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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 available shortly


Music for the Visitation in course of preparation 


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.

(draft only at the moment)


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.

There are also conveniences in the church for use by churchgoers.

10.00 – 10.50

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

Stacks Image 377


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 Chapel Street. 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 [ark, turning left to get to
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.
bullet There is a wc, and the church has a cafe, 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!

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.
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 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           
2.00 – 2.50

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.

3.15 – 4.00


Tea will be provided by Mrs Kaye Shortland and the local WI at Shipton under Wychwood. This will be at either the Village Hall at Shipton or, more probably, the Village Hall at Milton under Wychwood, depending upon which hall is being used by the Wedding party following the marriage service being held in Shipton Church at 2.00 pm. Further details to follow.


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 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




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.


We will probably sing one or two old favourites -
Gibraltar, Birmingham, Shropshire, etc, so if you need
and have the music, please bring copies.


TEA is to be provided by the Shipton WI.



LUNCH at the Merry Mouth Inn


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 £5 to
cover the cost of the music booklet, tea, and
other costs.


Remember that you may bring alcoholic drinks for
lunch, but please take away the empties with you!


Lunch orders (and who ordered what!) + cheques  
should arrive no later than  a.m. on Monday 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.

Thank you!










Last year
's (2017)
Church Visitation (the 18th)
took place on
Saturday 2nd September 2017

in the area around
Marsh Gibbon, Bucks.

commencing at
10.00 am at Quainton, Bucks.


WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NOW !there will be a booklet




Music for the Visitation click here! 


More available later, so come back again!


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 !!!!

10.00 – 11.00

Quainton, Bucks
The Church of
The Holy Cross and the  Blessed Virgin Mary

Explorer Maps 181 & 192   :  OS Ref 750202  
Post Code :

  Quainton is a village about 3 miles north of Waddington which itself is on the A41 between Bicester and Aylesbury. The side roads north of Waddington lead into Quainton over the old railway where the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
operates.  (Although steaming this day, the centre opens at 10,30 am - sorry!)  Follow the brown railway signs !

  Having reached the main road through the village, turn right, then first left up the hill towards the base of the old windmill. Bear right at the next fork, then right again on the level,. The church is at the end of the road where is turns left around the churchyard. There is room for parking hereabouts, either opposite the old almshouses you have just passed, or around the next corner on the roadside verge - best on the left as you point downhill.

  There is a WC  in the church.



11.30– 12.20

Wotton Underwood, Bucks.
The Church of
All Saints

Explorer Map 181 & 192   :  OS Ref  688159

  Leave Quainton Church by passing the church on the right, down the short hill and turn right. Turn right again on road which takes you through Quainton in a westerly direction. In centre of village, turn Left into Station Road, go past the Railway Centre, over the next crossroads, and turn Right on the A41.

  After 1.2 miles, go straight on at roundabout (effectively the 1st turn left), after another 1.2 miles take first turn left at roundabout into Kingswood Lane.

  After 2.3 miles down Kingswood Lane, turn Left at crossroads and after another 0.6 miles turn Left again at a T junction beside a railway bridge. After about 300 yards pass Lawn Farm and almost immediately turn Left away from the Lodge gate.

  This small road leads into the hamlet of Wotton Underwood, and the church, after another Left and Right bend, is under the trees on the right of the road – it’s a dead end – apart from private tracks.


12.40 – 2.15

at the
The Plough,
Marsh Gibbon, Bucks.

Download the Word file:


Explorer Map 192  :  OS Ref  646231
Post Code  :   

LUNCH will be partaken at the
Plough, Marsh Gibbon

   Leave Wotton Underwood church, and retrace your journey back to the A41, whereupon turn Left onto the A41.

   Continue along A41 for 4.1 miles (a Roman road, Akeman Street) and turn Right in front of the Railway over-bridge, and then immediately right again, not into the small trading estate, but along another straight road leading directly to Marsh Gibbon in about 2 miles.

  Bear right into village, do not turn left at next junction, but turn Left at the second junction. This road bears right, and leads to its junction with Station Road. The Plough is here, on the right, with the car park immediately before it, also on the right. 

 2.15 – 3.15

Twyford, Bucks.
The Church of
The Assumption
of the Blessed
Virgin Mary

Explorer Map 192  :  OS Ref  665267

   On leaving the Plough car park (we are NOT singing at Marsh Gibbon) turn right and immediately Left into Station Street. Pass Marsh Gibbon church on your left. This road takes you past the old station, past the turning on the left into the village of Poundon, and into the southern end of Twyford

   Continue up the main street, do not turn right to Steeple Claydon, and continue to end of main street, where the church is on the right. Parking on road, but a bit tight for space!


3.30 – 4.30

Gawcott, Bucks.
Holy Trinity Church

Image result for Gawcott church

         The foundations for Holy Trinity Church were first laid in 1802, with the chapel and burial ground being consecrated in 1806. The Reverend Thomas Scott was the first vicar and was the father of George Gilbert Scott, the renownedarchitect.

Unfortunately, the original church became unsound following a long spell of dry weather in the early 1800s and had to be demolished, being replaced with the current building in 1827.

Explorer Map 192  :  OS Ref  681318

   On leaving the church at Twineham, retrace your steps down the High Street, turn Left towards Steeple Claydon. Take the first turn Left over an old railway line, then Left again at crossroads on road probably signposted to Buckingham, Gawcott and Preston Bissett.

   After a sharp roght turn, do NOT take teft fork to Preston Bissett or Chetwode, nor the next two turns to Hillesden. The next village is Gawcott.

   Continue into centre of village. Do NOT take Buckingham Road or Radclive Road, both on the right. Turn Left into Main Street. Half way down the main street, you will find the church.

   Parking is possible here, but if not, retrace your steps back up past the church, round the corner to Church Street, which runs parallel to Main Street, behind the church, where it is possible to park either in that street or the carpark used by the Primary School.

   The little building just up the hill from the church door is a unisex wc!

Gawcott’s best known son is George Gilbert Scott. Born in the Village in 1811, he became a world famous architect, building and restoring over 1,000 churches and cathedrals and designing many well-known structures including the Albert Memorial and St. Pancras Station Hotel. George’s grandson, Giles Gilbert Scott, designed the iconic red BT telephone box and is famous for the design of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool as well as many other buildings around the country ... And, yes, there was a gallery!



Gawcott Church

   Tea is in the Church, kindly provided by the Women's Institute in Gawcott.

The cost of tea, music, etc is £5, please, to be added to the cheque for lunch at the Plough.


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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