Nick and I used to speculate a lot between us about the various assortments of stone we’d spot in buildings which probably didn’t originate there. Some of it came from demolished churches, you can find them dotted about like solidified memory in walls and buildings across the city, a sprinkling of freestone pieces of sill and arch; bits of the fabric of St Mary’s Unbrent on Magdalen Street probably live on in the shop opposite, St Crowches dwells on a back wall just off Exchange Street and St Andrews, bits of another St Mary in the walls around the Assembly House, various pieces of a number of churches in the cathedral precincts, there are many others.
I strolled past the flint wall in Lowes Yard off Calvert Street the other day – Neither of us were especially convinced the freestone here and around Colegate was ‘definitely’ part of St John the Baptist, but neither of us weren’t either, it may just be bits of the original Blackfriars, who knows.
What I do know is that Nick will remain part of the fabric of the city even though he’s physically gone, just like the lost and existing churches he happily educated me on for 25 plus years. You’re missed already, goodbye old friend.
Dr. Nick Groves MA, PhD, FRHistS
29th April 1956 – 29th June 2023