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This report is taken from PN Review 261, Volume 48 Number 1, September - October 2021.

Martyr's Memorial
The Death of the Traditional Wait
Patrick McGuinness
Opposite the Broad Street entrance to Boswells, where they sell university-crested sweatshirts, caps, union jack cushions, Frank Cooper’s ‘Oxford’ marmalade, etc., is a small ancient island amid the roar of traffic. It consists of a graveyard, a church, a monumental spire and underground women’s toilets. The church and graveyard are surrounded by railings with tethered bikes. I pass them every day but have never been in. Today that changes. It’s a High Church place, ancient of course like so much else around here, and it smells of incense. In the 10th C, it was on the outside of Oxford city walls – the North Gate being on Cornmarket in the old Oxford. It’s an impressive place, restored in 1842 by the young Gilbert Scott. It has famous bells, and in an Inspector Morse novel, Morse’s love interest is a bell-ringer and church caretaker. Morse’s love interest always fails, either through his failure of nerve or because she turns out to be the who that dunnit. Spoiler alert: in this Morse, it’s the latter.

Behind the church is The Martyr’s Memorial, to the protestant victims of Queen Mary: Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley. They were burned close by, just outside the city walls, and a cross in the tarmac of Broad Street marks the spot. But here is where they are remembered, though not by any of the people who sit and drink there. Not by me much of the time either. That’s the thing about memorials – few people remember them and even fewer notice them. The monument ...


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