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Title: The Cathedral Church of Oxford - A description of its fabric and a brief history of the episcopal see
Author: Dearmer, Percy
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Arms of the See]


  First Published, April, 1897.
  Second Edition, Revised, April, 1899.


This series of monographs has been planned to supply visitors to the
great English Cathedrals with accurate and well illustrated guide books
at a popular price. The aim of each writer has been to produce a work
compiled with sufficient knowledge and scholarship to be of value to the
student of archæology and history, and yet not too technical in language
for the use of an ordinary visitor or tourist.

To specify all the authorities which have been made use of in each case
would be difficult and tedious in this place. But amongst the general
sources of information which have been almost invariably found useful
are:--firstly, the great county histories, the value of which, especially
in questions of genealogy and local records, is generally recognised;
secondly, the numerous papers by experts which appear from time to time
in the transactions of the antiquarian and archæological societies;
thirdly, the important documents made accessible in the series issued by
the Master of the Rolls: fourthly, the well-known works of Britton and
Willis on the English Cathedrals; and lastly, the very excellent series
of Handbooks, to the Cathedrals, originated by the late Mr. John Murray,
to which the reader may in most cases be referred for fuller detail,
especially in reference to the histories of the respective sees.


  _Editors of the Series._


For one who has learnt the best of what he knows within Christ Church
walls it has been very pleasant to gather these notes of the Cathedral's
history and architecture. Moreover, I am less remorseful than I might
be at adding to the world's overcrowded library, because certain recent
discoveries in the Cathedral have thrown the best of the old books out
of date, and made it necessary for some one to weave together the older
and the later knowledge. My indebtedness, therefore, is not only to
former labourers in this field, but especially to the author of these
discoveries, Mr J. Park Harrison, who roused my enthusiasm in the old
days, and now has most generously helped me with his advice, and allowed
me to incorporate in these chapters the substance of his own papers. To
these pamphlets I would refer any who wish to go to the fountainhead for
the account of the investigations, and especially I may mention two:
"The Pre-Norman Date of the Choir and some of the Stone-work of Oxford
Cathedral," and the "Account of the Discovery of the Remains of three
Apses at Oxford Cathedral" (Oxford: Frowde, 24 and 23 pp.). I must also
express my thanks for the kindness and help of Professor York Powell,
and of Mr W. Francis, the senior verger, and to Messrs Carl Norman & Co.
of Tunbridge Wells, Mr W. Giles, Mr Park Harrison, and Mr R. Phené
Spiers, F.R.I.B.A., for the loan of and permission to reproduce various
drawings and photographs.




  History of the Cathedral                                                3

  Description of the Exterior                                            27
    Spire and Tower                                                      28
    On the North Side                                                    32
    The Saxon Foundations                                                33
    Cloister                                                             37
    Chapter House                                                        39
    Bell Tower                                                           43
    Tom Tower                                                            44
    College Buildings                                                    47

  Description of the Interior                                            49
    Nave                                                                 51
    Monuments of the Nave                                                57
    Organ                                                                58
    Pulpit                                                               58
    Tower                                                                58
    Aisles of Nave and Transepts                                         62
    Glass in Aisles                                                      63
    North Transept                                                       65
    Glass in Transepts                                                   67
    South Transept                                                       67
    St. Lucy's Chapel                                                    70
    Monuments of Transept and Chapel                                     71
    Choir                                                                72
    East End                                                             78
    Reredos                                                              79
    High Altar                                                           80
    South Choir Aisle                                                    81
    Monuments                                                            81
    North Choir Aisle                                                    83
    Shrine of St. Frideswide                                             84
    Lady Chapel                                                          88
    "Watching Chamber"                                                   89
    Monuments in Lady Chapel                                             91
    Glass in the Aisles                                                  97
    Latin Chapel                                                        102
    Glass in Latin Chapel                                               105

  History of the Foundation                                             109
    St. Frideswide                                                      109
    The Priory                                                          114
    College and Cathedral                                               118

  The Diocese of Oxford                                                 126
    Oseney                                                              126
    List of the Bishops                                                 128



  Christ Church from the East                                _Frontispiece_
  Arms of the See                                                   _Title_
  The Roof of the Choir                                                   2
  The Cathedral at the End of the Seventeenth Century                     5
  Christ Church from the Garden of the Canon of the 2nd Stall, 1857      10
  Christ Church in the Eighteenth Century                                11
  The Tower and Spire                                                    29
  Early Saxon Arches                                                     33
  Plan of recently excavated Saxon Arches                                34
  Conjectural Plan of Early Saxon Church                                 35
  Doorway of Chapter-House                                               39
  Corbel in Chapter-House                                                40
  Boss in Chapter-House                                                  41
  Choir, from the Old Cemetery                                           42
  Tom Tower                                                              44
  Western Entrance and Bell Tower                                        45
  Plan                                                                   52
  Early English Moulding                                                 54
  Nave and Choir, looking East                                           55
  Pulpit                                                                 58
  Choir and Nave, looking West                                           59
  From the North Transept                                                66
  Clerestory Window in the South Transept                                69
  Third Capital of the Choir                                             72
  Capitals of the Choir                                                  73
  Tracery of the Roof                                                    77
  Lady Montacute's Tomb                                                  91
  Ornament from a Tomb                                                   95
  The "St. Cecilia" Window                                               99
  Window in the Latin Chapel                                            103
  Section of the Interior before the Restorations                       107
  The Exterior in 1857                                                  113
  The Interior before the Restorations                                  123
  Arms of the College                                                   136

[Illustration: THE ROOF OF THE NAVE.



The "Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford" has had a somewhat unfortunate
history. Built for the small monastery of St. Frideswide, with no thought
of any ampler destination, it was in the sixteenth century raised to
the rank of a cathedral, just after it had been reduced in size by the
destruction of the bays of the nave, and sunk out of sight among a mass
of college buildings. Nor was this all the indignity it suffered; for
it had also to do duty as the chapel of the new academic foundation
which Wolsey established, and very soon the cathedral was forgotten
in the college chapel. So neglected was it that Britton wrote at the
beginning of the present century--"It is very common for visitors,
and even those of rather refined and critical minds, to leave Oxford
without examining the building now under notice." A century earlier
Browne Willis had been content to make the astounding observation:
"'Tis truly no elegant structure."

The first church on this site was that built by St. Frideswide, "The
Lady," as she was afterwards called in Oxford, and her father Didan,
about the year 727. The story of this saint, which no visitor to her
church should omit to read, will be found in our chapter on the History
of the Foundation.

A contemporary of the Venerable Bede, she was one of those noble and
devoted souls who (as Dr. Jessopp reminds us) made Anglo-Saxon monasticism
the brightest spot in the history of English community-life. The monks
and nuns of that period were in fact missionaries, who spread the
Christian faith among the half-civilised _pagani_, or country-folk;
and, by the wise method of planting themselves in remote districts, and
quietly living the gospel they preached, touched the hearts, and won
the souls, of their rough neighbours. Thus, without the use of force,
without even the exercise of royal authority, says Professor Freeman,
the whole of England had, by the time of the birth of St. Frideswide
(c. 700), accepted the Christian faith. But the religion of the country
districts must have still been of a very untutored description; and
St. Frideswide was one of those who spread in the South, just at the time
when Mercia was the paramount power in England, the finer civilisation
which had already established itself in the North, and produced kings
like Edwin, saints like Aidan, and poets like Caedmon. Whatever may
be the authority of the legends which gathered about her name, it is
certain that she gave up her high estate, "devoted herself and all her
worldly goods to the service of Christ and her poor brethren," refused
the offer of a royal marriage, escaped the persecutions of her suitor,
"and finally died in the odour of sanctity, blessed by the poor and
ignorant people to whom she had devoted her troubled life."

Of the place where she established the little church, part of which can
still be seen in the walls of the cathedral, Dr. Liddell, the late Dean,
thus writes:--

"Meadows unbroken by human habitations or human cultivation, a river
wandering through them as it listed, unbarred by locks, or weirs, or
mills, the hills down to their margin clothed in primeval forest. The bank
of gravel which still slopes down to what we call Christ Church Meadow,
offered a dry and pleasant site; the river supplied fish for the inmates
of the new convent; the Trill-mill stream bears testimony by its name
to the fact that its water was in early times, perhaps the earliest,
used to turn the wheel which ground their corn; the neighbouring forests
supplied abundant wood for fuel, as well as game for food, and acorns
for the swine; the rich meadows of the valley furnished pasture to
the flocks and herds. In those days, no doubt, the existence of such a
peaceful community exercised a humanising and softening influence over
the rude thanes and their clansmen and serfs, who had as yet perhaps
hardly heard the name of Christ."

  (_from an old engraving_).]

Our next glimpse of the church is a terrible one. Despairing of beating
back the Danes, Ethelred the Unready gave the mad and treacherous order
for the Massacre of St. Brice's Day, 1002. "Urged by secret orders from
the king," says Mr. J.R. Green, "the West Saxons rose on St. Brice's Day,
and pitilessly massacred the Danes scattered defencelessly among them. The
tower of St. Frideswide, in which those of Oxford had taken refuge, was
burnt with them to the ground." This account is touched up by Mr. Andrew
Lang with a little local colour:--"We are tempted to think of a low
grey twilight above that wet land suddenly lit up with fire; of the tall
towers of St. Frideswyde's Minster flaring like a torch across the night;
of poplars waving in the same wind that drives the vapour and smoke of
the holy place down on the Danes who have taken refuge there, and there
stand at bay against the English and the people of the town." A finishing
touch comes from the old chronicler, William of Malmesbury:--"Into the
tower of St. Frideswyde they were driven, and as men could not drive
them thence, the tower was fired, and they perished in the burning."

This closes the first era in the history of the church: the old
_ecclesiola_ of Didan and his daughter was gutted by the fire, and its
roofs and furniture destroyed. Indeed, until lately it was held that
the whole building was of wood, and perished therefore with the tower
and roof, no vestige of it remaining for later times. But the recent
investigations of Mr. J. Park Harrison, an archaeologist of remarkable
devotion and insight, have proved that the east wall of the eighth century
church, with two of its primitive arches, still remains, a venerable relic
of times past, as part of the wall of the cathedral; while the foundations
of the three apses, into which the three low arches once led, have been
discovered in the garden to the north-east of the church (see pp. 33,
34). So did Anthony à Wood, when in the seventeenth century he wrote of
"the antientist buildings" as "on the east and north side of the church,"
speak more truth than even he himself was aware.

After the slaughter of St. Brice's Day, King Ethelred made a vow that
he would rebuild St. Frideswide's church. And well did he keep it; if
in 1004 he built the splendid church which forms the main part of the
cathedral as we know it to-day, sparing the more sacred part of the rude
old building, it may be, because of the veneration in which everything
connected with St. Frideswide was held. His charter contains the
following sentence:--

"In the year of our Lord 1004, in the 2nd indiction, and in the 25th year
of my reign, according to the disposal of God's providence, I Ethelred
ruling over the whole of Albion, have with liberty of charters by
royal authority and for the love of the Almighty, established a certain
monastery situated in the city which is called Oxoneford, where the body
of St. Frideswide reposes."

And here another question of the deepest architectural interest occurs.
This church of Ethelred's was of a size and magnificence until lately
considered not to have been attainable in England till many years after
the Conquest. It was therefore taken for granted that the church was
wholly rebuilt in the years 1160-1180, and that Ethelred's work was as
entirely lost as Didan's was supposed to be. Dr. James Ingram, President
of Trinity, had, it is true, written in the thirties to prove that the
cathedral was Saxon, but, great authority as he was, he wrote at a time
when architectural history was in its infancy; and at the restoration
of 1869, Sir Gilbert Scott was content to write--"Dr. Ingram evinces
great anxiety to prove that traces of his (Ethelred's) work still exist,
but I need hardly say there is not a shadow of foundation for such a
supposition." However, a greater authority than either of the preceding
showed that the tide of knowledge was turning against the accepted view.
Professor Freeman in his "History of Architecture" wrote that the
cathedral might be "in the main portions of the fabric a monument of
the later days of Saxon architecture," and that "the evidence between
the conflicting statements which would assign it, some to the days of
Æthelred II., others to those of Henry I., seems very evenly balanced;"
in the former case, he said, "we have a complete minster of comparatively
small size, but of the fullest cathedral type, belonging to the early
part of the eleventh century." Mr. J.H. Parker, himself, who had been the
chief authority for the theory that the Saxon architects built almost
entirely in wood, at length changed his mind; and even went so far as
to say, in the fourth edition of his "A.B.C. of Gothic Architecture,"
that "the Saxons, at the date of the conquest, appear to have been more
advanced in the fine arts, such as sculpture, than the Normans," that
"their work was more highly finished, had more ornament," and that their
masonry was more finely jointed than that of the Normans.

Following up these admissions, Mr. Park Harrison carried on the most
thorough investigations, examining almost every stone in the building,
investigating Saxon MSS., and travelling over England and Normandy
for the purposes of comparison. As a result he succeeded in convincing
Professor Freeman, Professor Westwood, and other experts in Anglo-Saxon
archæology, that Ethelred's church was still in the main extant; and at
this moment his theory has a good many supporters. Without committing
ourselves irrevocably to Mr. Park Harrison's conclusions, some of which
are naturally not so well established as others, we may, in the majority
of cases, accept them, at least provisionally. Many allusions to them
will occur in this book; and here, therefore, it is well to say that,
ingenious and striking as they are, many high authorities are still
unconvinced, and that we cannot venture to predict how much of them may
be damaged or maintained by future research.

In this place the following summary of the evidence will suffice:--

1. There is no document or anything tending to show that the original
fabric, as restored and enlarged by Ethelred, was ever rebuilt on a
new plan.

2. Several of the choir capitals differ essentially in their ornamentation
from any others in the cathedral; but resemble very closely the ornamental
work in illuminated MSS. of Ethelred's time. They should consequently
belong to the church as enlarged by him in 1004 (p. 72).

3. The junction of the eleventh century, or Ethelred's work with the
later work, is clearly visible at the north and south-west corners
of the choir; and the abaci, though resembling each other, are of
different thickness. The ashlar work is different, and the courses are
not continuous (p. 61).

4. The manner in which the Norman vaulting shafts are inserted in the
north choir aisle implies that vaulting was not contemplated in the
original plan of the church, and that the aisle was built at a date when
vaulting ribs were not in use (p. 33).

5. The introduction of attached shafts in the tower piers shows that
additions were made, about 1160, to earlier work with roll mouldings
corresponding with those of the choir: similar proofs of alteration are
to be seen in the imposts of the tower and transept arches, which have
been cut through to admit late Norman capitals (p. 58).

6. There is also good evidence that the Norman Presbytery is not part of
the original choir, or the earliest part of the church, as was assumed,
but probably stands on the site of an apse which belonged to Ethelred's
building (p. 79).

7. The worn condition of the choir capitals can only be accounted for by
the state of disrepair into which the church had fallen by the middle of
the twelfth century (p. 74).

2ND STALL, 1857.]

The reason is not far to seek for the unusual magnificence of Ethelred's
plans. His brother-in-law was Richard II., Duke of Normandy, whose fame
as an art-patron and church-builder was spread so far that, according to
the Chronicles of Fontenelle, "bishops and clergy, abbots and monks,"
travelled from all parts, from Greece and Armenia, to visit him, and
William of Jumièges speaks of him as producing a kind of renaissance
in his country. It so happens that one bay remains in the abbey church
of Fécamp of the original building commenced by Duke Richard in 1001,
just before Ethelred began his operations; and the capitals in this bay
are ornamented with the same curious twining foliage that is found in the
choir at Oxford. It is more than likely, then, that the Saxon king sought
assistance from the cultured court of Richard-le-bon; the Queen Emma may
well have been anxious to have the church rebuilt on a scale that would
accord with the monastic buildings of her own land; and so important was
the work considered, that King Ethelred (as we learn from his charter)
had contributions given him for carrying it on by his whole people.


But more troubles were to follow, for Ethelred had yet to pay the
penalty for the massacre of St. Brice's Day, and his "long reign of
utter misgovernment" was interrupted in 1013, when the heathen Viking
Sweyn drove him out of his kingdom to take refuge in Richard's court
in Normandy. The exile of the king, and the triumph of the Danes,
who besieged and took Oxford in the same year, must have interrupted
the work there for a time; and a remarkable break of joint between the
masonry of the choir and the south transept bears silent witness to the
dislocation of the Anglo-Saxon rule (p. 61). When Sweyn died in 1014,
Ethelred returned, and for three years, with the help of his noble son
Edmund Ironside, held Canute in check. At this time the work at St.
Frideswide's was probably resumed, the king being doubtless anxious
to complete the fulfilment of his vow at a time when he sorely needed
the divine assistance; and a certain difference in the character of the
capitals and foliage in the transepts points to their having been built
at this time, for they bear traces of oriental influence similar to that
in the church at Bernay which Duke Richard was building in the year when
Ethelred was with him in exile, and the eastern monks were flocking to
his court in Normandy. But it is probable that, what with the strain of
the terrible war, and the constant drain of the Danegelt, the work was
never finished according to Ethelred's complete design, for he died in
1016, and his son Edmund Ironside only reigned for seven months.

Nor have we any record that anything further was done under Canute or
Edward the Confessor. Though it is not at all improbable that Canute
continued the work, for we know that he restored many monasteries which
had been injured or destroyed by his father, being very fond of the
monks; and that the Witenagemot met several times at Oxford during his
reign. His marriage to Ethelred's widow Emma, also, placed him in the
same relationship to the Norman court as Ethelred himself. The church
must have been in use during this time; for we read that in the reign of
Edward the Confessor troubles arose owing to the substitution of Regulars
for the Secular Canons. Under King Harold the Seculars were restored,
and, says Anthony Wood, "It was not long after this but that, whether
by the negligence of the Seculars or the continuall disturbance of the
expelled Regulars, it was almost utterly forsaken and relinqueshed,
and the more especially because of that troublesome warre betweene
King Harold and William the Conqueror,--a few persons all that while
only remaining in it." In this ruinous state it proved a kind of white
elephant that no one cared to possess; given first to Abingdon Abbey,
and then to Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, it was at last handed over to
Henry I., who made Guimond his chaplain Prior.

Although the whole church has been sometimes attributed to Prior Guimond,
it is probable that he was too much taken up with restoring order to
devote himself to architecture. And, as there is no suggestion in history
that Ethelred's church was destroyed, so there is no mention of any
building by Guimond. William of Malmesbury, his contemporary, praises
his piety and learning (_excellentis literaturæ et non aspernandæ
religionis_), but is totally silent about architectural talents. Besides,
the establishment was at that time too impoverished for anything of the
kind, many of the lands and revenues having been alienated, as we learn
from the Domesday Book. If Guimond built at all, he would have had enough
to do, we may imagine, in adapting the tumble-down monastic buildings
for their occupation by canons regular. Sir G.G. Scott attributes the
Norman doorway into the chapter-house to him; and he may have begun
the restoration by putting a roof on the old church; for the weathered
condition of some of the choir capitals bears out the historians who
tell us that in the eleventh century the place was become ruinous.

Robert of Cricklade, called Canutus, another excellent man, was next
prior. He ruled from 1141 to 1180. There was a copy of one of his works,
says Dr. Ingram, in the library of Balliol College in Leland's time. In
1158 Cricklade obtained a confirmation of the privileges of the priory
from Pope Hadrian IV. (Nicholas Brakespear, the English pope) who wore
the tiara from 1154 to 1159. It was probably at this time that the
restoration of Ethelred's church was begun, for the monks would almost
certainly not have undertaken such extensive works until their property
was secured them.

Robert of Cricklade did not build a new church, but it was probably he
who restored Ethelred's church on the old plan, rebuilding those portions
of the walls that required it, and inserting most of the later Norman
work, especially the clerestory and presbytery. Much of the earlier work
appears to have been imitated at this time, as is known to have been
the case elsewhere when enlarging or rebuilding a church; and some of
the carved work was used again. Cricklade appears, from architectural
evidence, to have left most of the old pillars, but he rebuilt two of
those in the nave, and reduced the girth of the rest.

The restoration must have been pretty well finished by 1180, for in
that year the relics of St. Frideswide were translated "from an obscure
to a more noted place in the church," by the new prior Philip, who
himself wrote a book, "_De Miraculis S. Frideswydæ_." The "obscure"
place was doubtless the southernmost of the three early Saxon apses,
recently discovered outside the east wall of the north choir aisle
(see p. 37). So important a ceremony could not have taken place till
the church was fit for the great company that assembled there; for the
translation was regarded as an event of national interest,--King Henry
II. possibly, and the Archbishop of Canterbury certainly, being present,
with many other prelates and nobles. This occasion may have also been
the inauguration of Oxford University, since seven years afterwards we
come upon the first mention of regular students.

Here is Wood's account of this the first translation:--

"After they were meet, and injoyned fasting and prayers were past, as
also those ceremonies that are used at such times was with all decency
performed, then those bishops that were appointed, accompanied with
Alexio, the pope's legat for Scotland, went to the place where she was
buried, and opening the sepulchre, took out with great devotion the
remainder of her body that was left after it had rested there 480 yeares,
and with all the sweet odours and spices imaginable to the great rejoycing
of the multitude then present mingled them amongst her bones and laid them
up in a rich gilt coffer made and consecrated for that purpose, and placed
it on the north side of the quire, somewhat distant from the ground,
and inclosed it with a partition from the sight hereafter of the vulgar."

The fame of her miracles spread over all England, and multitudes came to
be healed, many of whom went away whole and rejoicing.

But the troubles of the Priory were not yet over. During the priorate
of Philip in 1190, a great fire broke out in Oxford, which destroyed a
large part of the city. St. Frideswide's did not escape, and, though the
church itself does not seem to have suffered materially, it is probable
that the monastic buildings were much injured, the chapter-house and
cloisters among them; for the old Norman doorway has, through all the
changes of seven centuries, borne the red marks of the fire, and bears
them as unmistakably to-day.

This mishap did not mark an era in the architecture of the church; for
nothing can with certainty be pointed to as the work of the last decade
of the twelfth century; nor indeed do we find that any important work
was undertaken till, well into the thirteenth century, the spire was
added. The monks seem to have patched up the ruined chapter-house as
best they could, for it was not till about the middle of the thirteenth
century that the present beautiful room was built. About this time the
second bay of what is now the Latin Chapel was also added.

It seems certain now that the Lady Chapel, though it was undoubtedly
vaulted, and its pillars cut into Early English shafts, was not built for
the first time at this period. Part of the wall between it and the Latin
Chapel remains in all its primitive roughness, while there is no sign of
a wall between it and the north choir aisle. Its east wall is even older,
for it contains one of the eighth century arches already alluded to.

In 1289, Robert de Ewelme being prior, the relics of St. Frideswide were
again translated. "The old coffer," says the Oseney Chronicle, "of St.
Fritheswyda was translated, and placed in a new and more precious one in
the same church, and near the place where the old one had stood." Its
marble base has recently been discovered, and replaced in what seems
to have been its old position. The beautiful northernmost chapel,
called the Latin Chapel, was added in the fourteenth century, the
single Early English bay being incorporated, and the north wall of the
Lady Chapel further opened out, for this purpose. Some of the Norman
windows were also altered to Decorated. The Norman windows at the east
end were replaced by a large five-light window, which was spoilt in
the seventeenth century, and ultimately removed by Sir Gilbert Scott.
Decorated windows of three lights were also placed at the east ends of
the choir aisles, and a four-light window in the Lady Chapel. These all
went in the seventeenth century, but the beautiful window in St. Lucy's
Chapel survived. All the fourteenth century work belongs to a rather
late division of the Decorated style.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century the Perpendicular style began
to spread over the church. Besides the windows of the nave and north
transept aisles, the clerestory of the choir was remodelled to carry the
elaborate vaulting, which was probably also added in this century, and not
by Wolsey as has been supposed, though the work may have been completed
in his time. The similarity of the vaulting to that of the Divinity
School in Oxford enables us to fix the date pretty accurately at 1480.

Another characteristic feature of the church was made at this time,
to wit, the fine chantrey tomb, called the Watching Chamber, but very
probably the third and last "shrine" of the patron saint. The cloisters
were also reconstructed, and, in order to make room for their eastern
side, the western aisle of the south transept was destroyed.

We are able to fix the date of the great north window of the north
transept, and of the commencement of vaulting in its northern bay,
because they were paid for out of a bequest of a monk, James Zouch,
who died in 1503, and is buried under the window. One may conjecture
that the whole of the church would have been vaulted in a style similar
to that of the choir, if the dissolution of the priory had not come,
and left this one bay as a pathetic little protest against the sweeping
reconstructions of Cardinal Wolsey.

Indeed Wolsey, who in 1524 created Christ Church as a college, did
nothing but harm to Christ Church as a church. It used to be thought
that he had thrown the vault over the choir, and even that he had
built the palpably early English spire!--an idea which throws a curious
light upon the architectural knowledge of our grandfathers. But, alas
for his reputation, the only work connected with the church that can
with certainty be attributed to him is the destruction of one half
of the nave. For, in order to build the great quadrangle now known as
"Tom Quad," he demolished its three western bays, and was apparently only
prevented from carting away the whole church by his sudden fall from the
royal favour in 1529. His scheme for "Cardinal College," as Christ Church
was at first called, was one of extreme magnificence; and he began--much
to the amusement of Oxford--with the splendid kitchen, still in daily
use. Tom Quad gives one some idea of the scale on which he formed his
plans: it, however, has never been properly finished, as it is too large
and too much inhabited to be fit to receive the cloister for which it was
designed. The real cloisters are of much more modest dimensions. Wolsey
destroyed one side of them in order to build the college Hall.

