1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Oxford
OXFORD, a city, municipal and parliamentary borough, the county town of Oxfordshire, England, and the seat of a famous university. Pop. (1901) 49,336. It is situated on the river Thames, 51 m. by road and 63¾ m. by rail W.N.W. of London. It is served by the main northern line of the Great Western railway, and by a branch from the London & North- Western system at Bletchley; while the Thames, and the Oxford canal, running north from it, afford water communications. The ancient nucleus of the city stands on a low gravel ridge between the Thames and its tributary the Cherwell, which here flow with meandering courses and many branches and backwaters through flat meadows. Modern extensions of Oxford cross both rivers, the suburbs of Osney and Botley lying to the west, Grandpont to the south, and St Clement’s to the east beyond the Cherwell. To the north is a large modern residential district. The low meadow land is bounded east and west by well-wooded hills, rising rather abruptly, though only to a slight elevation, seldom exceeding 500 ft. Several points on these hills command celebrated views, such as that from Bagley Hill to the S.W., or from Elsfield to the N.E., from which only the inner Oxford is visible, with its collegiate buildings, towers and spires—a peerless city.
Main roads from east to west and from north to south intersect near the centre of ancient Oxford at a point called Carfax, and form four principal streets. High Street (east). Queen Street (west), Cornmarket Street (north) and St Aldate’s (south). Cornmarket Street is continued northward by Magdalen Street, and near their point of junction Magdalen Street is intersected by a thoroughfare formed, from west to east, by George Street, Broad Street, Holywell Street and Long Wall Street, the last of which sweeps south to join High Street not far from Magdalen Bridge over the Cherwell. This thoroughfare is thus detailed, because it approximately indicates the northern and north-eastern confines of the ancient city. The old walls indeed (of which there are many fragments, notably a very fine range in New College garden) indicate a somewhat smaller area than that defined by these streets. Their line, which slightly varied, as excavations have shown, in different ages, bent south-westward from Cornmarket Street, where stood the north gate, till it reached the enceinte of the castle, which lies at the west of the old city, flanked on one side by a branch of the Thames. From the castle the southern wall ran east, along the modern Brewers’ Street; the south gate of the city was in St Aldate’s Street, where it is joined by this lane, and the walls then continued along the north side of Christ Church meadow, and north-eastward to the east gale, which stood in High Street near the junction of Long Wall Street. Oxford had thus a strong position: the castle and the Thames protected it on the cast; the two rivers, the walls and the water-meadows between them on the south and east; and on the north the wall and a deep ditch, of which vestiges may be traced, as between Broad and Ship Streets.
An early rivalry between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge led to the circulation of many groundless legends respecting their foundation. For example, those which connected Oxford with “Brute the Trojan,” King Mempric (1009 B.C.), and the Druids, are not found before the History.14th century. The town is as a fact much older than the university. The historian, John Richard Green, epitomizes the relation between the two corporations when he shows that “Oxford had already seen five centuries of borough life before a student appeared within its streets. . . . The university found Oxford a busy, prosperous borough, and reduced it to a cluster of lodging-houses. It found it among the first of English municipalities, and it so utterly crushed its freedom that the recovery of some of the commonest rights of self-government has only been brought about by recent legislation.” A poor Romano-British village may have existed on the peninsula between Thames and Cherwell, but no Roman road of importance passed within 3 m. of it. In the 8th century an indication of the existence of Oxford is found in the legend of St Frideswide, a holy woman who is said to have died in 735, and to have founded a nunnery on the site of the present cathedral. Coins of King Alfred have been discovered (though not at Oxford) bearing the name Oksnaforda or Orsnaforda, which seems to prove the existence of a mint at Oxford. It is clear, at any rate, that Oxford was already important as a frontier town between Mercia and Wessex when the first unquestionable mention of it occurs, namely in the English Chronicle under the year 912, when Edward the Elder “took to himself” London and Oxford. The name points to a ford for oxen across the Thames, though some have connected the syllable “ox-” with a Celtic word meaning “water,” comparing it with Ouse, Osney and Exford. The first mention of the townsmen of Oxford is in the English Chronicle of 1013, and that of its trade in the Abingdon Chronicle, which mentions the toll paid from the nth century to the abbot of Abingdon by boats passing that town. Notices during that century prove the growing importance of Oxford. As the chief stronghold in the upper Thames valley it sustained various attacks by the Danes, being burned in 979, 1002 and 1010, while in 1013 Sweyn took hostages from it. It had also a considerable political importance, and several gemots were held here, as in 1015, when the two Danish thanes Sigfrith and Morkere were treacherously killed by the Mercian Edric; in 1020, when Canute chose Oxford as the scene of the confirmation of “Edgar’s law” by Danes and English; in 1036, when Harold I. was chosen king, and in 1065. But Oxford must have suffered heavily about the time of the Conquest, for according to the Domesday Survey (which for Oxford is unusually complete) a great proportion of the “mansions” (106 out of 297) and houses (478 out of 721) were ruined or unoccupied. The city, however, had already a market, and under the strong hand of the Norman sheriff Robert d’Oili (c. 1070–1119) it prospered steadily. He made heavy ex actions on the townsfolk, though it may be noted that they withheld from him Port Meadow, the great meadow of 440 acres which is still a feature of the low riverside tract north of Oxford. But d’Oili did much for Oxford, and the strong tower of the castle and possibly that of St Michael’s church are extant relics of his building activity. His nephew, another Robert, who held the castle after him, founded in 1129 the most notable building that Oxford has lost. This was the priory (shortly afterwards the abbey) of Osney, which was erected by the branch of the Thames next west of that by which the castle stands. In its finished state it had a splendid church, with two high towers and a great range of buildings, but only slight fragments may now be traced. About 1130 Henry I. built for himself Beaumont Palace, the site of which is indicated by Beaumont Street, and the same king gave Oxford its first known charter (not still extant), in which mention is made of a gild merchant. This charter is alluded to in another of Henry II., in which the citizens of Oxford and London are associated in the possession of similar customs and liberties. The most notable historical incident connected with the city in this period is the escape of the empress Matilda from the castle over the frozen river and through the snow to Abingdon, when besieged by Stephen in 1142.
It is about this time that an indication is first given of organized teaching in Oxford, for in 1133 one Robert Pullen is said to have instituted theological lectures here. No earlier facts are known concerning the origin of the university, though it may with probability be associated with schools connected with the ecclesiastical foundations of Osney and St Frideswide; and the tendency for Oxford to become a centre of learning may have been fostered by the frequent presence of the court at Beaumont. A chancellor, appointed by the bishop of Lincoln, is mentioned in 1214, and an early instance of the subordination of the town to the university is seen in the fact that the townsfolk were required to take oaths of peace before this official and the archdeacon. It may be mentioned here that the present practice of appointing a non-resident chancellor, with a resident vice chancellor, did not come into vogue till the end of the 15th century. In the 13th century a number of religious orders, which here as elsewhere exercised a profound influence on education, became established in Oxford. In 1221 came the Dominicans, whose later settlement (c. 1260) is attested by Blackfriars Street, Preacher's Bridge and Friars' Wharf. In 1224 the Franciscans settled near the present Paradise Square. In the middle of the century the Carmelites occupied part of the present site of Worcester College, but their place here was taken by the Benedictines when, about 1315, they were given Beaumont by Edward II., and removed there. The Austin Friars settled near the site of Wadham College; for the Cistercians Rewley Abbey, scanty remains of which may be traced near the present railway stations, was founded c. 1280. During the same century the political importance of Oxford was maintained. Several parliaments were held here, notably the Mad Parliament of 1258, which enforced the enactment of the Provisions of Oxford. Again, the later decades of the 13th century saw the initiation of the collegiate system. Merton, University and Balliol were the earliest foundations under this system. The paragraphs below, dealing with each college successively, give the dates and circumstances of foundation for all. As to the relations between the university and the city, in 1248 a charter of Henry III. afforded students considerable privileges at the expense of townsfolk, in the way of personal and financial protection. Moreover, the chancellor already possessed juridical powers; even over the townsfolk he shared jurisdiction with the mayor. Not unnaturally these peculiar conditions engendered rivalry between “town and gown”; rivalry led to violence, and after many lesser encounters a climax was reached in the riot on St Scholastica's and the following day, February 10th and nth, 1354/5. Its immediate cause was trivial, but the townsmen gave rein to their long-standing animosity, severely handled the scholars, killing many, and paying the penalty, for Edward III. gave the university a new charter enhancing its privileges. Others followed from Richard II. and Henry IV. A charter given by Henry VIII. in 1523 at the instigation of Wolsey conferred such power on the university that traders of any sort might be given its privileges, so that the city had no jurisdiction over them. In 1571 was passed the act of Elizabeth which incorporated and reorganized the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In 1635 a charter of Charles I. confirmed its privileges to the university of Oxford, of which William Laud had become chancellor in 1630. Vestiges of these exaggerated powers (as distinct from the more equable division of rights between the two corporations which now obtains) long survived. For example, it was only in 1825 that the ceremony of reparation enforced on the municipality after the St Scholastica riots was discontinued.
