Church’s lottery miracle



The University Church of St Mary the Virgin has been awarded a £3.4 million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to contribute to the £5.5 million cost of an extensive refurbishment of the church and Old Library. 

The project, named Education, Heritage, and Renewal for the 21st Century, will see the renovation of the church’s facade, and the first redressing of the stone on the 13th century tower in 100 years.

The grant will also enable the restoration of the stained glass windows and 15th century choir stalls. It will fund the training of up to 200 volunteer guides, and a comprehensive history of the University that will be displayed in the church. 

The Vicar of St Mary’s, the Revd Canon Brian Mountford, said:

“I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided to make this significant award to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. It comes after long and careful consultation with local people, national bodies, and professional advisers as to what is best for this iconic Oxford building.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: 

“This inspirational and important project showcases our heritage at its very best, by providing the local community and visitors with a special look into the past.”

300,000 people visit the church each year, and it was the venue for the University’s ruling body meetings in the Medieval period.


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