In justice, however, to Wolsey it must be stated that he commenced to
build a new chapel along the north side of Tom Quad, which, judging by
the foundations that some draining operations in the canon's gardens have
recently disclosed, would have rivalled the chapel of King's College,
Cambridge, in size, and have been about 100 feet longer than the actual
length of the cathedral. To this the Aubrey MSS. (written about 1670)
refer:--"Ye foundations of that famous begun Chapel or Cathedral of
Cardinal Wolsey which went towards the blue Boare in Oxford and pulled
down by Dean Fell about 1671." Aubrey also mentions that the height
of the walls of this chapel was seven feet at the time of Wolsey's
disgrace. The west end ran in a line with the front of the octagonal
turrets in St. Aldate's Street, and the walls reached nearly to Fell's
passage into Peckwater.

To the sixteenth century belong also the flat wooden roofs of the nave and
transepts, and perhaps the concealment of the lantern story of the tower.

The Reformation, apart from the usual destruction of altars, furniture,
plate, and ornamental work generally, is chiefly remembered in the history
of the church by the demolition of St. Frideswide's shrine. Anthony à Wood
says of the third shrine that, "being adored till the dissolution of the
religious houses, it was then, 30 Henry VIII. [A.D. 1538], amongst others,
taken down, and all the offerings conveyed into the King's Treasury." We
give an account of the curious incidents connected with the demolition
in our description of the shrine itself.

An inventory taken in the last year of Henry VIII.'s reign is interesting
for the glimpse it gives us of the rich ornaments which even then
survived, and must have made so vast a difference in the appearance of
the church. They were confiscated, no doubt, as being "monuments tending
to idolatrie and popish or devill's service, crosses, censars, and such
lyke fylthie stuffe," to quote the curious phrases used by Bishop Horne
of the plate of Trinity College.

There were eight altars in the aisles and body of the church, in
addition to the high altar. The furniture then remaining of the high
altar and choir was catalogued (only that the spelling was obscurer)
as follows:--"Upon the high altar a here-cloth, 40s. _Item_, two
altar-cloths, one of olde diaper, and the other of fine linen cloth.
_Item_, a mass-book and a desk. _Item_, a great sacring bell. _Item_,
4 high latten candlesticks. _Item_, a canopy with a pix of copper.
_Item_, 4 desks with two cloths of old silk. _Item_, a pair of organs,
with a turned chain to the same. _Item_, 2 forms. _Item_, a canopy over
the Dean's head of old silk. _Item_, 15 antiphoners and 9 grayells."
After some more books comes:--"_Item_, a foot-cloth for the high altar
of old tapestry." All the hangings of the side altars are enumerated,
besides their vestments, candlesticks, etc. Thus the south choir aisle
had "4 hangings for above and beneath the altar, whereof two of white
satin Bruges, and the other two of yellow and red," and two altar-cloths;
St. Lucy's Chapel had "two altar-cloths of old diaper, two hangings for
the altar for above and beneath, the one of old needle-work, and the other
of buckram"; the four altars on the north of the choir were hung with
"dornaxe," diaper, yellow and white baundkin.

The description of some of the fourteen copes sounds very beautiful,
for instance:--"2 copes of red silk, woven with sunbeams of gold;" "one
cope of blue silk, woven with flower de luce, roses, and crowns of gold,
and a whole suit to the same." There were also copes of purple and red,
branched with gold, of red and white flowers, bordered with clouds, of
red and green, of velvet and baundkin, and chamlet; and many suits of
vestments besides; and tunicles, albs, and amices for the choristers.

The inventory also contains, among other items, heavy silver bowls and
other vessels belonging to the "house plate," and the "church plate,"
which we here give in the original spelling:--"A pixe of the ymage of
God, gilte, weing 33 oz. _It'm._ a highe standing pixe w'th a cover
gilte, weing 23 oz. dim. _It'm._ a crosse w'th Mary and John and a fote
to the same gilte, weing 114 oz. _It'm._ a ship [incense-boat] and a
spone gilte, weing 12 oz. dim. _It'm._ two bassings parcell gilte, weing
92 oz. _It'm._ a halliwater [holy water] bokett, and a sprinkell, whitt
syluer, weing 33 oz., 2 greatt sensors, and a litle sensor, whit syluer,
weing 170 oz. _It'm._ two crowetts [cruets] of whit syluer, weing 8 oz.
_It'm._ a little paxe gilte, weing 3 oz.; 4 chalesses, gilte, w'th
patentts, weing 95 oz. _It'm._ 3 chalesses w'th patentt, whit syluer,
weing 50 oz. _It'm._ a litle cros, parcell gilte, weing 51 oz. _It'm._ a
crismatory gilte, not weighted. _It'm._ 2 gospells, plated w'th syluer
of thonesyde [the one side], not weighted. _It'm._ two maces for the
preuelege, plated w'th syluer vppon yeron [iron], not weighted. _It'm._
two virge roddes, plated w'th syluer vppon yeron, not weighted; 4
rectors staves, the haadds of syluer wherof two gilte, not weighted.
_It'm._ two stavis for the crosse, plated with syluer, not weighted."

When, in 1546, St. Frideswide's became the cathedral church of the four
year old diocese of Oxford, the momentous change in its character left
no mark upon its architecture. The great alterations in the fabric and
fittings had either happened already or were yet to come.

During the deanery of Brian Duppa in 1630, the unhappy church suffered
a sweeping restoration, which well-nigh destroyed its ecclesiastical
character altogether. As Dean Duppa was a cultured man himself, and wrote
a life of Michael Angelo, his work was all the more disastrous,--a mere
Philistine would have probably been content to let well alone. To begin
with, he, "_being minded to adorn it_," says Wood, "did first take down
all the old stalls in the choir, and in their places put up those that now
are," those great ugly pews, that is, which Dean Liddell removed. Then,
in laying down his new pavement, he removed many of the old monuments,
"having most of them," continues the old antiquary, "Saxon inscriptions
on them; which being looked upon by the dean and canons as old superfluous
stuff, and unhandsome to be mixed with their new pavement, they did
cause them to be thrown out of the church, as also those out of the
cloister." The remaining monuments he moved to the aisles, having,
with two exceptions, "duly deprived them of their brasses." Thus was a
priceless record of the priory's history lost to us. Most of his work
has during this century been undone; but one memorial of him remains,
a valuable historical landmark, and full of the characteristics of its
age--the Jonah window at the west of the north aisle of the nave.

In order that the windows of the aisles might be "beautified with
glass, admirably well performed by the exquisite hand of Abraham Ling,
a Dutchman, an. 1634," Brian Duppa and his chapter altered the whilom
Perpendicular windows, sawing away "the fine architecture or crustation of
those windows," and changing them from three lights with tracery to two
plain lights, the author of the "Anatomy of Melancholy" being the donor
of part of the new glass. The priceless old glass, which had been set
up by ancient priors of St. Frideswide's, and contained pictures of the
life of "The Lady," besides the arms of many benefactors, was ruthlessly
sacrificed. This act of vandalism has led to still more unfortunate
reprisals in our own time; for Van Ling's old glass, which had great
merits, was taken away at the last restoration, and replaced by some
entirely uninteresting modern stuff (to say the least of it), while the
tracery was remade into a respectable nineteenth century parody of the
original Perpendicular.

The amiable and terrible Duppa also ruined the Decorated windows of three
lights which terminated the aisles of the choir by converting them into
his favourite two-light windows; and the beautiful four-light window
of the Lady Chapel was similarly treated. The great north transept
window was likewise impoverished in its tracery; and at the end of the
seventeenth century the great east window was reduced from five to three
lights by the same curious and unaccountable perversion of taste. One
more memorial of Dean Duppa defaced the cathedral down to our time. This
was the strange arrangement of stone screens by which the eastern chapels
were separated from the transepts, and the most romantic feature of the
church destroyed. They were particularly offensive, as they finished
in a half-circle turned upwards, so that, with the Norman arch above,
a complete circle was formed. However, the fine pulpit and organ-screen
must be set down to the credit of this period.

Dean Duppa's successors signalised themselves, as far as the cathedral
is concerned, only by the erection of monuments, some gruesome, and all
heavy. Their work for the college was more considerable, and we shall
enumerate it in our chapter on the Exterior.

A great deal of mischief was done to the painted glass during the Civil
War, many of the windows being destroyed, and not one left quite perfect;
but otherwise the church escaped pretty well. Indeed, in this orderly
country a great deal more damage has been done by lawful authority than
by popular riots.

Up till Dean Liddell's time the cathedral was in as bad a state as most
of the other cathedrals of England. A writer in the "Ecclesiologist"
for February 1847 thus bewails its then condition:--

"We now come to the present estate of the cathedral, which is more
deplorable than can be imagined. It is really wonderful that the cathedral
of an English diocese, and the chapel of one of our greatest colleges,
should remain in a condition which would disgrace the meanest hamlet. In
the first place, it will hardly be credited by those whose eyes have
not witnessed the sacrilege, that a portion of the church is actually
desecrated. In so vast a college the hire of a single room cannot be
dispensed with, but the House of God must be defiled; a bay of the south
transept and one of the adjoining chapels are blocked off to form a
residence for the verger. On this subject we can hardly trust ourselves
to speak.

"The fittings up of the choir are of the most wretched and irreverent
description. The stalls are of seventeenth century work, and by no
means a favourable specimen: those of the dean and canons are marked
by canopies. The episcopal throne is meanness itself, and can hardly be
distinguished without a most diligent search: on the prayer-books nearest
to it, and nowhere else, are inscribed the words 'Christ-church Chapel,'
as if to warn the Bishop off the forbidden ground. Nearly the whole area
of the choir between the stalls is filled with benches looking west,
and in which kneeling is all but impossible. These are occupied by the
overgrown mass of undergraduates, and at the 'canons' prayers' partly by
choristers. Further, that not an inch of available space may be lost, an
arch on each side is blocked up by a gallery, which at surplice-prayers,
when the students and commoners attend, is filled by the choir thus
displaced. Finally, behind the stalls are some darksome dens, occupied
by women, which greatly encumber the choir aisles. The screen [then
blocking up the choir] is a cumbrous piece of work contemporary with
the stalls, but of better character: it supports, of course, a vast
and unsightly organ. The miserable appearance which is thus produced
in this really noble chancel is almost indescribable. The whole seems
so narrowed and confined; one feels pent in without the least scope for
one's energies. Of the service performed within the degraded choir we can
only trust ourselves to say that it is the most slovenly and irreverent
that we have ever witnessed in any English cathedral."

The stalls seem to have been particularly bad. The "Gentleman's
Magazine" for 1856 says that "the choir aisles and the chapels were also
excluded from view, and almost from any participation in the service,
by the box-like framing, which rose to the height of eleven feet from
the paving." Of course, all this had caused serious damage to the
architecture: the pillars on the north and south side of the choir were,
for instance, _squared_, and their bases cut away; thus mutilated they
had been "encased with heavily moulded Italian framing intermixed with
some remnants of Jacobean workmanship."

But since the fifties the appearance of the cathedral has been completely
changed. Dean Liddell began the restoration in 1856, when Mr. John Billing
was employed to repair some parts of the walls that had become unsafe,
and to remove the galleries and high pews. The work then done was only
temporary; the reseating whereby decent accommodation was provided for
the whole college was managed out of the old woodwork, not a plank being
taken out or carried into the church; the organ was moved for the time
into the south transept, so that the choir could be thrown open to the
nave, and other work of a simple and necessary character carried through.

In 1870, Dean Liddell employed Sir G. Gilbert Scott to carry on the
great restoration, whereby very considerable changes were wrought in the
fabric itself.

On the whole, it has been real restoration, and not destruction: here
and there one might have wished that the changes had been less sweeping,
or that the renewed carved work had been left unattempted till such time
as the dignity of labour in craftsmanship is recovered; but it remains
one of the most judicious and successful works of restoration that this
not impeccable age has produced. The difficulties to be encountered were
very great, for the church had suffered unusually; a certain amount of
rebuilding was therefore inevitable, and besides provision had to be
made for the church as a college-chapel as well as a cathedral.

The restoration was preceded by a report on the condition of the building,
which Sir Gilbert Scott drew up in 1869. The following extract shows the
"reparation" that was needed:--

"It is fortunately the case that the main walls of the building do not
show any symptoms of failure or of weakness. The external stone-work
is very unequal in its state of preservation, some parts being very
much decayed, while others have suffered in a very small degree. On the
whole, however, there can be no doubt that the decay is very extensive,
and even some parts which, at first sight, seem tolerably sound, are
found on closer examination to be seriously decayed. The eastern parts
are, as a rule, better preserved than those facing in other directions,
though the southern aisle of the choir is also among the least decayed
portions. The tower is generally very severely decayed, but the spire
less so, though its lights are very much damaged. The reparation of this
wide-spread decay is a work requiring much discrimination and judgment.
Every stone which retains ancient work in an intelligible state should be
carefully preserved, and only such parts renewed as have become shapeless
from decay, or the retention of which would tend to future injury.

"Internally, the stone-work generally needs little more than the careful
brushing or washing off of the white-wash and the exposure of the original
surfaces. This should be effected with extreme care and tenderness, so
as not to efface in any degree the original tool-marks or to disturb
any ancient wall-painting which may exist. The mutilations which the
work has in some places suffered would of course be repaired, as well
as any structural defects which may be brought to light."

This proves that Gilbert Scott went to work with a full sense of his
responsibility, so far as the "reparation" was concerned. With regard
to the "restoration," many complicated questions arose, but Scott
generally threw his weight on the conservative side, respecting all the
alterations which had been effected before "the extinction of our national
architecture in the sixteenth century"; and, happily, respecting as well
all the good work of a later date. Thus the organ-case and pulpit were
spared. Duppa's work was mostly destroyed, his windows being rebuilt
according to their former Perpendicular and Decorated designs, with the
one interesting exception already mentioned. To make provision for the
church's collegiate use, while rendering it at the same time suitable
for diocesan purposes, an iron screen was carried round the nave as
well as the choir, and the seats of the nave were set lengthways. This
arrangement could not well have been bettered: the college is well
accommodated without any blocking up of the church, and the choir is
conveniently situated in the eastern bay of the nave. The organ at the
same time was moved to the west end of the church, where a new bay was
made; and thus, while an increased effect of length was given, a screen
was provided for the college-chapel, without hiding any of the old work
in the nave, and the choir was no longer hidden by the organ.

The great Decorated east window, which had been spoilt in the seventeenth
century, was, after much deliberation, removed; and, traces being found
of a large circular window assumed to be Late Norman, the east end was
rebuilt in accordance with the conjectured Norman design,--a bold venture,
but a remarkably successful one. At the same time the two Norman windows
at the sides of the presbytery were reopened.

The bay of the south transept, which had been cut off, and used as a house
for the verger, was recovered, and the present vestry built therein, in a
style, right no doubt in general plan, but not very successful in detail.

The vaulting of the cloister was completed, and, by the happy expedient of
building a raised wooden vault in one part, the old chapter-house door was
once more fully exposed to view. The division which had entirely spoilt
the chapter-house itself was removed; as were also the stone screens which
had cut off and defaced the beautiful cluster of north-eastern chapels.

The opening of the lantern-story added greatly to the beauty of the
interior, but it made it necessary to chime the bells instead of ringing
them; and in 1878 they were removed altogether, as their vibration was
considered dangerous to the tower, and an admirably contrived belfry
built in 1880 over the staircase of the Hall by Mr. Bodley. Scott also
constructed the porch which opens into Tom Quad, and affords an entrance
to the cathedral at once more dignified and convenient than before.

Since Scott's time a good many further improvements have been effected,
among which may be mentioned the reredos, the stained glass of Sir Edward
Burne Jones, the fitting up of the Latin Chapel and recovery of the
easter sepulchre therein, the recovery also of the marble base of the
second shrine of St. Frideswide, and of the early Saxon arches hard by.

At least it cannot be true now, as it seems to have been fifty years ago,
that many persons, visiting Oxford to explore its antiquities, "actually
go away without entering the cathedral church, or that undergraduates
any longer pass an academical career, content to be aware possibly that
Christ Church has its chapel, like other colleges."



The peculiar position of Christ Church, as a cathedral which is
three parts college chapel, is apparent to the most casual observer,
who, passing by the college porter in the gateway of Tom Tower, finds
himself in a great open quadrangle with a fine hall on one side, but
no sign of a cathedral anywhere, except a spire which seems so far off
that it might very well belong to some other college. He may well be
struck by that doubtfulness as to any means of exit, which makes most
of the colleges appear to the stranger as if they consisted of one
quadrangle only. There really seems no way of getting to the cathedral,
for the incipient cloisters of Tom Quad stretch in unbroken array round
the four points of the compass; and no one could be expected to guess
that the two rat-holes at one side of the eastern terrace stand for the
west front of a great church. But so it is, and on Sundays a crowd of
citizens mingle with the undergraduates in their curious open surplices,
and drift across the Quad, past Mercury fountain, leaving no doubt in the
mind of the traveller that this is a cathedral church, and he is as free
of it as anybody else. There is, indeed, another entrance from the old
cloister on the south side, which is public, though mainly convenient
to those members of "The House" who dwell in the Old Library and Meadow
Buildings; and a third entrance besides, which is, however, the private
boon of the Professor of Pastoral Theology.

It follows, therefore, that without describing the various college
buildings, which are rather outside our province, we can say little about
the exterior, except in matters of detail; for there is no close, and
the cathedral is thus far from being common property that it is hidden
in a rather intricate environment of college buildings and private
gardens. But the one feature which in part rises above its misfortunes
is the spire.

=The Spire.=--Among all the strange domes and steeples which give to the
city of Oxford such a unique appearance, this spire of the cathedral
is to the architectural eye not the least striking. Very humble in
its bearing, it seems to put forward no claim to our attention, and may
escape the notice of a hurried traveller; but it has more character and
interest than the elaborate spire of the University Church itself. Its
very modesty gives it a distinction; were it taller it would be but one
among a hundred, but as it is there is no other in England at all like it
in the quiet dignity of its low proportions. The first time one sees it
one is most struck by its squat appearance; it seems almost to have been
built as little more than a convenient stone capping for the tower; and,
indeed, each time one returns to Oxford one is impressed afresh by this
lowliness; so that one fancies for a moment that it may have subsided a
little during one's absence. But it quickly resumes its old dignity--the
kind of dignity that one sometimes notices in short people--and every day
it seems to grow a little higher. Homely and simple, as befits the crown
of a foundation which is called "The House," it wins an almost human place
in the affections of those who live near it; and never was a spell so
honestly cast, never a friend that bore so well the test of familiarity.

And its low proportions are soon accounted for. It is one of the earliest
spires (perhaps the very first) ever built in England. Thus it was an
experiment in what must have appeared at the time a very hazardous style
of building; and that which to us is low, to the men of the thirteenth
century must have seemed dangerously lofty. It was a pioneer, and as such
needed to be sturdy. We need not then regret that it is not like that of
Salisbury; it gives the whole cluster of buildings a look of security,
and it causes no anxiety to its guardians.

"This spire," wrote Dr. Ingram in 1837, "certainly accords in character
with some of the earliest specimens in Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire,
measuring in height about two diameters of its base; and it is remarkable,
that the small turrets at the angles of the north transept are made to
terminate in pyramidal octagons, similar to those which surmount the
angles of the tower. These are the simple prototypes of those exuberant
pinnacles, niches, and tabernacles, enriched with crockets and finials,
which so profusely embellish the spires and turrets of a later date.
A singular specimen of this improved kind of turret is seen on the north
side of the cathedral; beneath which is an elegant niche, containing a
statue of St. Frideswide."


The lower story of the tower is Norman, or earlier, with later work
added. The belfry-stage and the spire are early English. On each side
of the lower story can be seen the line of the ancient high roof,
destroyed in the Perpendicular period, to the great loss of the exterior
effect, which Sir Gilbert Scott was anxious to restore. On either side
of the roof-line is a plain window. At each angle a circular turret
supports the tower, the turret being reduced in size at the belfry-stage
where the Early English work commences, and ornamented with a tall and
graceful arcade; an arcade being also carried all round the walls of the
belfry-stage, and its central arches pierced for windows. Each turret
finishes above the belfry-stage in a pinnacle. "These pinnacles," says
Mr. R.J. King, "are modern; but are faithful, or, more truly, servile
imitations of the ancient ones; of which not only the original features,
but those resulting from the wear and tear of six centuries, have been
too exactly copied."

The spire itself is octagonal, with circular ribs at the angles; it is
of the "broche" form, that is to say, it rises from the exterior of the
tower walls, like most others of that period. Its eaves are supported by
a corbel-table of pointed arches; and from its cardinal faces project
the four spire lights of the same graceful character as the arcading
of the belfry-stage. When the upper part of the spire was restored,
the beautiful finial of foliage was for some unaccountable reason not
reproduced. The old spire point was erected in one of the canon's gardens,
where it rests in peace.

The tower can best be seen from the cloister, the staircase window in
the Library in Peckwater Quad, and the canon's garden on the north side.
Of course, there are many distant points of view; but one from the path
between the Broad Walk and Merton College gives a better idea of the
cathedral as a whole than most.

The tower can be ascended from the gallery in the south transept, but it
should not be attempted by any but slim persons. The visitor makes his
way along the clerestory and round the lantern, which is the first stage
of the tower. Having avoided the iron bars which threaten him at every
turn, he will have to squeeze through an incredibly small doorway, and
then climb up a dark staircase which takes him, not into the belfry,
but into the spire. One can only peer into the lower part of the belfry
from the shuttered windows on the outside; but as the interior of the
spire is open to it, the whole, forming one queer-shaped room, can be
seen therefrom. The bells have all gone, as they taxed the strength of
the tower, having been originally cast for the larger tower of Oseney
Abbey (see p. 43); they are now hung in the new bell-tower over the hall
staircase. The belfry-stage can be considered octagonal from the interior,
four very short extra sides being formed by the angular turrets, which
are chamfered off on the inside. Above these are the squinches which
support the spire. Round the arcade which contains the belfry windows
runs a passage, made just like the clerestory passage of a church. The
whole structure is remarkable for its careful and finished work, the
very corbels just above the floor being heavily foliated, as if they
were intended to be seen from below.

The windows of the spire are interesting for the double plane of tracery
which adds to the strength of the spire. The inner tracery resembles
that without, with the difference that it has no transom. The transom,
by the way, is a rare feature in the Early English period.

The only exterior view of any extent is from the garden of the Professor
of Pastoral Theology on the northern side of the cathedral. It seems
unfortunate that so important a spot should be in private hands, and the
public excluded; but still a visitor who desires to go into the garden
can obtain permission by applying at the professor's house in Tom Quad.
The garden is a pretty one, and the view of the homely-looking cathedral
set in this quiet old-fashioned retreat is well worth taking the trouble
to see. The Latin Chapel, which seems to stand right on the lawn,
looks like some little village church, while the north transept seems
inconceivably smaller than from the inside.

From between the transept and the nave, near the house that is to say,
there is an excellent view of the tower.

Two remarkable square turrets flank the transept: they resemble those at
the east end, and are nearly of the same date; they are, however, capped
by pinnacles like those on the tower, but somewhat earlier. At the angle
of the transept aisle there is a smaller turret, early Perpendicular in
style, with crockets on its spire, and in its west face a niche with a
weather-worn statue of St. Frideswide. The flowing tracery of the four
beautiful windows of the Latin Chapel is well seen from here; and the
buttresses that support its wall should also be noticed.

[Illustration: EARLY SAXON ARCHES.]

=The Saxon Apses=.--In this garden can also be seen the site of the
Saxon apses, discovered in 1887 by Mr. Park Harrison. The history
of this discovery is an extremely interesting one. It was known that
two small rag-stone arches existed at the east end of the Lady Chapel
and north choir aisle, though blocked up and concealed by plastering
inside the church. Their character and rude workmanship suggested that
they formed part of the original church of the Holy Trinity, St. Mary,
and All Saints, which was built C. 727; but there was some years ago
a tradition among architects that nearly all Saxon churches were built
of wood, and the presumption naturally was that the original church
was entirely destroyed in the fire of 1002. However, it came gradually
to be admitted, even by the late Mr. J.H. Parker, that Saxon churches
were built of stone from the earliest times; it was further found to be
implied by the charter of Ethelred that the old church had been of stone;
for the charter states that, when it was found necessary to dislodge the
Danes by burning, the fire was thrown upon the wooden shingles of the
roof. Another document supported this theory by stating that Ethelred
"repaired and enlarged" the old building. Thus the presumption lately
came to be that these arches, and the wall in which they stood, belonged
to the church of 727.

In opposition to this it was suggested that they were nothing more than
barrow-holes made in the twelfth century to admit the Norman workmen.
Mr. Harrison, however, was strongly opposed to this view, urging that no
barrow-holes existed of such narrow dimensions as these doors, or in such
an inconvenient place as the east wall of a chapel. In order to put his
conviction to the test he asked that excavations should be made outside
the east wall, to see if the doorways led into a crypt or "porticus,"
since apses, used for interments, had been found of an equally early
date at Winchester and Lyminge.


