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Oxford Psalmody
previously Oxford Occasionals 2000-2012)


Edwin Macadam and Sheila Girling Macadam

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History of the music


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MUSIC to look at - there will be a booklet


2016 Church Visitation
will take place on
Saturday 3rd September 2016

to the southeast and southwest of Adderbury
commencing at 10.00 am at Souldern.


10.00 – 11.00

The Church of
The Annunciation of the  Blessed Virgin Mary

Explorer Map 191   :  OS Ref  522317
Post Code : OX27  7HU

Leave the motorway at Junction 10, and take the A43 towards Northampton. At the first roundabout turn LEFT onto the B4100 towards Souldern, Aynho and Adderbury. After about 2.25 miles turn LEFT into Souldern village, then RIGHT into Church Lane.

Carparking on roadside before the church. The lane leads to the sewerage works!

There is no WC at Souldern.
It is suggested that the use of the Services at the Motorway Service Station could well be beneficial to Visitors!

This is a very comprehensive website, and deserves exploring further! This church is one we had to omit two years ago, and it is worth arriving a little early in order to look around. 



11.15– 12.00

The Church of
St Michael



Flickr photo

Explorer Map 191  :  OS Ref  514331

On leaving Souldern Church, retrace your steps to the B4100, and turn LEFT. Turn LEFT again where this road meets the B4031, and, still on the B4100, Aynho is the next village. 

The church is on the left hand side of the road, partially hidden by a high estate stone wall which the road follows for some little way.  There is a small car park if you turn LEFT through a gap in this wall, towards the west end of the church, and immediately LEFT again behind the wall adjacent the road.


There is a WC  in the church.

















12.20 – 1.30

at the
Red Lion, Adderbury

View from road.


Explorer Map 191  :  OS Ref 475356

Post Code  :   

LUNCH will be partaken at the Red Lion, Adderbury

On leaving the church at Aynho, turn LEFT on the B4100. This takes its path back over the M40, and meets the A4260. This is the Banbury Road, and within 100 yards or so you will find the Village Green. The Red Lion is on the left at the far end of the Green. It has its own forecourt, essentially part of the old road in front of the Inn.

Parking is available through the archway to the rear yard of the Inn. Alternatively there is additional parking around the Green.

 1.45 – 2.30

The Church of
St Mary - Our Lady of Bloxham



Explorer Map 191  :  OS Ref  431356

On leaving the Red Lion (we are not singing at Adderbury church) turn LEFT down the Oxford Road A4260 - it changes its name either side of the Green - towards Deddington.

About a half mile down the A4260, the road swings to the right, passing the Station Yard Industrial Estate. Almost immediately, turn RIGHT onto a C class road called Berry Hill Road. This becomes the Milton Road to the village of Milton, then continues to meet the A361, at which point turn RIGHT towards the centre of Bloxham

The church is on the RIGHT of a busy main road, but there is private parking available for the church in the Doctors' surgery carpark. I BELIEVE THIS TO BE THE CASE, BUT AM AWAITING CONFIRMATION.

Godswell Lodge, Church St, Bloxham, Banbury OX15 4ES

This is a Simon Jenkins **** church, and is worthy of some study - probably far longer than given on this Visitation.  Bring binoculars, and be preparfed to make a second visit sometime!!

For a guide and more pictures, see:


3.00 – 3.45

the church of
St Giles

By Ben Nicholson, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9252572

Explorer Map 191  :  OS Ref  391333

On leaving the church at Bloxham, continue driving southwards along the A361, ie retrace your steps to start with but keep to the main road, not back to Adderbury.

South Newington is the next village, but not very visible from the main road. Once you have passed the pub called the Duck on the Pond, the road goes into a series of bends. Take the next turn RIGHT to Wigginton, which is immediately after a left hand bend.

The road climbs uphill through the village, and as the village hall is lower down the hill you may find it easier to turn round in the area past the church and park pointing the way you came

It is a narrow road at this point, and there seems to be just a little more room for parking in the road uphill of the church.



4.00 – 4.45

Wigginton Village Hall

Explorer Map 191  :  OS Ref  391332

Tea is in the Village Hall, and as this is about 100 yards away, it is probably easier to walk from the church to the hall rather than having to park again.  Having said that, there is a small parking area behind the hall, but I have not counted spaces

5.15 – 6.00

South Newington
The Church of
St Peter ad Vincula

The church of St Peter ad Vincula, South Newington - Banbury, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom


Explorer Map 191  :  OS Ref  408333

South Newington, Oxford OX15 4JF


Click on map, and download larger version

Follow the Wigginton Road back to the main A361. There are two ways to reach the church, see the map below, which can also be enlarged and copied/printed:

The better route is to turn RIGHT on the A361, then immediately LEFT onto the Barford Road. Take SECOND LEFT into the High Street, at the end of which you will see the church diagonally opposite. Hopefully there will be parking spaces in the High Street.

The following URL depicts the famous wall paintings at South Newington:

This is the village website

This is another of the Simon Jenkins recommended churches, so it is hoped that Visitors may be able to find the time to stay the course! 

Wall paintings and a raised set of seating for the Quire




The Duck on the Pond


The Village pub is 'The Duck on the Pond', building 11 on the village plan. This is recommended, as it is the only pub in the area.  It is beside the main road, and may also attract significant custom!


You will have passed this on the way from Bloxham to Wigginton.




Action NOW, please.


There is a music booklet this year.


Singing will be from The Sacred Harp, Praise & Glory


Please bring your copies if you have them.


