Holy Family

The church, designed by Colin Shewring, was built and dedicated in 1965, it is one of the most distinctive buildings on the estate and in Oxford, with its curved walls and roof.

Blackbird Leys, Oxfordshire

Opening times

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Cuddesdon Way
Blackbird Leys

Blackbird Leys was built as a council housing estate in the 1960's to the south east of Oxford City. Holy Family Church was one of the first Local Ecumenical Project in the country.

In 1958 the Archdeacon of Oxford felt that the new Blackbird Leys Estate should have an energetic Priest in Charge.

In 1960 a young curate from Hammersmith, Peter Malton, was offered the job and moved in with his wife and son. By late 1960 Peter decided that the time had come to look for a temporary church building after trying to make provision for 47 children in his sitting room.

A wooden hut was bought by the diocese and erected on the proposed site of the new church. Christmas 1960 saw the celebration of Midnight Mass in the first 'church'.

By the end of October 1961 architect Colin Shewring had visited the estate, taken photographs from the top of the nearby tower block and made an assessment of the needs of local people. His idea was to build a modern church which would be functional and yet include what people felt a church should contain. He had asked the building committee for a list to include everything from the altar to matches!

It transpired that an altar and pulpit were essential for the sacrament and the word, but a separate lectern was not necessary as one was not used in the hut. It was felt that the altar and pulpit should be in the same area and constructed of the same material. It should not be a recess or special part of the building but part of a large area to emphasise shared worship. Quietness was considered essential.

The church building was completed in the spring of 1965, and a service of Dedication was held on Saturday 10 Apri1 1965.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Mary the Virgin

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