This venture of faith was triumphantly rewarded by the discovery in 1887
of the foundations of three apses, corresponding with these two arches,
and with a third between them, of which traces were found shortly after.
The first excavation in the canon's garden took the form of a trench
outside the southern arch, and led to the discovery of part of the
foundation of an apse, which measured a quarter-circle. The rest of this
foundation had been destroyed, evidently when the wall of the Norman
presbytery was built (which, it is notable, is quite twelve inches
thicker than the wall containing the arches); but it was evident that
the archway in the wall must have stood in the centre of a perfect apse.
Similar foundations were next laid bare opposite the northern arch. Then
the earth was removed opposite the Norman pilaster buttress, which,
standing midway between the two arches, led the investigators to suppose
that it hid a centre Saxon archway. Nothing was found at first but a small
piece of concrete walling (2 feet by 1-1/2 feet) which it was at once seen
might prove to be part of the north wall of the chancel of the ancient
church, if a centre apse could be proved to have projected beyond the two
side apses. Excavations were therefore commenced further east, with the
result that the foundations of the central apse were discovered under
a drive in the garden. The missing portion of this apse was accounted
for by a main drain which had been cut across its inner side, and by
a pit which had been made for the interment of bones found elsewhere
in the Close. About the same time Mr. A.J. Evans, the Keeper of the
Ashmolean Museum, found rag-stones by the side of the Norman buttress,
which proved to be part of the central archway, a little wider and higher
than the two side ones. It now became clear that this archway was really
not a doorway at all but a small chancel-arch, the three arches being
similar to those still used in the conservative churches of the East. It
is a foot wider than the chancel-arch of the Saxon church at Bradford,
Wilts, and two feet wider than the arch between the tower and chancel
of Wotten Wawen church in Warwickshire, the jambs and arches of which
were also built of rag-stone. Further evidence of the antiquity of this
east wall is the fact that the sill of the south archway was found to
be 2 feet 8 inches below the level of the pavement of the Norman church,
as is shown in the elevation.


This Eastern plan of three apses was adopted about the same early period
at Melbourne and Lindisfarn; and, as it was not long before the death of
the great Archbishop Theodore that this arrangement came in, there is a
great probability that he introduced it from his native country of Syria,
where the churches were always constructed with three apses. The absence
of any marks of juncture upon the exterior of the walls also inclines one
to suspect that there was a passage from apse to apse behind the wall,
as there always is in Eastern churches. The whole arrangement will be
made abundantly clear from the above conjectural ground-plan of the
ancient church, c. 740.

There are indications that these three apses are not of precisely the
same date, for the northernmost arch is the smallest of the three, and
the apse is correspondingly smaller. It is therefore surmised that the
southernmost apse belonged to the church of Didan, the father of St.
Frideswide, and dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity, "without
any more title and addition," while the other apses were the additions
of Frideswide herself, when the church was adapted to the purposes of
a convent, with the additional dedication to St. Mary and All Saints.
This may be the reason why the chapel in a line with the central apse,
and therefore on the site of the ancient nave, is still the Lady Chapel.

Another important point rests upon the document which states that, when
Ethelred II. enlarged and repaired the old building, the result was
that the tomb of St. Frideswide, which before was on the south side of
the church, thereupon stood in the middle. The tomb of St. Frideswide
must therefore have been in the southernmost of these three apses (in
a "chapel," as Wood says, on the south side of the convent church),
and not, as some people have supposed, in the vault discovered under
the tower during Scott's restoration. A significant corroboration of
the old document is supplied by the fact that the Norman plinth, which
was carried across the other two archways, breaks off at the arch which
leads into the south apse. It would thus seem that access was, after
the Norman restoration, still afforded into this chapel, and that St.
Frideswide's relics remained there until the Translation of 1180, when
they were moved "from an obscure to a more noted place in the church"
on the completion of the Norman restoration.

After the investigations had been completed, the earth was laid down
again, but stones have been set in the drive to mark the site of the old
foundations. Some charcoal and reddened stone which was found--evidently
a relic of the fire of 1002--is now to be seen in the gallery over the
vestry in the cathedral. In addition to this, the remains of a rough
pavement were exposed in the north apse, and some square stones in the
chord of the central apse, which seem to be part of the old altar. In
addition to the numerous scattered bones that the workmen unearthed,
two complete skeletons were found in the southern apse, and underneath
the stone slabs upon which they lay another skeleton, that of a woman
or a man of short stature, possibly that of Didan himself, or his wife
Saffrida, who are both known to have been buried in the church.

=The Cloister= now forms only three sides of a square, the western part
having been destroyed by Wolsey in order to make room for the hall
staircase. Considerably inferior to those of Magdalen and New College,
it is small and unpretentious: its tracery, of a humdrum Perpendicular
type (mostly restored), and its vaulting, which is peculiar, point to
the latter half of the fifteenth century as the time of its erection. Of
the earlier cloister no trace remains, except the door and windows of
the chapter-house. The north walk was converted into a muniment room,
much to the defacement, one may imagine, of this part of the college;
but it has now been restored, and a good imitation of the fine old lierne
groined roof inserted, though funds have not been provided to finish the
carving of the bosses. Mr. R.J. King points out that the panelling of
the sides of the windows agrees very closely, even to the character of
the cusps, with that introduced into the clerestory of the choir. The
quadrangle of the cloister was the scene of Cranmer's degradation. In
its area are the foundations of the lavatory, which was built about 1490.

Above the arches of the cloister runs a story with latticed windows on
the east and south side, which adds considerably to the picturesqueness
of the whole. Indeed, as one stands on the steps leading to the hall,
the ivy-grown cloister, in spite of its modest proportions, has a beauty
of its own. The latticed windows give it an air of mystery, as if strange
old rooms were concealed by them; and in fact on the south side there
is a curious library of time-worn theological books, which is seldom
entered, and hardly ever used: it belongs to the Regius Professor of
Divinity. The windows on the east side hide nothing more romantic than
a small lumber-room, cut up by the raising of the wooden roof beneath,
and an undergraduate's bed-chamber.

From the same position at the west of the cloister one can enjoy the
best view of the tower and spire of the church. One is close enough
to see all the detail, and yet from this angle nothing is lost of the
general effect. On a moonlit evening the effect is particularly solemn
and beautiful. From this point also should be noticed the difference in
the masonry of the south transept. The lower story is entirely of rubble,
while the upper story is partly of good ashlar work.

On the south side of the cloister is the Old Library, as it is now called,
which was formerly the refectory of the monastery, and is all that now
remains of the conventual buildings. Its large Perpendicular windows,
rising like a clerestory above it, look on to the cloister, but they were
spoilt on the inside by a staircase, when the building was turned into
undergraduates' rooms. On the other side, facing the meadow buildings,
there is a curious little oriel window, its lights now walled up, that
once contained the pulpit whence the lessons were read during meals. The
rest of the Perpendicular windows on this side are entirely gone, and
the beauty of what was one of the best buildings in Oxford destroyed.
An engraving of the Refectory in its original state is given in Skelton.


The roof, which formerly hid the upper part of the chapter-house door, has
been removed, and, by a happy device, a wooden roof groined in the same
way has been inserted at a higher level, thus giving the old doorway the
benefit of its full proportions. This doorway has been attributed to Prior
Guimond, and belongs mainly to the later Norman period, of which it is a
fine example. The two inner divisions of the arch are richly ornamented
with zigzag moulding; the two outer divisions rest on shafts, of which
the pair on the north have sculptured, and the pair on the south plain
cushion, capitals. On either side of the doorway is a round-headed window
of two lights, plain without, but ornamented within with the same label
as that which surrounds the outer arch of the doorway itself. An ancient
painting can be made out on the north side of the northernmost of these
windows; it was traced recently, and found to be the figure of a saint.

=The Chapter-House= was rebuilt in the very best Early English period,
of which it is an excellent example. It bears some resemblance to the
chapter-house at Chester, being especially remarkable for the purity of
its style and the excellence of its detail. It would, indeed, be hard to
find a better specimen of a mediæval chamber.

As the whole effect of the room depends upon its proportions, it is hardly
necessary to say that the extraordinary genius for making the worst of
everything, which seemed at one time to take possession of the English
people, inspired some one to build a wall right across the middle. This
has, however, been removed, and the visitor has now nothing to complain
of but a want of colour. The chapter-house has been used for divinity
lectures since the Latin Chapel was restored to its original purpose;
and the lower part of the walls is now hung with curtains, which help
to destroy the coldness due to the destruction of the old painting
and furniture.


The room is an oblong, divided into four bays, the vaulting of which
springs from clustered shafts, supported on curiously carved corbels.
Two of these corbels are in the form of monks' heads, very vividly
conceived; they face each other, and are thought, from the vivacity
of their expression, to be represented as carrying on a conversation
together. The perfect taste of the rich carving on the bosses of the
roof will also be noticed. One of them represents our Lady crowned,
in the act of giving an apple to the Holy Child.

But the most striking feature of the chapter-house is its east end. An
arcade of five arches fills the entire space; of these the three central
arches are pierced for windows, deeply recessed, and having a double set
of shafts to support their arches, the inner shafts being clustered,
and ornamented with dog-tooth moulding. Each light is crossed by a
transom, with a later four-centred arch beneath. Foliage is introduced
in the spandrels, and every capital in the room is richly foliated,
nor could anything exceed the grace and finish of the carving. There
are two windows of similar character on the south side of the room,
and one on the north. There are also some pieces of remarkably fine
glass in these side windows, which one should be careful not to miss.
The remains of painting on the groined ceiling are not likely to
escape notice,--the figures of St. Peter and St. Paul can be easily

[Illustration: BOSS IN CHAPTER-HOUSE.]

A thirteenth century stone slab now rests in the chapter-house; it was
brought here from Rewly Abbey, where it covered the tomb of Ela, wife of
Thomas de Newburgh, Earl of Warwick, and daughter of William Longspée.
In the east wall is preserved the foundation stone of Wolsey's College
at Ipswich, the inscription on which runs,--"_Anno Christi 1528, et
regni Henrici octavi, regis Angliae 20, mensis vero Junii 15, positum
per Johannem epm. Lidensem_,"--John Holt being titular Bishop of Lydda,
and probably a suffragan of Lincoln. The stone has no connection with
Christ Church, beyond the fact that it commemorates another benefaction
of Wolsey, and was presented to the House in 1789.

A small staircase in the south wall leads up into the charming
oak-panelled room, which is used by the chapter for meetings. In the
window of the staircase will be noticed some initial letters and other
devices in stained glass which are among the very finest of their kind.
In the upper room itself, which looks pleasantly on to a garden, are
some interesting pictures:--one of Henry VII.; another of the same
king, younger, with his queen; Henry VIII.; Elizabeth; Mary; Samuel
Fell, the father of Bishop Fell, and Dean of Christ Church himself;
Busby, the terrible headmaster of Westminster School, also connected
with this House; two portraits of the talented Dean Aldrich, and one
of Peter Martyr, whose wife was so strangely made to share the grave
with St. Frideswide. Peter Martyr had been himself an Augustinian prior:
he adopted strong reforming views, and was made Regius Professor of
Divinity here in 1549. He lived near Tom Gate; but the undergraduates
broke his windows, and he moved to the cloister, where he fortified
his garden. According to Blunt, he gave up the professorship when the
undergraduates annoyed him, but returned on being made a canon. In this
chapter-room there is a good Elizabethan table, a curious old iron safe,
and some Chippendale chairs.


A gateway in the cloister to the north of the chapter-house leads into
the slype, which occupies the position usual in monastic buildings
between the chapter-house and the transept. In this case the slype is a
plain barrel-vaulted passage that takes up part of the transept itself,
and forms the lower story of the choir-vestry (as it now is) within the
church. It leads into the old cemetery, whence a good view is obtained
of St. Lucy's chapel, the east end, and the chapter-house. In the garden
are the tombs of Philip Pusey, son of Dr. Pusey, and Edith Liddell,
who is commemorated in St. Catherine's window. The round-headed doorway,
now blocked up, should also be noticed: it may be one of the doorways of
Ethelred's church, and is in any case the only ancient one left.

The east end was restored in 1871 by Gilbert Scott, in accordance with the
late Norman design, of which fragments, left when the Decorated window
was inserted, still remained in the wall; but how far exactly it follows
the original no one appears to know.

An elaborate wheel-window occupies the upper part of the chancel gable;
above it is a blind arcade of transitional pointed arches, and below are
two round-headed windows. The square turrets at the angles are ornamented
with arcading in three stories: the upper is on a level with the pointed
arcading of the main wall, and similar in style; the middle carries on
the line of the wheel-window, and consists of two round arches on each
turret; the lower, on a level with the two round-headed windows, is made
up of three round arches, which, by intersecting, form four pointed
arches. The whole, in spite of its being (with the exception of the
turrets) a restoration, gives one a good idea of transitional work on a
large scale. In plan it is still Romanesque, in detail it is Early Gothic.

=The Bell Tower=, which stands above the hall-staircase, is really only
a stone case built by Mr. Bodley to hide the wooden structure which
actually contains the bells. The tower, as it now stands, is incomplete,
Mr. Bodley having intended a lofty and intricate wooden superstructure to
rest upon it. The authorities, however, were afraid of its dwarfing the
spire and Tom Tower, and consequently left the structure in its present
state, much against the opinion, as we understand, of the architect, whose
completed design can be seen in the common-room, and is so magnificently
picturesque, that one cannot help hoping that the authorities will see
their way to erecting it. After all, if every one in the past had been
afraid of overtopping the cathedral, Oxford would never have become the
"Sweet city of her dreaming spires" that we know The cathedral can hold
its own, and so can Tom Tower; for neither makes any pretensions to
loftiness. The original hall-tower seems to have stood on the same spot
before the space was cleared for the erection of Dean Fell's staircase.

The bells themselves are, with Great Tom, the only relics left of the
glorious Abbey of Oseney. They were considered the finest in England,
and were after their removal to the cathedral made famous again as
"The merry Christ Church bells" of Dean Aldrich's catch. Their names are
contained in the following line, which professes to be a hexameter--

  _Hautclerc, Douce, Clement, Austin, Marie, Gabriel et John._

[Illustration: TOM TOWER.]

=Tom Tower=, over the entrance to Tom Quad from St. Aldate's, is one
of the characteristic features of the city. The lower story was built
by Wolsey, but the cupola which gives it so uncommon an appearance was
added by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682. On the side facing St. Aldate's
is a statue of the great Cardinal, in a very dramatic attitude, and on
the quadrangle face a statue of Queen Anne, placed there by her minister
Harley, with this inscription,--_Annae Principi Optimae Secretarius
ipsius principalis Robertus Harley hac in sede posuit quod illam coleret
et hanc amaret_. The vault of the archway under Tom Tower is decorated
with the arms of those who helped towards the completion of the
quadrangle. "Tom," the great bell which gives its name to the quadrangle,
and its orders to the whole University, came, with the cathedral bells,
from Oseney Abbey; and twenty shillings were paid in 1545 for the
conveyance of Tom and his satellites from the Abbey to Christ Church.
It weighed 17,000 pounds, and bore the inscription,--_In Thomae laude
resono Bim Bom sine fraude_; but it was recast in 1680, and its present
inscription is _Magnus Thomas Clusius Oxoniensis renatus Apr. 8, 1680_.
It will have to be recast again some day, for it is sadly out of tune;
its note ought to be B flat, but is not, and the bell itself is cracked.


Perhaps the other college buildings are sufficiently connected with
the history of the cathedral to allow of our mentioning them. For
Wolsey built the kitchen, which is a remarkably fine specimen of the
peculiar architecture necessitated for such a building, and also the
magnificent hall, the finest perhaps in England, and interesting to
us also as containing the portraits of many of the men referred to in
this book. Wolsey also built three sides of Tom Quad. Though the bases
of the buttresses for its cloister invite the enterprising builder, the
Quad is probably best left as it is; for a projecting cloister is not
anything the architectural success that a cloister is which forms the
ground story of a building continued over it, and the Quad is besides
so large as to be unmanageable in the matter of cloisters. The fountain
in the middle is called "Mercury," because Dr. Anthony Radcliffe set up
a statue there of the nimble god in 1695. Frank Buckland, by the way,
about five years before his death, put into Mercury several golden
carp; there was also added an _Aurea Tinca_ from Austria, a superb
creature, popularly called "The Dean." The surface of the Quad was in
1665 lowered three feet, so as to give a greater appearance of height
to the surrounding buildings. Bishop John Fell finished the quadrangle,
and his father, Dean Samuel Fell, built the vaulted staircase of the Hall
(1640), which is one of the instances of the curious survival of Gothic
in Oxford, that home of "lost causes," which need never have been lost,
and of "impossible ideals," which ought to be made possible. Late as it
is, and open to the structural criticism of all Perpendicular work, it is
most deservedly admired. The staircase itself must not be laid to Fell's
charge; it is the work of the James Wyatt. Dean Aldrich built Peckwater
Quad, which is a decent work of its kind, too grim and gloomy to be as
attractive as All Saints Church, and dreadfully disfigured by the strange
tendency to moulder away that besets Headington stone, from which Oxford
as a whole has suffered so much.

The Library in Peckwater Quad was begun in 1716 (designed by Dr. G.
Clerke), and finished in 1761, the original intention having been to leave
an open piazza beneath it; but its columns were connected, in the end,
by a wall. It contains a few first-rate pictures (including an exquisite
Francescà) among a great many palpable shams, and a collection of
drawings mainly by fifteenth and sixteenth century artists, which are said
to have given Ruskin his first enthusiasm for Italian art, when he was
an undergraduate at the House. Wyatt was the architect of Canterbury Gate.

Dean Liddell built the Meadow Buildings nearly thirty years ago;
the architect was Mr. T. Deane. They are as bad as the other college
buildings in Oxford of the same period.



The cathedral is best entered through the handsome porch in Tom Quad which
was cut by Mr. Bodley through one of the canonical houses; in order,
perhaps, to announce that the old _régime_ had passed away, and the
time at last arrived when "the teachers of theology no longer dwell on
the ruins of the church they should protect," as a writer fifty years
back had half-despairingly foretold. This porch is a happy compromise
between the old heart-breaking descent into a half-ruined nave, and
the rather impossible scheme of continuing the church into the middle
of the Quad. The former spoilt the cathedral, the latter would have
spoilt the college; but by the present arrangement the church serves
very creditably for both its purposes, and one may well spend a day
there without remembering what Wolsey did to the nave.

On entering the cathedral itself the visitor finds himself in a kind of
narthex which is in fact the ante-chapel of a college chapel. Before him
is the organ-screen, the entrance under which is veiled by a curtain at
service time; on either side he has a glimpse of the aisles. The effect
is peculiar, but not unpleasant, although the ante-chapel is a bare bit
of modern restoration, wisely left unsculptured, and unrelieved except
for some monuments, of which one may gratefully say that they are best
where they are. But passing under the screen, all is changed. We find
ourselves in one of the most charming and distinctive interiors of a
country of interesting churches. The curious and happy arrangement of
the great pillars and triforium, the variety and originality of the
sculptured capitals, the rich pendent vaulting of the choir, and the
touch of mystery in the further chapels, all combine to give to this
creation of a long and chequered history an attraction peculiarly its

Yet the same bluntness of aspect which impresses one in the spire is
the leading characteristic of the interior also. Only in this case the
effect is not part of the original plan, but is due to the destruction
by Wolsey of the three Western bays. Things must have seemed far worse
before the new western bay added twenty feet to the nave, and brought
the church right back to the cloister around Tom Quad, for though it
only serves as an ante-chapel, it yet helps considerably to break the
enclosed appearance, which must have been almost oppressive before.

As it is, Christ Church is the smallest of our cathedrals; for even with
the new ante-chapel it measures but 175 feet in length. Instead of being
of the usual cruciform plan, it is now almost square,--in fact, the length
from the reredos to the organ-screen is 132 feet, while the breadth across
from the Latin Chapel to St. Lucy's Chapel is 108 feet. The church is
made up of the shortened nave with its two aisles, and ante-chapel, the
central tower, the north transept with its one aisle, the south transept,
and the eastern half of the church, which itself contains no less than
six divisions,--the choir, with its two aisles, the Lady Chapel on the
north, and the Latin Chapel (or St. Catherine's) on the north again of
that, while on the south is the small chapel of St. Lucy.

If the unusual appearance of the cathedral is partly due to Wolsey's
destruction, it is partly due also to its being used as a college
chapel, and partly to the fact that in general plan, and to some extent
in detail, it is Ethelred's design, commenced seventy years before the
great developments of Norman architecture began. Ethelred himself probably
only completed the choir and adjacent parts, and even there the work was
very much altered in late Norman times; while the nave itself seems to
be principally Norman (though built in imitation of Ethelred's work),
with the exception of the pillars, which must be earlier than the Norman
restoration, and may be of Saxon date, though we have no documentary
clue as to what happened from the reign of Canute to that of Henry I.,
except that the church was, during the latter part of the time, in a
very bad way.

The following are Mr. Park Harrison's conclusions as to the general plan
of the church, which he set before the British Archæological Association
in 1892:--"The design of the building is clearly derived from the original
pre-Norman church. The uniformity of plan throughout affords a remarkable
instance of the way in which early church-builders imitated previous
work, the process being, at Oxford, slow enough to make stages in the
construction, that must have occupied instead of thirty years, as stated
in the explanatory cards suspended in the cathedral, and quoted in some
of the guide-books, at least 160. There were three changes in the profiles
of the bases, and three in the abaci, all before the years 1170 or 1180."

Thus the cathedral is a most important evidence of the high state of
civilisation at which our Anglo-Saxon forefathers gradually arrived
after the landing of St. Augustine. It is some satisfaction to our
national pride to discover that they did not owe their culture to the
Norman settlement, nor worship in wooden sheds before the arrival of
the Conqueror, as was till recently supposed; but that the people who
produced poets like Caedmon, artists like Dunstan, and scholars like
Alfred and Bede, were also able to build churches worthy of such great
names. More will be said about their workmanship when we come to discuss
the capitals in the choir, but here we may refer the reader to a drawing
in Mr. Harrison's pamphlet, "The Pre-Norman Date," of the apse of a church
from the "Dunstan" MS., which shows at what elaborate architecture the
Anglo-Saxons had arrived by the year 1000, and illustrates the curious
foliage found on the cathedral capitals.

=The Nave= was probably completed during the priorate of Robert of
Cricklade (c. 1160-1180), the restoration being begun shortly after
1158, when the Pope's charter was secured. The clerestory, which is
transitional, may therefore have been still unfinished at the time of
his death.

The remarkable arrangement of the triforium is characteristic of all the
four main divisions of the church. From the large pillars spring circular
arches worked with heavy round mouldings. _Underneath_ these arches,
not above them, is the triforium which is a blind arcade of two arches
set in the tympanum beneath the main arch. The reason why there is this
space under the main arch is because corbels in the form of half-capitals
are set on the further side of the great pillars, a good way below the
true capitals, to support the vaulting of the aisles. In this way, says
Scott, "the pillars and arches have been divided, as it were, into two
halves in their thickness, the half facing the aisle retaining its natural
height and proportions, but that facing the central space being so raised
as to embrace the triforium stage, the openings of which appear between
the two ranges of arches; the clerestory ranging above." Of course, by
this arrangement, the pillars avoid the low and stumpy proportions they
would otherwise have, and the general effect of height in the nave (which
is actually only 41 feet 6 inches) is considerably increased; for, were
the triforium in the usual place above the main arches, the main pillars
would not come any higher than the lower half-capitals. The arrangement
is very unusual in England; though it is found in Italian Gothic, and
even in Renaissance work in that country, as in St. Petronio, Bologna.
It occurs in the transept of Romsey Abbey, in the choir at Jedburgh,
in Dunstable Priory, and in Tewkesbury Abbey. That it existed in Saxon
times is proved by a drawing in Cædmon's Paraphrase (c. 1000) in the
Bodleian (_c.f._ "The Pre-Norman Date"). Dr. Ingram, who wrote in 1830,
thought that this arrangement was made in order to raise the height of
the building in the twelfth century, the triforium being the clerestory
of the old Saxon church peeping out under the later work. And though
his zeal was not according to knowledge (he thought the chapter-house
doorway was Saxon), yet there is a possibility that this theory of his
may have some truth in it.


Until lately, the church was thought to belong altogether to Prior
Guimond's time. Sir Gilbert Scott fixed the date of the rather heavily
carved capital over Bishop Berkeley's monument at 1170-80, owing to its
close resemblance to certain capitals at Canterbury Cathedral of this
period. The others seem to be of earlier date than this, and possibly of
Ethelred's time. Strange as they are, however, they do not suggest a Saxon
origin so strongly as do those of the choir. They are unique in design,
and have neither the massiveness of Norman, nor the crisp severity of
Early English work. The light, graceful, and rather fantastic foliage of
the three eastern capitals on the south side--almost like iron-work--will
be noticed. The third capital on the north side bears some resemblance
to two of those in the choir.

The pillars of the nave also present problems of some difficulty. They
are alternately circular and octagonal, and the masonry of six of them
points with something like certainty to a date considerably earlier than
the twelfth century restoration. In the four western pillars the stones
are a good deal smaller than those in the two octagonal ones of the next
bay: this makes it highly probable that they are of earlier date than
the octagonal pillars, which are certainly Norman of the period of the
restoration c. 1160. Mr. Harrison believes there is also considerable
evidence that the two cylindrical pillars were reduced in girth in order
to make them of the same size as the octagonal pillars then introduced;
for the lower half-capitals project nine inches on either side beyond
the pillars, while in those of the choir, which are unreduced, their
projection is only five. There is also reason to suppose that the other
pair of octagonal pillars, those by the organ-screen, were cut out of
older ones at the same time.


