Oxford (UK)
Immanuel's Ground
Oxford Psalmody
Babylon Lane
The Belcher Supply Co.
Man who Planted Trees
Photo Galleries

- photographs


Oxford Psalmody
previously Oxford Occasionals 2000-2012)


Edwin Macadam and Sheila Girling Macadam

Listen to us - mp3 files


History of the music


Contact details


The 20th and last Church Visitation
within the Diocese of Oxford
will take place on

Saturday 7 September
in the area to the south-east of Oxford
9.30 am at
St Mary's Church,
when Coffee will be served
Singing wii commence at 10.00 am
(Come early, there is lots to see in the church,
compared with our last visit in 2009)


Instruments, accompanied by their players,  are all most welcome
 - indeed, they are a necessity !!
Please invite your friends as well !


Please read the NOTES at the bottom of the page first, and act thereupon asap!


Here is the LUNCH MENU



MUSIC for the Visitation is in course of preparation, but Link HERE.
This  is an ongoing process, so come back to check from time to time.


More information is available later, so come back here again soon!


Please remember - your individual donations to churches are a vital ingredient of the day, especially where refreshments have been provided.


Please read the NOTES first, and act thereupon!

N.B.  The same warning as last year as to the state of the roads in Oxfordshire. Work is being carried out, but deep potholes partly hidden by vegetation, and roadside edges remain dangerous  ...  BEWARE !

(times are hoped to be fairly accurate!)

9.30 – 10.00
The Church of St Mary

Singing from
10.00 am
Chalgrove Church


Landranger Map 164 
Grid Ref SU 636965

Church Lane, Chalgrove.

bullet Nearest Post Code : OX 44 7SD 
Note: The post code takes you to a point in the road immediately behind the church. Better to use 'Church Lane'.
bullet Map: Click here
The link takes you to part of the church web site.
bulletParking is available around the church on the track which encircles it. Drive clockwise round the church, and park behind who is in front of you! There is space at places adjoining the track, on the grass.
bulletCoffee will be served by members of the Church, for which no charge will be made, but please remember this in your donation.
Part of the refurbishment has included
a new kitchen and other facilities for the traveller!

Since our last visit in 2009, a huge amount of restoration work has been carried out with the aid of grants from a considerable number of Trusts, both national and private. Details are recorded on the church web site at:
together with two videos. Click on picture to enlarge.

Photos: Edwin Macadam - from 2009
Church history on their website at: http://chalgrovechurch.org/heritage/
bullet The nave dates from around 1150 and is the earliest part of this building. It was almost certainly built, following the anarchy, by Peter Boterel, Keeper of Wallingford Castle, whose chief seat was Chalgrove.
bullet The church and community of Chalgrove were closely connected with Wallingford from Saxon times until 1317. When the Norman castle of Wallingford was built its chapel was linked to three churches, of which Chalgrove was one, forming the Prebend. The priests were royal clerks, appointed by the king, whose patronage would explain the unusually fine architecture of St Mary’s and the high quality of its lavish wall paintings.
bullet View the interior on 360 degree picture format at http://chalgrovechurch.org/360/ You will be amazed at the difference!
bullet picures at left were taken during our last visit in 2009.




11.15 - 12.00
Easington, Oxfordshire
The Church of St Peter.


Photos: Edwin Macadam : 2009 visit !

Landranger Map 164  
Grid Ref SU 662971
Also: OS Explorer map: 
171: Chiltern Hills West

(No address) Easington
bullet Map: https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/
bullet Nearest Post Code :
bullet Parking is being arranged in the farmyard beside which the church can be found. This is a minute rural hamlet of about 100 people, so please park as tidily as you can. The farmyard may be busy, so beware tractors - and children, etc.
bulletThe access track to the farm is a single farm track, and as such is narrow, although visibility is good. Access to the church from the farmyard is "rural"!

