students. The bell was, and still is, rung 101 times every evening at 9.05pm to mark the curfew for students, but it has not been enforced since 1963. This college has produced 13 British Prime Ministers over the last 200 years.
Christ Church Cathedral is one of the smallest in England
and serves as Oxford Cathedral.
Britain's oldest botanical garden, founded in 1621, can be found at the end of the High Street opposite Magdalen College. There are nine glasshouses
and a rose garden.
Inpsector Morse fans will soon recognise his stamping around around Oxford.
A plaque outside the police headquarters reminds us that the building was used in the series as well as some of the colleges.
This curious building at WHEATLEY on the outskirts of Oxford was the old village lock-up dating to 1834.
The magnificent Baroque masterpiece of Blenheim Palace
is situated at WOODSTOCK to the north of Oxford. Designed by Sir Nicholas Hawksmoor and Sir John Vanburgh the palace was a gift from the nation following the defeat of the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 by John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough.
It was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill in 1874.
BURFORD in the extreme west of the county, is a charming little Cotswold
town on the River Windrush which is bridged at the bottom of the
long sloping High Street.
A poignant signature scratched on the lead lining of the font in Burford Parish Church recalls an incident of mutiny within Cromwell’s New Model Army. It reads :
He was one of the supporters of The Levellers, a group of radicals who were crushed by Cromwell. On May Day 1649 the army had reached Salisbury on
its way to Ireland when eight soldiers refused to go any further until their complaints were satisfied. They wanted a levelling of the ranks within the army and an end to Cromwell's campaign in Ireland, as well as the considerable back pay owed to them. Several hundred troops ended up deserting, eventually meeting up with comrades in Banbury. The upshot was that they were defeated by loyal troops and imprisoned in Burford Church, the only building big enough to contain them. Three lof their leaders were court martialled on the spot
and sentenced to death.On the morning of 17th May the majority were taken up onto the church roof so that they could watch whilst Cornet Thompson, Corporal Church and Private Perkins were put against the church wall and shot.
Edmund Harman had a large family, nine boys and seven girls, and their images are carved on his fine memorial in
‘EDMUND HARMAN Esq.Whom God from his earliest years blessed with countless benefits,
Put this monument to the Christian memory of himself
and of his only and most faithful wife AGNES
and of the 16 children whom, by God’s mercy, she bore him.
As barber and personal servant to King Henry V111 he was trusted to hold a razor to the King’s throat and once when he was ill with no doctor available, Harman successfully ‘bled’ the King. Harman was also a witness to the King’s will, a close servant indeed. Figures of Red Indians and strange fruits also adorn the monument which are thought to commemorate discoveries made by Harman’s brother on voyages abroad.
BANBURY in the north of the county is a former woollen town
which dates back to Saxon times.
The Oxford Canal which was once important to the economy of the town
is now given over to leisure activities
Banbury is best known for the nursery rhyme Ride a Cock Horse
to Banbury Cross. The original Banbury Cross was destroyed by the Purtans
On the B6265 road between Ripon and
in Pateley Bridge North Yorkshire, strange and fantastic natural
rock formations can be seen on an area of moorland overlooking Nidderdale, some
1,000 feet above sea level.
Know as Brimham Rocks, they are unique amongst natural rock formations throughout
Europe and appear to be the result of receding glaciers
of the last ice age, denuding a thick fragmented layer of gritstone, which down
the centuries was eroded by the action of wind, rain and frost. Softer layers in the sandstone eroded quicker
than the harder deposits and as a result individual rocks have been left in
shapes as fantastic as they are grotesque, with profiles that bear striking
resemblances to animals and other objects.
The most famous is the idol rock, said
to weigh some 200 tons and is supported on a pedestal not more then 15”
thick. Others are the Anvil, Elephant,
Turtle, Lion, Dog, Space Ship and many more.
The area is now under the care of the National Trust.
The Cow and Calf rocks
A rocky outcrop towering above the town of Ilkley in West Yorkshire is know as the Cow and Calf rocks, a very popular part of the famous Ilkley Moor. Whilst the Cow forms the main part of the formation, the huge detached Calf rock, looks as if it could easily roll away at any time, but it is in fact firmly embedded in the ground and has been for hundreds of years. Prior to 1860, a third large rock, the Bull, stood much nearer the road, but it was broken up to provide stone for the building of the Crescent Hotel in Ilkley.
A local legend says that the formation was broken up when the giant Rumbald was fleeing from his wife and stamped on the rocks as he leapt across the valley. The angry Mrs Rumbold gathered the rocks in her apron but dropped them to make the formation.
A few yards east of the Cow and Calf, rests the Pancake rock, a huge flat stone balanced on the edge of the escarpment like a huge eagle. The upper surfaces are carved with shallow cups and other markings, known as cup and ring and so inscribed by prehistoric man some 4,000 years ago, probably with an antler tip.