The clerestory windows are transitional, as is proved among other things
by their being pointed, for purely æsthetic reasons, and not (as in the
case of the north and south tower-arches) from any structural necessity.
Each window has a smaller blind arch on either side of it, making a
triple opening within to a single window in the wall; and the shafts of
this triple opening are made to carry small attached shafts which bear
the arches above. The capitals of the larger and lower shafts spread in
an unusual manner, having to support a mass of walling.

=The Roof= is a fine example of sixteenth century woodwork, and doubtless
replaced a simpler Norman roof of wood; but the brackets which support it
were added later to the Norman shafts, in order to carry a Perpendicular
vault of stone, which was never carried out. It is divided into small
panels, whose ornament, though rich, is rather mechanical.

The nave and choir are used as the College Chapel of Christ Church. In
the returned stalls by the organ-screen sit the two censors; most of the
undergraduates occupy the benches of the nave (which are modern woodwork
carved by Chapman after Sir G.G. Scott's designs), as far as the raised
seats where the choir sits; the central benches under the tower are
reserved for the freshmen; while the dean, canons, students (_i.e._,
fellows), and graduates fill the stalls of the choir, the other seats
of the choir being occupied by the Scholars. The public use the aisles,
transepts, and chapels on Sundays, but on weekdays are free of the nave
for the two special cathedral services.

  (_from a photograph by Carl Norman & Co._).]

=Monuments of the Nave=.--Berkeley's monument is attached to one of
the north pillars, which it entirely defaces. _George Berkeley_ was
Bishop of Cloyne, and died in 1753, during a visit to Oxford; he was as
good as he was famous, and his monument is as large as it is ugly. The
epitaph, though not altogether untrue, and doubtless well meant, has the
unfortunate effect of prepossessing the reader against its subject,--_Si
Christianus fueris, si amans patriae, utroque nomine gloriari potes
Berkleium vixisse_. Beneath is inscribed the quotation from Pope,--

    "To Berkeley every virtue under heaven."

On the pier by the pulpit the talented _Dean Aldrich_ is commemorated by
a bust, which shows him to have had a very good face, and bears by way
of further adornment a winged skull that is quite unnecessarily hideous.
Aldrich has been already referred to: he was the architect of Peckwater
and All Saints, the composer of many well-known anthems and services,
the author of the once standard "Oxford Logic," and "a most universal
scholar." He succeeded Massey, the Roman Catholic dean, who had to "make
off and retire across the seas" in 1689. Browne Willis says of Aldrich
that "as he spent his Days in Celibacy, so he appropriated his Income
to Hospitality and Generosity, and, like Bishop Fell, always encouraged
learning; as a celebrated Author tells us, 'to the utmost of his Power,
being one of the greatest then in England, if we consider him as a
Christian, or a Gentleman,' to which give me leave to add that he always
had the Interest of his College at heart; of which I may experimentally
say, he was an excellent Governor." He was very modest, and desired to be
buried without any memorial, a wish which was at first complied with by
his "thrifty nephew." Sunk into a pillar opposite is a curious old brass,
to the memory of John Walrond, student, who died young in 1602.

A marble slab on the pavement in the midst of the nave commemorates
_Dr. Pusey_, who was canon of Christ Church, in virtue of his Hebrew
Professorship, and lies buried here. The Latin inscription mentions also
his wife and daughter, and of him it speaks as "Professor of the Hebrew
tongue, and Canon of this church (_aedis_), who in the peace and pity of
Jesus fell asleep, September 16th, 1882, being 82 years and 24 days old."

=The Organ= stands on a fine Jacobean screen, dating from Duppa's
time (c. 1635); it was removed here from before the choir during
the restoration. The outer casing belonged to a former organ built by
Father Schmidt in 1680. The present instrument was built by Willis &
Son in 1884. It has four manuals and pedals, thirty-nine speaking stops,
nine couplers, ten pneumatic pistons, six composition pedals, and other
accessory movements. It has a very fine tone, and is well placed for
sound. Its external appearance is much improved by the pretty green
_appliqué_ curtain which now hangs in front of the organist's seat.

[Illustration: PULPIT.]

=The Pulpit=.--Christ Church is fortunate in possessing an old oak pulpit,
escaping thus the garish ventures in marble which have been disastrous
to so many other cathedrals. This pulpit is Jacobean (c. 1635). It is a
remarkable piece of workmanship, elaborately carved, and well designed:
the grotesques on the panels should be especially noticed, as well as the
light elevated canopy, surmounted by a pelican, which was at one time
transferred to the episcopal throne, and has recently been restored to
its original use.

=The Tower= is not square, the nave and choir sides being wider than
those of the transepts. For this practical reason (and not because of
the transitional character of the work, though transitional it is)
the north and south arches are pointed, while the east and west are
round-headed. The tower arches seem originally to have sprung from the
imposts ornamented with trefoil leaves which can still be seen, though
they were cut through when the present capitals were introduced at the
time of the Norman restoration. The Norman shafts and capitals were
attached to the older and ruder piers. Round these piers are the shafts
of very firm and graceful proportions, their capitals decorated with
foliage. The lower parts of the vaulting shafts of the great piers are cut
off and finished with a narrow beading, which shows that the ritual choir
originally stood here, and did not correspond with the structural choir.


The lantern, which had been blocked up, was reopened at the time of the
recent improvements, and adds considerably to the appearance of the
church. Its first stage is ornamented with an arcade of stout Norman
shafts, whose capitals are carved with a breadth and simplicity well
suited to the height at which they stand: the arcade is bounded above
and below by a heavy round string course. The upper stage has another
arcade, of four large round arches on each side, the corner ones pierced
as windows. Above is an early sixteenth century roof: it is divided
into square panels, in most of which marks of the old ornaments (in
the form of Maltese crosses like those of the nave roof) can be clearly
discerned. At the springing of the main arches Fifteenth Century corbels
have been inserted. In the south-east pier of the tower occurs the break
in the masonry which marks, it is thought, the cessation of the building
operations when Ethelred was driven out of England by Sweyn. It can be
clearly seen from the south choir aisle. The tooling of the masonry half
way up the tower has also been found to be marked with the cross lines,
which distinguish Saxon from Norman mason's work.

During Mr. Billing's restoration in 1856 a remarkable crypt was opened
three feet beneath the paving of the choir between the north and
south piers of the tower. This crypt, which was covered up again after
investigation, was 7 feet long by 5 feet 6 inches, and just high enough
for a man to stand upright; its walls were of stone, and contained
aumbries or lockers at each end. There were also slight remains of
indented crosses on the western side, and at the east enough was missing
to suggest a doorway. The entrance to this chamber may have been through
a trap-door, or by a passage leading into the east side. It was clearly
not intended for sepulture, as its length was from north to south; and
the absence of passages giving convenient access on each side seems to
prove that it was not intended for the exhibition of relics. The most
likely theory is that it was used as a secret chamber to contain the
University chest, which was called the Frideswide chest, because it was
kept in a secure place in this church, its keys being in the hands of
certain canons by appointment of the chancellor. If this seems a very
public place for a secret chamber, it must be remembered that originally
it was immediately under the rood-loft, and therefore admitted of a
trap-door being concealed; though the resting-place of the chest may not
have been kept very secret for all we know. This crypt was probably made
in Norman times, and is unique of its kind.

=The Aisles of the Nave and Transepts= show the progress which was made
at the end of the twelfth century in vaulting: Mr. Ruskin says of the
work here that it is "bad and rude enough, but the best we could do
with our own wits, and no French help." Vaulting originally began with
square ribs, after wards the ribs became plain half-rounds, and later
were moulded Here we find good specimens of the development of all three
stages. In the choir aisles the vaulting arches are partly square and
the ribs on the groins half-round, of a heavy character. These ribs were
inserted at a later period, as is sufficiently clear from the awkward
way they are fitted to corbels at the side of the capitals which carry
the vault. In the west aisle of the north transept the vaulting is the
same, but lighter in character; and there are no corbels, though the
fitting is still awkward. In the north aisle of the nave the vaulting is
pointed but still with plain half-round ribs, a little lighter than in
the transept-aisles. But in the south aisle of the nave, as the builders
got on with their work to the westward, their style underwent a further
development, and a pear-shaped moulding with a fillet along the edge
proclaims that the Early English period had begun. With the completion of
this aisle they seemed to have become bolder; for the vaulting shafts in
the transepts with their unmistakable Norman capitals, and the solitary
ribbed stones resting on those of the south transept, prove that they
intended to go beyond the practice of Norman architects and throw a
vault across the wider span of the transepts themselves. Perhaps they
immediately afterwards discovered that the task was beyond them: at all
events the vaulting shafts were left as they are, and the transepts have
never been vaulted.

The windows of the nave and transept aisles are uniformly uninteresting.
They were originally plain Norman lights, then Perpendicular, then
seventeenth century Gothic, and finally "restored" by Scott, in
imitation of the Perpendicular work. The windows of Dean Duppa,
which they replaced, were certainly not beautiful in their tracery,
as may be seen by that at the west end of the north nave aisle, which
only the delightful Dutch glass of Van Ling redeems,--but they at least
had some character. In the south nave aisle an attempt has been made to
hark further back by the introduction of a window in Norman style; but
fortunately this has not been persevered with. Only one of the original
Romanesque windows remains, by which to judge the effect contemplated
by the first architects; it is that containing Bishop King's portrait.

=Glass in the Aisles=.--The glass in the restored Perpendicular windows
of the nave aisles (by Clayton and Bell) is very unsatisfactory both
in colour and design. Of that in the round-headed window of the south
aisle of the nave by an Irish artist (O'Connor) one can only say that
it was better conceived than executed. Over the door that leads into
the cloister is a half-window by Mr. Wailes.

The "Faith, Hope, and Charity" window next to this (namely, at the west
end of the aisle) was Sir Edward Burne Jones' second essay here in this
craft. If his first, that in St. Catherine's, the Latin Chapel, was a
wonderful success, this one is a not unpleasant failure, but a failure
none the less. None of the figures are very graceful; the firing seems to
have gone wrong in the most important places, especially in the faces,
which are coarse and expressionless, though one cannot help admiring
the fortitude of Charity in carrying the bulky infant who presents his
vast back to the spectator. The colour is strong, and free from the
miserable timidity of the work in the Perpendicular windows,--for the
whole thing is of course a work of art (and not of commerce), though an
unsuccessful one,--still it fails to harmonise. The window as a whole,
however, is saved by the beautiful foliage which forms the background,
and by the four slender figures in the tracery.

Others have admired it more. Here, for instance, is an appreciative
description from the columns of "The Builder" for April 1888:--"The figure
of Hope has a greyish-blue drapery, varied in tint, and diapered with
the pattern of a flower in stain. The scarf floating round the figure
is sky-blue in tone and lighter than the dress. The figure of Charity has
a ruby over-mantle, with a white dress underneath; while the figure
of Faith has a blue dress beautifully and richly diapered, the upper
portion with a sumptuous Venetian design familiar on the brocades of
the sixteenth century, and the lower portion with a sprig of foliage.
The tone of the backgrounds is a rich, warm green, and is very carefully
painted with foliage, and the contrast yielded by the pale blue of the
drapery, and the rich, warm green of the background in the two outside
windows, is most harmonious and striking. The detail in this window is
very elaborate, and every part of it bears traces of care and thought."

In a corner of this window is an inscription,--_In Memoriam Edwardi
Denison hujusce Aedis commensalis Curâ amicorum, A.D. 1870._ Edward
Denison, nephew of the Speaker, and son of the Bishop of Salisbury, was
the pioneer of those who have since founded the numerous settlements
in the neglected parts of London. At a period of acute distress he
convinced himself that no good could be done by sending money from
the West End unless educated people could be found who would give up
their lives to making friends with the poor. Accordingly he took the
novel step of going to live in the East End; there he founded a club,
and lived apart from the brilliant society to which he was accustomed.
Besides teaching and organising, he studied carefully the social
conditions of his neighbours, and many of the methods now universally
practised date from his experience. Shortly after he had been elected
M.P. for Newark he died, at the early age of twenty-nine, and there was
"hardly a home within his district that had not some memory left of the
love and tenderness of his personal charity."

In the west end of the north aisle of the nave is the last remaining
relic of the glass which the Dutchman Van Ling painted in Dean Duppa's
time. The rest, which filled the aisle, was removed about twenty-five
years since, on the ground that it made the church too dark. There are
various opinions about this window, which represents Jonah sitting under
his gourd, and the town of Nineveh in the distance. We must confess to
a great admiration for it; the foliage is fine and rich, and if it is a
little over-strong in its green, that only makes it more characteristic
of its age. And, however that may be, there cannot be two opinions as to
beauty of the town in the background, which reminds one irresistibly of
Dürer; and, with its rich brown houses, bluish roofs, touches of greenery,
and fair purple hills beyond, makes the right-hand light of the window
a picture of which one never wearies. The whole is leaded in rectangular
panes, like Bishop King's window.

=Monuments of the Nave Aisles=.--In the south aisle there are two
monuments of interest; that of _Corbet_ (1688) for the characteristic
decoration of cupids and wreath work; that of _Pococke_ for further
reasons. Edward Pococke (1604-1691), whose bust was moved here from the
north aisle by Scott, is represented with pointed beard and wearing the
old tufted college cap. He was the great Arabic scholar of his day;
the first text in Hebrew characters printed at Oxford was published
by him, and his 420 oriental MSS. were bought by the University. Yet
he was condemned, under the Commonwealth, by the Berkshire "Committee
of Scandalous Ministers," on the ground of "insufficiency," his real
offence being that he had used part of the Prayer Book in the public
service. There are two portraits of him in the Bodleian, representing
him with light hair and dark eyes; and a fig-tree which he planted still
flourishes on the south side of the Professor of Hebrew's house. A
striking biography of him has come down to us in a sentence--"His life
appeared to me one constant calm."

=The North Transept= has the unnoticeable peculiarity, that it turns
slightly westward. This is because the choir (into which it is built at
right angles) turns a little to the north, to symbolise, it is said,
the droop of our Lord's head upon the cross. The western aisle of this
transept still remains; the eastern aisle has been lost in the chapels,
of which it now forms the respective western bays.

The north bay of this transept bears the marks in its clerestory of
late Perpendicular restoration; the carved heads on the string-course
above the arch afford an interesting comparison with the Norman heads
above the capitals, and are vigorous sketches of contemporary life. The
capitals in this transept and those in the north aisle of the nave are
strong and varied. The wooden roof of both the transepts was made in the
early sixteenth century, earlier than that of the nave.

The tracery of the great north window had been altered and made ugly by
the seventeenth century restorers; it was accordingly restored back to
its original design by Sir Gilbert Scott.

Under this north window is a panelled tomb belonging to Henry VII.'s
time. It is attributed to _James Zouch_, a monk of the priory, who
died in 1503. In his will, dated October 16, 1503, and preserved in
the Prerogative Office in London, he directs that he shall be interred
under the window of the north transept, and a tomb be erected for him
in the midst of the same window. He also bequeathed £30 to the convent
for vaulting that part of the church, in consideration of his being
there buried.

On each of the shields in the quatrefoil compartments of the tomb is an
inkhorn and pen-case, indicating, it is said, that the monk was a notary
or scribe by profession, though Dr. Ingram speaks of "the pen-case and
inkhorn of Zouch" as an heraldic blazonry.


In the north transept aisle there are curious thin, wavy scrolls of
brasses, commemorating "Leonardus Hutten," and hard by are two pleasant
kneeling figures also in brasses.

Some of the monuments that disfigured the church have fortunately been
removed; of these is Chantrey's great sitting figure of Cyril Jackson,
which took up most of the north transept, but is now removed to the
Library. Of these sequestrated monuments some have been placed in the
ante-chapel; among them are the large and simple memorial of Bishop Fell,
and those of Dean Gaisford (d. 1855) and Bishop Lloyd (d. 1829).

One cannot but admire the spirit which has caused so many brasses to be
set up in recent years to deceased members of the House; and yet it has
become an abuse which calls for serious protest. It is now so much a
precedent that every member of the foundation should have a brass set up
to his memory at his death, that the tribute is become mechanical, and
indeed it would now be a marked slight if any don should die without a
memorial brass being erected. At this rate the cathedral will in a few
generations be entirely defaced unless the tradition be interrupted. As
it is, the brasses are all the reverse of beautiful; and, after a period
of lacquered obtrusiveness, they become leprous, and afterwards black.
A modern brass, indeed, defaces a wall as much as a modern tablet. Surely
some more beautiful form of memorial could be devised. The cathedral is
in need of many things, of colour, and hangings, and furniture. Could
not those tributes of respect take in the future this more honourable
form? Then, when an inscription is necessary, the enamelled tablet, with
its endless possibilities of jewel-like colour, might be used in place
of brass or marble. Something has already been done by the erection of
the beautiful eastern windows, and the cathedral has been fortunate in
escaping an eruption of episcopal tombs; but latterly there has been
an epidemic of brasses, which makes one fear that the artist's work is
being forgotten in the temptation to set off an epitaph with a display
of Latinity.

=Glass in the Transepts=.--The great window of the north transept is by
Clayton and Bell. Mr. Tyrwhitt says of it that it "glows with all the
fires which a fervid fancy can bestow upon the inwards of the Dragon."

The glaring glass in the clerestory of the north and south transepts is
by Henri and Alfred Gérente (1854), artists famous in their day. It was
originally in the great east window (now destroyed), and must have thrown
the members of the House into a stupor when in that prominent position. As
it is, the clerestory windows are a very inappropriate place for colour,
violent enough to "scare a chameleon"; though the glass was evidently put
there as the least conspicuous position. It might now be taken out and
buried, on the chance that time and the earth may have a mellowing effect.

The half-window above the vestry in the south transept is filled with
glass, coloured to look as if it were old, by Clayton and Bell, and given
in memory of Dr. Liddon.

=The South Transept= was originally on the same plan as the north, but
its aisles have disappeared: that on the west to make room for the
cloister; while that on the east is now represented by the chapel of
St. Lucy. Its appearance has also been much altered by the division of
its southern bay into two stories, which reduces its length, since the
lower story is the slype or passage that leads from the cloister to the
cemetery, and is therefore to all intents and purposes outside the
church. The upper story is reached by steps from the transept floor.
The whole of this curious structure, which has the appearance of a small
house built into the transept, is a modern restoration, its immediate
predecessor having been literally a house where dwelt the verger and his
family. In earlier times, however, there had been some kind of erection
here, which was used as a sacristy, and of this traces were found by
Gilbert Scott which led to the present restoration. As these traces,
however, consisted principally of some fragments of a staircase, the
present Early English restoration is only conjectural. On the whole it is
tolerable, though the heavy and unnecessary central buttress one may well
suppose not to be part of the old design. Why the slope of this buttress,
which stands in the middle of the transept, should be so stoutly protected
against the weather, it is hard to imagine. The carving on the tympanum
over the door that leads into the slype is stiff and repulsive. Just
to the right of this door is a holy water stoup, very simply cut into
the pillar, which proves that this entrance from the slype was usual in
old times, when the monastic buildings lay on that side of the church;
at present, however, the door is commonly kept locked.

  (_from a drawing by J. Park Harrison_).]

The chamber above the slype, representing the old sacristy, is now used
as a vestry. It is reached from the transept, and a staircase in it leads
to the gallery above, whence in all probability a door led straight into
the dormitory of the monastery. A similar arrangement to this existed
at Bristol, which was also an Augustinian house; and there are traces
of a door in the wall of Canon Sanday's house which further substantiate
the conjecture. Some direct access to the church from the dormitory was
a great convenience in the days when matins was said in the middle of
the night.

The gallery is now used as a kind of museum for any odd fragments that
are discovered in the precincts. Among them is the quaintly carved base
of a Norman cross, which before the Reformation stood, together with a
pulpit, at the west end of the nave, near the place now occupied by the
fountain. The subjects represented are the Fall, Abraham's Sacrifice,
the Giving of the Law.

The open triforium directly over the Lyttleton monument in this transept
is an important relic of the second Saxon church, and a good instance of
the slight things which sometimes turn the scales in antiquarian disputes.
Professor Willis had in 1840 pronounced (as against Dr. Ingram, whose
pet theory it was that the triforium was the clerestory of Ethelred's
church) that the triforium must be of Norman design, because no grooves
could be found for the insertion of glass in the shafts, as would be the
case if it were Saxon.

Mr. Harrison accordingly, in December 1891, made a close examination of
the shaft and small arches in the open triforium which had struck him
as of Saxon character, with the result that the grooves for glass were
discovered to exist beyond a doubt, but so neatly stopped with mortar as
previously to have escaped notice. They can be clearly discerned inside
the arches, by anyone with good sight, from the floor of the church. The
base of the shaft which carries these arches is equally decisive, for it
is "pudding shaped," entirely different from the other bases, and most
unmistakably Saxon: it also can be seen from the floor, but is worth an
inspection from the gallery over the choir-vestry, whence there is also
an impressive view of the church. With this exception, the triforia and
clerestories of the transepts are similar to those of the nave, though
Saxon tooling has been found on the wall, and there is a break in some
of the masonry on the angle shaft near the vestry door, which possesses
a Saxon base. The principal arches of the clerestories are not pointed,
which proves that the transepts were rebuilt earlier than the nave. Two
corbels on the east side of the transept mark the site of a musicians'
gallery which once projected beyond the triforium.

=St. Lucy's Chapel= in the second bay of the old south transept aisle was
used as a vestry in the days when the transept was devoted to domestic
purposes. It must have ruined the effect of this part of the church,
and formed an extremely inconvenient vestry. Now the chapel is used, not
very appropriately, as a baptistery; it contains a font, well designed
and carved, which was executed in 1882. It is Norman or earlier, with
the exception of the eastern wall, which was rebuilt in order to hold the
present beautiful window. This window is of an uncommon type; the three
lights, less than half the height of the tracery above them, commence
considerably below the spring of the arch. The tracery, which reminds one
of that in Dorchester Abbey, a few miles away, is flamboyant in character,
suggesting the form which the decadence of Gothic architecture took in
France; only in this case it is a decadence that is vigorous as well as

The chapel recalls the time when King Charles held his court in Christ
Church, at the time of the Civil War, many cavalier knights being buried

=Monuments of the South Transept and Chapel=.--There are the tombs of
several prominent royalists in the transept as well as in St. Lucy's
little chapel, most of which might well be spared were it not for their
historic interest. That of Viscount Grandison, for instance, consists of
an urn on a pedestal, altogether huge and hideous; yet Grandison was a
brave and doubtless a graceful cavalier, who died in Oxford of wounds
received in the attack on Bristol in 1643. Another ugly, big monument
is that of Sir E. Littleton, keeper of the Great Seal, who took up arms
"for the royal majesty, during the execrable siege of this city." Sir
John Smith is also buried here: he "redeemed the banner royal" at the
battle of Edgehill, was knighted on the field by the King, and died of
his wounds in 1644, at the early age of twenty-eight.

A very odd monument is that to Viscount Brouncker, who died in 1645,
having been chamberlain to the young Charles, then Prince of Wales. A
smartly dressed gentleman and his wife are represented seated in
meditative attitudes, each with an elbow on the table, while between
their two elbows is propped a skull.

In the tracery of St. Lucy's chapel is to be found the finest old glass
in the cathedral. It belongs to the year 1330, or thereabouts, and
enables one to imagine what the church must have looked like when glass
of this magnificent description abounded, and hangings and altar-pieces
and wall-paintings, hardly less rich, filled every conspicuous position.
In the uppermost compartment of the tracery is a figure of our Lord seated
in glory; below there are angels with censers, and next two Augustinian
monks in blue and white robes, kneeling with outstretched arms; then come
coats of arms, and various grotesque beasts, all most richly coloured
in ruby and blue and green and gold. Below, in the principal spaces,
are (1) St. Martin on horseback giving his coat to the beggar; (2) the
martyrdom of St. Thomas à Becket: St. Thomas' head has been knocked
out by some fanatic, and replaced with white glass; the armour and shields
of the knights should be noticed; (3) St. Augustine, who holds a pastoral
staff, is teaching his monks and others. In the next four spaces are:--The
head of a king; St. Cuthbert, carrying the head of St. Oswald, and wearing
a green chasuble; St. Blaise, in a mulberry-coloured chasuble; the head
of a queen. The glass in the three main lights was destroyed, and then
replaced by some of seventeenth century work, but this too is now gone,
all except a portion of the upper part, which shows that the design was
architectural in character, and the colour that of fog-smitten stone-work.


=The Choir= is in four bays with a presbytery; it is in the same style
as the rest of the church, with the exception of the Perpendicular
alterations in the upper part. It was formerly filled with heavy,
ugly woodwork, and half way up all the pillars may be traced the modern
stone-work which had to be inserted when the stalls and panelling that had
encased the pillars were removed. Not a wreck of the old wood remains, and
the choir is now seated with walnut-wood stalls by Farmer and Brindley,
along which runs a light iron screen, very carefully wrought by Skidmore
of Birmingham in 1871. It is copied from Queen Eleanor's tomb in
Westminster Abbey. The pavement relaid in 1871 contains representations of
the cardinal virtues, copied from the church of the Knights of St. John at
Malta. Yet there were original artists to be found twenty-five years ago!

  (_from a drawing by J. Park Harrison_).]

The pillars of the choir are larger than those of the nave, which appear
to have been reduced in girth (see p. 54). They are (according to the
theory of p. 9) part of Ethelred's church, dating from the first decade of
the eleventh century; but their bases belong to the Norman restoration,
and were probably put in by Cricklade. The triforium is also Late Norman,
here as throughout the church, with the single exception of the one
window in the south transept.

