St Thomas

Tea time at St Thomas' school, 1925“A tough but full-blooded area”:
The parish of St Thomas the Martyr, West Oxford

An illustrated talk on one of the most ancient and historic areas of the city. St Thomas’s was among Oxford’s earliest suburbs, first inhabited in Saxon times. In the twelfth century it stood on the direct route between the castle at the west gate of the city and the great Augustinian Abbey of Oseney.

In later centuries St Thomas’s was home to Oxford’s brewing industry, to its boating and barge communities and to those who built the railways. It had a reputation as one of the most lively – some might say disreputable – parishes of the city. In the twentieth century St Thomas’s was cleared, together with neighbouring St Ebbe’s, and its close-knit community dispersed. However, this often overlooked area is now set to become the centrepiece of Oxford’s ambitious West End Development scheme.

The talk covers the history of this fascinating parish from the early medieval period to the present day, presenting some of the people who made it so rich both culturally and socially, and exploring the historic buildings which still survive there.

“The webinar on St Thomas’s was excellent! I learned so much, and the slides were fascinating. What wonderful and important research Liz has done to illuminate and preserve that important part of Oxford’s history.”  OPT member, June 2020.

“Thank you so much for your interesting talk on St. Thomas’s. All our members thoroughly enjoyed it and it proved to be a lively meeting.”   Barbara Jewell, Horton-cum-Studley WI, February 2011.

“Liz’s talk opened our eyes to an area of Oxford that many of us didn’t even realise existed.”
Moira Watson, Oxford & District Soroptimist Club, January 2007.

“A slum parish…lying at the very gates of wealthy Christ Church (like Lazarus of old). A parish full of sores – neglected, poor, God-forsaken, the haunt of thieves and harlots…..”   Rev AB Simeon describing St Thomas’s, 1892.

Contact me on 01865 242760 or to book this talk.

A guided walk on this topic is also available.

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