One of the special characteristics of Oxford is the ‘villages within the town’ which have survived within the City’s boundaries. There can be no better example than Old Iffley Village, where Cowley, Donnington and Rose Hill sit close upon its heel and yet it retains its rural charm and character. The Grade I listed church of St Mary the Virgin, with its decorated Norman Arch and modern stained glass Nativity window by John Piper is a constant joy adding to the village street scene and its proximity to the River Thames add to its character. The surviving thatched cottages and stone walls ensure that Iffley Village retains its rural feel and OPT continues to play its part at ….
Simple pasture land with a very important job
Lying at the heart of the village, behind a high stone wall and iron gate is Iffley Glebe. Historically, a glebe was a piece of land which was given to a clergy and formed part of their living. Today Iffley Glebe is one of the village’s most important open spaces, playing a vital role in maintaining the rural atmosphere of Iffley.
In the 1980s a struggle began to stop the field being developed. In1996 OPT was able to acquire it thanks to the generosity of the Critchley family, prominent local business people and Iffley residents who still live there today and continue to support OPT in their work here. John Critchley was an OPT Trustee from 1964-94.
The glebe plays an important part in connecting local habitats. The field is full of wildflowers each summer and the ancient hedge across the field provides birds with nesting places, and insects and berries for food. At night the glebe is an important hunting ground for bats and owls.