It is in the capitals of the choir that the most striking evidence of
Saxon work in the church is said to lie. Thus they are of remarkable
interest, besides being very fine specimens of stone-carving. If the
visitor sits in a stall in the middle of the south side of the choir
he will have the three most important capitals before him, and can study
them at leisure. One striking feature common to them all is that they bear
very evident traces of having been worn by the weather. It has been found
by Mr. Drinkwater that the stone of which they are made is too durable
to have been affected by the atmosphere while under cover; which would
prove that they must have been in their present position exposed to the
driving rains from the south, during the long period when the church was
in ruins, that is to say, before the restoration of the twelfth century.

Another significant feature which these three capitals have in common,
not only with each other but with all the others in the choir, is that
their abaci are extremely thick, just twice as thick as those in the
transepts and nave; and thick abaci are a mark of early work.

Their ornamentation is remarkable, partly Saxon and partly Oriental in
character, and said to be unlike Norman work. Sir Gilbert Scott himself
noticed the latter characteristic of these and other capitals in the
church. "The foliated ornament," he wrote, "assumes a noble character,
evidently evincing a study of the ancient Greek, which was effected
through a Byzantine medium." We have already seen, in the History of the
Cathedral, how this Byzantine influence is to be accounted for by the
fact that Greek clergy flocked to the court of Ethelred's brother-in-law
Richard; and further, it must be noted that many illuminated MSS. of
Saxon date show that Greek ornament was admired and studied at the time.
Professor Westwood, in his "_Lapidarium_," points out that in Saxon art
the designs of stone-carving are so completely identical with those in
the MSS. as to lead us to suppose that the artists of the illuminated
drawings were also the designers of the architecture. So much is this
the case that, "the age of a particular MS. being ascertained, we are
able approximately to determine also the age of the carving." Professor
Westwood was, in fact, among the first to be convinced of the Saxon
origin of the capitals we are discussing.

It is worth while to give a few illustrations of this very important
point. The first capital from the tower on the north side of the choir is
ornamented with that curious _spuma_ or wave-shaped work which has just
the dip and swing of a wave of the sea as it curls over before breaking.

In a Psalter of the beginning of the eleventh century (B.M. Har. 2904)
is to be found precisely the same vivid conventionalism.[2]

The second capital is the most curious one in the church, and is also
the most strikingly Saxon, the stalks issuing from pipes or tubes being
as characteristic almost of Saxon as interlaced work is of Celtic art.

Standing immediately under this capital, one is able clearly to
discern the faces on the corner volutes, which have each a crown of
leaves like one found in the famous tenth century "Dunstan" MS. in the
British Museum. One of these faces is that of a man, very heavy and
stupid-looking; the other that of a comely woman. It is hardly fanciful
to suppose that they are portraits of the blundering Ethelred and his
wife Emma.

The third capital is decorated with some branching work hardly less
curious, and above it is a head wearing the unbifurcated mitre, which
dropped out of use in the eleventh century. Of the three capitals on the
south side of the choir, which do not bear the same signs of weathering,
one has branching work, and the other two reworked leafage, such as is
found also in one on the north side of the nave.

As for the triforium and the rest of the work of the choir, it was all
so much restored in the twelfth century that one cannot find in it any
sign of pre-Norman work.

The pendent ceiling is one of the most striking features of the cathedral,
and is worth careful study. Ferguson considers this work to be the
most satisfactory attempt ever made to surmount the great difficulty
presented in all fan-tracery by the awkward, flat, central space which
is left in each bay by the four cones of the vault. At Gloucester,
King's College Chapel, Cambridge, Henry VII.'s Chapel, Westminster, and
other places, various attempts were made to deceive the eye, and hide
the unmanageable space; in Henry VII.'s Chapel the well-known pendants
were boldly introduced with this object. None were wholly satisfactory,
but, says Fergusson:--

"Strange as it may appear from its date, the most satisfactory roof of
this class is that erected by Cardinal Wolsey in the beginning of the
sixteenth century [this is a mistake, the roof having been built some
time before] over the choir of Oxford Cathedral. In this instance the
pendants are thrust so far forward, and made so important, that the
central part of the roof is practically quadripartite. The remaining
difficulty was obviated by abandoning the circular, horizontal outline
of true fan-tracery, and adopting a polygonal form instead. As the whole
is done in a constructive manner and with appropriate detail, this roof,
except in size, is one of the best and most remarkable ever executed."

Fan-tracery is a peculiarly English feature, and was invented, according
to Fergusson, in order to get rid of the endless repetition of inverted
pyramids which earlier vaulting produced. He therefore considers it an
improvement on the vaulting of the early English and Decorated periods;
and, as he thinks the ceiling of Christ Church Cathedral to be the best
example of fan-tracery, he comes near to pronouncing it the finest in
the world.

It certainly must strike every observer as possessing exceptional
beauty. At once rich and light, it yet accords wonderfully with the
homely Norman work that it crowns, and gives a happy finish to the most
important part of the cathedral. Even the lantern pendants seem more
graceful than is usually the case with those strange architectural
solecisms. Mr. Ruskin calls the ceiling "true Tudor grotesque, inventively
constructive, delicately carved, summing the builder's skill in the
fifteenth century."


The ceiling is certainly too early in design to have been built by Wolsey,
as was supposed. But there are traces in the work which have led some
antiquaries to suppose that, though begun about 1480, its western bay
may not have been finished till the Cardinal's time, or even till the
end of Henry's reign. The head on the large corbel over the Dean's stall
certainly wears a Tudor crown, and is bearded. This would lead one to
suppose it to be a likeness of Henry VIII.: furthermore, the face is broad
but emaciated, with the beard straggling; and we learn from historians
that the King did let his beard grow longer at the end of his life,
when he was worn and ill, and expressed more penitence for his many
misdeeds than he is generally given credit for. The woman's head on the
corbel opposite, also wearing a Tudor crown, would probably be the last
of his wives, Katherine Parr. The face wears the happy expression of
one delivered from great anxiety.

In the arched space nearly above these heads are four canopied figures:
on the north, St. Peter with his keys, and St. Mary Magdalen (suggestive
of Wolsey's own college in Oxford); on the south St. Luke, over his bull
(possibly because of the connection of St. Frideswide's with the healing
art), and St. Catherine, holding the remains of a sword in her right hand,
and retaining a fragment of the wheel in her left. St. Katherine will be
found in the same attitude in a painted window of the Latin Chapel. The
central bosses of the roof are interesting. Over the altar is the head of
our Lord, surrounded by an aureole, the beard twisted into three points:
in the next bay is the Madonna and Child, and next a graceful figure,
identified as St. Frideswide by the curious sceptre with heavy foliage
at the end, which she is again represented with in the middle window
of the Latin Chapel. An angel is on either side of this figure. In the
next bay is an archbishop (Augustine?) with his cross; and on the last
a bishop (perhaps Birinus), holding his pastoral staff and supported by
two figures which may be chaplains or acolytes.

The clerestory of the choir was converted into Perpendicular at the
time when the roof was vaulted. The old walls were simply covered with
panelling, and the old windows enlarged into Perpendicular ones.

=The East End=, now one of the most characteristic features of the
cathedral, is the work of Sir G. Gilbert Scott, and is supposed to be a
reproduction of the original twelfth century design: for enough fragments
of the old work were said to remain on the walls to leave no doubt as to
its original plan. Of course the detail has the usual machine-made look
of modern carving; but it is something to have recovered the original
effect, especially as the Decorated window which it has replaced had been
spoilt in the seventeenth century, when it was altered from its original
five lights to three. The design, says Mr. J.H. Parker, is very rare in
England, and not common anywhere. It consists of a large wheel-window,
with an intersecting arcade under it, and _two_ round-headed windows
below: the wheel-window is set in a large round arch that seems to rest
on two stout pillars. This round window is an imitation of an old one in
Canterbury Cathedral. The arcade has a truer and less mechanical look than
most of the restored work. The whole effect of the East End is excellent;
dignified and varied, it has something of that refined homeliness which
is so strong a characteristic of the cathedral. The stained glass in the
windows by Clayton and Bell is not at all unpleasing when seen from a
distance. It is in character with the stone-work, and only just fails
to be really fine in colour. Dr. Liddon and Sir John Mowbray were the
donors of the glass.

It was formerly thought that the Norman presbytery was part of the
original choir, and therefore presumably the earliest portion of the
church; but Mr. Harrison gives the following technical reasons for
holding that it was an addition to an older building with an apse, built
by Ethelred:--

1. The arches of the two side windows cut through string courses
which run eastwards on both sides of the presbytery, being, in fact,
continuations of the abaci proper of the half-capitals at that end
of the choir. 2. If the east windows were designed from fragments of
previously existing Norman ones, these cannot have been of the same date
as the choir arches. The mouldings are later, and the old bases of the
windows still in the east wall are clearly of transitional character,
differing essentially from those belonging to corner shafts in the east
aisles of the transepts. 3. The east walls of the choir aisles, which
had been heightened to carry the vaulting, abut against and cover the
jambs of the two side windows of the presbytery on the outside, a thing
which could not have happened had the presbytery and choir aisles formed
part of the same design.

=The Reredos=, an anonymous gift, erected in 1881 in red Dumfries
sandstone, is a pleasant contrast to the chilly erections which now
deface so many of our cathedrals. It has been said to be "perhaps the
most exquisite piece of modern workmanship in Oxford," though this would
not necessarily be very high praise. But, though a little too small for
its position, a little wanting in breadth and overstrained in detail, it
is a sound and sincere piece of work. Nor can we agree with the criticism
which says that nothing can make it look like part of the structure, for
this is the fault of the structure in its present condition; when the old
colouring is revived, the reredos will certainly not be too rich for it,
and there is plenty of late Gothic in the choir to harmonise with its
carving. Mr. Bodley designed it, and Mr. Brindley was the sculptor of
the figures. They are of marble (rosso antico), and are excellent both
in feeling and execution. The central panel represents the Crucifixion,
with Our Lady and St. John at the foot of the cross, and Jerusalem in
the background. In the niches on the left are St. Michael in armour, and
St. Stephen in a dalmatic; on the right, St. Augustine, in cope and mitre,
and a very feminine looking St. Gabriel. Above the niches are carved and
gilt shields bearing the emblems of the Passion. The warm effect of the
whole is heightened by two handsome, green curtains on either side. The
inscription, under the crucifix is _Per crucem tuam libera nos Domine_.

=The High Altar=, of cedar wood, is less successful. Its eight clumsy
legs, which are the only part visible, are covered with unpleasant,
geometrical carving, most inappropriately accentuated by gilding: the
result is that an impression of some strange, many-legged insect fastens
on one in entering the church, and is hard to dislodge. One could wish
that the altar were panelled, or frontals used to cover the legs.

The two silver-gilt candlesticks are extremely fine examples of
seventeenth century plate; they are rather squat in shape, with large
bases richly embossed. The alms-dish which stands over the credence
is also silver-gilt of the same date, magnificently embossed. These
were given at the Restoration, and bear the date 1661-2. The chalices,
patens, and flagons have been made to match them in more recent times.
The altar books are good specimens of binding in velvet and precious
metal. They were given in 1638 by Canon Henry King. On the fly-leaf of
each book is a curious inscription in Latin, of which the following is
a translation:--"Bequeathed to the Church of Christ, Oxford. A brand
snatched from the burning, 1647, by the zealous care of R. Gardiner,
Canon of Ch. Ch., but displaced from his rightful position by the greed
of his times." These books were in use when Charles I. worshipped in the
cathedral during the civil war.

The lectern, of ancient, pale brass enriched with filigree work, and
garnished with amethyst, cornelian, and agate stones, is the gift of two
former censors of the House, the Rev. T. Vere Bayne and the Rev. H.L.
Thompson. The stem, surmounted by a globe and a good conventional eagle,
bears the figures of St. Frideswide, Cardinal Wolsey, and Bishop King.
At the base are three lions bearing the arms of the Priory, the College,
and the University. The bible bears the date 1674. A beautifully
illuminated lectionary on vellum, a relic of Cardinal Wolsey, and used
by him in this church, can be seen in the Christ Church library.

The Bishop's Throne (in Italian walnut) is a not very inspired work
of Messrs. Farmer and Brindley. It was put up as a memorial to Bishop
Wilberforce, at a cost of £1000, and has a medallion of the Bishop with
mitre and pastoral staff at the back.

=The South Choir Aisle= is of an earlier period than the nave and transept
aisles, the walls being, it is thought, of Ethelred's time. A stone
bench runs along its south side, adding to its bright and pleasant
appearance. The southern windows were rebuilt by Scott in Norman
style of a different character to the window containing Bishop King's
portrait which has its original capitals and bases. The corbels which
carry the vault are carved into heads of men and baboons: the vaulting
ribs have been unmistakably fitted on to the earlier Norman work. The
Decorated east window, which, owing to the Burne Jones glass, is such
a prominent feature of the cathedral, is restored, but there is a good
deal of the original ball-flower moulding around it. At the side is a
late Perpendicular piscina, with bold, square flowers cut on the jambs;
and on the pillars opposite there are traces of paintings, which must
have been very bright-coloured once, and would very likely be so still,
had it not been for Brian Duppa's wood-work.

=Monuments=.--There is an old brass on the wall, near the eastern end,
to Stephen Pence, who died in 1587. Near this is a not very pleasing
life-size medallion of Prince Leopold in statuary marble set in Sicilian
marble; it was sculptured by Mr. T. Williamson of Esher. The bronze
tablet, with the portrait in relief of Dr. Mackarness, the late Bishop,
is very much better both in colour and design. Further west another
medallion in statuary marble, set in giallo antico, commemorates Sarah
Acland, the wife of Sir Henry Acland, who is an Honorary Student of
the House, and was for many years Regius Professor of Medicine in the
University; the Sarah Acland Home for Nurses keeps her pious memory fresh
in Oxford.

The late Tudor monument to the first Bishop of Oxford, _Robert King_, has
been removed from its former place under his window to the bay between the
aisle and St. Lucy's Chapel, where it now forms a sort of small screen
to the little chapel. Bishop King died in 1557; his tomb is recessed,
canopied, and covered with shallow panel-work in minute divisions, but
without any effigy, sculptured or incised. Though it is among the last
works of the mediæval school of monumental architecture, it is still
graceful and restrained; and indeed a great contrast to the new style
of monument which came in a few years later. _Inscription:--Hic jacet
Robertus King sacre theologie Professor et primus Ep'us Oxon. qui obiit
quarto die Decembris Anno (Domini M.D. LVII)_.

Crossing to the north side of the choir, one reaches the beautiful
cluster of chapels which add so much to the grace of the cathedral,
relieving it of any grimness of aspect which its unbroken array of
massive columns might otherwise have produced, and by their unaffected
dissimilarity enhancing at once its historical interest and its visible
charm. Here the eye wanders among pillars and arches which branch away
in so many directions that the grandest churches can scarcely give more
thoroughly the idea of infinity. And here one stands on the site of St.
Frideswide's first little church, with the very arches that she had
built for her, still standing in all their primitive simplicity. These
three aisles, and the south aisle on the opposite side of the choir, are
indeed eloquent of the unpretentious, lasting work that brave women have
done for humanity: the latter has become, through its window, sacred to
the memory of St. Catherine, whose own Latin Chapel is now for the same
reason inseparably connected with St. Frideswide. St. Cecilia looks down
upon the aisle next the choir, and the chapel of Our Lady is separated
from it only by the monument of the Saxon maiden, while St. Lucy has
given her name to the fifth and smallest of these eastern chapels. Thus
has this great society of learned men taken pleasure in doing honour to
the good women of Christendom.

=The North Choir Aisle= and the two aisles which adjoin it were lengthened
one bay by the gradual inclusion of the eastern aisle of the transept.
A heavy pier has been left with no attempt at decoration on the transept
side but with a cluster of shafts on the side facing east; and the next
pier to the north has been similarly treated. It will be noticed that the
arches over these western bays of the north choir aisle and Lady Chapel,
being the arches of the old transept aisle, are extremely massive;
unlike anything else in the church, except the one remaining arch, is
the corresponding south transept aisle (now St. Lucy's Chapel): these
are therefore thought to be unrestored parts of Ethelred's works. The
fact that Norman vaulting shafts have evidently been inserted into the
pier walls of the aisles point also to the conclusion that the aisle
was erected at a date when vaulting shafts were not in use.

At the east end there is a small arch, extremely rough, its ragstone
voussoirs patched in one part with a block of modern stone. A similar
arch is to be seen in the wall of the next (Lady) Chapel, and between
these two are traces of another. These three arches led to one of the
most interesting architectural discoveries of recent years; and one can
hardly look at them unmoved, remembering that they form part of the
original church which was built by St. Frideswide and her father. They
were indeed the three "chancel arches" (if one may use the expression)
which led into the three apses, the discovery of which we have described
in our chapter on the exterior of the cathedral.

It was not till 1888 that the plaster was removed from the walls, and
these arches exposed to view. It was then obvious that they had been
part of a permanent church, and not merely temporary doorways for the
convenience of Norman masons. Rough as they seem, to the expert they
bear marks of care and repair, of having been, in fact, preserved as a
specially venerated part of the church. As an instance of this, Mr. Park
Harrison points out that one of the supporting stones is quite two feet
long (longer than any other in the cathedral), and has Norman tooling
upon it. It can scarcely be doubted, he says, that this was introduced
to support the springing-stones of the arch, for there are clear signs
that there had been some settlement. The head of the archways, too,
had been plastered. In both archways there is an impost (a projection,
that is, from which the arch springs), and this impost is continued
through the thickness of the wall. It will be noticed that the jambs of
these arches go more than two feet below the level of the floor, which
is another sign of their early date. Within the apse that was reached
through the southernmost archway lay the body of St. Frideswide in its
first resting-place, and for long this part seems to have been held in
special veneration, until the first translation in 1180, when the relics
of "The Lady" were moved into a more noted place in the church, and this
apse doubtless abandoned like the other two. Somewhere here the relics
were then placed (as they lie to-day in the ground beneath this chapel),
but the first monument has been lost. Of the second monument, which also
was lost but is found again, it is now the place to speak. But, first,
it may be well to explain that what is usually called the shrine of St.
Frideswide is really the marble monument, or base, upon which the shrine
itself formerly rested. In the Middle Ages, relics (with the two English
exceptions of Westminster and St. Albans) were preserved in a shrine,
usually of metal, which was enclosed in a coffer or _feretrum_.

=The Shrine of St. Frideswide=.--Foremost in historical interest,
as well as in actual beauty, are the remains of the marble monument
which have recently been put together and set up in the easternmost
arch between the Lady Chapel and the north choir aisle. The coffer
or shrine, which was made for the translation in 1289 (its base being
therefore the most ancient monument in the cathedral), was knocked to
pieces at the Reformation (1538), and, being of wood, must have entirely
perished. But gradually, and from different places, fragments of the base
were brought together: first, several pieces of delicately carved marble
were discovered in the sides of a square well in the yard south-west of
the cathedral; then a part of the plinth on the south side was found to
be in use as a step, luckily with the carved portion turned inwards;
next, a spandrel was detected by Mr. Francis, the head verger, in the
wall of the cemetery; and last of all a piece of the plinth was found
in a wall in Tom Quad. Though some portions are still wanting, it is
not impossible that more may yet be found.

As the monument stands now, it cannot, of course, impress one as it
would have done in its perfect state, with the rich superstructure
crowning it: especially as the restored shafts are merely square
stone supports of the clumsiest description, so studiously careful
has the restorer been not to confuse them with the original work. One
cannot but applaud this conscientious spirit (would, indeed, that it
had been adopted earlier!), but at the same time the modern supports
have been made quite unnecessarily hideous. Still, though the base
of St. Frideswide's shrine is only a collection of fragments, these
fragments are of remarkable beauty and interest. It is of Forest marble,
measuring seven feet by three and a half; and consists of an arcade of
two richly cusped arches at the sides and one at each end. On the top
of this was fixed the _feretrum_, containing the jewelled casket that
held the relics themselves. The spandrels are filled with wonderfully
carved foliage, unusually naturalistic, and preserving still the traces
of colour and gilding to remind one of its former glories. The plants
have been identified by Mr. Druce of High Street, the well-known Oxford
botanist. On the south side there is maple in the central spandrel,
with a wreath of what is probably crow's-foot in a boss below: the two
side spandrels contain columbine and the greater celandine. On the north
side the foliage is mostly oak, with acorns and numerous empty cups;
sycamore and ivy filling the adjoining spandrels. At the east end one
of the spandrels contains vine leaves and grapes, the other fig-leaves,
but without the fruit; the cusp under the vine has a leaf which may be
that of hog-leaf. At the west end there is hawthorn and bryony. The choice
of all this foliage was doubtless made for symbolical reasons, referring
first to St. Frideswide's life in the oak woods near Abingdon, and next
to her care for the sick and suffering at Thornberrie (now Binsey). And
in this connection it is pleasant to think that the sculptor, with tender
fancy, chose plants which were famous for their healing virtue.

The foliage at the angles takes the form of pastoral staves; and the
intermediate spandrels at the sides have women's heads carved in the
centre. The plinth, which has been set on a chamfered base and step of
white stone, is ornamented with a series of quatrefoils, containing the
head of a bishop at the north-west corner, and the heads of queens on
the south side. Foliage, instead of a head, occupies the centre and end
panels on the sides; and very delicate foliage is worked on a little
roll moulding extant at two of the angles.

Here is an account of the destruction of the shrine, and the treatment
of its relics, in the words of Dean Liddell[3]:--

"It is a strange story. It is well known that, before the Reformation,
the Church of St. Frideswide and her shrine enjoyed a high reputation as
a place of sanctity. Privileges were conceded to it by royal authority.
Miracles were believed to be wrought by a virtue attaching to it; pilgrims
from all parts resorted to it,--among the number we find the name of
Queen Catherine of Aragon, whose visit to the shrine shows the veneration
in which it was held. Twice a year the Vice-Chancellor and principal
members of the University visited the church in solemn procession,
being considered (as we are told) the 'Mother Church of University and
town,--there to pray, preach, and offer oblations at her shrine.'

"These practices and privileges not unnaturally seemed to the zealous
Reformers of those times to call for summary interference. The old
superstitions, which certainly gave rise to many abuses, must, they
thought, be abated at once; nothing but strong measures would avail to
withdraw the minds of the people, nurtured as they were in absolute belief
in these superstitions, from belief in them. Accordingly, we cannot be
surprised to find that this famous shrine was doomed to destruction,
and was actually destroyed. When this happened it is not easy to
determine,--probably in the time of Henry VIII. The fragments were used
either at the time, or not long afterwards, to form part of the walls
of a common well; and there we found them. The reliques of the Saint,
however, were rescued by some zealous votaries, and carefully preserved
in hope of better times. Meantime Catherine (the wife of Peter Martyr,
a foreign Protestant theologian of high repute, who had been appointed
Regius Professor of Theology here) died, and was buried near the place
lately occupied by the shrine. Over her grave sermons were preached,
contrasting the pious zeal of the German Protestant with the superstitious
practices that had tarnished the simplicity of the Saxon Saint. Then
came another change. The Roman Church under Mary Tudor recovered a brief
supremacy. The body of Peter Martyr's wife was (one regrets to learn),
by order of Cardinal Pole, contemptuously cast out of the church, and
the remains of St. Frideswide, preserved, as I have said, by the piety
of her devotees, were restored to their former resting-place. But it
does not appear that any attempt was made to restore the shrine. Party
zeal still prevailed. Angry contests continued between the adherents of
the two parties even after the accession of Elizabeth.

"In consequence, the Queen, soon after her accession, ordered Parker,
Archbishop of Canterbury, and Grindal, Bishop of London, to look into
this and other matters in dispute between the adherents of the Roman
Church and those of the Reformed Faith; and these eminent ecclesiastics
commissioned the authorities of this House to remove the scandal that
had been caused by the inhuman treatment of Catherine Martyr's body. The
matter was conducted by James Calfhill, lately appointed to a stall in
this church, and then acting as sub-dean. In a letter to Bishop Grindal
he gives an account of the ceremony that took place. He was resolved, if
we may judge from his action, not to give a triumph to either party. On
Jan. 11th, 1561, O.S., the bones of the Protestant Catherine and the
Catholic St. Frideswide were put together, so intermingled that they
could not be distinguished, and then placed together in the same tomb.
This solution of the difficulty could not have been displeasing to the
great Queen, who had been consistently endeavouring rather to win over
her opponents by conciliation than to crush them by persecution. We may
well suppose that she approved of the act of our Dean and Chapter. Death
is the great reconciler; enmities should, at all events, be buried with
the dead."

Calfhill, the sub-dean, wrote two epigrams on the burial of Catherine
Martyr with St. Frideswide. The first ends thus: _Ergo facessant hinc
rabida impietas, inde superstitio_; the other thus: _Nunc coeant pietas
atque superstitio_. Perhaps these apparently contradictory sentiments
led Isaac Disraeli (in his account of this curious transaction, which
he selects in his "Amenities of Literature" as an illustration of the
mutability of time) to remark that Calfhill "seems to have been at once a
Catholic and a Reformer." Sanders the Jesuit was indignant at the "impious
epithet," which he says was added, _hic jacet religio cum superstitione_;
"although," says old Fuller, "the words being capable of a favourable
sense on his side, he need not have been so angry."

The exact spot where the bones of The Lady now rest is supposed to be
marked by a brass on the floor of the Lady Chapel, lately placed there by
Canon Bright. But we can only be certain that, somewhere in this part of
the church, "the married nun and the virgin saint," to use Froude's words,
"were buried together, and the dust of the two still remains under the
pavement inextricably blended."