During the reign of Mary, in 1555, there took place, on a spot in Broad Street, the famous martyrdom of Ridley and Latimer. Cranmer followed them to the stake in 1556, and the three are commemorated by the ornate modern cross, an early work of Sir G. G. Scott (1841), in St Giles Street beside the church of St Mary Magdalen. A period such as this must have been in many ways harmful to the university, but it recovered prosperity under the care of Elizabeth and Wolsey. During the civil war, . however, Oxford, as a city, suddenly acquired a new prominence as the headquarters of the Royalist party and the meeting-place of Charles I.'s parliament. This importance is not incomparable with that which Oxford possessed in the Mercian period. However the frontier shifted, between the districts held by the king and by the parliament, Oxford was always close to it. It was hither that the king retired after Edgehill, the two battles of Newbury and Naseby; from here Prince Rupert made his dashing raids in 1643. In May 1644 the earl of Essex and Sir William Waller first approached the city from the east and south, but failed to enclose the king, who escaped to Worcester, returning after the engagement at Copredy Bridge. The final investment of the city, when Charles had lost every other stronghold of importance, and had himself escaped in disguise, was in May 1646, and on the 24th of June it surrendered to Fairfax. Throughout the war the secret sympathies of the citizens were Parliamentarian, but there was no conflict within the walls. The disturbances of the war and the divisions of parties, however, had bad effects on the university, being subversive of discipline and inimical to study; nor were these effects wholly removed during the Commonwealth, in spite of the care of Cromwell, who was himself chancellor in 1651-1657. The Restoration led to conflicts between students and citizens. Charles II. held the last Oxford parliament in 1681. James II.’s action in forcing his nominees into certain high offices at last brought the university into temporary opposition to the crown. Later, however, Oxford became strongly Jacobite. In the first year of George I.'s reign there were serious Jacobite riots, but from that time the city becomes Hanoverian in opposition to the university, the feeling coming to a head in 1755 during a county election, which was ultimately the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. But George III., visiting Oxford in 1785, was well received by both parties, and this visit may be taken as the termination of the purely political history of Oxford. Details of the history of the university may be gathered from the following description of the colleges, the names of which are arranged alphabetically.
All Souls College was founded in 1437 by Henry Chicheley (q.v.), archbishop of Canterbury, for a warden, 40 fellows, 2 chaplains, and clerks. The charter was issued in the name of Henry VI., and it has been held that Chicheley wished, by founding the college, to expiate his own support of the Colleges.disastrous wars in France during the reign of Henry V. and the ensuing regency. Fifty fellowships in all were provided for by the modern statutes, besides the honorary fellowships to which men of eminence are sometimes elected. Some of the fellowships are held in connexion with university offices; but the majority are awarded on examination, and are among the highest honours in the university offered by this method. The only undergraduate members of the college are four bible-clerks, so that the college occupies a peculiar position as a society of graduates. The college has its beautiful original front upon High Street; the first quadrangle, practically unaltered since the foundation, is one of the most characteristic in Oxford. The chapel has a splendid reredos occupying the whole eastern wall, with tiers of figures in niches. After the original figures had been destroyed during the Reformation the reredos was plastered over, but when the plaster was removed, Sir Gilbert Scott found enough remains to render it possible to restore the whole. The second quadrangle is divided from Radclifife Square by a stone screen and cloister. From the eastern range of buildings twin towers rise in graduated stages. On the north side is the library. The whole is in a style partly Gothic, partly classical, fantastic, but not without dignity. The architect was Sir Christopher Wren’s pupil, Nicholas Hawksmoor; the building was spread over the first half of the 18th century. The fine library originated in a bequest of Sir Christopher Codrington (d. 1710), and bears his name. One of the traditional customs surviving in Oxford is found at All Souls. Legend states that a mallard was discovered in a drain while the foundations were being dug. A song (probably Elizabethan) on this story is still sung at college gaudies, and later it is pretended to hunt the bird. With such a foundation as .All Souls, a great number of eminent names are naturally associated (see Montagu Burrows, Worthies of All Souls, 1874).
Balliol College is one of the earliest foundations. About 1263 John de Baliol (see Baliol, family) began, as part of a penance, to maintain certain scholars in Oxford. Dervorguila, his wife, developed his work after his death in 1269 by founding the college, whose statutes date from 1282, though not brought into final form (apart from modern revision) untU 1504. There are now twelve fellowships and fifteen scholarships on the old foundation. Two fellowships, to be held by members already holding fellowships of the college, were founded by James Hozier, second Lord Newlands, in 1906, in commemoration of Benjamin Jowett, master of the college. The buildings, which front upon Broad Street, Magdalen Street and St Giles Street, are for the most part modern, and mainly by Alfred Waterhouse, Anthony Salvin and William Butterfield. The college has a high reputation for scholarship. Its master and fellows possess the unique right of electing the visitor of the college. In 1887 Balliol College absorbed New Inn Hall, one of the few old halls which had survived till modern times. In the time of the civil wars a royal mint was established in it.
Brasenose College (commonly written and called B.N.C.) was founded by William Smith, bishop of Lincoln, and Sir Richard Sutton of Prestbury, Cheshire, in 1509. Its name, however, perpetuates the fact that it took the place of a much earlier community in the university. There were several small halls on its site, all dependent on other colleges or religious houses except one — Brasenose Hall. The origin of this hall is not known, but it existed in the middle of the 12th century. In 1334 certain students, wishing for peace from the faction-fights which were then characteristic of their life in Oxford, migrated to Stamford, where a doorway remains of the house then occupied by them as Brasenose Hall. From this an ancient knocker in the form of a nose, which may have belonged to the hall at Oxford, was brought to the college in 1890. It presumably gave name to the hall, though a derivation from brasinium (Latin for a brew-house) was formerly upheld. The original foundation of the college was for a principal and twelve fellows. This number is maintained, but supernumerary fellowships are added. Of a number of scholarships founded by various benefactors several are confined to certain schools, notably Manchester Grammar School. William Hulme (1691) established a foundation which provides for twelve scholars and a varying number of exhibitioners on entrance, and also for eight senior scholarships open under certain conditions to members of the college already in residence. The main front of the college faces Radcliffe Square; the whole of this and the first quadrangle, excepting the upper storey, is of the time of the foundation; and the gateway tower is a specially fine example. The hall and the chapel, with its fine fan-tracery roof, date from 1663 and 1666, and are attributed to Sir Christopher Wren. In both is seen a curious attempt to combine Gothic and Grecian styles. Modern buildings (by T. G. Jackson) have a frontage upon High Street. Robert Burton, author of The Anatomy of Melancholy, became an undergraduate of the college in 1593; Reginald Heber in 1800; Walter Pater became a fellow in 1864.
Christ Church, in point of the number of its members the largest collegiate foundation in Oxford, is also eminent owing to its unique constitution, the history of which involves that of the see of Oxford. Mention has been made of the priory of St Frideswide and its very early foundation, also of the later but more magnificent foundation of Osney Abbey. Both of these were involved in the sweeping changes initiated by Wolsey and carried on by Henry, VIII. Wolsey projected the foundation of a college on an even grander scale than that of the present house. In 1524–1525 he obtained authority from Pope Clement VTI. to suppress certain religious houses for the purpose of this new foundation. These included St Frideswide’s, which occupied part of the site which Wolsey intended to use. The new college, under the name of Cardinal College, was licensed by the king in 1525. Its erection began immediately. The monastic buildings were in great part removed. Statutes were issued and appointments were made to the new offices. But in 1529 Wolsey fell from power. Cardinal College was suppressed, and in 1532 Henry VIII. established in its place another college, on a reduced foundation, called King Henry VIII.’s College. Oxford had been, and was at this time, in the huge diocese of Lincoln. But in 1542, on the suppression of Osney Abbey, a new see was created, and the abbey church was made its cathedral. This arrangement obtained only until 1545, when both the new cathedral church and the new college which took the place of Wolsey 's foundation were surrendered to the king. In 1546 Henry established the composite foundation which now (subject to certain modern alterations) exists. He provided for a dean and eight canons and 100 students, to which number one was added in 1664. The church of St Frideswide's foundation became both the cathedral of the diocese and the college chapel. The establishment was thus at once diocesan and collegiate, and it remains so, though now the foundation consists of a dean, six canons, and the usual cathedral staff, a reduced number of students (corresponding to the fellows of other colleges) and scholars. Five of the canons are university professors. The disciplinary administration of the collegiate part of the foundation is under the immediate supervision of two students who hold the office of censors. Queen Elizabeth established the connexion with Westminster School by which not more than three scholars are elected thence each year to Christ Church. There is also a large number of valuable exhibitions. The great number of eminent men associated with Christ Church can only be indicated here by the statement that its books have borne the names of several members of the British and other royal families, including that of King Edward VII. as prince of Wales and of Frederick VIII. of Denmark as crown prince; also of ten prime ministers during the 19th century. The stately front of Christ Church is upon St Aldate’s Street. The great gateway is surmounted by a tower begun by Wolsey, but only completed in 1682 from designs of Sir Christopher Wren. Though somewhat incongruous in detail, it is of singular and beautiful form, being octagonal and surmounted by a cupola. It contains the great bell “Tom” (dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury), which, though recast in 1680, formerly belonged to Osney Abbey. A clock strikes the hours on it, and at five minutes past nine o'clock in the evening it is rung 101 times by hand, to indicate the hour of closing college gates, the number being that of the former body of students. The gate, the tower, and the first quadrangle are all commonly named after this bell. Tom Quadrangle is the largest in Oxford, and after various restorations approximates to Wolsey’s original design, though the cloisters which he intended were never built. On the south side lies the hall, entered by a staircase under a magnificent fan-tracery roof dating from 1640. The hall itself is one of the finest refectories in England; its roof is of ornate timber work (1529) and a splendid series of portraits of eminent alumni of the house adorn the walls, together with Holbein’s portraits of Henry VIII. and Wolsey. With the hall is connected the great kitchen, the first building undertaken by Wolsey. An entry through the eastern range of Tom Quadrangle forms the west portal of the Cathedral Church of Christ.
