Iffley Church, Oxford

Posted on May 5, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Part of: Graduate School in Oxford

This Monday is the annual "May Bank Holiday" which means that David has a three-day weekend. The holiday doesn't celebrate anything, but is just a spring holiday on which most businesses are closed. There is also one in September, so they end up being British equivalents of Memorial Day and Labor Day in the USA. So we are going to take a mini-break, as Bridget Jones would say! Since most everyone else is going south to Brighton or Cornwall, we are probably going to head in a general northwesterly direction towards Hereford and central Wales.

David left work early yesterday to avoid the pre-3-day-weekend traffic horribleness, and we decided to go for an evening walk. We took a cab into town, then walked 2-3 miles south along the Thames River to the village of Iffley. There is a very nice path along this section of the Thames, in large part because it's near the college boathouses for the famous Oxford rowing. The coaches ride bikes alongside the boats on the path, shouting instructions to the rowers. Lucky for us, all this was happening as we walked by and we got to see several men and women's college teams in action.

thames walk oxford rowers and boathouses

We crossed the river at Iffley Lock, and then it was just a few tree-lined winding lanes to the village.

path to iffley church road to iffley church

Iffley village is home to what my Oxford guidebook describes as being "one of the finest Romanesque churches in England." It was built in 1170, is very well-preserved, and is covered in fantastic carvings and sculptures. I am a big fan of Romanesque, and the Iffley Church was indeed one of the best I've seen. And we even had nice evening light for our pictures. Here's just a couple:

from southwest
View of the west front, which is very unique and is the best part of the church.

west door
Detail of the carvings around the west door, which are great! We've never seen those "beakheads" before but apparently they can be found elsewhere.

Have a good weekend!