=The Lady Chapel=, which is the aisle next to the north choir aisle, is
sometimes called "the Dormitory," because many of the canons are buried
here: the word being a literal translation of the Greek _coemeterium_
(sleeping-place), applied to the catacombs of Rome. It was enlarged,
with the Early English pillars and vaulting of the period, in the
thirteenth century. The shafts are filleted, and the capitals carved
in the characteristic curling foliage. It owes its position possibly
to the original dedication of the eighth century church; though the
Elder Lady Chapel of Bristol Cathedral, another Augustinian house, is
similarly situated. Its eastern wall proves that it must have already
existed long before the thirteenth century. The most casual observer
will also be struck by the ingenuous clumsiness with which it has been
patched together. There is a fine Decorated four-centred window at the
East End, restored to its present condition from the mean two-light
window that the seventeenth century had made of it: underneath, at the
side of the blocked-up Saxon doorway, is a once richly coloured piscina,
the outer moulding much damaged. The roof and arches of the second bay
from the east bears many traces of colouring, which show among other
things that the capitals were all painted green alike, the abaci red,
and the ribs of the vault and arches red, green, and perhaps other
colours. The figures of angels can be made out on the roof, a swinging
censer being particularly clear. A glance from here at the high altar
makes one realise how much more bright and strong the old colour was,
and is indeed even now, than the modern. This decoration proves that in
the second bay stood something of particular importance. It is generally
agreed now that this was not the shrine of St. Frideswide but the altar
of Our Lady, for shrines were placed behind and not before the altars.
Such an arrangement would leave the eastern bay of the chapel free for
the two shrines, the large one (commonly called the "Watching Chamber")
and the small one recently discovered and placed opposite to it under
the south-east arch. The fact that this arch is also coloured, and is
the only other part which is thus treated, goes to prove that the small
shrine did originally stand where it now is. Another sign is that the
pillar nearest to the east end of it has been cut away, evidently to
allow of a free passage round the shrine.

The Lady Chapel is divided from the Latin Chapel by four arches. Of
these the first, being part of the original transept aisle, is very
plain and massive, without mouldings and of one order; it springs from
a square pier with shafts at the corners, and has an extremely broad
soffit. It is almost beyond doubt part of Ethelred's church, and proves
that the transept was finished early. The second arch is Early English,
cut irregularly through the wall, which bears traces of a round arch
above it. The first of the four arches which separate this chapel from
the north choir aisle is similar to the one just described. The rest are
very obtuse; for the two eastern bays of the Lady Chapel are two feet
wider than the others, perhaps in order to increase the accommodation
for worshippers at the shrine of St. Frideswide.

=The "Watching Chamber."=--Next in interest to the "shrine," and far more
imposing in appearance, is the large tomb or watching chamber under the
easternmost arch between the Lady Chapel and the Latin Chapel. Its real
nature is still a matter of dispute: some maintaining it to have been
used as a chantry chapel for the welfare of those who were buried below;
others that it served as a "watching chamber" to protect the gold and
jewels which hung about the shrine of St. Frideswide. But there is much
likelihood that is was built for the new shrine of St. Frideswide, when
the growing taste for elaboration in architecture tired of the comparative
simplicity of the old one. If this be the case, the "watching chamber"
would be in reality the third and last monument of St. Frideswide, the
second being that already described, while of the first (that made for
the Translation of 1180) no trace remains. The _feretrum_ would have been
removed from its position on the second monument, and placed within the
little wooden chapel of the chamber.

Most elaborately carved and crocketed, the "watching chamber" is a
beautiful example of full-blown Perpendicular workmanship; "most lovely
English work, both of heart and hand," according to Mr. Ruskin. It
consists of four stories, the two lower, in stone, forming an altar tomb
and canopy, and the two upper in wood. A door from the Latin Chapel
leads one up a small and well-worn stone staircase into the interior of
the little upper chapel, which is now a rough wooden room. Its extreme
roughness suggests that it was once panelled and otherwise adorned,
while there are marks at its east end, which may be the site of an altar,
or of the _feretrum_ itself.

The "watching chamber" belongs to the turn of the fifteenth century, and
may have been erected in 1500, under the patronage of Archbishop Morton,
the inventor of "Morton's fork," who died in that year, having been
Chancellor of the University, and a great benefactor of it. The stone
altar-tomb is of rather earlier date than the wooden superstructure, and
bears the matrices of two brasses, from which one can make out enough of
the horned head-dress of the female figure to settle the costume as one
that remained in fashion till about 1480.

In 1889 Mr. Park Harrison explored the interior of the tomb which forms
the lower portion of the "watching chamber." Entrance was effected by the
removal of two steps of the staircase which leads into the Latin Chapel,
and the whole space beneath the stone slab was found to be packed with
carved stones and rubble. The pretty battlemented coping, which is now
happily placed on the sill behind the altar of the Latin Chapel, was
thus found; and also a pillar piscina of Norman date, and a fine Early
English piscina, with two trefoiled arches, divided by a slender shaft
with foliated cap, and profusely enriched with the tooth ornament. This
latter find can now be seen lying on the slab itself.

By an accident it was discovered that what seemed to be the floor of
this tomb was really the ceiling of a vault beneath. The pavement was
opened in the Latin Chapel just outside the tomb, and steps were found
which led to the vault through a flat four-centred doorway. In the vault
was a single oak coffin, widest at the head and tapering in a straight
line to the foot, like the stone coffins of an earlier period. It was
apparently of fifteenth century date, and contained a body closely
swathed in cerecloth; but after the coffin was opened the dust within
the cerecloth rapidly subsided. The body was pronounced by experts to be
that of a woman about five feet six inches in height, and was probably
that of the lady in the mitred head-dress whose brass can be traced on
the altar-tomb.

[Illustration: LADY MONTACUTE'S TOMB.]

=Monuments in the Lady Chapel=.--In the bay of the west of the "watching
chamber" is the tomb of _Elizabeth, Lady Montacute_, who gave to the
Priory the large field now known as the Christ Church Meadow, in order to
maintain two priests for her chantry in the Lady Chapel. There seems to
be no ground for the statement that she built the Latin Chapel; in her
foundation-deed she expressly directs the masses and other offices to be
said "within the chapel of the Blessed Mary," and, so far from her bequest
proving sufficient to build a new chapel, it was soon found inadequate
for the maintenance of the two chantry priests. Lady Montacute was the
daughter of Sir Peter de Montfort, and was married first to William de
Montacute, by whom she had four sons and six daughters, and afterwards
to Thomas de Furnival. Her monument consists of a high tomb, the sides of
which are divided into three panelled compartments. In these compartments
are little statuettes of her children, and her own effigy rests on the
top; at the head and foot of the tomb are quatrefoiled compartments
containing sacred symbols and figures. It is very beautiful, and of
great interest as showing many specimens of the costume of the period;
but one can hardly imagine what its splendour must have been when the
rich hues, with which it is painted in every part, were fresh. The colours
mentioned in the following learned description by Mr M.H. Bloxham
have long tended to monochrome, and the hand of the mutilator has been
unusually painstaking and systematic.

"The head of the effigy reposes on a double cushion, and is supported on
each side by a small figure of an angel in an alb; these albs are loose,
and not girded round the waist. The heads of these figures are defaced,
and they are otherwise much mutilated. She is represented with her neck
bare, her hair disposed and confined on each side, the face within a
jewelled caul of network; over the forehead is worn a veil, and over this
is a rich cap or plaited head-dress with nébulé folds, with a tippet
attached to it and falling down behind. Her body-dress consists of a robe
or sleeveless gown, fastened in front downwards to below the waist by a
row of ornamented buttons. The full skirts of the gown are tastefully
disposed, but not so much so as we sometimes find on effigies of the
fourteenth century. The gown is of a red colour, flowered with yellow
and green, and at each side of the waist is an opening, within which is
disclosed the inner vest, of which the close-fitting sleeves of the arms,
extending to the wrists, form part; this is painted of a different colour
and in a different pattern to the gown. This was probably the corset worn
beneath the open super-tunic. The gown is flounced at the skirts by a
broad white border, and round the side openings, and along the border
of the top of the gown, is a rich border of leaves. The hands, which
are bare, are joined on the breast in a devotional attitude. Over the
gown or super-tunic is worn the mantle, fastened together in front
of the breast by a large and rich lozenge-shaped morse, raised in
high relief. The mantle, of a buff colour, is covered all over with
rondeaux or roundels connected together by small bands, whilst in the
intermediate spaces are _fleur de lis_: all these are of raised work,
and deserve minute examination. They are apparently not executed by means
of the chisel, but formed in some hard paste or composition [_gesso_]
laid upon the sculptured stone and impressed with a stamp. The feet of
the effigy appear from beneath the skirts of the gown in black shoes,
and rest against a dog."

Of the statuettes on each side of Lady Montacute's tomb, which are each
a foot and a half high, Mr Bloxham says:--

"The first and easternmost of these, on the north side, is the most
puzzling and difficult of all to describe, as regards the costume,
and the more so from the mutilated state in which it now appears. It is
that of a male, who is habited in a red cloak, the borders of which are
jagged. This is buttoned in front to the waist by lozenge-shaped morses,
and may have been the garment called the Courtepye, and discloses a short
white tunic or vest, plaited in vertical folds, with a bawdrick round
the body at the hips."

"Next to this is the effigy in relief of an abbess, in a long loose white
gown or robe, a black mantle over, connected in front of the breast by
a chain, with a tippet of the same colour. The head has been destroyed,
but remains of the plaited wimple which covered the neck in front are
visible, as also of the white veil on each shoulder. The pastoral staff
appears on the left side, but the crook is gone.

"Two daughters of Lady Montacute were in succession Abbess of Barking,
in Essex, and so, next to the last figure is another abbess similarly
dressed, with the exception that the left sleeve of the gown, which is
large and wide, is seen, as well as the close sleeve of the inner robe.
Sculptured figures of abbesses, especially of this period, are extremely

"The next figure is that of a female, in a green high-bodied gown or
robe, with small pocket-holes in front and sleeves reaching only to the
elbows. The fifth figure is also that of a female, in a white robe or
gown, with close sleeves, close fitting to the waist, where it is belted
round by a narrow girdle, and thence falls in loose folds to the feet;
over this is a black mantle. There are also indications of a plaited
wimple about the neck, but the head of this, as of the other effigies,
has been destroyed.

"On the south side, the easternmost figure, of which the mere torso
remains, is that of a male in a doublet, jagged at the skirts,
and buttoned down in front from, the neck to the skirts, with close
sleeves buttoned from the elbows to the wrists,--_manicae botonatae_,
with a bawdrick, round the hips, and buckled on the right side. From the
bawdrick on the left side the gipciere is suspended. This much mutilated
effigy presents a good specimen of the early doublet.

"Next to it is the figure of a male, in a long red coat or gown, the
_toga talaris_, with a cloak over, buttoned in front downwards from the
neck as far as the third button, from whence it is open to the skirts.
This dress, in the phrase of the fourteenth century, would be described
as _cota et cloca_. In the right hand is held a purse.

"Next to this is the figure of a Bishop, intended possibly to represent
Simon, Bishop of Ely, 1337-1344, one of the sons of Lady Montacute. He
appears in his episcopal vestments, a white alb, with the apparel in
front of the skirt, a black dalmatica fringed and open at the sides,
and a chocolate-coloured chesible, with orfreys round the border and
disposed in front pall-wise. The parures or apparels of the amice give
it a stiff and collar-like appearance. The head of this effigy has been
destroyed, and the outline of the mitre is only visible. The pastoral
staff has been destroyed, with the exception of the pointed ferrule with
which it was shod. It was, however, held by the left hand. The maniple
is suspended from the left arm, but no traces of the stole are visible.
In more than one instance we may notice on episcopal effigies the absence
of either the tunic or dalmatica, and sometimes of the stole.

"The fourth figure is that of a lady in a gown or robe buttoned down in
front from the breast to the waist, and with sleeves reaching only to
the elbows, from whence depend long white liripipes or false hanging
sleeves; small pocket holes are visible in front. From beneath this
gown or super-tunic the loose skirts of the under robe, of which also
the close-fitting sleeves are visible, appear. Behind this figure are the
remains of a mantle. The fifth and last figure is also that of a female in
a gown or super-tunic, close-fitting, and buttoned in front to the waist."

The quatrefoiled compartments at the ends of the tomb are particularly
good: they contain,--at the head, the Blessed Virgin and Child, between
a winged figure at a desk and an eagle, which are the symbols of St.
Matthew and St. John the Evangelist,--at the foot, the symbols of SS.
Mark and Luke, and between them a woman in gown and mantle with long
flowing hair, probably St. Mary Magdalene. The shields in the panels are
blazoned with the arms of Montacute, Furnival, and Montfort.

On a pillar near Lady Montacute's tomb there are two brasses; one bearing
a graceful kneeling figure of _Johañ, Bishop filii Geo. Bishop_, who
died March 23rd, 1588; the other of Thomas Thornton, who died August
17th, 1613.

The next tomb to the west of Lady Montacute is that of a Prior, supposed
to be _Alexander de Sutton_, prior from 1294 to 1316. It used to be
called Guimond's tomb, and Prior Philip's, but it cannot, of course,
be of their time: for the beautiful canopy, supported by Purbeck shafts
with vine-leaf capitals, and powdered with ball-flower without, and
groined within, as well as the figure beneath it, are Decorated, and
belong to the reign of Edward I., about a hundred and fifty years later
than Guimond's death in 1141. There were formerly figures at the angles,
of which one on the north-west remains with a little of its original
colour. The effigy, also of Purbeck marble, is thus described by Mr.
M.H. Bloxham:--"The head of the effigy, which is bare and tonsured, with
flowing locks by the sides of the face, reposes on a double cushion. The
Prior is represented vested, with the amice about his neck with the
apparel; in the alb, the apparels of which appear at the skirt in front
and round the close-fitting sleeves at the wrists; with the stole, and
dalmatica or tunic--which, it is somewhat difficult to say: these two
latter are not sculptured, but merely painted on the effigy, and are
only apparent on a careful examination; over these is worn the chesible.
This vestment is very rich, and ornamented with orfreys round the borders,
over the shoulders, and straight down in front. Hanging down from the
left arm is the maniple. The boots are pointed at the toes, and the
feet rest against a lion. There is no indication of the pastoral staff;
the hands are joined on the breast." Another proof of its fourteenth
century date is that the face is close-shaven: had it been an effigy of
the twelfth century the face would have been bearded.


West of this is the tomb of _Sir George Nowers_ (de Nodariis), who died
in 1425. His effigy gives one a good idea of the armour of his time--or
rather of a period slightly before his death. Mr. Bloxham, who devoted
special attention to these three monuments, thus describes the armour:--

"On the head is a conical basinet attached by a lace down the sides of the
face to a camail or tippet of mail, which covers the head and shoulders,
epaulières, rere, and vambraces, and coudes incase the shoulders, arms,
and elbows, and on the hands are gauntlets of plate. The body-armour
is covered with an emblazoned jupon, with an ornamental border of
leaves, and round this, about the hips, is a rich horizontally disposed
bawdrick. Beneath the jupon, which is charged with the bearing--three
garbs Or--is seen the skirt or apron of mail. The thighs, knees, legs,
and feet are incased in and protected by cuisses, genouillères, jambs,
and sollerets, the latter composed of movable lamina; or plates, and
rounded at the toes. The feet of this effigy rest against a collared dog,
and the head reposes on a tilting helm, surmounted by a bull's head as
a crest." On a scutcheon at the head of the tomb are the knight's arms:
they are--a fess between three garbs, impaling a chevron between three

On the pier at the foot of Sir George Nowers' tomb is fixed the remarkably
characteristic monument of _Robert Burton_, the famous author of "The
Anatomy of Melancholy," who died in 1639, having been Student of Christ
Church for forty years, and also Vicar of St. Thomas', Oxford. His bust is
coloured, and surrounded by an oval frame; it should be a good likeness,
and one fancies that the face is drenched in melancholy.

On the frame are two medallions with a sphere, and a curious calculation
of his nativity, composed by himself, and placed here by his brother
William, the historian of Leicestershire. The inscription, written by
himself, is:--

    Paucis notus, paucioribus ignotus
                Hic jacet
            Democritus Junior
        Cui vitam dedit et mortem

At the south side of the Montacute tomb there is a stone in the floor with
a large cross upon it, and an inscription in Lombardic characters of which
these words can be made out:--_Johan: de: col ... v. le: gist: id: Dieu
... Merci. Pour: lame: prier: dis: jours: de: pardon: aver: amen_.

In the north aisle of the choir a stone commemorates _Andreas de Soltre
quondam rector Ecclesiae de Kalleyn_; and a brass, James Coorthoppe,
Canon of Christ Church 1546, and Dean of Peterborough till his death in
1557. On the floor of this aisle there is also a small brass with the
figure of a youth, with the Courtenay arms, and this inscription:--_Hic
jacet Edvardus Courtenay, filius Hugonis Courtenay, filii Comitis Devomæ,
cujus animæ propicietur Deus_. This Hugh Courtenay, the father of the
lad, must have been either Hugh second Earl of Devon, or his son Hugh,
surnamed _le Fitz_, one of the heroes of Crécy.

=Glass in the Aisles=.--The three lovely east windows of the aisles and
Lady Chapel were designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and executed by Mr.
William Morris. The only possible criticism is that made by Mr. Ruskin,
who once said that they were beautiful pictures, but were they windows?
They are perhaps open to the objection, but a comparison of them with the
Reynolds windows in New College Chapel, which are flagrant offenders in
this way, makes one feel that the objection is purely formal, and that
these are true windows, adding colour and interest to the old cathedral
in a perfectly legitimate way. One is naturally prejudiced against large
figures pictorially treated, because of the atrocities of the Munich
school, but these were made, not at Munich but at Merton, by the most
accomplished craftsman of the century.

The first window, that in the Lady Chapel, was erected in memory of
Frederick Vyner, an undergraduate of the House, who was murdered by
brigands at Marathon in 1870. The figures represent Samuel the Prophet,
David, King of Israel, John the Evangelist, and Timothy the Bishop. In
the panels beneath are, Eli instructing the young Samuel, David slaying
Goliath, St. John at the last supper, and Timothy as a little boy learning
from his mother. The legends are:--(1) _Loquere Domine, quia audit servus
tuus_, and in the panel _Prope est Dominus quibus invocantibus eum_; (2)
_Deus, Deus, meus, ad te de luce vigilo_, and _Tua est Domine victoria_;
(3) _Qui recubit in coena super pectus ejus_, and _Quis nos separabit
a charitate Christi_; (4) _Dabit tibi Dominus in omnibus intellectum_,
and _Statuit super petram pedes meos_.

At the end of the north choir aisle is the St. Cecilia window, presented
in honour of the patroness of music by Dr. Corfe, a former organist,
in 1873. In the centre light the saint is represented playing her regal
or small hand-organ; two angels holding other musical instruments, with
palms in their hands, stand by her. The drapery is wrought in white glass,
the angels have pale blue wings, and the flesh tints matted over with red
tell warm against the drapery. In the lower panels are three scenes from
her life: "Here St. Cecilia teaches her husband," "Here an angel of the
Lord teaches St. Cecilia," "Here St. Cecilia wins a heavenly crown;" the
saint's figure in this last panel is most touchingly drawn. These lower
panels are richer in colour than the rest, and a greater variety of tints
is introduced; but the colours are so delicate, and so skilfully blended,
that they fall in most harmoniously with the main parts of the window.
As the neighbouring window just described is full of the robust strength
of manhood, so this one, in colour as well as in design, is graceful,
delicate, and feminine. Probably it will lead to the north choir aisle
being known by the name of St. Cecilia, whose art has certainly many
votaries in Oxford. Mr. Malcolm Bell, in his monograph on Burne-Jones,
gives the following description of the St. Cecilia window:--

"A still more beautiful instance of the use of simple figures with
complicated draperies is found in the lovely St. Cecilia window, executed
in 1874-5, a companion to the 'St. Catherine,' executed in 1878, in
Christ Church Cathedral at Oxford, in which, moreover, it is enhanced
by the soberness of the colouring, which, with the exception of a few
touches of stronger hues in the lower panels, is green, and white, and
gold, symbolic of the lily of heaven, into which mediæval commentators
tortured the meaning of her name. The saint herself stands in the middle,
with attendant angels on either side, bearing the palm of martyrdom,
who hush their harmony while she plays. Below the left-hand angel,
St. Cecilia, seated on her bed, reads to her husband Valirian the lesson
of chastity. In the centre the angel brings to them the miraculous proof
of the justification of her faith which he demanded from her:

    "Valirian goth home, and sint Cecilie
    Withinne his chaumbre with an aungel stonde,
    This aungel had of roses and of lillie
    Corounes two, the which he bar in honde.


"The lilies, symbolical of virgin purity; the roses, of victory over
death. In the third, the executioner holds her by one hand as she
kneels on the floor of her bath-room, which is seen in the background,
the steam still rising in it after the ineffectual attempt to roast her
to death. With his sword raised he is about to strike the first of the
three blows which failed to cut off her head.

    "And for ther was that tyme an ordinaunce
    That no man sholde do man such penaunce
    The ferthe stroke to smyten, softe or sore
    This tormentour durste do no more."

At the end of the south choir aisle is the third figure window of
Burne-Jones. It is dedicated to St. Catherine, and is in memory of Edith
Liddell, a daughter of the late Dean, "who, having been scarcely five days
betrothed, seized by a sudden attack of illness, rendered her spirit to
God, June 26th, 1876." St. Catherine, crowned, is the central figure:
she is painted in the likeness of Edith Liddell. On the right is the
Angel of Suffering and Submission, with mutilated hands, the wheel of
torture and flames beneath; on the left is the Angel of Deliverance,
crushing the wheel of torture and scattering the flames. The draperies
are white, the wings of the angels are a pale blue, and the curtains
hanging at the back of the figures of a rich greenish blue, while
the detailed background is cut out of violet-coloured glass, a daring
but thoroughly successful arrangement. In the tracery above are angels
playing triumphant music. The whole is as beautifully executed as it is
finely conceived. In the three lower panels are scenes from the life and
death of the saint:--(1) She disputes with philosophers, pleading for her
fellow Christians, and demonstrating _avec force syllogismes_ the truth of
Christianity, and the falsity of paganism. This little panel has as large
an effect as if it were a fresco covering half a wall. (2) Her dream,
in which she is led through a wilderness by the blessed Virgin into the
presence of our Lord, who is seated amid a concourse of cherubim. The
way in which the cherubim are cut out of tones of ruby, full of depth,
and without a suspicion of crudeness, should be noticed, and compared
with the treatment of ruby glass elsewhere. This is perhaps the most
beautifully drawn picture of all; and the figure of St. Mary is something
not to be forgotten. (3) St. Catherine is laid in the tomb by angels.
The inscriptions are:--_Agnus reget illos, et deducet eos ad vitae fontes
aquarum, et absterget Deus omnem lachrymam ab oculis eorum. Timor Domini
ipsa est sapientia. Beati mundo corde quoniam Deum videbunt. Cum dederit
dilectis suis somnum._

The two first windows in the wall of the south choir aisle, in memory of
Dr. Jelf, Canon from 1830-1871, are by Hardman. Next is a most interesting
glass painting of Bishop King, last abbot of Oseney, and first Bishop of
Oxford, which is perhaps from the hand of Van Ling. This window, with
some others, was taken down during the Civil War, buried for safety by
a member of the family, and put up again at the Restoration. The Bishop
is represented standing vested in a jewelled cope of cloth of gold,
and mitre, a pastoral staff in his gloved hand. In the background, among
the trees, is a picture of Oseney Abbey in its already ruined condition
(c. 1630), drawn without much feeling for its architecture, but of great
value as almost the only picture of the place we possess. The western
tower was the first home of what are now the Christ Church bells. Three
coats of arms (being those of the Bishop, impaled with the abbey of
Oseney and the see of Oxford) complete the richness of what is a very
good example of seventeenth century _painted_ glass, in the strict sense
of the word.

It is to be regretted that some of the glass, which formerly was seen by
everybody in the cathedral, has been removed to the chapter-house, where
it is seen by few: among the glass thus removed the lovely I.H.C. should
not be missed.

=The Latin Chapel= (St. Catherine's, or the Divinity Chapel, St. Catherine
being the patroness of students in theology) was built on to the rest
in two parts, the walls of the Lady Chapel being cut into arches, and
duly fitted with shafts. The first bay from the west is, like that of
the Lady Chapel, part of the transept aisle; the second bay was built
in the thirteenth century, so as to form a chapel like that of St. Lucy
on the south side of the church; the third and fourth were added in
the fourteenth century, and make now one large chapel, very secluded
and self-contained, a kind of _hortus inclusus_ that has an attraction
peculiarly its own, and dwells pleasantly in the memory of every one who
sees it. It is that supremely excellent thing, a church within a church,
without which no cathedral can be what its builders intended it to be;
nor any religious building fulfil that instinctive desire of men for an
inner place, where they can find their way to the inner places of their
own hearts. In such a home of recollectedness, doubly guarded against the
dogging world without, is "rest without languor and recreation without
excitement"; in such a place one is "never less alone than when alone";
and the fine sympathy with the needs of workaday humanity, which led
mediæval architects to build such sanctuaries as this chapel here, or
the Lady Chapel of so many churches, had led men in far earlier ages to
find room even within the travelling tabernacle of a wandering tribe for
a holy place and a holy of holies. Such being the case, it was like the
crude instincts of the "dark ages of architecture" to choose this very
chapel as most suitable for a lecture-hall--out of all the lofty rooms
in the spacious college. Quite lately this practice has been dropped,
and the Latin Chapel restored to something of its ancient sanctity,
though a good deal remains to be done in a place where there is not as
yet even a chair to proclaim a _siste viator_.


