Tag Archives: Frideswide

St. Margaret’s church & well, Binsey, Oxfordshire

St. Margaret’s church & well, Binsey, Oxfordshire

Midnight, and monks by candlelight

Although less than 2 miles from Oxford’s city centre St. Margaret’s is hidden behind trees and shrubbery at the end of a long and winding country lane. The church is a strange, isolated and moody little building sometimes welcoming and warm while at other times slightly sinister. It is lighted only by oil lamps and candles as it has no electricity supply.

St. Margaret’s was once the living for a priest called Nicholas Breakspear, who became England’s only Pope, Adrian lV, in 1154.

The church is also famous for its holy well and its legendary connection to St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. I strongly suspect that Frideswide is really the ancient Briton’s goddess and saint, Ffraed.

This was the ‘Treacle Well’ of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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The Meeting of Ancient Paths

I referred to Graham Robb and his book, The Ancient Paths, at the end of my article, Grave suspicions. It’s the builders’ fault. Well, I’ve had a few moments free time to scan through it, and there are some quite amazing synchronicites.

Several times I’ve mentioned how elements of the Mabinogion have cropped up while on this journey with Ffraed, and how there are noteworthy connections concerning Pembrokeshire and Oxford – a place where I have spent the greater part of my life. There is a strong Welsh connection with two colleges, Pembroke and Jesus Colleges. I’ve previously too talked about Dragons and their affinity with Oxford, in so many ways.The centre at Oxford is a Dragon location in the Mabinogion. We have also discovered that Y Ddraig Ffraed leaves the coast of the Isles at St. Bride’s.

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