4. Saint Mary the Virgin

This particular Post is written with two ladies in mind but hopefully will be interesting to any guest reader…….. let me know I really hope so 🙂

I’ve a few local photographs and two short YouTube videos for you all depicting the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin situated in the heart of the Cotwolds, oh and these were ALL taken by me and I live in this UK Town.

A very brief history of said Church, I promise it’ll be short 🙂 The Church building of St Mary’s is huge and very old, one of the oldest buildings in Witney and one of the biggest in West Oxfordshire. Its origins go back to Norman times but the present building is mostly 13th century and was dedicated in 1243. Standing on Church Green near the Town centre, and with its spire a landmark for miles around, it is impossible to miss’.

A beautiful building isn’t it, not until I was laying in the sun on Church Green looking at St. Mary’s did I really appreciate how imposing and beautiful the building actually is. Now attempting to explain my Town’s History is problematic because not everyone enjoys a lol history lesson, no matter please look at the photos and video instead.

‘I recalled the following story in bed late last night and is absolutely true. Behind the church on a large recreation field a Fair is held once a year, a very big Fair, rides stalls and more, well many years ago wild animals performed tricks there and I guess were a novelty back then. On one occasion, and this is a true story, an ape escaped from one of the exhibits and climbed up the Church Spire, a very well known popular ape it was to, well unfortunately the story doesn’t have a happy ending because the ape fell off the Spire and died! Some time later the ‘Showmen’ raised money and bought a commemorative plaque which hangs on one side of the spire. True story.’

The building photo with two arches in the centre I had thought part of my Secondary School which dates back to the 1600’s, however after Google research I’ve now discovered the again Cotswold stone building was in fact the Town’s old Police Station, the gates to the right lead to the Grammar School.

The photo depicting the row of houses, in front of the ‘stones’, are in fact Alms Houses built for the poor, I’m not sure if they still are, come to think of it if they’re now private dwellings then they’ll be worth a fortune situated in such a beautiful place.

A little more Town history for you important to why such an imposing large Church exists in a small Town situated in rural Great Britain:

Short and sweet!

  • Witney Town is encircled by lush green fields also many sheep farms and probably many more in years gone by.
  • These farms mostly bred sheep, thousands of sheep reared on the Cotswolds!
  • Witney Town has two fast flowing rivers winding their way through the Town’s heart.
  • Waterwheels were constructed which powered blanket mills doted around the Town, and wool from all those sheep was woven into blankets which were sold to the empire.
  • Consequently the Town’s wool merchants and mill owners became fabulously wealthy and built the Town a magnificent Church!

Second lol history lesson over! 🙂

Taken from my YouTube Channel, filmed by me, me narrating 🙂

Now to the inside of the Church.


If you were sitting inside St. Mary’s, say at about 2pm on a sunny day, you’d witness the sun streaming through the quite famous 13th century Stained Glass window, being there is quite a spectacular visual experience the light shining through ancient iridescent glass, revealing their true colours upon the Church walls. I took the photo in the morning which I now regret but there you are still looks pretty spectacular and below I’ve included a 360 degree panoramic video (I) filmed from inside, creaky floor and all! What is it about the inside of Churches that makes an unusual silence so noticeable? Sorry the video’s so short, I may film again tomorrow 🙂

So there you are a short history of a famous landmark from my Town, please enjoy my photos. Andrew

Why not press the ‘Fullscreen’ button! Bottom RH corner of the videos 🙂