Easington church is a small, low barn-like structure, with a simple rectangular plan and no architectural division between nave and chancel. The chancel's limestone masonry is, however, better dressed and more evenly coursed than that of the nave. The earliest surviving features are 12th-century, including reset zigzag moulding over one of the south windows, and stonework in the reset north doorway, which has a rounded chamfered arch, quatrefoil ornament, and votive crosses.


The church appears to have been rebuilt or much altered in the early 14th century, the date of some of the windows, the piscina, and a few floor tiles. The nave's three-bay roof, arch-braced with a collartruss, dates from the mid 15th to early 16th century. 


By the 1520s the building was in a poor state, and there may have been several subsequent phases of repair. An early 19th-century drawing shows numerous buttresses, a small western bellcote (restored in the 20th century), and an enclosed porch, since replaced by the present open timber porch.


The two larger windows in the south wall are probably Victorian. The canopied pulpit was constructed in 1916 from panels dated 1633, and the 14th-century east window contains reset fragments of contemporary stained glass. Charles Greenwood donated some modern stained glass in 1904. 


See British History on line at: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol18/pp180-191#h3-0017


12.30 – 1.45

will be partaken at
Berrick Salome

Post Code
OX 10 6JN


bulletWe have visited The Chequers each time we have visited this area of the Diocese, and each time the menu has been enlarged, and aimed at an increasinly affluent society.
bullet The choice  from the available menu is good, although expect the cost to be a little more than in past times.
bulletThe Inn has featured in the Michelin Guide for several years.  See link to the Guide. (to left).

2.15 – 3.30
Brightwell Baldwin,
The Church of St Batholomew

Singing from
2.30 pm

Landranger Map 164
Grid Ref SU 653950
Also: OS Explorer map: 171: Chiltern Hills West

bullet Map:
bullet Nearest Post Code : OX49 5NP
More accurately, the church is almost opposite
the Lord Nelson pub.

Photos: Edwin Macadam

bullet Always expect the unexpected - murder is afoot (as always in Midsomer Murders. 
See pictures of the church at http://midsomermurders.org/locationsy.htm
bullet This church has always been ubavailable when we enquired in the past, but this year we have the key of the door!
bullet The church encompasses the whole range of church music, from West Gallery time to the present day:
bullet a long music desk in what might be interpreted as a Singers' box pew (alternatively the Manor pew?)
bullet a Joseph Walker barrel organ (1843), restored 1960.
bullet a harmonium
bullet the present organ
bullet See our churches and chapels web site at http://www.westgallerychurches.com/

bullet The barrel organ originally had three barrels, but only the tunes on two of them have been recorded, ten on each:
bullet Barrel No. 1:
Morning Hymn, Wareham, Pastoral or Surrey, Devizes, Sheldon or New York, Portuguese Hymn, Angels' Hymn, Shirland, Eaton, and  Lord Mornington's Chant.
bullet Barrel No. 2:
Evening Hymn, Luther's Hymn, Abridge, Cambridge New, Lansdown or Bath, Babylon, Sicilian or Mariners, Hanover Old 104th, Easter Hymn, and Robinson's Chant.
bullet The music for many of these psalms can be found in the WGMA Psalter, Praise & Glory.

4.00 – 4.45
Singing 4.45-5.45
(possibly get there a bit earlier,
lots to see)

will be partaken in the CHURCH

Ewelme, Oxfordshire
The Church of St Mary the Virgin

Post Code
The Church does not have a postcode.
OX10 6HS
is The Cloisters,
south of the Church.
The Cloisters
are Almshouses.

OX10 6HN is Parson's Lane,
north of the Church.

