This church stands on the busy pedestrianised Cornmarket in the city centre. The church is positioned on the site of the north gate through the medieval city walls that fortified Oxford, hence the name ‘at the North Gate’.
The most ancient part of St Michael’s is the tower, built around 1040, making this Oxford’s oldest surviving building. The rest of the Saxon church is gone, but the tower yet stands and shows traditional Saxon architecture, including double lancet windows divided by a central round-headed column. The church was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it was recorded as owning two houses, worth 52d.
The body of the church was reconstructed numerous times during the medieval period, sweeping away all trace of Saxon architecture except for the tower. The east window holds a small section of 13th century stained glass, some of the oldest examples in England.