Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir

Founded in 1928...

St Barnabas, Jericho
3 December 2016

Out first concert in this historic Oxford Church, designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield and modelled on the style of the cathedral of Torcello, near Venice.

St Barnabas, Oxford

How long was the peril, how breathless the day,
In topaz and beryl, the sun dies away,
His rays lying static at quarter to six
On polychromatical lacing of bricks.
Good Lord, as the angelus floats down the road
Byzantine St Barnabas, be Thine Abode.

Where once the fritillaries hung in the grass
A baldachin pillar is guarding the Mass.
Farewell to blue meadows we loved not enough,
And elms in whose shadows were Glanville and Clough
Not poets but clergymen hastened to meet
Thy redden’d remorselessness, Cardigan Street.

John Betjeman





Thomas Hardy, who had worked here as an assistant to Blomfield, used it for a scene in Jude the Obscure where he describes the church's levitating cross (picture 1 and 4) – seemingly suspended in mid-air by barely visible wires and swaying gently – beneath which lay the crumpled, prostrate figure of Sue Bridehead, forlornly covered in a pile of black clothes.

It was a very special Christmas Concert supporting 'Young Dementia' and 'Daybreak'.

The afterglow was in The Old Bookbinders, another gem of this area of Oxford.