Landranger Map 164 
Grid Ref SU 646914
Also: OS Explorer map: 171: Chiltern Hills West

Parsons Lane,

bulletGoogle Map:

bulletParking of cars will be along the road shown left in the picture below, knawn as Parsons Lane. As all lanes in this area, Parson's Lane is narrow.
bulletThe Parson's Lane postcode stops short of the church, but it should be in sight ! (See picture below)


St Mary the Virgin parish church at Ewelme, showing the Almshouses at the west end
Photo : Wikipedia
Photo: Edward Lever

Photo: Edwin Macadam

Photos: ?  Taken in 2009 Visitation

bullet St Mary the Virgin, Ewelme, is modelled on that at Wingfield, Suffolk, part of the Duke of Suffolk's estates.
bullet Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, lived in Ewelme, during which time he was  Governor of Wallingford Castle and five times Speaker of the House of Commons.
bullet His daughter Alice married William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and it was their vision to both adopt, and adapt, the alterations already put in hand by Thomas Chaucer which effectively created a chantry chapel and trust which was set up in 1437 under licence from Henry VI. The Duke and Duchess reordered the chapel, which is dedicated to St John, and built the Almshouses and a School.
bullet Their elaborate tombs are well preserved and are to be seen in the chapel of St John, to the right of the main altar. Find the alabaster cadaver?!      Whose??
bullet Further details about church history, etc, etc:

bullet https://www.achurchnearyou.com/
bullet Daniel Warner of Ewelme published several books of church music, the first being " A Collection of Some Verses out of The Psalms of David". This was 1694, and, according to the title page, the book was revised by Henry Purcell. The first tune, set to Psalm I, is entitled 'Ewelm'.  As a Singing Master, Warner is credited to some extent in the education of other such early local church composers in and near the Thames Valley, such as William Beesly, Matthew Wilkins, and (possibly) Michael Broom(e), when he was at Abingdon.

Photo: Edwin Macadam
bulletThe evening repast, if required,can be partaken at the SHEPHERDS' HUT, an Hostelry run by Messrs Green King.
bulletThe ale at our last visit was very acceptable, and their evening menu served with enthusiasm, and equally good. Venison sausages were delicious!
bullet A table will be reserved for us, but please confirm the liklihood of your staying in the evening so that we have adequate seating. Using a table just for drinking, and no food,
is acceptable!


Action NOW, please.


Please bring your copies of The Sacred Harp and Praise & Glory,
if you have them.


There is also a west gallery music booklet this year.


Singing will be from all three sources.


Small numbers of an Extract from the SH will be available on
the day, and there will be limited numbers of P&G available.


TEA is to be provided by the Friends of Ewelme Church, led by
Sally Fehr. The Rector of Ewelme, along with Brightwell
Baldwin, Easington and Benson is The Reverend Dr.
Patrick Gilday
, who has also been able to open doors
where we could not!



LUNCH at the Chequers Inn, Berrick Salome. 
Here is the LUNCH



Please confirm to us what you would like to eat, by
way of
starters and/or main meals, and
who wants to eat it,


remember that the cost of drinks and puddings
must be paid separately to the Wheatsheaf Inn,


add to this cost the sum of 6 per person
to cover the cost of the music booklet, tea, etc.


send us a cheque (made payable to
S & E Macadam) for the total beforehand.



Lunch orders (and who ordered what!) + cheques  
please should arrive no later than  a.m. on Monday
2 September, and preferably
well before, please!


Please do not give us cash or cheques on the day!!!



Thank you!!!



Please will you also be prepared to make a donation
to each of the
four churches that we visit.
that Chalgrove is providing refreshments

Thank you again!



See below for contact address, etc, for Oxford Psalmody.
Listen to the following mp3 files, recorded by Gary Sherman:



Africa - Sacred Harp music from St Michael's, Northgate, Oxford


Babylon Streams - Trinity College Chapel


Cookes Canon - University College Chapel


Psalm 69 in a setting by Jarvis - St Michael's, Northgate 


The 'Worms' Anthem by William Knapp - Trinity College Chapel


Shropshire Funeral Hymn - University Church of St Mary the Virgin



Visit http://www.archive.org/details/WestGalleryMusic-OxfordOccasionals for further recordings of the
2008 tour of Oxford churches and college chapels, and from where you can download a number of free media files. You also have the chance to comment on them!!

