St Barnabas Church, Oxford

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St Barnabas Church, Oxford
Jericho StBarnabas 2006-01.JPG
View of St Barnabas Church and its campanile.
Location St Barnabas Street, Jericho, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6BG
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Traditional Catholic
Website Parish website
Status Active
Founder(s) Thomas Combe and Martha Combe[1]
Dedication St Barnabas
Consecrated 19 October 1869
Functional status Parish church
Architect(s) Sir Arthur Blomfield
Architectural type Victorian, Romanesque, Italianate
Parish Oxford St. Barnabas and St. Paul with St Thomas the Martyr
Deanery Oxford Deanery
Archdeaconry Archdeaconry of Oxford
Episcopal area Oxford Episcopal Area
Diocese Diocese of Oxford
Vicar(s) Fr Jonathan Beswick
Assistant priest(s) Fr Andrew Greany
Reader(s) Jenny Pittaway
Maggie Ellis
Prof Sue Gillingham
Director of music Dr Tom Edwards
Churchwarden(s) Henry Gibbon and Hanneke Wilson

St Barnabas Church is a Church of England parish church in Jericho, central Oxford, England, located close to the Oxford Canal.[2][3]


St Barnabas, like many similar churches in the expanding towns and cities of Victorian England, was built to minister to the spiritual and practical needs of the poor and labouring classes. The parish was formed from that of St Paul, Oxford, in 1869; St Paul's was in turn formed from parts of the parishes of St Thomas and St Giles. The church was founded by Thomas Combe (1796–1872), Superintendent of the Oxford University Press close to the church, and his wife Martha (1806–1893), now commemorated by a blue plaque installed by the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board.[1] They were supporters of the Oxford Movement (or Tractarian movement). The first Parish Priest was Fr Montague Noel, SSC.

The architect was Sir Arthur Blomfield, a son of the Bishop of London, who had previously designed the chapel for the Radcliffe Infirmary. The architectural style is that of a Romanesque basilica, possibly modelled on that of Torcello, near Venice. St Barnabas has a distinctive square tower, in the form of an Italianate campanile, that is visible from the surrounding area. The church was built on land donated by the local merchant and former Oxford mayor William Ward.[4] It was consecrated in 1869 by Bishop Wilberforce of Oxford and the campanile was completed in 1872. It has a ring of ten, distinctive, tubular bells, and the hours and quarters are sounded on them. St Barnabas features in a wide range of literature, from Thomas Hardy through to P. D. James. The poet John Betjeman wrote a poem about the church.[3][5] A short guide to the building and its story is available from the church, as is the Emma Bridgewater 'Jericho' mug, commissioned specially for St Barnabas.

Present day[edit]

The church maintains the Anglo-Catholic tradition of its foundation and is open daily for worship. A parish magazine, Jericho Matters, is produced quarterly and distributed to all of the households and businesses in Jericho. The church hosts many events throughout the year, such as concerts, lectures and exhibitions.

In September 2015 the parish was united with the neighbouring parish of St Thomas the Martyr, to form the new parish of St Barnabas and St Paul, with St Thomas the Martyr, Oxford. St Barnabas is the parish church and St Thomas is the chapel of ease. The first vicar of the new parish is Fr Jonathan Beswick, SSC.[6]



  1. ^ a b Warr, Elizabeth Jean (2011). The Oxford Plaque Guide. Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press. pp. 39–41. ISBN 978-0-7524-5687-4. 
  2. ^ Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "St Barnabas, Church of". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. p. 378–379. ISBN 0-333-39917-X. 
  3. ^ a b "Oxford: St Barnabas, Oxford". The Church of England. 2012. Retrieved 2016-07-11. 
  4. ^ "William Ward: Mayor of Oxford 1851/2 and 1861/2". Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors. 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2016-07-11. 
  5. ^ "St Barnabas Church". Jericho Living Heritage Trust. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2016-07-11. 
  6. ^ "Contact details". St Barnabas Church. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′28″N 1°16′11″W / 51.757864°N 1.269745°W / 51.757864; -1.269745