The cathedral, of which the nave and choir serve also as the college chapel, is the smallest English cathedral, but is of high architectural interest. The plan is cruciform, with a northward extension from the north choir aisle, comprising the Lady chapel and the Latin chapel. It has been seen that probably in the 8th century St Frideswide founded a religious house. In the east end of the north choir aisle and Lady chapel may be seen two blocked arches, rude, narrow and low. Excavations outside the wall in 1887 revealed the foundations of three apses corresponding with these two arches and another which has been traced between them, and in this wall, therefore, there is clearly a remnant of the small Saxon church, with its eastward triple-apsidal termination. In 1002 there took place the massacre of the Danes on St Brice’s day at the order of Æthelred II. Some Danes took refuge in the tower of St Frideswide’s church, which was fired to ensure their destruction. In 1004 the king undertook the rebuilding of the church. There is full reason to believe that he had assistance from his brother-in-law, Richard II., duke of Normandy, and that much of his work remains, notably in some of the remarkable capitals in the choir. About 1160, however, there was an extensive Norman restoration. The arcades of the choir and of the nave, which was shortened by Wolsey for the purpose of his collegiate building, have massive pillars and round arches. Within these arches, not, as usual, above them, a blind arcade forms the triforium, and below this a lower set of arches springs from the outer side of the main pillars. The Norman stone-vaulted aisles conform in height with these lower arches. Over all is a clerestory with passage. The east end is a striking Norman restoration by Sir Gilbert Scott, consisting of two windows and a rose window above them, with an intervening arcade. The choir has a Perpendicular fan-tracery roof in stone, one of the finest extant, and the early clerestory is here altered to conform with this style. The nave roof is woodwork of the 16th century, and there is a fine Jacobean pulpit. The lower part of the tower, with internal arcades in the lantern, is Norman; the upper stage is Early English, as is the low spire, possibly the earliest built in England. St Lucy’s chapel in the south transept aisle contains a rich flamboyant Decorated window. In the north choir aisle are the fragments which have been discovered and roughly reconstructed of St Frideswide’s shrine, of marble, with foliage beautifully carved, representing plants symbolical of the life of the saint. The Latin chapel is of various dates, but mainly of the 14th century. The north windows contain contemporary glass; the east window is a rich early work of Sir E. Burne-Jones, set in stonework of an inharmonious Venetian design. There are other beautiful windows by Burne-Jones at the east ends of the aisles and Lady chapel, and at the west end of the south nave aisle. The corresponding window of the north aisle is a curious work by the Dutch artist Abraham van Ling (1630). There are many fine ancient monuments, notaiily those of Bishop Robert King (d. 1557), and of Lady Elizabeth Montacute (d. 1355). The so-called watching-chamber for St Frideswide’s shrine is a rich structure in stone and wood dating from c. 1500. The peculiar arrangement of the collegiate seats in the cathedral, the nave and choir being occupied by modern carved pews or stalls running east and west, and the position of the organ on a screen at the west end, add to the distinctive interior appearance of the building. Small cloisters adjoin the cathedral on the south, and an ornate Norman doorway gives access from them to the chapter-house, a beautiful Early English room. Above the cloisters on the south rises the “old library,” originally the monastic refectory, which has suffered conversion into dwelling and lecture-rooms.
To the north-east of Tom Quadrangle is Peckwater Quadrangle, named from an ancient hall on the site, and built from the design of the versatile Dean Henry Aldrich (1705) with the exception of the Ubrary (1716–1761), which forms one side of it. The whole is classical in style. The library contains some fine pictures by Cimabue, Holbein, Van Dyck and others, and sculpture by Rysbrack, Roubillac, Chantrey and others. The small Canterbury Quadrangle, to the east, was built in 1773–1783, and marks the site of Canterbury College or Hall, founded by Archbishop Islip in 1363, and absorbed in Henry VIII.’s foundation. To the south of the hall and old library are the modern Meadow Buildings (1862–1865), overlooking the beautiful Christ Church Meadows, whose avenues lead to the Thames and Cherwell.
Corpus Christi College (commonly called Corpus) was founded in 1516 by Richard Fox, bishop of Winchester (1500–1528). He at first intended his foundation to be a seminary connected with St Swithin’s priory at Winchester, but Hugh Oldham, bishop of Exeter, foresaw the dissolution of the monasteries and advised against this. Fox had especially in view the object of classical education, and his foundation, besides a president, 20 fellows and 20 scholars, included 3 professors—in Greek, Latin and theology—whose lectures should be open to the whole university. This arrangement fell into desuetude, but was revived in 1854, when fellowships of the college were annexed to the professorial chairs of Latin and jurisprudence. The foundation now consists of a president, 16 fellows, 26 scholars and 3 exhibitioners. The college has its front upon Merton Street. The first quadrangle, with its gateway tower, is of the period of the foundation, and the gateway has a vaulted roof with beautiful tracery. In the centre of the quadrangle is a curious cylindrical dial in the form of a column surmounted by a pehcan (the college symbol), constructed in 1581 by Charles TurnbuU, a mathematician who entered the college in 1573. The hall has a rich late Perpendicular roof of timber; the chapel, dating from 1517, contains an altar-piece ascribed to Rubens, and the small library includes a valuable collection of rare printed books and MSS. The college retains its founder’s crozier, and a very fine collection of old plate, for the preservation of which it is probable that Corpus had to pay a considerable sum in aid of the royalist cause. Behind the main quadrangle are the classical Turner buildings, erected during the presidency of Thomas Turner (1706), from a design attributed to Dean Aldrich. The picturesque college garden is bounded by the line of the old city wall. There are modern buildings (1885) by T. G. Jackson on the opposite side of Merton Street from the main buildings. Among the famous names associated with the college may be mentioned those of four eminent theologians — Reginald Pole, afterwards cardinal (nominated fellow in 1523), John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury (fellow 1542–1553), Richard Hooker (scholar, 1573) and John Keble (scholar, 1806). Thomas Arnold, the famous headmaster of Rugby school, was a scholar of the college (1811).
Exeter College was founded, as Stapeldon Hall, by Walter Stapeldon, bishop of Exeter, in 13 14, but by the middle of the century it had become known as Exeter Hall. The foundation was extended by Sir William Petre in 1565. Stapeldon’s original foundation for 12 scholars provided that 8 of them should be from Devonshire and 4 from Cornwall. There are still 8 “Stapeldon” scholarships confined to persons born or educated within the diocese of Exeter. The foundation consists of a rector, 12 fellowships and 21 scholarships or more. There are also a number of scholarships and exhibitions on private foundations, several of which are limited in various ways, including 3 confined to persons born in the Channel Islands or educated in Victoria College, Jersey, or Elizabeth College, Guernsey. The college has its front, which is of great length, upon Turl Street. It has been extensively restored, and its gateway tower was rebuilt in 1703, while the earliest part of the quadrangle is Jacobean, the hall being an excellent example dating from 1618. The chapel (1857–1858) is an ornate structure by Sir Gilbert Scott; it is in Decorated style, of great height, with an eastern apse, and has some resemblance to the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. The interior contains mosaics by Antonio Salviati and tapestry by Sir E. Burne-Jones and William Morris. Scott’s work is also seen in the frontage towards Broad Street, and in the library (1856). The college has a beautiful secluded garden between its own buildings and those of the divinity school or Bodleian library.
