AT the east end of the choir aisle of the Cathedral there is a portion of the wall which is possibly the oldest piece of masonry in Oxford, for it is thought to be a part of the original Church of St. Frideswyde, on whose site the Cathedral Church of Christ (to give its full title) now stands. Even so it is not possible to speak with historical certainty of the saint or of the date of her Church, which was built for her by her father, so the legend says, when she took the veil; though the year 740 may be provisionally accepted as the last year of her life. St. Frideswyde's was a conventual Church, with a Priory attached, and both were burnt down in 1002, but rebuilt by Ethelred. How much of his handiwork survives in the present structure it is not easy to de-termine; but the Norman builders of the twelfth century effected, at any rate, such a transformation that no suggestion of Saxon architecture is obtruded. Their work went on for some twenty years, under the supervision of the then Prior, Robert of Cricklade, and the Church was consecrated anew in 1180. The main features of the interior—the massive pillars and arches—are substantially the same to-day as the builders left them then.
THIS BOOK, is not intended to compete with any existing guides to Oxford: it is not a guide-book in any formal or exhaustive sense. Its purpose is to shew forth the chief beauties of the University and City, as they have ap-peared to several artists; with such a running commentary as may explain the pictures, and may indicate whatever is most interesting in connection with the scenes which they represent. Slight as the notes are, there has been no sacrifice, it is believed, of accuracy. The principal facts have been derived from Alexander Chalmers' History of the Colleges, Halls, and Public Buildings of the University of Oxford, from Mr. Lang's Oxford, and from the Oxford and its Colleges of Mr. J. Wells.
The illustrations, with the exception of six only, which are derived from Ackermann's Oxford, are reproduced from the paintings of living artists, mostly by Mr. W. Matthison, the others by Mrs. C. R. Walton, Walter S. S. Tyrwhitt, Mr. Bayzant, and Miss E. S. Cheesewright.