The Logan Rock Inn at Treen near
Penzance in has an interesting
sign which recalls an event early in the 19th century involving a
huge local rocking stone known as The Cornwall
In 1824 an army officer, Lt Goldsmith and some of his friends allegedly pushed the rock over the cliff, and such was the local outcry that the Lt. had to restore the rock to its original position on the cliff top at his own expense. It was no mean feat considering that the rock weighed some 80 tons! and apparently it cost £100, a huge sum of money in those days, to lift the rock back onto its perch.
The rock is still there, now under the care of The National Trust.
The name derives from the Cornish word ‘log’ – to move.
I am grateful to Jim Champion for the use of his photographs and text.
The Pulpit Rock
The Pulpit Rock or Clach nan Tarbh, situated on the west side of the A82 road alongside Loch Lomond in Scotland, is also known as the Stone of the Bulls. Legend has it that two bulls had a fight here and dislodged part of the hillside leaving this huge rock below.
It is said that in the early 19th century local people complained about the 8 mile walk to and from the nearest church. The vicar said that if they provided facilities he would come and preach to them. Apparently local men quarried a 10ft high hole in the face of the rock large enough to hold the minister and two others. A wooden platform with a pulpit was bolted to the rock and a the hole was covered by a wooden door. Services were in fact held at Pulpit Rock for 75 years
The Lizard Peninsular in Cornwall is the most southerly point on the British mainland. The name is said to derive from the Cornish 'Lys Ardh' meaning 'high court'. The peninsular is composed of serpentinite rock.
The rock in the pohotograph of the end of the peninsular does look remarkably like a lizard
Travelling north on the A66 north of Keswick the eye is drawn to a white painted rock on the steep scree slopes of Barf near Thornthwaite. (Photograph taken from coach!). It is known as Bishop Rock - the Bishop being the newly appointed Bishop of Derry. It seems that the Bishop was travelling to Whitehaven en route for Ireland in 1783 when he stopped overnight at the Swan Inn at Thornthwaite. He had a few drinks and entered in to a wager with fellow guests that he could ride a pack pony to the top Lord's Seat at the top of Barf. Apparently he had reached the rock now known as Bishop Rock when the pony stumbled and fell killing the rider and itself. They were both buried at the foot of the scree near a rock called The Clerk. The inn landlord had the Bishop Rock whitewashed at a payment of one shilling and a quart of ale! The rock is still whitewashed annually by Keswick Mountain Rescue Team.
I am grateful to David Gruar for the use of his Geograph photograph.
Whitby Abbey at Whitby in North Yorkshire was founded by St Hilda, a Saxon princess in AD 656. She taught the observance of righteousness, mercy, purity and other virtues, but especially of peace and charity. Legend has it that St. Hilda drove a plague of snakes off the end of the nearby cliff and these turned to stone. The stone like fossils still found on the shore known as ammonites are, in fact, called hildoceras after St. Hilda. Many years ago snakes heads were carved onto the ammonites and sold as souvenirs.
Some say that the face of St Hilda can be seen on the face of the cliff.
Cheddar Gorge is a limestone gorge on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. The minimum depth of the gorge is 450ft with a near vertical cliff to the south.
A rocky outcrop of weathered limestone has the outline of a face, perhaps the face of a lion, depending on which perspective it is viewed from.
On the south side of Glen Nevis near
in Fort William
there is a huge, man high, glacial boulder. Officially called Samuel’s Stone it
appears to commemorate an old battle. A
notice alongside tells us that it is a ‘Stone of Council’ and a ‘Wishing
Stone’. Apparently one runs round the
stone three times to make a wish. Scotland
Situated alongside the B9006, close to Culloden Battlefield near
Inverness in , is another huge stone which is reputed to
have been used by The Duke of Cumberland as a viewpoint to watch the batttle of
A large piece of limestone stands forlornly in the middle of a road junction in the village of Colwall on the western slopes of the Malvern Hills in Hereford and Worcester. One legend about this huge stone is that a giant threw the stone at his wife, whilst another has it that it was put there by the devil and that he turns the stone over each . It doesn’t actually look as if it has been moved for many a year.
The Compass stone
A curious round stone with compass markings on it is preserved outside the old Toll House in Great Yarmouth close to the old quayside where it formerly stood. It is not absolutely certain what it was used for and there are two theories:
- That it was used to check the accuracy of ships compasses. and
- That it marked the centre of the 7 mile tax zone for cargo ships using the port.
A stone rimmer
A large circular stone lies at the roadside on the edge of the
North York Moors. This segmented stone is a ‘rimmer’, used by the local blacksmith
in times gone by, when putting steel rims onto wooden wagon wheels .