BBC History Magazine


Source: The cobbled stone cross on Broad Street where the martyrs burned

The elegant spire of University Church, Oxford, is a distinctive sight on the city skyline

Hundreds flocked into University Church to watch the trial – guilty verdicts had long been a foregone conclusion

The sandy buildings around cobbled Radcliffe Square in the heart of Oxford shine golden in the crisp morning sunshine. Dominating the surrounding colleges are two of the most distinctive features of the city’s skyline: the circular Radcliffe Camera, with its Corinthian columns and stone dome, and University Church.

The church’s square 13th-century tower, topped with a slender spire, is adorned with statues and grimacing gargoyles. Wait long enough and the bells will melodically toll the hour, accompanied by peals echoing from churches across the city. From early morning, tourists flock inside to climb the tower’s 127 steps, eager to enjoy panoramic views across the city.

But it’s more than just the views that attracts more than 400,000 visitors to University Church every year. Its 700-year history has shaped

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