Thursday, 4 June 2015

Evening walk around Oxford

Blog reader Dave left us with a comment on our post of two days ago along with a link to further information regarding “that house” I had photographed during our cruise.  This is the property

stately home

Now we know it Nuneham House.  Built in 1757 buy the 1st Earl Harcourt and now owned by Oxford University.  The Earl demolished an entire village and rebuilt it some distance away to allow construction of his new home. Lancelot “Capability” Brown designed the gardens.

During WW2 Nuneham House was commandeered by the RAF and used by the Aerial Photo Reconnaissance Interpretation Unit.  It was returned to the Harcourt family in the mid 1950’s who sold it to Oxford University.  Oxford University appears to be rather wealthy.

We have visited Oxford on a number of occasions so the walk yesterday evening was more a case of re-familiarising ourselves.  There was one new shop were were pleased to discover.  A Chinese supermarket not far from our mooring.  Steamed pork dumplings and yum cha for dinner last night!  Pudding was black rice mochi

The mound of Oxford Castle motte and bailey remains along with some ‘more modern’ fortifications.  By the 14th century the castle had lost most of its strategic importance and eventually it became a prison.  The prison closed in 1996 and was converted into a hotel. 

castle mound

oxford castle

Christ Church is one of the colleges which make up Oxford University.  It was established in 1552 by Cardinal Wolsey using money he had obtained from the dissolution of Wallingford Priory and other minor priories.  It was 75% complete when Wolsey fell from favour and the college was suppressed only to be re-established by Henry VIII the following year.  Henry also established Cambridge University.  Christ Church college includes the smallest cathedral in England.  It also gives its name to Christchurch Cathedral in NZ and the city of Christchurch.

christ college

christ church

Like Cambridge, Oxford is also known for having punts.  We’ve lost track of the number of TV scenes from Morse or Lewis involving punts.

oxford boats

The Sheldonian Theatre is an interesting building with those surrounding busts.  It’s used for university ceremonies, music concerts and lectures.  Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it was completed in 1668.  It has a capacity of 800-1000. 

oxford heads

I never discovered why it has the busts on the perimeter?


It’s time to move on.

1 comment :

Dave said...

Hi Tom. Fame at last getting a mention in your blog and also in Maffi's.

Even as a local (i've lived in west oxford/Botley for 50 odd years) i've no idea why the busts are at the Sheldonian, the only clue i can find is

Whilst you in Oxford have a look at lots of useful info regardinh whats going on and guides to services.

There are a lot of interesting walks from were you are moored either into and around teh city including university parks etc, or walk on towpath back to thams and then up past fiddlers island to the perch PH and then go to Binsey church to try and find the Treacle Well (Google it!)