Small numbers of each will be available on the day.


We will probably sing one or two old favourites -
Gibraltar, Birmingham, Shropshire, etc, so if you need
and have the music, please bring it.


TEA at Wigginton Village Hall is to be provided by local church ladies.



LUNCH at the Red Lion, Adderbury


Please confirm to us what you would like to eat, and
who wants to eat it, and


SEND us a cheque (made payable to
S & E Macadam)
for the cost beforehand.


Please add to this cheque the sum of 5 to
cover the cost of the music booklet, and tea.


Please do not give us cash or cheques on the day!!!


Lunch orders (and who ordered what!) + cheques  
should arrive no later than
Tuesday 30 August, and preferably well before!


Please will you also be prepared to make a donation of at
least 1 per person to each of the
various churches
that we visit.

Thank you!


See below for contact address, etc, for Oxford Psalmody.
Listen to the following mp3 files, recorded by Gary Sherman:



Africa - Sacred Harp music from St Michael's, Northgate, Oxford


Babylon Streams - Trinity College Chapel


Cookes Canon - University College Chapel


Psalm 69 in a setting by Jarvis - St Michael's, Northgate 


The 'Worms' Anthem by William Knapp - Trinity College Chapel


Shropshire Funeral Hymn - University Church of St Mary the Virgin



Visit http://www.archive.org/details/WestGalleryMusic-OxfordOccasionals for further recordings of the
2008 tour of Oxford churches and college chapels, and from where you can download a number of free media files. You also have the chance to comment on them!!

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Since September 2000, a group of singers and instrumentalists from many different parts of England have spent a day each year, touring churches and chapels in different parts of the County and Diocese of Oxford, to recreate the psalmody and hymnody of more than 150 years ago.

Oxford Psalmody is a gathering of members of the West Gallery  Music Association, formed in 1990 to revive the music of the rural parish churches, so much beloved of Thomas Hardy and exemplified in his novels and poetry. 

Hardy wrote of times past, the days when his father and grandfather were members of the local church ‘band’, playing to accompany the quire in the specially constructed ‘west gallery’ in Stinsford Church.  The psalm tunes used during, before and after services in country churches, were often by   local, untutored composers, frequently bearing the names of local streets, villages or landmarks.  This raw and exciting music was much beloved, and jealously guarded, by its custodians in the west gallery; records exist of quires refusing the vicar’s instruction to sing a particular tune to the psalm of the day, preferring to use another more to their liking.  With the passing of the years, all too frequently what was initially a tussle for control of the conduct of services became an issue of conflict with the clergy and the squire as patron. 

The emergence of Tractarianism and the Oxford Movement, together with the introduction of Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1861, saw the wresting back of control by the church establishment, with the introduction of surpliced choirs, often with small boys taking the tune, previously the sinecure of adult, male, tenors.  The installation of keyboard instruments, such as harmoniums, barrel or finger organs spelt the end of the accompanying band of cellos, clarinets, violins, flutes, bassoons and the (more than) occasional  serpent.  These instrumentalists, and their singing companions, first found their way to the Independent chapels, where they continued to sing and play the old tunes they loved, but by the beginning of the twentieth century, in all but a few outposts, the old way of church psalmody was lost and virtually forgotten in England.

Such a fate did not attend the descendants of those settlers who took English country psalmody to America.  In New England, from as early as the middle of the eighteenth century, English psalm tune books were being sold in Boston within months of their publication in England.  This music inspired native-born composers, just as untutored as their compatriots on the other side of the Atlantic, and by 1770 a leather tanner, William Billings of Boston, had produced the first compilation of psalm tunes by a colonist.  There was a flowering of ethnic composition immediately before and after the War of Independence, and the fervour for native psalmody spread throughout the Eastern United States, finding its firmest and what has become a permanent foothold to this day, in the southern states, particularly Alabama and Georgia.  Here the music notation has evolved with shaped note heads as a singing aid, rather than the ordinary round note heads and thus the term ‘shapenote music’ is often used to describe American psalmody.

Oxford Psalmody sing  from both the English and the American traditions.  Our native tunes are usually accompanied, as they were intended to be, but the psalm tunes of our American cousins are sung a capella. These tunes are vibrant and exciting, and are a great joy to sing and play.  The group have as their watchword the instruction of a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford - John Wesley -  to “sing lustily and with good courage”. 

Pictures are taken from the West Gallery Music Association publication Good Singing Still by
Rollo G Woods, Totton, Hants 1995  ISBN: 1 899947 00 0. 
Some of them have previously appeared in an edition of a novel by Washington Irvine.

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Oxford Psalmody and Oxford Sacred Harp Singers

met regularly to sing Sacred Harp music on the "Teenth" Thursday of every month between January 1999 and December 2015 in Oxford. They continue to sing together on the annual Oxford Church Visitation tour at the beginning of September, and at the annual Oxford Sacred Harp singing day at Botley, Oxford, at the end of June. 

When the occasion arises they are happy to host visiting Sacred Harp singers from abroad; please let us know when you are likely to be in the area!

30 Eynsham Road, Botley, Oxford. OX2 9BP 

Tel:  +44 (0)1865 865773  
Emails:  (replace - at - with @)

bulletshelwin8 - at - tiscali.co.uk 
bulletedwinmacadam - at - gmail.com

Google Map to get there.

See our separate website for the Oxford Sacred Harp Singers.

See also Immanuel's Ground, the west gallery quire based in Warwick which we run, and which supports Oxford Psalmody.

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