Newman Pilgrimage – 46 miles, 4 days – Oxford to Deddington. Whilst the now-canonised Catholic Saint John Henry Newman had known connections with the city of Oxford, there is perhaps less awareness of his associations with the north of the county of Oxfordshire. Here, on Wednesday June 23rd 1824 at Over Worton, Newman preached his first sermon. In the following year he gave his first public address at a Church Missionary Society meeting at Deddington, a couple of miles from Over Worton. On one occasion Newman walked to Over Worton from Oxford, a distance of eighteen miles, starting at 4am and arriving ‘punctually at the breakfast table’, as he himself put it.
This walk of Newman’s and the beginnings of his career as a preacher and orator in North Oxfordshire are commemorated in a pilgrimage route from Oxford to Over Worton and Deddington inaugurated in June 2013. Newman’s own probable route to Over Worton is not followed, since much of it is now the busy A4260; rather the pilgrim path bends initially westwards to take in a number of places of ecclesiastical interest, several relating to Newman and his influence.