Christ Church Oxford

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 Oxford college.

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 to death.

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.

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