‘Beloved Binsey’: studying the visitors’ books of St Margaret’s Church, Binsey, 2002 - 2012

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study examines the entries covering the period 2002 – 2009 in the visitors’ books belonging to St Margaret of Antioch Church, Binsey. The study is placed in the context of pilgrimage and sacred space and explores their theology and spiritual significance. The nature of a visit to Binsey is compared to medieval and contemporary practice of pilgrimage and the similarities and differences of various components explored. The question is asked whether a visit to Binsey can be described as a pilgrimage and how this is justified. The nature of the reactions to the sacred space that is Binsey church as evidenced in the entries in the visitors’ books is examined and discussed in relation to comparative studies. The nature of the community that is evident in Binsey is explored and a new term coined ‘heterotopian koinonia’ to describe it. This term is then used to examine a particular event within the life of the visitors’ books, that of the felling of an avenue of chestnut trees on the approach to the church. Suggestions for further research are given and an appreciation of the nature of Binsey’s sacred space.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorAlister McGrath (Supervisor)

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