Mediaeval churches in the Oxford diocese were mostly built in stone and few are pre-Norman structures. Most have been rebuilt, extended and modified over the centuries in distinctly different styles to meet changing liturgical, clerical needs, and popular beliefs and practices.
Distinctly different building styles are a useful but not precise guide to dating these buildings and this extends to fittings and decoration which are seldom all of the same period. The furnishings (fonts, screens, altarpieces, pulpits, lecterns, stained glass, mural paintings, timber roofs and benches or pews) all help to explain and record how a church has evolved as well as its artistic significance. Monuments and other memorials add specific people and provide a social context to the local history of a church.
Full use will be made of fine examples from churches in the Oxford diocese, i.e. the city and county of Oxford, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, with a few contrasting or spectacular examples from neighbouring counties.
The course will provide an opportunity for students to develop and apply what they are studying to specific local examples of their choice from any period of that church's construction and furnishing.