The Decorated vaulting was built when the chapel was enlarged in
the fourteenth century. The foliage of its bosses is very beautiful;
the water-lilies especially of the third boss, so suggestive of Oxford
streams, and the roses a little further east, are a happy combination of
naturalistic treatment with decorative restraint. It will be noticed that
the vaulting does not run true in the third bay, the Decorated work there
having been somewhat awkwardly joined to the Early English of the second
bay. That part of the old wall which forms the pier at the juncture has
been left in a strangely rough condition; the builder having seemingly
given up the problem of fitting the vaults to the unequal spaces of
the bays, and left the pier as a simple bit of old wall, without even
a moulding to mark its juncture with the vault.

A prominent feature in the Latin Chapel is the old oak stalling, which
a second inspection proves to be patchwork. The returned stalls at the
west end probably belonged to the choir of the conventual church, and
in that case would have been fitted in here when Dean Duppa "adorned"
the choir by destroying the old wood-work. Near to these is some of
the work prepared for Cardinal Wolsey's new chapel. The poppy-heads are
good specimens of wood-carving, and contain a monogram I.H.S., a heart
in a crown of thorns, a cardinal's hat, and other devices. The pulpit,
with its delicate canopy, an excellent specimen of seventeenth century
wood-work, was formerly the Vice-Chancellor's seat in another part of the
church, occupied by him during university sermons. It was then used by
the Regius Professor of Divinity for his lectures, but since the altar
was restored six years ago, the chapel has been no longer used as a
lecture room. At the time when it was refitted, a handsome ogival arch
was found in the wall near the north end of the altar: the moulding is
deeply recessed, and once the arch terminated in what must have been an
ornate finial. The top of this finial has been cut down to a level with
the window ledge, and the face of the moulding hacked off to make the wall
flat for the panelling, which has now been removed. It was probably the
"Easter Sepulchre," where the Host was deposited on Good Friday, but it
may have been the tomb of the founder of the chapel. The curious break
in the masonry at the back has not been yet explained.

The wall behind the altar is pleasantly hung with Morris velvet. The
altar itself was the high altar before the restoration of 1870. In 1890
new legs were made for it out of the old organ screen, and it was placed
in its present position.

The eastern window (inserted as a memorial to Dr. Bull) is a pathetic
instance of the corrupt following of Mr. Ruskin, which also inflicted
upon Christ Church the gaunt Meadow Buildings. It is, of course, really
as unlike Mr. Ruskin's well-loved Venetian work as anything can possibly
be: as heavy as that is light, as clumsy as that is graceful, it is ugly
and cold and dead; but it represents a genuine enthusiasm of the fifties,
and commands our respect as an honest though mistaken effort, a landmark
in the history of the architectural revival. It also illustrates a truth
which one is apt sometimes to forget,--that it is easy to appreciate
beauty, and very hard to create it.

Fortunately it is nearly lost sight of in the splendid Burne-Jones glass
which fills it, and represents another side of the artistic revival not
less important than the architectural.

=Glass in Latin Chapel=.--The beautiful windows at the side are filled
with fine fourteenth century glass, which was replaced after a long period
of exile by Dean Liddell. In the middle of each light is a figure in
canopy work, the rest of the light being covered with "quarries,"--that
is, diamond-shaped pieces of glass with leaves and flowers lightly
burnt upon them. The spaces in the tracery are ornamented with curious
medallions, and the borders with various beasts, as in St. Lucy's Chapel,
monkeys among them. The Courtenay Arms--Three Torteaux--suggest that the
family may have contributed towards building the chapel. Beginning at
the west, the first window contains a St. Catherine in the first light,
next a Madonna and holy Child (the blue pattern at the back of these
figures should be noticed); next a figure of St. Frideswide, or her
mother Saffrida.

The second window contains the figure of an archbishop, holding a cross
curiously blended into a crooked pastoral staff; angels are on either

The next has St. Frideswide in the centre, with St. Margaret and St.
Catherine at her side. The patroness holds the curiously foliated sceptre
which has led to the identification of her figure in the choir boss,
and Catherine handles her wheel and sword in the same way as her statue
over the dean's stall in the choir. The last window on this side is by
Clayton and Bell, and a particularly feeble one.

The St. Frideswide window at the east end of the Latin Chapel was designed
by Sir E. Burne-Jones and executed by Messrs. Powell of the Whitefriars
Glass Works, the firm which is now making the glass for the mosaics
at St. Paul's. "Burne-Jones, an Oxford undergraduate, destined for
the Church, but gifted with high powers of romantic design, sought out
Rossetti towards June 1856, and showed him some drawings. Rossetti told
him at once that he ought to be, and must be, an artist, and he became
one." In the next year Rossetti drew the attention of the Powells to the
young artist, and they had the penetration to recognise his worth and to
employ him. But though this is one of the first windows that Burne-Jones
ever designed, it is one of his best. Better suited (as many think)
to the purpose of a window, at all events in this enclosed chapel, than
the freer method of the other glass, it carries on the best traditions
of the craft, in its infinite variety of gem-like colour and complexity
of detail; while it attains a degree of perfection in pictorial effect
and figure-drawing which was impossible during the great era of mediæval
glass-painting. The death of the saint, with its lovely effect of light
through the latticed window, for instance, and the picture of her in the
pig-sty, would be perfect as finished pictures, and yet do not for an
instant outstep the convention which is necessary for their function as
part of a window. The fact that the subjects are a little crowded is not
the artist's fault. Mr. Woodward, the architect to whom the commission
was due, made an unlucky mistake about the measurements, being in very
ill-health at the time, and indeed on the point of death. Mr. Burne-Jones'
cartoon had therefore to undergo a mechanical reduction which has
slightly affected the clearness of the designs. The colour is, in spite
(or rather because) of its radiant variety, not so immediately attractive
to everyone as that of the other Burne-Jones windows; but when one has
sat down for five or ten minutes and deciphered the various scenes, its
unapproachable beauty becomes apparent, and each succeeding visit deepens
the impression of the splendour and poetry of this incomparable work.

The scenes depicted are, by the artist's own account, as follows:--

_First Light._

  St. Frideswide and her companions brought up by St. Cecilia and St. Catherine.
  St. Frideswide founds her first convent.
  A messenger from the King of Mercia demands her in marriage.
  The King comes to take her by force, and the first convent is broken up.

_Second Light._

  Flight of St. Frideswide to Abingdon.
  The King of Mercia and his soldiers in pursuit,
  The Flight continued.
  The Pursuit continued.
  St. Frideswide takes refuge in a pig-sty.

_Third Light._

  Flight of St. Frideswide to Binsey.
  The King of Mercia in pursuit.
  St. Frideswide founds a new convent at Binsey.
  Her merciful deeds.

_Fourth Light._

  Return of St. Frideswide to Oxford.
  The Siege of Oxford by the King of Mercia.
  The Siege continued.
  The King struck blind.
  The Death of St. Frideswide.


In the tracery above are the trees of life and of knowledge, and a ship
of souls convoyed by angels.

This east window was purchased with money left by Dr. Bull (1853), to whom
there is a monument against the western wall. There are also brasses
to the eminent Dr. Mozley (Regius Professor of Divinity till 1878),
Dr. Ogilvie (1873), Dr. Shirley (1866), Dr Barnes (1859), Archdeacon
Clerke (1877).



St. Frideswide (Fritheswithe, "The Bond of Peace"), foundress and patron
saint of the church, lived early in the eighth century, when Ethelbald
was King of Mercia. Her father Didan was probably the under-king of the
little town of Oxford, which was then a frontier city of Mercia. In
spite of the legendary atmosphere that has gathered about her memory,
there is no reason to doubt the main facts of her life; indeed, the best
modern authorities endorse them.

Here is her story, told in the delightful words of Anthony a Wood, who
wrote towards the end of the seventeenth century:--

"About the year of our Lord 727, as authors say, lived in the city of
Oxford a prince (or as Malmesbury hath, a king) named Didan, one of
incomparable honesty and virtues, who, by his wife Safrid, of a Saxon
family, had an only daughter called Frideswyde, born at this place, and
by her parents brought up in all manner of honest and liberal breeding,
befitting her descent." Then is described her early piety, her refusal
of marriage, and her refusal also to be a nun. The narrative continues:--

"And furthermore, with great zeale, she added that seeing he had large
possessions and inheritances and that she was like to enjoy most of them
after his discease, he could not doe better than bestowe them upon some
religious fabrick wherein she and her spirituall sisters (votaresses also)
might spend their dayes in prayers and singing of psalmes and hymmes to
God. To which the father giving an attentive eare and considering withall
that his issue was like to be discontinued, took upon him a resolution
to performe the same that soe he might leave his child in a comfortable
manner and then dye in peace. Wherfore, not long after, the good old man
built a church within the præcincts (as 'tis said) of the city of Oxon,
and dedicated it to the honour of the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary
and All Saints, and soe committed it wholy to the use of his daughter
Frideswyde purposely to exercise her devotion therin."

Then is told how Frideswide afterwards took the veil, inducing "12 virgins
of noble extract to follow her"; how her father "erected other ædifices
adjoyning to the church to serve as lodging rooms for the said virgins,"
settled lands upon the Nunnery, and died. The central story of her life
next follows:--

"Frideswyde, continuing most constant in her strict course of life,
was not only reputed famous for that particular, but also for those
excellent parts that nature had endowed her withall; insomuch that
both being conjoined in one body, was accounted the flower of all these
parts. Which being quickly rumoured in other countryes, gave occasion to
a young spritely prince, named Algar, king of Leycester, to become her
adorer in way of marriage. Which she by his proxies and others of his
wellwishers understanding, triumphed soe highly in her virginity, that
she with an open profession utterly despised both him and his princely
bed; neither left the least incouragement for him to proceed in this his
designe. The king having such a sudden repulse, and supposing it to be
a flashy resolution, encited him the more to goe forward; and sometimes
considering her beauty, then her incomparable qualities, and both obscured
under a minchon's hood, could not but attempt once more. Which, though
he performed with all the intreaties and gifts imaginable, did not in
the least disjoynt her purpose, but rather occasioned her to trample
upon his accostments and with a coy deportment despise his offers. All
it seemes was in vaine: nothing to be heard but nays: nothing to be
received but foyles: nothing but what if pursued, usher him to dispaire:
and the like. What shall we imagine this yong amoretto now to doe! Noe
place is able to containe him, nobody please his curious fancy but deare
Frideswyde! Noe note now but '_hei mihi, quod nullis_,' etc.!

"To remedy this, therefore, and attaine his cure, he considered very
well from the præmises could not be compassed unless it was by a forced
stealth. These were his last thoughts; and this he was resolved to

"Wherefore, immediately summoning some of his faithfull servants, sent
them as embassadours to prefer (under pretence) his last desires for
marriage, with full power, if like to prosper, to complete it. With this
speciall and soveiraign caution, if she did not concede, to watch their
opportunity and carry her away by force."

Then follows the account of the visit of the ambassadors, their threats
of force, and the Saint's undaunted reply. The story proceeds:--

"Well, the night is spent in consultation, and at the dawning of the
day they sallied from their lodgings and made their appearance towards
the Nunnery, where clambering the fences of the house and by degrees
approching her private lodging promised to themselves nothing but surety
of their prize. But alas! their purposes came short. What shall we think
the event of this designe? Why! their hopes were utterly frustrated. For
shee, either by the noise they made at their entrance or else (as 'tis
said in another place) by the instinct of some good spirit, awakened and
suddenly arose to see what was the matter. And immediately discovering
who they were and their intent for what they came, and finding it in
vaine to make an escape from them by flight being soe closely beseiged,
she (as the best remidy) straightway prostrated her selfe flatt on her
face and fervently prayed to the almighty that he would præserve her
from the violence of those wicked persons that were now ready to take
her away, that he would show some speciall token of reveng upon them for
this their bold attempt. Wherefore the embassadors (as 'tis delivered)
were miraculously struck blind, and like mad men ran headlong yelling
about the city."

The townsmen were much amazed at this strange sight, and this the cheifest
of them went straightway to her and--"Upon falling upon their knees,
humbly desired her to grant those simple and impertinent people their
sights, promising withall that, as sone as they were perfected, would
see them out of towne and enjoyne them noe more to returne. Hereupon she
commanded them to be brought to her; and after fervent prayers in their
behalfe, were as wonderfully restored to their eyes againe, as before
they were deprived of them."

On the ambassadors' return to Algar, he was filled with rage against
"that witch, hagge, and fury Frideswyde," and planned vengeance:--"The
king then gathering a force and intending for Oxon, breathed out nothing
but fire and sword to this place. But the night before he came hither,
there was an angel (as the story goes) appeared to Frideswyde in a dreame,
saying to her these words: '_Ignoras, O Virgo_,' &c.: 'thou art as yet
ignorant, O virgin, what will befall you tomorrow: for King Algar with
his assistants intend to sett upon you and if it be possible will satisfy
his lust upon you and leave you a miserable creature. But doe not feare:
there is a safe place provided for you; and he for this his attempt
shall be struck blind and never recover his sight. Arise therefore,
and make hast to the way that leads to the river Thames, where you
shall find a ship boat ready provided for you and one in it to convey
you away in safety.' After this was pronounced Frideswyde awakened;
and, suddenly arising from her couch, took two of her sisters the nunns
named Katherine and Cicely; and walked to the place appointed her by the
angell in her dreame. Where according to his admonitions, she found a
boat by the river's side and in it the appearance of a yong man with a
beautiful countenance and clothed in white: who, mitigating their feare
with pleasant speech, placed them in the boat, in which, the space of
one hour, shee and her sisters arrived neare the towne called Benton
[Bampton or Bensington], ten miles and above distant from Oxon.

"Where after their landing, followed a path adjoyning, which conveyed
them into a vast and dismall wood. And wandring therin too and fro, met
at length with a kind of hovell or shelter purposely erected to harbour
swine and other cattell in times of cold and wett weather; and there
taking up a resolution to fix, crossed themselves and retired therin.
Which place being quickly overgrowen with ivy and other sprouts, they
continued therin a long time, being in fasting and prayers, and utterly
unknown to the inhabitants therabouts."

Algar in the meanwhile had gone to Oxford, found Frideswide flown, and
in the midst of his fury been smitten with blindness. After living three
years in close retirement in the Benton wood, Frideswide, to comfort the
nuns whom she had left, came by boat to Binsey near Oxford, and there
lived for some time. Soon after she came back into Oxford, and spent her
days in the service of the people, working in especial many miracles of
healing. The Cottonian MS. relates her first miracle as happening at
"Bentonia," when St. Frideswide cured a blind girl of seven through
virtue of the water wherein the saint had washed her hands. Shortly
after she helped a young man (_infortunatus juvenis_) named Alward, who,
while cutting wood on a Sunday (_parvi pendens diem Resurrectionis
Dominicæ_), found his hand fixed to the handle of his axe, so that he
could not let it go. A beautiful story is told about her entry into
Oxford; that a leper met her, and begged her to kiss him, which, after
making the sign of the cross, she did, and he was healed of his leprosy.

[Illustration: THE EXTERIOR IN 1857.]

Of her last sojourn in Oxford, William of Malmesbury says:--"In that
place, therefore, this maiden, having gained the triumph of her virginity,
established a convent, and when her days were over and her Spouse called
her, she there died."

"Some time," says Dugdale, "after the glorious death of St. Frideswide,
the nuns having been taken away, Secular Canons were introduced." We
cannot fix the date when the community of nuns which the saint had
founded was thus removed, but the passage which follows in Dugdale makes
it clear that the seculars were in possession in 1004, when Ethelred II.
rebuilt the church. It seems strange that the nuns, for whom Frideswide
had suffered so much and laboured so successfully, should have been thus
early made to give place to a chapter of married priests; but early
it must have been, for by the middle of the tenth century Dunstan was
busy suppressing the seculars, and enforcing everywhere the stricter
monastic rule. Nor did the nuns ever come back; for, when the Secular
Canons had finally disappeared, by the time of the Norman Conquest,
the priory, after being for a long time in ruins, was made over, first
to the great Benedictine monastery of Abingdon, of which it became a
"cell" or dependency, shortly afterwards to the warlike Roger, Bishop of
Salisbury, "but only for the profits issuing from their lands, which he,
after its restoration, returned again with great reluctancy"; and it was
finally restored under Henry I. (IIII) as a house of the Canons Regular
of St. Augustine, an order holding a position midway between monks and
secular canons, in whose hands it continued henceforward.

Guimond was the first prior, and a curious story is told by several old
writers as to the manner whereby he won the king's favour:--

"On Rogation Sunday (30th April 1122), when the king was at mass and
Guymundus performing divine service before him, did when he came to that
parcell of the prophet, 'it did not rain upon the earth for the space
of III. years and six months,' read thus, 'it did not rain upon the
earth one, one, one years six months.' Which the king observing, and all
the clerks marvelling and laughing at, did when mass was ended reprove
him for it, and furthermore asked him the reason why he read after that
manner. Guymund smilingly answered, 'Because you, my liege, are used to
bestow your bishopricks and other church benefices to them that read so;
and therefore be it known to you, henceforth I will serve no other master
but Christ my King and Sovereign, who knoweth as well how to confer
temporal as eternal benefits upon his servants that always obey him.'"

By the eleventh century important national meetings were held in
Oxford, as when in 1020, Cnut being then king, the English and Danes
were reconciled, and both nations agreed to observe the laws of Edgar.
But no king ventured to visit the city, for, after the failure of Algar,
there was a tradition that boded misfortune to any king who entered
within the city walls. Henry III. was the first to defy it by coming to
worship at the shrine of St. Frideswide in 1264; but his example was
an unfortunate one, for within six weeks Nemesis came in the Battle
of Lewes. Edward I. was less daring than his father, for in 1275, when
he reached the gates of Oxford, he turned his horse about, and sought
a lodging outside the town. Later in his reign, however, he made the
venture, and destroyed the superstition.

St. Frideswide's Priory did not, according to the latest authority on
mediæval universities, Mr. Rashdall, create Oxford University,[4] but
reasons of convenience of access and other like matter-of-fact causes;
for, if the University had needed only a religious house round which to
cluster, the neighbouring monastery of Abingdon was far larger and more
suitable. Yet there is great probability that the first germs of the
University were produced by the Priory. It is said, indeed, that the
Mercian kings built inns or halls in the neighbourhood of the convent,
but we may suspect this as a legendary statement not more substantiable
than the story of King Alfred's founding University College, since the
first actual notice of "Oxeneford" does not occur till 912. But it is
much more certain that, during the wise rule of Guimond (1122-1141),
the first Regular Prior, and of Robert of Cricklade,[5] his successor,
there was a school connected with the convent, as indeed was the case
with most convents, and probably with St. Frideswide's itself before
Guimond's time. This school stood near the west end of the church, about
the middle of what is now Tom Quad. Writing of the arrival of Vacarius,
in King Stephen's reign, Mr. J.R. Green says:--"We know nothing of the
causes which drew students and teachers within the walls of Oxford.
It is possible that here, as elsewhere, the new teacher had quickened
older educational foundations, and that the cloisters of Osney and
St. Frideswide already possessed schools which burst into a larger life
under the impulse of Vacarius."

The Priory was also one of the centres of university life in its early
days, occupying perhaps in some sort the position held by St. Mary's at
the present day. From the time of the Translation of St. Frideswide,
the chancellor and scholars of the University used to go in Mid-Lent
and on Ascension Day "in a general procession to her church, as the
mother-church of the University and town, there to pray, preach, and
offer oblations to her shrine." The Civil Law School belonged to St.
Frideswide's as well as St. Patrick's Schools, and some others situated
near to School Street. Among the Halls that the Priors possessed, Brend
Hall was in 1438 made over to Lincoln College; Urban Hall and Bekes Inn
were bought by Bishop Fox to procure a site for Corpus Christi College.

Yet St. Frideswide's does not seem to have been so great a power in
educational matters as its position would have warranted. In fact,
most of the other orders were ahead of the Augustinian Regulars in
this matter, for we do not hear of their doing anything much until the
fifteenth century, when St. Mary's College near Northgate Street was
an Augustinian establishment. It was the new orders, the Black Friars
(Dominicans) and the Grey Friars (Franciscans), who did so much for the
educational advance of Oxford. The Franciscan schoolmen, especially,
gave the University a European reputation, for Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus,
and William Occam were trained by them. Cardinal Wolsey, though he did
much harm to St. Frideswide's church, did at least make the place a great
educational centre.

In one indirect way we find that the Priory helped to attend to the
scholars' interests in the thirteenth century. "Owing to the general
poverty," says Mr. Boase, "charitable people founded _chests_, from which
loans might be made to poor scholars. Grostête began the system in 1240
by issuing an ordinance regulating St. Frideswide's Chest, which received
the fines paid by citizens; and we hear on the whole of about two dozen of
these charitable funds, amounting in all to nearly 2000 marks. The money
was lent out on security of books, plate, or other property, and it was,
in fact, a pawnbroking business which charged no interest." The money
accruing to the University was placed in a chest at St. Frideswide's,
when the borrower was required to deposit some pledge--a book or a cup,
or a piece of clothing. Pledges not redeemed within a year were sold
by public auction. As time went on, private bequests were added to the
Frideswide chest, to the great relief, no doubt, of the scholars, who
were as poor as could be.

The Fair of St. Frideswide was another useful institution connected with
the Priory, for in early days the fairs not only afforded much innocent
amusement, but they also served to mark the seasons of the year, and
were of great practical value in the domestic economy of the people. St.
Frideswide's Fair lasted for seven days, and during that time the keys
of the city passed from the mayor to the prior, and the town courts were
closed in favour of the Piepowder Court, held by the steward of the
Priory for the redress of all disorders committed during the fair. By
Stuart times the Fair had fallen almost to nothing, but its memory is
still kept up by the annual cakestall in St. Aldate's.

One of the strongest Jewries in England existed in Oxford, so the
chest was a useful form of charity in the days when Jews were the only
money-lenders, and it was found necessary to pass a law preventing the
Hebrews of Oxford from charging over 43 per cent, on loans to scholars.
In 1268 St. Frideswide's provided a curious proof of the strong protection
which the Jews enjoyed till their expulsion from England for four
centuries in 1290.

"The feud between the Priory and the Jewry went on for a century more,
till it culminated in a daring act of fanaticism on Ascension Day 1268.
As the usual procession of scholars and citizens returned from St.
Frideswide's, a Jew suddenly burst from the group of his friends in front
of the synagogue, and snatching the crucifix from its bearer, trod it
underfoot. But even in presence of such an outrage, the terror of the
Crown shielded the Jewry from any burst of popular indignation. The king
condemned the Jews of Oxford to make a heavy silver crucifix for the
University to carry in the processions, and to erect a cross of marble
on the spot where the crime was committed; but even this was in part
remitted, and a less offensive place was allotted for the cross in
an open plot by Merton College." The event which had opened the feud
between the Priory and the Jews happened about 1185, when Prior Phillip
complained of a certain _Deus-eum-crescat_ (Gedaliah), son of Mossey,
who stood at his door as the procession of St. Frideswide passed by,
and mocked at her miracles, no one daring to meddle with him.

An instance of the widespread fame of the shrine of St. Frideswide, and
the veneration in which it was held even shortly before its destruction,
is given in Wood's "Annals." In 1518, "Queen Katherine being desirous to
come to Oxford, was attended in her journey by the Cardinal [Wolsey]:
and being entered within the limits, was received by the scholars
with all demonstrations of love and joy. After she had received their
curtesies, she retired to St. Frideswydd Monastery to do her devotions
to the sacred reliques of that Virgin Saint, being the chief occasion,
it seems, that brought her hither."

But the great change was rapidly approaching. It had indeed been
foreshadowed nearly a century and a half before, as when, for instance,
on Ascension Day 1382, Wyclif's disciple Nicholas Hereford, preaching
in the churchyard of St. Frideswide's, made a violent attack on the
Mendicant Friars, and boldly asserted his sympathy with Wyclif.

The suppression of the Priory in 1524 was not, however, a Protestant
act; for Wolsey obtained a bull from Pope Clement VII., authorising him,
with the royal consent, to suppress the Priory of St. Frideswide, and to
transfer the canons to other houses of the Augustinian order, so that
their dwelling and revenues might be assigned to the proposed college of
secular clerks. Wolsey had magnificent ideas about education,--"indeed,"
says Fuller, "nothing mean could enter into this man's mind"; he was bent
on founding institutions which should surpass even those of William of
Wykeham and William Waynflete; and he saw that monasticism had fallen
into disrepute, with no prospect of restoration to public favour. He
adopted, therefore, the hitherto exceptional method of suppressing
certain priories, in order that he might endow with their revenues his
new foundation of Cardinal College, as it was first styled. Henry VIII.
readily assented to the scheme, and his minister was thus enabled to
dissolve the oldest religious establishment within the walls of Oxford,
and to dispose of its income of "almost £300 a year." Dr. John Barton,
the last Prior of St. Frideswide's, was elected to be Abbot of the
neighbouring monastery of Oseney, just as (a little later) Bishop King,
the last Abbot of Oseney, was made first Bishop of Oxford.