Hertford College, in its present form, is a modern foundation. There were formerly several halls on the site, and some time between 1283 and 1300 Elias of Hertford acquired one of them, which became known as Hert or Hart Hall. In 1312 it was sold to Bishop Stapeldon, the founder of Exeter, and was occupied by his scholars for a short time. Again, some of William of Wykeham’s scholars were lodged here while New College was building. The dependence of the hall on Exeter College was maintained until the second half of the 16th century. In 1710 Richard Newton, formerly a Westminster student of Ciirist Church, became principal, and in 1740, in spite of opposition from Exeter, he obtained a charter establishing Hertford as a college. The foundation, however, did not prosper, and by an inquisition of i8i6 it was declared to have lapsed in 1805. With part of its property the university was able to endow the Hertford scholarship in 1834. Magdalen Hall, which had become independent of the college of that name in 1602, acquired the site and buildings of the dissolved Hertford College and occupied them, but was itself dissolved in 1874, when its principal and scholars were incorporated as forming the new Hertford College. An endowment was provided by Thomas Charles Baring, then M.P. for South Essex, for 15 fellows and 30 scholars, 7 lecturers and dean and bursar. The foundation now consists of a principal, 17 fellows and 40 scholars. Of the college buildings, which face those of the Bodleian library and border each side of New College Lane, no part is earlier than Newton's time. Modern buildings by T. G. Jackson (1903) incorporate remains of the little early Perpendicular chapel of Our Lady at Smith Gate (incorrectly called St Catherine's), which probably stood on the outer side of the town ditch. There is a striking modern chapel.
Jesus College has always had an intimate association with Wales. Queen Elizabeth figures as its foundress in its charter of 1571, but she was inspired by Hugh ap Rice (Price), a native of Brecon, who endowed the college. The original foundation was for a principal, 8 fellows and 8 scholars. It now consists of a principal and not less than 8 or more than 14 fellows, and there are 24 foundation scholarships, besides other scholarships and exhibitions, mainly on the foundation of Edmund Meyricke, a native of Merionethshire, who entered the college in 1656 and was a fellow in 1662. Not only his scholarships but others also are restricted (unless in default of suitable candidates) to persons born or educated in Wales, or of Welsh parentage. At Jesus, as at Exeter, there are also some “King Charles I. scholarships for persons born or educated in the Channel Islands. The college buildings face Turl Street; the front is an excellent reconstruction of 1856. The chapel dates from 1621, the hall from about the same time, and the library from 1677, being erected at the expense of the eminent principal (1661–1673) Sir Leoline Jenkins. He and his predecessor, Sir Eubule Thelwall (1621–1630), were prominent in raising the college from an early period of depression.
Keble College is modern; it received its charter in 1870. It was erected by subscription as a memorial to John Keble (q.v.). Its stated object was to provide an academical education combined with economical cost in living and a “training based upon the principles of the Church of England.” The college is governed by a warden (who has full charge of the internal administration) and a council. There is a staff of tutors, and a number of scholarships and exhibitions on private foundations. The buildings lie somewhat apart from other collegiate buildings towards the north of the city, facing the university parks, which extend from here down to the river Cherwell. They are from the designs of William Butterfield, and are principally in variegated brick. The chapel has an elaborate scheme of decoration in mosaic; and the library contains a great number of books collected by Keble, and Holman Hunt’s picture, “The Light of the World.”
Lincoln College was founded in 1427 by Richard Flemyng, bishop of Lincoln. It was an outcome of the reaction against the doctrines of Wycliffe, of which the founder of the college, once their earnest supporter, was now an equally earnest opponent. He died (1431) before his schemes were fully carried out, and the college was struggling for existence when Thomas Rotherham, while bishop of Lincoln and visitor of the college, reconstituted and re-endowed it in 1478. The foundation consists of a rector, 12 fellows and 14 scholars. The buildings face Turl Street. The hall dates from 1436, but its wainscoting within was added in 1701. The chapel, in the back quadrangle, is an interesting example of Perpendicular work of very late date (1630). The interior is wainscoted in cedar, and the windows are filled with Flemish glass introduced at the time of the building. There is a modern library building in a classic Jacobean style, completed in 1906; the collection of books was originated by Dean John Forest, who also built the hall. Among the eminent associates of this college was John Wesley, fellow 1726–1751.
Magdalen College (pronounced Maudlen; in full, St Mary Magdalen) was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, bishop of Winchester and lord chancellor of England. In 1448 he had obtained the patent authorizing the foundation of Magdalen Hall. In the college he provided for a president, 40 fellows, 30 demies, and, for the chapel, chaplains, clerks and choristers. To the college he attached a grammar-school with a master and usher. The foundation now consists of a president, from 30 to 40 fellowships, of which 5 are attached to the Waynflete professorships in the university, senior demies up to 8 and junior demies up to 35 in number. The choir, &c., are maintained, and the choral singing is celebrated. In order to found his college, Waynflete acquired the site and buildings of the hospital of St John the Baptist, a foundation or re foundation of Henry III. for a master and brethren, with sisters also, for “the relief of poor scholars and other miserable persons.” The Magdalen buildings, which are among the most beautiful in Oxford, have a long frontage on High Street, while one side rises close to or directly above a branch of the river Cherwell. The chief feature of the front is the bell-tower, a structure which for grace and beauty of proportion is hardly surpassed by any other of the Perpendicular period. It was begun in 1492, and completed in about thirteen years. From its summit a Latin hymn is sung at five o'clock on May-day morning annually. Various suggestions have been made as to the origin of this custom; it may have been connected with the inauguration of the tower, but nothing is certainly known. The college is entered by a modern gateway, giving access to a small quadrangle, at one corner of which is an open pulpit of stone. This was connected with the chapel of St John’s Hospital, which was incorporated in the front range of buildings. Adjoining this is the west front of the college chapel. This chapel was begun in 1474, but has been much altered, and the internal fittings are in the main excellent modern work (1833 seq.). At the north-west corner of the entrance quadrangle is a picturesque remnant of the later buildings of Magdalen Hall. To the west is the modern St Swithun’s quadrangle, the buildings of which were designed by G. F. Bodley and T. Gamer, and begun in 1880, and to the west again a Perpendicular building erected for Magdalen College school in 1840. To the east lies the main quadrangle, called the cloister quadrangle, from the cloisters which surround it. These have been in great part reconstructed, but in accordance with the plan of the time of the foundation. Above the west walk rises the beautiful “founder’s” tower, low and broad. On this side also is the valuable library. The south walk is bounded by the chapel and the hall, which He in line, adjoining each other. The hall is a beautiful room, improved in 1906 by the substitution of an open timber roof for one of plaster erected in the 18th century. The panelling dates mainly from 1541; there is a tradition that the part at the west end came from the dissolved Reading Abbey. A curious series of figures which surmount the buttresses on three sides of the cloisters date from 1508–1509. Some are apparently symbolical, others scriptural, others again heraldic. To the north of the cloister quadrangle (a garden with broad lawns intervening) stand the so-called New Buildings, a massive classical range (1733). To the north and west of these extends the Grove or deer park, where the first deer were established probably c. 1720; to the east, across a branch of the Cherwell, is the meadow surrounded by Magdalen Walks, part of which is called Addison’s Walk after Joseph Addison (demy and fellow). Perhaps the most notable period in the history of the college is that of 1687–1688, when the fellows resisted James II.’s attempt to force a president upon them, in place of their own choice, John Hough (1651–1743), successively bishop of Oxford, Lichfield, and Worcester. Cardinal Wolsey was a fellow of the college about the time when the bell-tower was building, but the attribution of the design to him, or even of any active part in the erection, is not borne out by evidence. Among alumni of the college were William Camden, Sir Thomas Bodley, John Hampden, at the time of whose matriculation (1610) Magdalen was strongly Puritan, Joseph Addison, Dr Sacheverell, and for a short period Gibbon the historian. Mention should be made of the eminent president, Martin Joseph Routh, who was elected to the office in 1791, and held it till his death in his 100th year in 1854. Magdalen College school had new buildings opened for it in 1894.
Merton College is of peculiar interest as regards its foundation, which is generally cited as the first on the present collegiate model. At some time before 1264 Walter de Merton, a native of Merton, Surrey, devoted estates in that county to the maintenance of scholars in Oxford. Thus far he followed an established practice. In 1264 he founded at Maiden a “house of scholars of Merton” for those who controlled the estates in the interest of the scholars, who should study preferably at Oxford, though any centre of learning was open to them. By 1268 the Oxford community had acquired the present site of the college; in 1270 new statutes laid down rules of living and study, and in 1274 the whole foundation was established under a final set of statutes at Oxford—i.e. the society ceased to be administered from the house in Surrey. The society was under a warden, and certain other officers were established, but no Limit was set on the number of scholars. The foundation now consists of a warden, from 19 to 26 fellows, and 20 or more postmaster ships. The postmasters of Merton correspond to the scholars of other colleges; they had their origin in the portionistae (i.e. foundationers who had a smaller portion or emolument than fellows), instituted in 1380 on the foundation of John Wyllyot (fellow 1334, chancellor 1349). The college is adjacent to Corpus, with its front upon Merton Street, and some of its buildings are of the highest interest, notably the chapel and library. The chapel consists of a choir and transepts with a tower at the crossing; but a nave, though intended, was never buUt. The choir is of the purest Decorated workmanship (dating probably from the last decade of the 13th century), with beautiful windows exhibiting most deUcate tracery. The transepts show the appearance of Perpendicular work, but there is also work of the earlier style in them; the massive tower is wholly of the later period (c. 1450)-The library, which lies on two sides of the so-called " mob " quadrangle, dates from 1377–1378, and was mainly the gift of William Rede, bishop of Chichester (1369–1386). It occupies two beautiful rooms and is of great interest from its early foundation and the preservation of its ancient character. The treasury is a smaU room coeval with the foundation, with a curious high pitched ashlar roof. The other buildings, which are of various dates, are mainly disposed about four quadrangles, including that of St Alban’s Hall, which, possibly dating from the early part of the 15th century, was incorporated with Merton College in 1882. The college hall retains an original door with fine ironwork, but the building is in great part modernized. A beautiful garden hes east of the buildings, being separated from the meadows to the south by part of the old city waU. Modern buildings (1907) have a frontage upon Merton Street; others (1864) overlook the meadows. Traditionally the names of Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus and Wycliffe have been associated with this college. Anthony Wood (1632–1695), the antiquary and historian of the university, was a postmaster of the college.