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Since September 2000, a group of singers and instrumentalists from many different parts of England have spent a day each year, touring churches and chapels in different parts of the County and Diocese of Oxford, to recreate the psalmody and hymnody of more than 150 years ago.

Oxford Psalmody is a gathering of members of the West Gallery  Music Association, formed in 1990 to revive the music of the rural parish churches, so much beloved of Thomas Hardy and exemplified in his novels and poetry. 

Hardy wrote of times past, the days when his father and grandfather were members of the local church ‘band’, playing to accompany the quire in the specially constructed ‘west gallery’ in Stinsford Church.  The psalm tunes used during, before and after services in country churches, were often by   local, untutored composers, frequently bearing the names of local streets, villages or landmarks.  This raw and exciting music was much beloved, and jealously guarded, by its custodians in the west gallery; records exist of quires refusing the vicar’s instruction to sing a particular tune to the psalm of the day, preferring to use another more to their liking.  With the passing of the years, all too frequently what was initially a tussle for control of the conduct of services became an issue of conflict with the clergy and the squire as patron. 

The emergence of Tractarianism and the Oxford Movement, together with the introduction of Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1861, saw the wresting back of control by the church establishment, with the introduction of surpliced choirs, often with small boys taking the tune, previously the sinecure of adult, male, tenors.  The installation of keyboard instruments, such as harmoniums, barrel or finger organs spelt the end of the accompanying band of cellos, clarinets, violins, flutes, bassoons and the (more than) occasional  serpent.  These instrumentalists, and their singing companions, first found their way to the Independent chapels, where they continued to sing and play the old tunes they loved, but by the beginning of the twentieth century, in all but a few outposts, the old way of church psalmody was lost and virtually forgotten in England.

Such a fate did not attend the descendants of those settlers who took English country psalmody to America.  In New England, from as early as the middle of the eighteenth century, English psalm tune books were being sold in Boston within months of their publication in England.  This music inspired native-born composers, just as untutored as their compatriots on the other side of the Atlantic, and by 1770 a leather tanner, William Billings of Boston, had produced the first compilation of psalm tunes by a colonist.  There was a flowering of ethnic composition immediately before and after the War of Independence, and the fervour for native psalmody spread throughout the Eastern United States, finding its firmest and what has become a permanent foothold to this day, in the southern states, particularly Alabama and Georgia.  Here the music notation has evolved with shaped note heads as a singing aid, rather than the ordinary round note heads and thus the term ‘shapenote music’ is often used to describe American psalmody.

Oxford Psalmody sing  from both the English and the American traditions.  Our native tunes are usually accompanied, as they were intended to be, but the psalm tunes of our American cousins are sung a capella. These tunes are vibrant and exciting, and are a great joy to sing and play.  The group have as their watchword the instruction of a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford - John Wesley -  to “sing lustily and with good courage”. 

Pictures are taken from the West Gallery Music Association publication Good Singing Still by
Rollo G Woods, Totton, Hants 1995  ISBN: 1 899947 00 0. 
Some of them have previously appeared in an edition of a novel by Washington Irvine.

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Oxford Psalmody

30 Eynsham Road, Botley, Oxford. OX2 9BP 

Tel:  +44 (0)1865 865773  
Emails:  (replace - at - with @)

bulletshelwin8 - at - tiscali.co.uk 
bulletedwinmacadam - at - gmail.com

Google Map to get there.

See our separate website for the Oxford Sacred Harp Singers.

See also Immanuel's Ground, the west gallery quire based in Warwick which we run, and which supports Oxford Psalmody.

The Oxford Sacred Harp Singers

meet regularly to sing Sacred Harp music on the first and third Sunday afternoons of every month in Headington, Oxford. They continue to sing together on the annual Oxford Church Visitation tour at the beginning of September, and at the annual Oxford Sacred Harp singing day at the Women's Institute Hall, North Hinksey, Botley, Oxford, at the end of June. 

See also their FaceBook page at:

Contact for Oxford Sacred Harp is


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