bonæ litteræ: occasional writing from David Rundle, Renaissance scholar

Another brick in the wall of Oxford’s history

Posted in Uncategorized by bonaelitterae on 13 March, 2009

This is shamelessly an advert,  a promotion, a puff for some new pages that adorn and enhance the web. Their subject, the physical remains of Oxford’s medieval walls, may be a little removed from the humanist matters which are the usual fare of these postings but the pages are such an excellent addition that I’d hope that you would agree that they deserve as wide a public as possible. Not that this recherché site is a method for anyone to achieve fame.

But, to the point: the redoutable Stephanie Jenkins is known to some for her website that records both the present and the past of that ancient settlement of Headington, now represented on Oxford City Council by two Liberal Democrats, Ruth Wilkinson and another. Stephanie’s interests are not confined to that superior (in many senses) part of Oxford: she also deigns to add to our knowledge of the centre of the city itself. Recently, I have spied her wandering around the centre, studying in closer detail than one would imagine comfortable old stones and wishing she could clamber over people’s houses to see what their gardens hid. The result is very impressive: a photographic record of the line of the thirteenth-century walls of the city, rich in revealing annotation.

What those pages remind me is that we can take our surroundings so often for granted, paying little attention to the depth of what appears to us quotidian. I have lived here of over twenty years and still I am learning, happy to be educated by Stephanie’s expertise.


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