New College was founded by William of Wykeham in 1379. The founder’s name for it, which it still bears in its corporate title, is the College of St Mary of Winchester. But there was already a St Mary’s College (Oriel). Wykeham’s house thus soon became known as the New College, and the substantive is still retained in the ordinary speech of the university, whereas in mentioning the titles of other colleges it is generally omitted. Wykeham designed an exclusive connexion between his Oxford college and his school at Winchester. This connexion is maintained in a modified form. Wykeham’s foundation was for a warden, and 70 fellows and scholars, with chaplains and a choir. The present foundation consists of a warden, and not more than 36 fellows, while to the scholarships 6 elections are made annually from Winchester and 4 from elsewhere. The choir is maintained, as at Magdalen. Five of the fellowships were attached to university professorships, of which three (logic, ancient history and physics) are called Wykeham professorships. The buildings of New College remain in great measure as designed by the founder, and iUustrate the magnificence of his scheme. The main gateway tower fronts New College Lane. The chapel and hall stand in line (as at Magdalen), on the north side of the front quadrangle. The period of building was that of the development of the Perpendicular style. In shape the chapel was the prototype of a form common in Oxford, consisting of a choir, with transepts forming an ante chapel, but with no nave. The remarkable west window in monochrome was erected, c. 1783, from a design by Sir Joshua Reynolds. The reredos, with its tiers of figures in niches, had a history similar to that at AU Souls, being plastered over in 1567. In the same way, too, it was restored c. 1890; but previously James Wyatt had discovered traces of the original, and had unsuccessfully attempted the restoration of the niches in plaster, carrying out also, as elsewhere in Oxford, other extensive alterations of which the obliteration was demanded by later taste. Portions of the old woodwork were incorporated in the excellent new work of 1879 (Sir Gilbert Scott). In the chapel is preserved the beautiful pastoral staff of the founder, and there is a fine series of memorial brasses, mainly of the 15th century, in the ante chapel. To the west of the chapel are the cloisters, consecrated in 1400, and the detached tower, a tall massive building on the line of the city wall. As already mentioned, a fine remnant of this wall adds to the picturesqueness of the college garden. The hall was completed in 1368, and has a Tudor screen and wainscoting. The garden quadrangle, the east side of which is open to the gardens, dates from 1682–1708. On the north side of the college precincts, facing Holywell Street, are extensive modern buildings by Sir G. G. Scott and B. Champneys. In 1642, when Oxford was playing its prominent part in the Civil War, the tower and cloisters of New College became a royalist magazine.
Oriel College was founded by Edward II. in 1326. The originator of the scheme and the prime mover in it was Adam de Brome, the king’s almoner, who in 1324 had obtained royal licence to found a college; but in 1326 he surrendered his rights to the king, who issued charter and statutes, and created Brome the first provost. This foundation was for a provost and 10 fellows, but a number of bequests extending over nearly a century from 1445 enabled additional fellowships to be established. The foundation, however, now consists of the provost, 12 fellows and 2 professorial fellows, with at least 12 scholars and a number of exhibitioners. St Mary Hall, which had been the manse of St Mary’s church, was given with the church to the college by the founder, and was opened as a hall with a principal of its own. It was, however, incorporated with the college in 1902. Oriel College was dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, and the name by which it is now known appears first in 1349. It was derived from a tenement called La Oriole (but the origin of this name is unknown), which had occupied part of the college site, had belonged to Eleanor of Provence, wife of Edward I., and had been given by her to her chaplain, James of Spain (Jacobus de Ispania). The buildings of Oriel, which face Oriel Street, are not coeval with the foundation. The first quadrangle, with its elaborate battlements, dates from 1620–1637. The inner quadrangle has buildings of 1719, 1729 and later dates. The modern extension on Cecil Rhodes’s foundation faces High Street. Early in the 19th century a number of eminent men associated with Oriel gave the college its well known connexion with the “Oxford Movement.” Edward Copleston, elected fellow in 1795, became provost in 1814. In 1811 John Keble and Richard Whately were elected fellows, the one from Corpus; the other had been at Oriel. Again in 1815 Thomas Arnold, afterwards headmaster of Rugby, was elected from Corpus, with Renn Dickson Hampden of Oriel. Later fellows were John Henry Newman (1822) and Edward Pusey (1823). James Anthony Froude entered the college in 183s; Matthew Arnold became a fellow in 1845. Cecil John Rhodes matriculated in 1873, and, besides his foundation of Rhodes scholarships, made a large bequest to the college.
Pembroke College was founded in 1624. Thomas Tesdale (1547–1609) of Glympton, Oxfordshire, left money for the support of scholars in Oxford, indicating Balliol College as his preference, but not insisting on this. Richard Wightwick (d. 1630), rector of East Ilsley, Berkshire, added to Tesdale’s bequest, and though Balliol College desired to benefit by it, James I. preferred to figure as the founder of a new college with these moneys. Pembroke, which was named after William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, then chancellor of the university, was thus developed out of Broadgates Hall, which had long been eminent as the residence of students in law. The original college foundation was for a master, 10 fellows and 10 scholars, but a number of scholarships and exhibitions has been added by benefactors. Of the scholarships some are awarded by preference to candidates possessing certain qualifications, notably that of education at Abingdon school, which Tesdale intended to benefit by his bequest. The buildings of Pembroke lie south and west of St Aldate’s Church, opposite Christ Church; they surround two picturesque quadrangles, but are in great part modern. The college preserves some relics of Samuel Johnson, who entered it in 1728.
Queen’s College was founded in 1340–1341 by Robert de Eglesfield, chaplain of Philippa, queen-consort of Edward III., and was named in her honour. Her son, Edward the Black Prince, was entered on the books of the college, and Henry V. received education here. Several queens were among the benefactors of the college—Henrietta Maria, Caroline, Charlotte. The queen-consort is always the patroness of the college. The foundation consists of a provost, from 14 to 16 fellows, and about 25 scholars. There was formerly an intimate connexion between this college and the north of England. Five scholarships, called Eglesfield scholarships, are now given by preference to natives of Cumberland or Westmorland, and the Hastings exhibitions founded by Lady Elizabeth Hastings (1682–1739) are open only to candidates from various schools in these counties and in Yorkshire. This connexion dates from the foundation. Eglesfield (d. 1349) was probably a native of Eaglesfield in Cumberland, and provided that the 12 fellows or scholars of his foundation were preferably to be natives of this county or Westmorland. During the time of Wycliffe, who while rector of Lutterworth resided for two years in the college, the foundation was by a ruhng of the visitor (the archbishop of York) actually confined to the two counties mentioned, and so remained until 1854. The buildings date mainly from the close of the 17th century and the beginning of the i8th. They front High Street with a massive classical screen, flanked by the ends of the east and west ranges of buildings of the front quadrangle, and surmounted in the centre by a statue of Queen CaroUne under a cupola. The buildings are the work of Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. The library contains a valuable collection, especially of historical works, and is fitted with wood-carving by Grinling Gibbons. There is also here an interesting contemporary statue in wood of Queen Philippa. The chapel retains several medieval windows from the former Gothic chapel, and some stained glass painted by Abraham van Ling (1635). The college preserves two early customs — on Christmas day a dinner is held at which a boar’s head is carried in state into the hall, and an appropriate ancient carol is sung; and on New Year’s day a threaded needle, with the motto “Take this and be thrifty,” is presented to members in the college hall. The origin of this custom is traced to a rebus on the founder’s name—aiguille et fil (needle and thread).
