The Listed Buildings of Bicester
Date: 20th December 2004
Speaker: Bob Hessian
The Meeting took place at The Pop-In Centre, Crown Walk, Bicester. Forty one members (and one dog) attended.
Bob reviewed the criteria for awarding listed building status to specific structures based upon their special historical or architectural interest. (The list is maintained by English Heritage.) No listed structure may be altered or demolished without permission. Buildings can be put to good use but renovation must meet specific standards and criteria.
A structure may be designated for the following reasons:
- it’s age, rarity, architectural merit or method of construction;
- because a famous person lived there;
- it forms part of a group of buildings e.g. a square, a model village etc.
The older the structure, the more likely it is to be listed. Various grades of building are classified:
- Grade 1 – exceptional value e.g. St Edburg’s Church
- Grade 11* – particularly important e.g. The Old Vicarage, The Priory
- Grade 11 – those of special interest with a need to preserve them e.g. other buildings listed in Bicester such as The Market Square.
Bob presented a slide show review of the ‘Listed Buildings in Bicester’ and highlighted the most important ones.
St Edburg’s Church is the only Grade 1 listed building in the town. It is classified as such because of its architectural importance and dates from C12th. It contains a number of impressive decorations and monuments e.g. The Coker Family, White Kennett etc.
The Old Vicarage is a Grade 11* listed building. It was originally C16th and L shaped in plan. It contains Tudor arched doorways, fireplaces and a timber framed roof.
The Priory (Grade 11*) retains elements of C15th and was believed to have been a hostelry for Bicester Priory or have been built from materials made available when the Priory was demolished. There are traces of medieval architecture.
Bicester House, the Old Court House and the Market Square are also worthy of mention. The red telephone kiosks in the Market Square are a more unusual example of listed structures.
The talk finished at 8.48 p.m. Brian Clifton proposed a vote of thanks to Bob for his hard work in preparing the informative talk. Refreshments were served after the Meeting.