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Oxford Psalmody
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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 19th
Church Visitation
will take place on
Saturday 1st September 2018

in the area to the north of
Burford, Oxfordshire

commencing at
10.00 am at Burford, Oxon.


Instruments, accompanied by their players, 
are most welcome!!


LUNCH MENU HERE    (Word .docx)


Music for the Visitation in course of preparation


Link HERE to see Music . 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.


Please read the NOTES first, and act thereupon!


N.B.  The same warning as last year as to the state of the roads applies even more than ever this year, even after a little work carried out by Oxford County Council. Road edges can have deep potholes partly hidden by vegetation.   -   BEWARE !

(times are hoped to be fairly accurate!)


The Warwick Hall in Burford
is a "vibrant and bold community facility" that supports the expanding ministry of St John the Baptist, Burford, hosts a café as well as providing multi-purpose venue hire.

Warwick Hall Café is based within the churchyard of St John's Church, and opens its doors at 9.30 am. We have been recommended to make a visit there.

10.00 – 10.50

 Burford, Oxfordshire.
 The Church of
 St John the Baptist.

Stacks Image 377

Warwick Hall is to
RIGHT after passing
through the entrance gates.


Landranger Map 163   :  Grid Ref SP 253124
Church Green, Burford.
Nearest Post Code :
OX18 4RY                 
Map: Click here

Church history on their website at: https://www.burfordchurch.org/history/

bullet Carparking is free in the carpark behind the church (ie, east end), just over the infant River Windrush, a short walk away down Church Lane. There seems to be an unofficial one-way system to drive there, entrance being at the lower end of the High Street, and when leaving the car park, turn left to get to Swinbrook.
bullet This Cotswold 'wool' church is large, and it is well worth while the effort of getting to the church early in order to look round it. You need an hour at least  - as well as singing! 
bullet In his book “England’s Thousand Best Churches” Simon Jenkins describes Burford Church as “queen of Oxfordshire” and the only Church in the County to be awarded five stars by him. It is built of Cotswold stone, with a spectacular exterior and inside a “maze of low arches, surprising vistas, chapels and shrines”.
bullet Pre-Reformation stained glass in the church can be found in the west window of the nave, the east window of the chancel, and most notably the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. There is also a canopied manorial box.
bullet There is a wc, and café set within the churchyard, where you would be very welcome to purchase refreshments, including a late breakfast!
bullet More pictures of Burford on the lower half of this page: http://www.u3a.co/local-history-ii-visit-bampton-burford/  The others are almost equally impressive, but are of Bampton - which we must visit sometime!
bullet I have said that we will be donating at least £3 per person; the donations box is in the north wall of the north aisle of the church opposite the south door entrance.

Car sharing is recommended to Swinbrook to minimise loss of carparking in Burford when we return for Lunch.  Car parking is immediately to the north of the church, where there is a large grassed area.

11.20 – 12.10

Swinbrook, Oxfordshire.
The Church of
St Mary.

The Fetttiplace Monument in Swinbrook Church ©Robin Meech

Landranger Map 164   :  Grid Ref SP 2280122
St Mary's Church, Swinbrook, Oxfordshire.
Post Code : OX18 4DY

Map: Click here
bullet Swinbrook church dates back to the 12th Century although the tower wasn't added until 1822. It has three bells.
bullet It falls within the same ministry and group of churches as Burford.
bullet The church is spacious and light with the clear glass windows illuminating both the architecture and some remarkable monuments to the Fettiplace family.
bullet Three of the Mitford sisters are buried in the churchyard at the west end.
bullet See the church (and the Fettiplaces)
in 360 degrees view .
bullet Pictures courtesy of Wikimedia and oxfordshirecotswolds.org, with grateful thanks. Links go back to their pages.


12.30 - 1.50                                  Lunch:    Back at Warwick Hall, Burford

Car parking needs to be along the approach road, Church Street. If you drive up the south side of the church, this is a dead end, it goes into a neighbouring farmyard.
2.15 – 3.00

Bledington, Gloucestershire.
The Church of
St Leonard.

St Leonard, Bledington - Chancel arch

Landranger Map 163   :  Grid Ref SP 244226
Post Code : OX7 6XD
Map: Click here

Much church history here:

bullet The most striking aspect of the interior of St Leonards is the absence of a north aisle, which means that the Perpendicular Gothic windows of the north wall create a very light and open feel not usually seen in a Cotswold church.
bullet Ten different late mediæval corbel heads.
bullet Wall paintings, one large, several small. (See to left of chancel arch).
bullet Said to have had a west gallery, but now used by the bellringers.

3.20 – 4.05


Tea will be provided by Mrs Kay Shortland and the local WI at Milton under Wychwood. This will be at the Village Hall at Milton.

Park in Milton Hall car park.

Car parking is limited in Shipton. There is a wedding service in the church at 2 pm and a reception thereafter at the Wychwood Inn in the village. Car sharing is recommended.   I have noted that some people park with wheels on the Green opposite the houses in the access road to the church.

4.20 – 5.00

Shipton under Wychwood, Oxfordshire.
The Church of
St Mary the Virgin.



Landranger Map 163   :  Grid Ref SP 280180
Church Street, Shipton under Wychwood, Chipping Norton,
Post Code : OX7 6BP
Map: Click here

Church web site here:

bullet We are assured the WC in the church will be open.
bullet The parish church of Shipton almost certainly started life as an Anglo-Saxon minster.
bullet The church was restored in 1857 when, overseen by GE Street, the pulpit was moved, the chancel screen removed, the floor raised and tiled and new pews installed ...
bullet ... probably when the organ was introduced.
bullet photo of the serpent played in the church, now in the Museum in Oxford


 Probable Evening Inn for further refreshment
bullet still undergoing examination and decision making. More tests needed.



Action NOW, please.


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


There is 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 Shipton WI at Milton Village Hall.



LUNCH at the Warwick Hall, Burford.


Please confirm to us what you would like to eat, and
who wants to eat it,


SEND us a cheque (made payable to
S & E Macadam) for the cost beforehand,


Please add to this cheque the sum of £6 per person
to cover the cost of the music booklet, tea, and
hall hire.



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


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



Please will you also be prepared to make a donation
to each of the
four churches that we visit.
is asking for at least £3 per person.

Thank you!


A general warning about the state of the roads hereabouts - many of the smaller country roads in the area to be visited are badly affected by frost and water damage, with large potholes, and areas of damaged surfaces.

 There are two schools of thought as to how to tackle these problems, either to drive slowly and try to avoid the holes, or to drive
fast over them so that there is less lurching about. Unfortunately
many drivers seem to adopt the latter approach, to the detriment of approaching vehicles. You have been warned !!!!

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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