St John’s College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas White, Kt., alderman of London (1492–1567). It occupied the site of a house for Cistercian students in the university, founded by Archbishop Chichcley in 1437 and dedicated to St Bernard of Clairvaux. White’s foundation was originally for a president, 50 fellows and scholars, and a chaplain, choir, &c., for the chapel. White established the intimate connexion which still exists between his college and the Merchant Taylors' school in London, in the foundation of which, as a prominent officer in the Merchant Taylors' Company, he had a share. The college foundation now consists of a president, from 14 to 18 fellowships, not less than 28 scholarships, of which 15 are appropriated to Merchant Taylors' school, and 4 senior scholarships, similarly appropriated. The buildings incorporate some of Chicheley’s work, as in the front upon St Giles’s Street, with its fine gateway. Similarly, in the front quadrangle, the hall and chapel belonged to the house of St Bernard, though subsequently much altered. A passage with a rich fan-traceries roof gives access from the front to the back quadrangle, on the south and east sides of which is the library. The south wing dates from 1596, the east from 1631. The latter is of the greater interest; it was built at the charge of William Laud, and the designs have been commonly attributed to Inigo Jones. The north and west sides of the quadrangle, of the same period, have cloisters. The union of the classical style, which predominates here, with the characteristic late Perpendicular of the period, makes this quadrangle architecturally one of the most interesting in Oxford, as the college gardens, which its east front overlooks, are among the most picturesque. The most notable period of the history of the college is associated with Laud, who entered the college in 1589, was elected a fellow in 1593, became president in 1611 and chancellor of the university in 1629. Relics of him are preserved in the library, and he is buried in the chapel, together with White, the founder, and Wilham Juxon, president 1621–1633, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury.
Trinity College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, Kt. (d. 1559), of Tittenhanger, Hertfordshire. He acquired and used for his college the ground and buildings of Durham College, the Oxford house of Durham Abbey, originally founded in the 13th century (see Durham, city). Trinity is therefore one of the instances of collegiate foundation forming a sequel to the dissolution of the monasteries, for Durham had been surrendered in 1540. Pope’s foundation provided for a president, 12 fellows and 12 scholars. There are now 16 scholarships and a number of exhibitions. There are also some scholarships in natural science, on the foundation (1873) of Thomas Millard, whose bequest also provides for a lecturer and laboratory. The front quadrangle of Trinity lies open to Broad Street; on its east side are modern buildings (by T. G. Jackson, 1887), on the north, the president’s house and the chapel in a classic style, dating from 1694. It contains a rich alabaster tomb of Pope, the founder, and his third wife, and has a fine carved screen and altar-piece by Grinling Gibbons. The remainder of the buildings, forming two small quadrangles north of the chapel, includes parts of the old Durham college, but these have been much altered. Gardens extend to the east. John Henry Newman was a commoner of this college; Edward Augustus Freeman, the historian, and WiOiam Stubbs, bishop of Oxford, were among its fellows.
University College (commonly abbreviated Univ.) has claimed to find its origin in a period far earlier than that to which the earliest historical notice of the university itself can be assigned. In a petition to Richard II., respecting a dispute as to property the members of the “mickel universitie hall in Oxford” quote King Alfred as the founder of the house, for 26 divines. The date of 872 was claimed, and in 1872 a millenary celebration was held by the college. Moreover, in 1727 a dispute as to the mastership of the college led to an appeal to the Court of King's Bench to determine the right of visitation, and it was found that this right rested with the crown (as it now does) on the ground of the foundation by Alfred. Leaving tradition, however, it is found that William of Durham, archdeacon of Durham, dying in 1249, bequeathed money to the university to supf)ort masters at Oxford. In 1253 the university acquired its first tenement on this bequest; further acquisitions followed; and in 1280 an inquiry was held as to the disposition of the bequest, and statutes were issued to the society on Durham’s foundation, the university finding it necessary to make provision for its individual governance. This intimate connexion between the university and the early development of a college has no parallel, and to it the college owes its name. The college, as it may now be called, developed slowly, further statutes being found necessary in 1292 and 1311; unlike other foundations which were established, with a definite code of statutes from the outset, by individual founders. It is possible, however, to maintain that the founders of Merton and Balliol were influenced in their work by that of William of Durham. The foundation consists of a master, 13 fellows and 16 scholars, and there are a large number of exhibitions. The buildings have a long frontage upon High Street. The oldest part of the buildings was begun in 1634. The chapel, built not long after, was altered in Decorated style by Sir Gilbert Scott, but contains fine woodwork of 1694, and windows by Abraham van Ling (1641). The old library dates from 1668–1670, but a new library was built by Scott, in Decorated style, and contains great statues of Lord Eldon and Lord Stowell, members of the college, the design of which was by Sir Francis Chantrey. The hall dates from 1657, but has been greatly altered. The extension of the college has necessitated that of its buildings in modern times. A chamber built for the purpose contains a statue, by Onslow Ford, of Percy Bysshe Shelley, presenting him lying drowned. The poet entered the college in 1810.
Wadham College was founded in 1612 by Nicholas Wadham (d. 1609) of Merifield, near Ilminster, Somersetshire, and Dorothy his wife, who as his executrix carried out his plans. The original foundation consisted of a warden, 15 fellows, 15 scholars, with 2 chaplains and 2 clerks. It now consists of a warden, 8 to 10 fellows and 18 scholars. The college, which has its frontage upon Parks Road, occupies the site of the house of the Austin Friars. No part of their buildings is retained. The erection of the college occupied the years 1610–1613, and while the buildings are in the main an excellent example of their period, the chapel (as distinct from the ante chapel) is of peculiar interest. This appears and was long held to be pure Perpendicular work of the 15th century, but the record of its building in 1611 is preserved, and as the majority of the builders seem to have been natives of Somersetshire it is supposed that in the chapel they closely imitated the style which is so finely developed in that county. The buildings of Wadham have remained practically unchanged since the foundation, either by alteration of the existing fabric or by addition. Beautiful gardens lie to the east and north of them; the warden’s garden is especially fine. In the quadrangle is a clock designed by Christopher Wren, who entered the college in 1649. It was in this year that John Wilkins, warden (1648–1659), initiated a weekly philosophical club, out of the meetings of which grew the Royal Society, which received its charter in 1662.
Worcester College was founded in its present form in 1714, out of a bequest by Sir Thomas Cookes, Bart. (d. 1701) of Bentley Pauncefoot, Worcestershire. On part of the site, in 1283, Gloucester Hall had been founded for Benedictine novices from Gloucester. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the buildings were used by Robert King, first bishop of Oxford, as a palace (1542); later it was acquired by Sir Thomas White, founder of St John’s College, and again became a hall. This fell into difficulties, and was in great poverty when the present foundation superseded it. Cookes’s foundation provided for a provost, 6 fellows and 6 scholars; there are now from 6 to 10 fellows, and from 10 to 18 scholars. Four of the scholarships are appropriated to Bromsgrove school, of which Cookes was a benefactor. The frontage of the buildings, in Worcester Street, is in a classical style, but the quadrangle retains some of the old buildings of Gloucester Hall. The gardens, with their lake, are fine.
The academical halls, which were of very early origin, were originally in the nature of lodging-houses, in which students lived under a principal chosen by themselves. But they were gradually absorbed by the colleges as these became firmly established. The only remaining Halls, &c.academical hall is that of St Edmund, which is said to have been founded in 1226, and to derive its name from Edmund Rich, archbishop of Canterbury, who is known to have taught at Oxford, and was canonized in 1248. The hall came into the possession of Queen’s College in 1557, and the principal is nominated by that society. The buildings, which form a small quadrangle east of Queen’s College, date mainly from the middle of the 18th century. There are three private halls in Oxford, established under a university statute of 1882, which provides for such establishment by any member of convocation under certain conditions and under licence from the vice-chancellor. Non-collegiate students, i.e. members of the university, possessing all its privileges without being members of any college, were first admitted in 1868. As a body they are under the care of a delegacy and the supervision of a censor. Women are admitted to lectures and university examinations but not to its degrees; they have four colleges or halls—Somerville College (1870), Lady Margaret Hall (1879), St Hugh’s Hall (1886) and St Hilda’s Hall (1893). Among foundations independent of university jurisdiction and intended primarily for the teaching of theology are the Pusey House (1884, founded in memory of Edward Bouverie Pusey), St Stephen’s House (1876) and Wycliffe Hall (1878), both theological colleges; Mansfield College (Congregational, founded to take the place of Spring Hill College, Birmingham, in 1889) and Manchester College (1893), also a nonconformist institution. The buildings of Mansfield, especially the chapel, should be noticed as of very good design in Decorated and Perpendicular styles. None of these houses is a residence for undergraduates. There is a theological college at Cuddesdon, near Oxford, where also is the bishop of Oxford’s palace.
