Christ Church, known as "The House", was founded in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey as Cardinal College. Wolsey fell from power before his ambitious
grand plan was completed, and Henry VIII refounded the College as Christ Church in 1546. The Cardinal's hat, the original of which is preserved in
the Library, is still used in the College crest.
The Cathedral, which serves as the College Chapel, dates from c.1200. It was originally the Priory of St. Frideswide which was suppressed by Wolsey to
fund his great project. St. Frideswide herself has had an even more chequered history than her priory. Her remains were moved several times and in
1553 were reburied with a German ex-nun nicknamed "Fustyleggs", who had the dubious honour of being the first woman ever to live in an
Over the years Christ Church has had many rather better known residents who distinguished themselves in various areas. Among them are the philosopher
John Locke, the poet W.H. Auden, Albert Einstein, the broadcaster David Dimbleby and 13 British Prime Ministers. The Reverend C.L. Dodgson, alias
Lewis Carroll and author of "Alice in Wonderland", was a mathematics don here. Alice was the real-life daughter of Dean Liddell, and the
College has interesting memorabilia concerning the story.
Christ Church is architecturally stunning. Most of Tom Quad (the largest in Oxford), the Hall and the Kitchen are Wolsey's work. The hammer-beam
roofed Hall, where Charles I's Parliament sat during the Civil War, is entered by a beautiful fan-vaulted staircase. It is still served by Wolsey's
kitchens, little altered since his time, although the food technology is rather more contemporary! Tom Quad is crowned by Christopher Wren's Tom
Tower, the College's most famous feature and an Oxford landmark. The classical Peckwater Quad, whose eighteenth-century Library is one of the
largest in the city, is joined to Tom Quad by Killcanon passage. Its draughts are rumoured to be strong enough to freeze a canon of the Cathedral
Christ Church has evolved over five centuries. Today, within its ancient and historic walls, it is a modern institution offering exceptional
opportunities for intellectual and personal growth.