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Christ Church Cathedral Oxford

History

Blessed Sacrament windowChrist Church Cathedral was founded in the 12thC originally as an Augustinian Priory to house the relics of St Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. In the 1520’s the priory was suppressed by Pope Clement VII for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey to build a college for the University on the site. The priory church became the college chapel, and, in 1546, the Cathedral for the newly created Diocese of Oxford.

 

Architecture

The oldest parts of the Cathedral date to the late 12thC. The centre of the church is Transitional Norman with unusual ‘split capitals’ throughout. Later additions include a stone spire of c.1220 (the oldest surviving stone spire in England), and an exceptionally fine lierne pendant Chancel Vault of c.1500.
The college buildings include a Great Hall (the 2nd largest medieval Hall in England) and Wren’s Tom Tower.

Attractions

Lewis Carroll (Revd Charles Dodgson) was a Mathematics Tutor at Christ Church and it was here that he wrote Alice in Wonderland in the 1860’s. Alice was modelled on the daughter of the then Dean of Christ Church, and the Great Hall has a portrait of Dodgson and an Alice window.

In 2001 and 2002 Warner Brothers filmed the first 2 Harry Potter films in the Great Hall.

Local Interest

Oxford is almost unparalleled in the world for its wealth of historic buildings, many connected with the University. Most of the 39 Colleges are open to the public, and there are many museums, libraries and churches also well worth visiting.

Blenheim Palace, once the home of Winston Churchill, lies just a few miles north in Woodstock.