A notable group of buildings connected with the university stands
between Broad Street and High Street, and between Exeter and
Brasenose and All Souls colleges. Among these the principal
are the old schools buildings, which form a fine
quadrangle, and are now mainly occupied by the Bodleian
University buildings and in-
stitutions.Library, more extensive accommodation for the schools (examinations, &c.) being provided in the modern range of buildings facing High Street and King Street, completed in 1882 from the designs of T. G. Jackson. The erection of the old schools quadrangle was begun in 1613, and the architecture combines late Gothic with classical details. On the inner face of the gateway towers are seen the five Roman orders, in tiers, one above another. The windows, parapet and rich pinnacles, however, are Gothic. The quadrangle was founded by Sir Thomas Bodley, who conceived the addition of schools to the celebrated library which bears his name. The main chamber of the Bodleian Library is entered from the quadrangle. The library (see Libraries) was opened in 1602. The central part of the room dates from 1480, when it was completed to contain the library given to the university by Humphrey, duke of Gloucester (d. 1447). This library was destroyed in the time of Edward VI. Bodley added the east wing, the west wing followed in 1634–1640, being built to house the collection of John Selden, one of the principal of many benefactors of the library. The whole forms a most beautiful room, enhanced by the finely painted ceiling and the excellent design of the fittings. In the storey above the library is the picture-gallery, containing portraits of chancellors, founders and benefactors of the university. The basement of the central part of the library is formed by the Divinity School, a splendid chamber (1480), in which the most notable feature is the groined roof, divided into compartments by widely splayed arches, and adorned with rich tracery and carved pendants. The Convocation House, below the west wing of the library, and entered from the west end of the school, has a roof with fan tracery. To the north of these buildings, flanking Broad Street, are the Sheldonian Theatre, the old building of the Clarendon Press and the Old Ashmolean building. “The Sheldonian” was built in 1664–1669 at the charge of Gilbert Sheldon (1598–1677), chancellor of the university and archbishop of Canterbury, from the design of Sir Christopher Wren. The principal public ceremonies of the university, including the “Encaenia,” the annual commemoration of benefactors, accompanied by the conferring of honorary degrees and the recitation of prize compositions, are generally held in this building, which is particularly well adapted for its purpose. The university printing press was early established in its upper part. This institution bears the name of the Clarendon Press from the fact that it was founded partly from the proceeds of the sale of the earl of Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion, the copyright of which was given to the university by his son Henry, the second earl. In 1713 it occupied the building creeled for it close to the theatre; in 1830 it was moved to the larger buildings it now occupies in Walton Street. Printing in Oxford dates from the seventh or eighth decade of the 15th century, but was only carried on spasmodically until 1585, when the first university printer was Joseph Barnes. All the subsidiary processes of type founding, stereotyping, &c., are carried on in the buildings of the press, and paper is supplied from the university mill at Wolvercote. The press is to a large extent a commercial firm, in which the university has a preponderating influence, governing it through a delegacy. The Broad Street building is used for other purposes of the university, as is the adjacent Old Ashmolean building, which originally (1683) contained the Ashmolean Museum, described hereafter, and now affords rooms for the School of Geography (1899). To the south of the old schools, between Brasenose and All Souls colleges, is the fine classical rotunda known as the Radcliffe Library or camera, founded in 1737 by the eminent physician John Radcliffe (1650–1714). The architect was James Gibbs. In 1861 the building was devoted to the purpose it now serves, that of a reading room to the Bodleian Library, the collection of medieval and scientific works it contained being removed to the University Museum. The exterior gallery round the dome is celebrated as a view-point.
To the south of the Radcliffe Library, bordering High Street, is the church of St Mary the Virgin, commonly called the University church, on a site which is traditionally said to have been occupied by a church even from King Alfred’s time. Its principal feature is a fine Decorated tower and spire, dating from the early part of the 13th century. The body of the church, however, is mainly an excellent example of Perpendicular work. The main entrance from High Street is beneath- a classical porch erected in 1637 by Morgan Owen, a chaplain of Archbishop Laud; the statue of the Virgin and Child above it was alluded to in the impeachment of the archbishop. On the north side of the chancel is a building of earlier date than the present church; it is Decorated, of two storeys, and has served various purposes connected with the university, including that of housing a library before the foundation by Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. The university sermons are preached in St Mary’s church.
A massive pile of classical buildings (1845) at the corner of Beaumont and St Giles’s Streets is devoted to the Taylor Institution, the LIniversity Galleries and the Ashmolean Museum. Sir Robert Taylor, architect (1714–1788), left a bequest to establish the teaching of modern European languages in Oxford, and to provide a building for the purpose, and the eastern wing is devoted to this purpose, containing a library. In the University Galleries the most notable features are the celebrated Arundel marbles, a large series of drawings for pictures by Raphael and Michelangelo, and models for busts and statues by Sir Francis Chantrey. The new building for the Ashmolean Museum was added in 1893; and in connexion both with the building and with subsequent additions to the collections the benefactions of Charles Drury Edward Fortnum (1820–1899) should be remembered. The nucleus of this collection was formed by John Tradescant, a traveller and botanist (1608–1662), who left it to Elias Ashmole (q.v.), who added books, paintings and other objects, and presented the whole to the university in 1679. When the museum was moved from the Old Ashmolean building, the collection was in great part distributed; thus, books were sent to the Bodleian Library, and natural history objects to the University Museum. The Ashmolean Museum now contains excellent collections of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and British antiquities, and many other objects, among which perhaps the most widely famous is the Alfred Jewel, an ornament of crystal, enamel and gold, bearing King Alfred’s name, and found at Athelney. The University Museum is an extensive building close to the parks, opposite Keble College. Its foundation was the outcome of the necessity of keeping pace in the university with the extended range of modern scientific study. It was built in 1856 seq., and contains the following departments:- medicine and public health, comparative anatomy, physiology, human anatomy, zoology, experimental philosophy, physics, chemistry, geology, mineralogy and pathology. There is also here the Pitt-Rivers ethnographical museum, which had its origin in the collection of Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers, presented to the university in 1883. Additional buildings contain the Radcliffe Library and various laboratories. The university observatory is in the parks, not far from the museum, but an older observatory is that called the RadcUffe (1772–1795), built by the trustees of the Radcliffe bequest, as was the RadclifTe Infirmary (1770) standing near the observatory, in Woodstock Road. Opposite Magdalen College, by the banks of the Cherwell, is the beautiful botanic garden founded by Henry Danvers, earl of Danby, in 1622, with which are connected a library, her barium and museum. The Indian Institute (1882), in Broad Street, was founded as a centre for the study of Indian subjects, and for the use of native students in the university and prospective Indian civil servants. The Oxford Union Society, the principal university club, founded in 1825, has its rooms, with library and debating hall, near Cornmarket Street.
Ancient buildings in Oxford, apart from collegiate and university buildings, are mainly ecclesiastical, but there are a few notable exceptions. The castle, which, as already indicated, was erected by Robert d’Oili at the west of the ancient city, retains its massive tower, standing picturesquely by the City buildings.river, and a mound within which is a curious chamber containing a well. There is also a Norman crypt-chapel, but the county court and gaol buildings adjacent are modern. Among old houses, of which not a few survive in Holywell Street and elsewhere. Bishop King’s palace in St Aldate’s Street may be mentioned; it has been in great part defaced by modern alterations, while the remaining front is a beautiful half-timbered and gabled example dated 1628; but ornate ceilings preserved in some of the rooms date from the erection in the time of Edward VI. Kettell Hall in Broad Street is another fine house, now used as a private residence, but formerly put to collegiate use, having been built by Ralph Kettell, president of Trinity (1599–1643). Among ancient churches in Oxford, after the cathedral and St Mary’s, the chief in interest is St Peter’s-in-the-East, which has a fine Norman chancel, crypt and south doorway, with additions of Early English and later date. St Michael’s church, the body of which as now existing is of little interest, has a very early tower (nth century) of massive construction, which probably served as a defence for the north gate of the city. St Giles s church has Norman remains, but is chiefly notable for the excellent character of its Early English portions and for a beautiful font of that period. Holywell church retains a fine Norman chancel arch; and the churches of St Mary Magdalen, St Aldate’s, St Ebbe’s and St Thomas the Martyr are all of some antiquarian interest in spite of extensive modern alteration. Only the 14th century tower remains of St Martin’s church at Carfax, the body of the church, which was a complete reconstruction of 1820, being removed at the close of the century, in the course of street-widening. Some of the modern churches are on sites of early dedication. The church of AU Saints in High Street was rebuilt in 1706-1708 from the design of Dean Aldrich, and is a good classical example. Beneath several buildings in this part of the city the crypts of earlier halls or other buildings remain. In the suburb of Cowley are remains, including the chapel, of the hospital of St Bartholomew, originally a foundation for lepers (1126). The village church at Iffley, not far beyond the eastern outskirts of the city, with its ornate west end, tower and chancel, is one of the most notable small Norman churches in England. Of modern city buildings, the only one of special note is the town hall (1893-1897), which has a striking frontage upon St Aldate’s Street.
