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University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin: Raking view of spire and facade, seen from the High Street, looking west
Reflects a mix of styles in vogue simultaneously. First, boldly modelled capitals and bases in a richly articulated style are seen on the tower, built by an Abingdon mason in the 1270s. At St. Mary's, always a parish church of which the most influential parishioner was the university, Bishop Cobham of Worcester (reigned 1317-1327) paid for an austerely plain two-storey wing, known as the Congregation House, to be added east of the tower. The upper floor served as a university library. Below is a vaulted meeting-room like a chapter house, used by the university from ca. 1325 until 1640. Almost at the same time an unknown benefactor added the spire with rich ball-flower decoration and elaborate pinnacles, still Oxford's tallest construction at ca. 57 m. St. Mary's was the site of the 1555 trial of the Oxford Martyrs. The south porch was built in 1637 and was designed by Nicholas Stone in a Baroque style. In the early 1800s, the Oxford Movement, which sought to restore Catholic spirituality in England, was launched from the pulpit of St. Mary's.