ACOUSTIC TRIANGLE 2005 TOUR
Dorchester Abbey lies 6 miles south of Oxford at the place where the
rivers Thame and Thames meet. It has a rich history dating back to the
mid-7th Century, when Dorchester was the capital of England. The
building we now see was begun in the 12th Century, replacing two earlier
Saxon cathedrals and an 11th Century Norman one. The first Norman bishop
was Remigius, installed in 1070, and parts of the church he built are
incorporated in the Abbey's fabric. However, the Domesday book makes it
clear that by 1086 the bishopric had been moved to Lincoln, so the
building presumably served simply as parish church until 1140 when
Bishop Alexander re-founded it as an Abbey of Augustinian canons.
The wonderful eastward extension of the chancel with its sculpture,
tracery, stained glass and the unique Jesse window, was added in 1340,
as was the People's Chapel. The Abbey escaped the most destructive
effects of the Dissolution of the Monasteries because Sir Richard
Bewfforeste, 'a great riche man' of Dorchester, paid Henry VIII the
value of the lead on the chancel roof (£140), and thus saved the
church for the parish. The other monastic buildings disappeared, except
for the Guest House to the west of the Abbey. The tower was rebuilt in
1602, and there were major repairs in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Dorchester Abbey is one of the best concert venues in Oxfordshire and it
attracts tourists from all over the world.
We are grateful to Canon Bill Hall of Gateshead and Stephanie Forman of
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