Conservation work on the 12C stonework on the West Front and South Door of Iffley Church is taking place this summer. The conservationists will welcome visitors to today’s Open Doors event, and explain the techniques they are using. From 12.00-15.00 today they will offer scaffold tours for visitors (aged 16 and over), and throughout the weekend they will present images of the work they have been doing on St Mary’s. They will also show us how they work on the stone carvings.
The theme of this year’s Oxford Open Doors is Hidden Oxford. This year LIVING STONES, Iffley Church’s education programme, is busy with a participatory Art Project based on the ancient yew tree in the churchyard. This tree is said to be the oldest yew in Oxfordshire, and dates from between 686 and 886 AD. In 1857 Charles Dodgson visited Iffley with Alice Liddell. Her delight in the yew tree’s hidden, hollow trunk seems to have sparked one of the many curious occurrences in what was to emerge as ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’ The trunk has grown and lost its hollow ‘door’, but the yew tree and the Romanesque carvings on the church (which include a gryphon) still provoke the imagination. These will be celebrated with special family-friendly trails, crafts and participation in the Art Project.
Start your visit in the Village Hall (information displays, trail leaflets, art activities and refreshments), explore the 12th century church famous for its Romanesque architecture and churchyard with its ancient yew tree, and enjoy a picnic in the Glebe Field.