Here we present a brief outline of the history of the Church and the City, intertwined as they are. For more detail about the Church please see our History page here.
900 A river crossing for oxen began around this time: ‘Oxnaford’
1000 Church building originates around this time
1040 Saxon Tower completed as a defense structure
1086 Domesday Book mentions St Michael’s and two priests’ houses
1096 University of Oxford – first evidence of teaching at this site
1191 Charter granted by Henry 11 gave freedoms to the City equivalent to those enjoyed in London. Various religious houses were founded subsequent to this and these are still in evidence today.
1258 Provisions of Oxford – constitutional reforms (a baronial council) building on Magna Carta to limit Henry 111’s authority – Simon de Montfort leading the barons.
1290 Edict of Expulsion. Edward 1 decrees that all Jews are to leave the country. Oxford’s Jewish population had already diminished earlier in that century and the last Jewish families now departed. Great Jewry Street became St Aldate’s, the land passing to Balliol College and then later to Christ Church.
1348 Plague reaches Oxford in November, raging until June 1349.
1555 Martyrdom of Bishops Latimer and Ridley in Broad Street
1556 Martyrdom of Archbishop Cranmer in Broad Street
1642 Oxford becomes the country’s capital under Charles 1
1656 Cromwell permits Jews to return to England. A small community develops around St Clement’s.
1665 Plague in London and Charles 11 flees to Oxford. Parliament sits at Oxford in October.
1865 Oxford School of Art founded
1953 Fire destroys much of the Church
1954 Church reconstruction and renovation completed
1971 St Michael’s becomes the City Church of Oxford. This honour was previously held by St Martin’s, Carfax (1122-1896), and then All Saints’, High Street (1896-1971). St Martin’s has been demolished and All Saints is now Lincoln College Library. All three churches formed one benefice over the centuries; only St Michael’s survives as a functioning church.
1992 Oxford Brookes University given its charter; began as OSA in 1865
1994 Visitor Centre and Saxon Tower opened to the public
2019 Our new vicar, The Revd Anthony Buckley
2040 We are excited about the upcoming 1000 year anniversary of the Tower.
Plans are already underway!