“The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of
Oxford” form a corporate body, within which the colleges are so
many individual corporations. The university was
governed by statutes of its own making, which were
codified and brought out of the confusion into which
University constitution and adminis-
tration.they had fallen in the course of centuries in 1636, during Laud’s chancellorship. A commission was appointed to inquire fully into the condition of the university in 1850; it reported in 1852, and in 1854 the constitution was amended by the Oxford University Act. In 1876 another commission was appointed, and in 1877 the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act was passed. This act provided for the appointment of commissioners who (1882) made statutes for each college, excepting Hertford, Keble and Lincoln, the first and second of which are modern foundations, while the third is governed under statutes of 1855. The highest officer of the university is the chancellor, who is elected by the members of convocation, holds office for life, and is generally a distinguished member of the university. He does not take an active part in the details of administration, delegating this to the vice-chancellor, who is, therefore, practically the head. He is nominated annually by the chancellor, and must be the head of a college. He appoints four pro-vice-chancellors, also heads of colleges, to exercise his authority in case of necessity. The high steward is appointed for life, with the duty of trying grave criminal cases when the accused is a resident member of the university. Two proctors are appointed annually by two of the colleges in rotation; their special duty is a disciplinary surveillance over members of the university in statu pupillari when these are not within the jurisdiction of their colleges. They are assisted by four pro-proctors. The principal duty of the public orator is that of presenting those who are to receive an honorary master’s degree, and of making speeches in the name of the university on ceremonial occasions. The registrar acts as the recorder of the various administrative bodies of the university, and the secretary to the Board of Faculties has similar duties with regard to these boards, his work being closely associated with that of the registrar. The chancellor’s court exercises civil jurisdiction in cases in which one of the parties is a resident member of the university. The university returns two members (burgesses) to parliament, the privilege dating from 1604.
The Hebdomadal Council consists of the chancellor, vice chancellor, immediate ex-vice-chancellor and proctors as official members, and of eighteen other members (heads of houses, professors, &c.) elected for terms of six years by the congregation of the university. The council takes the initiative in promulgating, discussing and submitting to Convocation all the legislation of the university. The Ancient House of Congregation consists of “regents,” i.e. doctors and masters of arts for two years after the term in which they take their degrees, professors, heads of colleges and other resident officers, &c. The house thus includes all those who are concerned with education and discipline in the university, but it now has practically no functions beyond the granting of degrees. It lost its wider powers under the act of 1854, when the Congregation of the university was created. This body, which includes besides certain officials all members of Convocation who have resided for a fixed period within one mile and a half of Carfax, approves or amends legislation submitted by the Hebdomadal Council previously to its submission to Convocation; it also has considerable powers in the election of the various administrative boards. The House of Convocation consists of all masters of arts and doctors of the higher faculties who have their names on the university books, and has the final control over all acts and business of the university. There are boards of curators for the Bodleian Library, the university chest and other institutions, delegates of the common university fund, the museum and the press, for extension teaching, local examinations and other similar purposes, visitors for the Ashmolean Museum and university galleries, and many other administrative bodies. There are boards for the following faculties: theology, law, medicine, natural science and arts (including literae humaniores, oriental languages and modern history). Among the numerous professorships and readerships in the various subjects of study, the oldest foundation is the Margaret professorship of divinity, founded in 1502 by Margaret, countess of Richmond and mother of Henry VII. This was followed by the five Regius professorships of divinity, civil law, medicine, Hebrew and Greek, founded by Henry VIII. in 1546.
The colleges, as already seen, consist of a head, whose title varies in different colleges, fellows (who form the governing body) and scholars. To these are to be added the commoners, who are not “on the foundation,” i.e. those who either receive no emoluments, or hold exhibitions which do not (generally) entitle them to rank with the scholars. The college officer who is immediately concerned with the disciplinary surveillance of members of the college in statu pupillari is the dean (except at Christ Church). Each undergraduate (this term covering all who have not yet proceeded to a degree) is, as regards his studies, under the immediate supervision of one of the fellows as tutor. The university terms are four — Michaelmas (which begins the academic year, and is therefore the term in which the majority of undergraduates begin residence), Hilary or Lent, Easter and Trinity. The last two run consecutively without interval, and for certain purposes count as one; they are kept by three weeks' residence in each, while the two first are kept by six weeks residence in each, though the terms properly speaking are longer. The examinations required to be passed in order to obtain the first or bachelor's degree may be summarized thus:—(a) Responsions, usually taken very early in the course of study. Exemption is in many cases granted when a candidate has passed a certificate examination held by university examiners at the school where he has been educated, (b) First public examination or School of Moderations, usually taken after four or six terms, (c) Second public examination or final school (this in the case of literae humaniores is commonly called “Greats”) usually takes place at the end of the fourth year of residence. “Pass” schools and “honour” schools are distinguished; in the latter candidates are grouped in classes according to merit. No further examination or other exercise is required for the degree of master of arts. Among the numerous scholarships and prizes offered by the university (as distinct from the colleges) a few of the most noted may be mentioned — the Craven and the Ireland classical scholarships on the foundation respectively of John, Lord Craven (d. 1648), who also founded the travelling fellowships which bear his name for the study of antiquities, and of John Ireland, dean of Westminster (1825); the scholarship commemorating Edward, earl of Derby (chancellor 1852–1869); the law scholarship commemorating John, first earl of Eldon; the chancellor's prizes in Latin verse and English prose (initiated by the earl of Lichfield, chancellor 1762–1772) and in Latin prose (by Lord Grenville, 1809); the Newdigate prize for English verse, founded by Sir Roger Newdigate (1806); the Gaisford prizes in Greek verse and prose (1856), commemorating Thomas Gaisford, dean of Christ Church; the Arnold historical essay (1850), commemorating Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby school; and the theological foundations of Edward Bouverie Pusey and Edward Ellerton, fellow of Magdalen. Lfniversity scholarships, such as those mentioned, are awarded to persons who are already members of the university (who must in some cases already have taken a degree); they thus differ from college scholarships, which are generally open to persons who have not yet matriculated. The Rhodes scholarships (see Rhodes, Cecil) stand alone. They are an adaptation of the college scholarship to a special purpose, but are not in the award of any one college. Arrangements exist whereby members of the universities of Cambridge or Dublin may be “incorporated” as members of Oxford Lfniversity; and whereby the period of necessary academical residence at Oxford University is reduced in the case of students from “affiliated” colleges within the United Kingdom. Special provisions are also made in the case of students from any foreign university and from certain colonial and Indian universities. The number of persons who matriculate at Oxford University is about 850 annually.
The principal social functions in the university take place in “Eights' Week.” when, during the summer term (Easter and Trinity), the college eight-oared bumping races are held, and also, more especially, in “Commemoration Week,” at the close of the same term, when the university ceremonies [connected with the commemoration of benefactors, the conferring of degrees honoris causa, &c., are held, and balls are given in some of the colleges.
The city of Oxford (as distinct from the university) returns one member to parliament, having lost its second member under the Redistribution Act of 1885, before which date it had been entirely disfranchised for a year owing to bribery at the election of 1881. The municipal government is in the hands of a mayor, is aldermen (including 3 from the university) and 45 councillors (9 from the university). Area, 4676 acres.
Authorities.—See the Oxford University Calendar (annually) and the Oxford Historical Register, Oxford. The Oxford Historical Society has issued various works dealing with the history. In the “College History” series, London, the story of each college forms a volume by a member of the foundation. The principal earlier authority is Anthony à Wood (q.v.). See also James Ingram (president of Trinity, 1824–1850), Memorials of Oxford (Oxford, 1837); A. Lang, Oxford (London, 1885); H. C. Maxwell Lyte, History of the University of Oxford to 1530 (London, 1886); Hon. G. C. Brodrick, History of the University of Oxford in “Epochs of Church History” series (London, 1886); C. W. Boase, Oxford, in “Historic Towns” series (London, 1887); Oxford and Oxford Life, ed. J. Wells (London, 1892). (O. J. R. H.)
- See also Universities.
- This word, which occurs elsewhere in England, means a place where four roads meet. Its ultimate origin is the Latin quadrifurcus, four-forked. Earlier English forms are carfuks, carrefore. The modern French is carrefour.
- In the common speech of the university some streets are never spoken of as such, but, e.g., as “the High,” “the Corn” (i.e. Cornmarket), “the Broad.” St Aldate’s is pronounced St Olds, and the Cherwell (pronounced Charwell) is called “the Char.”
- In his essay on “The Early History of Oxford,” reprinted from Stray Studies, in Studies in Oxford History, by the Oxford Historical Society (1901).
- Here and in some other colleges this title is connected with the duties of reading the Bible in chapel and saying grace in hall.
- As a whole it is therefore properly to be spoken of as Christ Church, not Christ Church College. In the common speech of the university it has become known as The House, though all the colleges are technically “houses.”
- “The Turl” takes its name from a postern (Turl or Thorold Gate) in the city wall, to which the street led.
- Singular demy, the last syllable accented. They correspond to the scholars of other colleges. The name is derived from the fact that their allowance was originally half (demi-) that of fellows.
- Waynflete himself had founded three readerships, in natural and moral philosophy and in theology.
- It actually faces about N.W.; the same deviation applies to other buildings described.
- He was chancellor of the kingdom in 1261–1263, and again in 1272–1274, justiciar in 1271 and bishop of Rochester in 1274. He died in 1277.
- The year in which the statutes were issued; Dorothy Wadham had received the royal charter in 1610.
- This title was given by a statute of 1884.
- From Greek ἑβδομάς, the number seven; the Hebdomadal Board instituted in 1631 was appointed to hold a weekly meeting.