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Although less than 2 miles from Oxford’s city centre St. Margaret’s is hidden behind trees and shrubbery at the end of a long and winding country lane. The church is a strange, isolated and moody little building sometimes welcoming and warm while at other times slightly sinister. It is lighted only by oil lamps and candles as it has no electricity supply.
St. Margaret’s was once the living for a priest called Nicholas Breakspear who became England’s only Pope, Adrian lV, in 1154.
Binsey ‘Treacle Well’.
The church is also famous for its holy well and its legendary connection to St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. This was the ‘Treacle Well’ of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
One day a friend contacted me to tell me how he was reading Andrew Collins’ book, Twenty-first Century Grail and in it Andrew had reported on a trip to St. Margaret’s, Binsey following psychic clues, whereupon he and his companions had found what they had been looking for – an engraved key. They had been told (by the spirit of Aleister Crowley, no less) to be there before midnight on St Frideswide’s feast day, the 19th October. While fossicking around, looking for the key, they were alarmed to witness 12 hooded figures moving in procession along the footpath through the churchyard. Chanting lowly in Latin they entered the church to presumably conduct a ceremony. Collins and co didn’t hang around to find out.
This is a re-formatted article that was on my former website. It was part of a larger article on Oxford published in August 2008.
Here glow the lamps,
And teaspoons clatter to the cosy hum
Of scientific circles…
Authorities recently sanctioned the public release (through the Oxford Mail, on Isis Day, 17th July, 2008) of the astonishing news that a huge henge, measuring at least 150 metres diameter, had been discovered less than half a mile to the north of Carfax, at the centre of Oxford. The massive megalithic* site, far bigger than Stonehenge, had been realised, they claim, when builders were preparing land behind houses in St Giles for the new ‘Kendrew Quadrangle’ development by St John’s College.
*Not strictly ‘megalithic’, as far as anyone but the surely damned coveters know, until integral large stones have been reported.