There has been a long history of Christian witness in Oxford. It began with a young Saxon princess, Frideswide, who established a church and monastery here in the 8thcentury. The first University colleges were Christian foundations, each with its own chapel. The plan of the medieval city was laid out with clear Christian symbolism: the tallest tower of St Mary’s, the University Church, stands at the very centre of a city.
John Wycliffe himself (his name is spelt in numerous different ways: Wyclyff, Wyclif, Wickliffe) promoted the translation of the Bible from Latin into English. However his controversial writings were forbidden and he was excluded from the University. This was followed by the turbulent years of the Reformation, when three leading Christian bishops, Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer who all advocated the principles of justification by faith alone and the supreme authority of the Scriptures, were martyred in Broad Street. The young Wesley and Whitefield also studied at Oxford, where the Evangelical Revival began in the 1730s, followed a century later by the catholic revival within Anglicanism, known simply as ‘The Oxford Movement’. C.S. Lewis and the Inklings were prominent Oxford personalities in twentieth century.