There was much popular opposition to Wolsey's act in suppressing
St. Frideswide's, and (by a second Papal Bull) certain other monasteries.
Hall, a chronicler unfriendly to Wolsey, averred that "the poor wretches"
ejected from the monasteries received scarcely any compensation.
Complaints such as these drew from Wolsey this earnest and redundant

"Almighty God I take to my record, I have not meant, intended, or gone
about, ne also have willed mine officers, to do anything concerning the
said suppressions, but under such form and manner as is and hath largely
been to the full satisfaction, recompense, and joyous contentation of
any person which hath had, or could pretend to have, right or interest
in the same, in such wise that many of them, giving thanks and laud to
God for the good chance succeeded unto them, would for nothing, if they
might, return or be restored and put again in their former state, as your
Highness shall abundantly and largely perceive at my next repairing unto
the same.

"Verily, sir, I would be loth to be noted that I should intend such a
virtuous foundation for the increase of your Highness' merit, profit of
your subjects, the advancement of good learning, and for the weale of my
poor soul, to be established or acquired _ex rapinis_."

It was indeed, says Mr. Maxwell Lyte, part of Wolsey's "grand and
statesmanlike scheme of establishing episcopal sees in some of the larger
monasteries, and annexing thereto smaller monasteries to provide greater
revenues." The graduates of Oxford were very grateful, and promised to
remember him in their prayers to the end of time; but great fear came
over the monks. His proceedings, says Fuller quaintly but truly, "made
all the forest of religious foundations in England to shake, justly
fearing the king would finish to fell the oaks, seeing the Cardinal
began to cut the underwood."

Thus was Cardinal College founded. Its magnificence certainly made a great
impression upon Englishmen, as is shown by the fact that it is the only
existing college mentioned by Shakespeare. In _Henry VIII._ Wolsey is
praised for his new foundation:--

          "though unfinished, yet so famous,
    So excellent in art, and yet so rising,
    That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue."

But all Wolsey's great buildings, and projects still greater, were stopped
by his sudden fall in 1529. Three years afterwards "bluff Harry broke into
the spence," and, placidly transferring the whole credit of the idea to
himself, refounded Cardinal College with the title "King Henry VIII. his
College." Then he suppressed his own foundation, and, on Nov. 4th,
1546, reconstituted it, adopting the novel and economical expedient
of combining a cathedral with an academic college. The new style was
_Ecclesia Christi Cathedralis Oxon ex fundatione Regis Henrici octavi_;
so St. Frideswide's church, which had for seven years been the chapel of
Cardinal College, and of King Henry's College for thirteen years, became
at length the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford, and also the chapel of
the college now at length called Christ Church, and presided over by the
Dean of the cathedral. Ever since, the ancient church has had a two-fold
character as cathedral church and college chapel; and "as the Dean of
Christ Church is always present, and the Bishop of Oxford very seldom,
academic usages and appearances rather prevail over the ecclesiastical,
in a way that may have been the reverse of satisfactory to more than
one occupant of the see of Oxford."

Wolsey had contemplated establishing a hundred canons; but Henry
reduced the number at a stroke to twelve, and then to eight; later
they were further reduced to six, which is the present number. Besides
the canons, dean, and bishop, Henry's foundation included eight petty
canons or chaplains, a gospeller and a postiller or bible-clerk, eight
singing clerks, eight choristers and their master, a schoolmaster and an
usher, an organist, sixty scholars or students, and forty "children,"
corresponding no doubt to the scholars of later days. Soon after,
however, the whole scholastic part of the establishment was replaced
by one hundred students, who (with the one "outcomer" of the Thurston
foundation) are still nightly tolled by the hundred and one strokes of
great Tom, this being the signal for college-gates to be closed all over

Such was the arrangement of the new establishment, which, as the name of
_Ecclesia Christi_ was replaced by _Ædes Christi_, came to be called,
according to the double use of the word _æedes_, both Christ _Church_
and the _House_. The history of the see of Oxford, which was first set
up at Oseney in 1542, will be found in another chapter.

Curiously enough, the suppression of the monasteries, and the new vigorous
religious movement, did not benefit the University, in spite of the
addition of Wolsey's great college; on the contrary, the Reformation
nearly emptied the University, which had already lost much of its old
activity during the intellectual stagnation of the fifteenth century,
so that, in Edward VI.'s reign, washerwomen took to hanging out their
clothes in the schools. Most of the halls disappeared for ever, and from
that time Oxford passed out of the hands of the poor man, Christ Church
as the royal college becoming the special home of the gilded youth. The
first functions of the House seem indeed to have been mainly ornamental:
Henry VIII. was entertained there, public declamations were given before
the University under Edward VI., Cranmer was unfrocked in the cloister
under Mary. In Queen Elizabeth's reign, as well as in the seventeenth
century, Christ Church Hall was used for the performance of plays,
as when in 1583 _Dido_ was acted, and "there was a pleasant sight of
hunters, with a full cry of a kennel of hounds, and Mercury and his
descending and ascending from and to a high place. The tempest also,
wherein it rained small comfits, rose-water, and snew artificial snow,
was very strange to the beholders."

The Deans in Elizabeth's time were undistinguished. There was Martiall,
who was appointed by Mary, and deprived in 1559 for his religion, "which
though he had two or three times changed, yet having made himself Enemies
by his indiscreet Carriage, he was obliged to go into Yorkshire"; and
there was Sampson, who was "so professed an enemy of the ceremonies of
the Church of England," and of organs and vestments, that he was removed
by Archbishop Parker, 1565. But there was no one else of much note till
Brian Duppa was installed in 1629. This staunch old man left Christ
Church in 1641 for the Bishopric of Salisbury, after having "adorned" the
cathedral, with the mixed results we have witnessed. He was extremely
generous and unselfish; and he stuck to the king through his evil days,
even sharing his imprisonment in Carisbrooke Castle, where he is thought
materially to have assisted in writing the "_Eikon Basilike_." Duppa,
Mr. Wakeman tells us, "amid many dangers had boldly found means to carry
on the torch of apostolic grace, even amid the proscriptions of Cromwell."

During the troubles of the Civil War, Christ Church came in for its share
of the work: in 1642 a University regiment of Cavaliers was drilled in
Tom Quad, and of the hundred and one students of the House twenty became
officers in the king's army. After Edgehill, Charles I. occupied Oxford,
and kept his court with Prince Charles in Christ Church. On February 3rd,
1644, the king appointed a thanksgiving to be made at evensong for the
taking of Cirencester by Prince Rupert the day before. The doctors were
then in their red robes, the officers and men in laced buff coats and
polished breastplates. "But there was no new Form of Thanksgiving said,
save only that Form for the victory of Edgehill, and a very solemn anthem,
with this several times repeated therein--'Thou shalt set a Crown of
pure gold upon his Head, and upon his Head shall his Crown flourish.'"

In 1646 Oxford was taken by the Roundheads, and in 1648, at the visitation
of the Parliamentary officers (the Dean, Samuel Fell, being in custody),
Mrs. Fell, with some other ladies, and her children, refused to walk
out of the Deanery, and had to be carried out with her companions, and
"deposited in the quadrangle in feminine protest against extrusion." Dean
Samuel Fell, who had finished Duppa's wood and glass work in the
cathedral, and built the fine staircase into the hall, died heartbroken
on February 1st, 1648, "the Day he was acquainted with the murder
of his Royal Master King Charles I.": he was buried at Sunningwell,
near Abingdon, with this inscription of touching brevity--_Depositum
S.F. Februar._ 1648.

The use of the Latin version of the Prayer Book, and the English version
as well, had ceased three months before; but it was kept up in a house
in Merton Street by three Christ Church men, one of whom was the Dean's
son, John Fell, afterwards himself to become Dean and Bishop of Oxford.
The intruding Dean and Chapter seem to have behaved villainously; for,
in an account given by the Chapter of 1670, it is stated that the entire
revenues of the College had been exhausted by the intruders, all the
unfinished work on the north side of Tom Quad demolished, and the
timbers actually sawn down from the walls and roof to be used as firewood.
Almost every part of the College was damaged in this way, and the huge
expense of making the destruction good had to be borne by the new Chapter
after the Restoration.


Samuel Fell's first Puritan successor in the Deanery was Reynolds,
a Presbyterian who, in two years (1650), was turned out "to make
room," says Browne Willis, "for that noted, canting, Independent,
Time-serving Hypocrite John Owen." This Owen was himself turned out in
1659, and "retired among the Dissenters at London, and there ended his
Days (preaching up Sedition in Conventicles)." He was buried in Bunhill
Fields, with a portentously long epitaph, whereof one sentence may
suffice as a specimen--_In illâ viribus plusquam Herculeis, Serpentibus
tribus, Arminio, Socino, Cano, venenosa strinxit guttura_.

Reynolds was restored by the Presbyterians in 1659, but them deserting,
he became Bishop of Norwich, and was succeeded at Christ Church in
1660 by Morley, who, in the same year, became a Bishop, and afterwards
succeeded the tough old Duppa in the see of Winchester, 1662. John Fell,
who had seen so much trouble in his father's old house, was next installed
therein, in 1660. His biography will be found among the bishops.

James II. made Massey, an ex-Presbyterian convert to the Roman Church,
Dean of Christ Church, and the Holy Communion was celebrated according
to the Roman use every day in the House. When the king visited Oxford in
1687, he was lodged in the Deanery, and a chapel fitted up for his use.
He summoned the fellows of Magdalen, who had refused to admit Bishop
Parker as their president, into Christ Church Hall, and said:--"Is this
your Church of England loyalty? Get you gone. Know that I, your King,
will be obeyed. Go and admit the Bishop of Oxon. Let those who refuse
look to it. They shall feel the whole weight of my hand." They refused,
and twenty-five of them were expelled. James, by-the-way, touched for
the King's Evil in the cathedral about the same time.

Aldrich, the versatile, followed in the Deanery, nothing being said of
Massey in the letters patent which installed him as direct successor to
John Fell. We have alluded to him more than once in this book, and his
monument in the nave is mentioned in its place.

After Aldrich came Francis Atterbury in 1711, who in 1713 left Oxford
to combine the rather dissimilar functions of Bishop of Rochester and
Dean of Westminster. He found his way into the Tower of London in 1722,
being convicted of correspondence with the Pretender.

By the eighteenth century Oxford had sunk into a state of torpor, from
which it began to recover in 1807, when the first honour schools were
founded; though from 1783 Dean Cyril Jackson had been doing a great work
in the restoration of order and efficiency at the House. Christ Church
thus bore an honourable part in the revival of learning, and gradually
developed from a rich man's plesaunce into a home of learning: the names
of Ruskin, Gladstone, and Pusey are typical of the great men in different
walks of life that have belonged to the cathedral college in our own
era. Dean Gaisford more than half a century ago did much to help on the
progress; and the long rule of his successor, Dean Liddell (1855-91),
familiar to every schoolboy through his famous lexicon, covered a period
of immense change both in the cathedral and in the college. Dr. Liddell
died January 18th, 1898. His successor is Dr. Francis Paget, one of
the writers in "_Lux Mundi_," and the author of some well-known volumes
of addresses.

Fifty years ago it was said that Christ Church was the only cathedral
in Christendom where there were neither services nor sermons for the
people of the diocese. But the new life, which has since then wrought
such great changes in university, cathedral, and diocese alike, has left
Christ Church, if still the smallest, yet not the least important of the
great centres of ecclesiastical activity.



Down to our own time, Oxford remained one of the new dioceses of the
English Church, having been set up by Henry VIII. by way of compensation
for his confiscation of the monastic properties. Before 1542 Oxford
belonged to the enormous diocese of Lincoln; but in that year the new see
was created, and Robert King, the last Abbot of Oseney, was made first
Bishop of Oseney, and the Bishop's stool set up in his magnificent abbey
church of St. Mary.

This Abbey of Oseney, which had been founded by Robert D'Oilgi in 1129,
and rebuilt in 1247, was, like St. Frideswide's, a house of Augustinian
Canons, but far larger. It was, indeed, one of the finest abbeys in
England, its principal cloister being as large as Tom Quad, and its
church no less than 352 feet by 100, with double aisles, and twenty-four
altars. Gardens and courts, and comely outbuildings, ran along the side
of the river; in every corner a busy life went on among the orieled
windows and high-pitched roofs, within the fretted cloister, the schools
and libraries, the refectory, and the kitchen, whither a conduit brought
the water from the river side. A great gate looked on to the high road;
and the abbot's lodgings were so spacious that six men could walk abreast
up the steps which led into his hall. Yet others were not forgotten;
besides the guest-house, there was a building reserved for poor clerks.

But Henry's mania for destruction could not let the Abbey stand. In 1546
he moved the see to St. Frideswide's, reconstituting the old Priory,
which Wolsey had turned into a college, as both college and cathedral.
The doom of Oseney was pronounced, and in that year the demolition began.

In 1566 Agar's map represents Oseney Abbey as still standing, but
roofless; in 1644 a good deal remained, but Charles I. used the greater
part to complete the fortifications of Oxford against the Cromwellians;
in 1718 the abbot's chamber and the great stone staircase were all that
was left. In Dr. Johnson's time a few ruins could still be seen, of which
the great man said (at a time when such sentiments were uncommon)--"Sir,
to look upon them fills me with indignation." At the present day the
remains are almost invisible; they consist of a portion of a building
attached to the mill, a fragment of the foundations of the gateway at the
end of the same building, a small portion of the wall near the great gate,
a few loose fragments of masonry, and some encaustic tiles. Bishop King's
window in the cathedral gives one a vague reminder of its former aspect;
and only the bells, which were transferred to Christ Church, remain
intact. Thus perished the first cathedral church of the see of Oxford.

    Of it there now remains no memory
    Nor any little monument to see;
    By which the traveller that fares that way,
    That once she was may warned be to say.

Apart from questions of vandalism, the destruction of this the first
cathedral of Oxford was an egregious piece of waste and folly. Such places
have been only too much needed by the University--indeed the need was
felt a few years after the destruction--and vast sums have been spent
in the erection of immeasurably inferior buildings. If Oseney Abbey,
with its crowd of beautiful outbuildings along the water side, had been
converted into a college, it would have been of immense use, and every
other college now extant insignificant compared with it. Of all the
headstrong and wanton actions of an irreverent age, the destruction of
Oseney was one of the most wicked; and, as the train moves into Oxford
railway station, the stranger may remember that the present approach
to the old city is only so hideous because the glorious old abbey has
given place to a collection of gasholders, coal-heaps, railway-sidings,
modern tombstones, and obscene jerry-buildings.

The diocese of Oxford now includes the deaneries of Aston, Burcester,
Chipping-Norton, Cuddesden, Deddington, Dorchester (Oxon), Henley, Witney,
Woodstock, and Oxford City, together with the counties of Berks and Bucks.

=Robert King= (1542-1557), the first Bishop of Oseney and of Oxford,
and the last Abbot of Oseney and of Thame, began life as a Cistercian
monk. On the conversion of his abbey into a cathedral, he continued, as
bishop of the new see, to preside; but he had already, seven years before,
been raised to the episcopate, as suffragan of Lincoln, under the title
(conferred by the Pope) of Bishop of Rheon in the province of Athens. He
seems to have taken the Reformation pretty easily, passing through all
the changes under King Henry, King Edward, and Queen Mary. He died at
an advanced age in 1557, and was buried in Christ Church Cathedral. He
left considerable riches to his nephew Phillip King, "which it seems,"
says Fuller, "was quickly consumed, so that John King, Bishop of London
(son of Phillip), used to say he believed there was a fate in abbey
money no less than in abbey land, which seldom proved fortunate, or of
continuance to the owners." He is supposed to have built "Bishop King's
House" in Rose Place.

After Queen Elizabeth had kept the see vacant for ten years, =Hugh Curwen=
(1567-1568), a "moderate papist," according to Fuller, who had been made
Archbishop of Dublin by Queen Mary, and now wished to end his days in
peace, was translated to Oxford. "Very decrepid, broken with old age and
many state affairs," he died next year. Whereupon Elizabeth kept the see
vacant for twenty-one years more, "out of pure devotion to the leases,
as some writers say."

=John Underhill= (1589), Rector of Lincoln College, and one of Queen
Elizabeth's chaplains, was next appointed, "being persuaded," says Willis,
"on certain considerations, to accept it in the way of a better." But
it proved "very much out of his way; for ere the first-fruits were payed
he died in great discontent and poverty about the beginning of May 1592."

Again Elizabeth, who had already taken away some of the best estates
from the bishopric, kept it in her hands the third time (1592-1604):
"who," says Willis, "constituting no bishop forty-one years of her
forty-four, disposed of its income to her courtiers as she thought fit,
giving whatever they had a mind to ask; though, as some writers remark,
it proved miserably fatal to them, particularly to her great favourite
the Earl of Essex."

With =John Bridges= (1604-1618) commences the unbroken succession of
Bishops of Oxford. It is suggested by Fuller in his "Worthies" that "the
cause that church was so long a widow was the want of a competent estate
to prefer her"; but at this time, Elizabeth being dead, the endowment
of the see had been increased; and henceforward occupants for it were
found. Bridges is known to history mainly from his name appearing at the
head of the title-page of the first two Marprelate tracts. He was then,
1587, Dean of Sarum, and had written a temperate reply to the Puritan
pamphleteers who were pouring violent abuse upon Episcopacy. Martin
Marprelate seized upon his book, "A Defence of the Government Established
in the Church of England," and headed the "Epistle" and the "Epitome"
with, "Oh read over D. John Bridges, for it is a worthy worke." He was
a good Bishop.

=John Howson= (1619-1628) was a great controversialist of the time, his
four sermons against the Pope's supremacy having, according to Fuller,
"made him famous to all posterity." He was one of the original members
of Chelsea College, an institution founded by James I. "to afford
divines leisure and other conveniences to spend their time wholly in
controversy." Mercifully this terrible design soon gave way, and Chelsea
College became Chelsea Hospital. Bishop Howson was translated to Durham
in 1628, where he died at the age of ninety-five.

=Richard Corbet= (1628-1632) was "a distinguished wit in an age of wits,
and a liberal man amongst a race of intolerant partizans." But perhaps
his liberality (which did not prevent him, by-the-way, from carrying out
the Laudian discipline with a high hand) was due to his own easy way
of living: for he and his chaplain were wont to lock themselves in the
wine-cellar and be merry. He seems to have been a genial, kind, generous,
and spirited prelate; sincere and affectionate in private life, he was,
says Gilchrist, "correct, eloquent, and ingenious as a poet." At least
he was a man of character. From 1632 to 1635 he was Bishop of Norwich.

=John Bancroft= (1632-1641), Master of University College, and nephew of
the Archbishop of Canterbury of that name, was a great benefactor to the
see. Being a single man he devoted his money to this purpose; and besides
many financial acquisitions, he built an episcopal palace at Cuddesden
at the suggestion of Archbishop Laud. This palace, the first since the
time of Edward VI., was finished in 1634, and burnt down ten years later
by Colonel Legg, to prevent its becoming useful to the parliamentary
forces. It lay in ruins till the time of Bishop Fell.

=Robert Skinner= (1641-1663) was translated from Bristol. He was
imprisoned in the Tower by the Puritan party, and remained in obscurity
during the Commonwealth; but he was one of the few who continued to
ordain. At the Restoration, being then over seventy, he was translated
to Worcester.

=William Paul= (1663) and =Walter Blandford= (1665) did nothing memorable.

=Hon. Nathaniel Crewe= (1671-1674) entered into holy orders in 1664; in
the short space of five years he was Dean of Chichester, and two years
after that Bishop of Oxford. He was an ambitious and restless man: in
1673 he had the boldness to perform the marriage ceremony between the
Duke of York and Mary of Este, in defiance of the House of Commons. As
a reward for this act, the Duke procured him the see of Durham, whither
he was translated in 1674. At the Revolution, as a consequence of his
political intrigues, he was excepted from the general pardon, and obliged
to fly to Holland. But he afterwards made his peace; and, on the death
of his elder brother, becoming Lord Crewe, he was the first man to be
summoned to Parliament both as baron and bishop. He lived on till 1722.

=Hon. Henry Compton= (1674-1675), son of the Earl of Northampton, who died
fighting by the king at Hopton Heath in 1644, was after the Restoration
a cornet in the army before he took orders. He was conspicuous throughout
his long life for his efforts to reconcile the dissenters with the Church
of England, and for his opposition to Rome; he was the first to sign the
declaration for the Prince of Orange on William's arrival in London. But
at Oxford he was a bird of passage, being translated to London in 1675.

=John Fell= (1676-1686), the best known, and also the best of the Bishops
of Oxford, was well-fitted to restore the traditions of the place; for
his father Samuel Fell was Dean of Christ Church from 1637-1649, and had
been elected student of the House as far back as 1601: thus John Fell must
have had an intimate knowledge of the traditions of Christ Church as far
back as the third interregnum of Elizabeth. A strong royalist, Fell kept
in seclusion till the Restoration, when, in 1660, he was made Dean. He
at once commenced to restore both the discipline and the buildings of
the College. On his appointment to the Bishopric, he was permitted to
retain the Deanery as well, in order "that he might better carry on his
noble designs, which were so many that they contributed to wear him quite
out and shorten his life." He employed Sir Christopher Wren to build
Tom Tower, and finished the north side of Tom Quadrangle; he also built
a new episcopal palace upon the ruins of the old one at Cuddesden. He
founded ten exhibitions, and caused the University Theatre to be erected,
and the Printing Press to be "advanced to a glory superior to any place
in Christendom." He showed exemplary care in governing his diocese, and
established daily prayers at St. Martin's (as the principal city church
of Oxford) at eight in the morning and eight at night. His most important
book is the "Life of Dr. Henry Hammond," 1660; he also wrote several
theological books, edited St. Cyprian's works, and produced a well-known
edition of the New Testament. He died in 1686, "having by a most pious
unspotted single life left behind him an everlasting character," and was
buried in the cathedral, where, in the ante-chapel, there is a monument
to him. There is also a beautiful statue of him over the archway that
leads past the deanery into Peckwater Quadrangle, by Mr. Bodley.

Anthony à Wood records of him that he was "the most zealous man of his
time for the Church of England." Still John Fell had his weak points,
as this same Anthony Wood had cause to know. For it so happened that
Wood had mentioned Hobbes, the redoubtable author of the "Leviathan,"
in terms of great admiration, in his History and Antiquities of the
University. Wood was himself a strong high-churchman, with (it had been
said) a weakness for popery; in praising Hobbes he therefore acted with a
generosity and fairness beyond his age. Fell, however, was not so liberal;
he considered Hobbes no better than an atheist or a deist, and when one
Peers was employed by Wood to translate his book into Latin, Fell got on
the right side of the man, and made him alter all Wood's praises of Hobbes
to expressions of abuse. The author of the "Leviathan," meeting the King
in Pall Mall, got leave to reply, and hit the Bishop rather hard. Fell
retorted with an answer that contained the famous description of Hobbes as
_irritabile illud et vanissimum Malmesburiense animal_. Wood, of course,
was furious, and the wretched Peers suffered at the hands of the muscular
old Antiquary, so that "as Peers alway cometh off with a bloody nose or
a black eye, he was a long time afraid to goe anywhere where he might
chance to meet his too powerful adversary, for fear of another drubbing."

=Samuel Parker= (1686-1687) was a typical specimen, of the place-hunter
of the period. He was brought up a strict Puritan at Northampton, and,
coming to Wadham College in 1656, when the Puritans were in power,
he distinguished himself as "one of the most godly young men in the
University," and was under the tuition of a rigid Presbyterian. Shortly
after the Restoration, however, he changed his mind, and in 1663 he took
orders, becoming "a zealous advocate of the Church of England." By 1686,
however, he was the creature of James II., and was forced by that monarch
upon Magdalen College, Oxford, as its President, in 1687, in the place
of the lawful President, John Hough. At the installation only two of the
Magdalen Fellows attended; the porter threw down his keys, the butler
had to be dismissed because he would not scratch Hough's name from the
buttery list, no blacksmith even could be found in Oxford to force the
lock of the President's lodgings; and the whole University, which had
suffered so much for the Stuarts, was alienated at last. Parker himself
died very soon after, in the lodgings that he had unlawfully occupied. He
lies buried in the ante-chapel of Magdalen, but no monument marks his
grave. Antony Wood intimates that he would have become a Papist, but
for his wife, who was unwilling to be parted from him; and he certainty
wrote in defence of transubstantiation. Still, Parker, according to
Mr. W.H. Hutton (_Social England_, iv. 421), was by no means a despicable
man. As a philosopher in his _Disputationes de Deo_, and _Censure of the
Platonick Philosophie_, as a satirist in his _Discourse of Ecclesiastical
Polity_, and an ecclesiastical historian, he is eminent. "But most of all
is he commended to modern thinkers by his little tract containing reasons
for the abolition of the Test Act."

=Timothy Hall= (1688-1690), another of James II.'s creatures, was also
originally a Nonconformist, but afterwards, "getting nothing," says
Willis, "for his loss of a small living in Middlesex, he complied."
Being a very obscure and inconsiderable person, and on no account for
learning, no one took any notice of him. At the Revolution he fled from
Oxford, and died "miserably poor at Hackney near London, and was buried
in the church there without any memorial."

=John Hough= (1690-1699), the President of Magdalen whom King James
had ejected, was the next bishop. He retained the Presidency during
his episcopate. In 1699 he was translated to Lichfield, thence in 1717
to Worcester, where he died in 1743. He was, says Macaulay, "a man of
eminent virtue and prudence, who, having borne persecution with fortitude
and prosperity with meekness, having risen to high honours, and having
modestly declined honours higher still, died in extreme old age, yet
in full vigour of mind," fifty-six years after the eventful struggle
with James.

=William Talbot= (1669-1715), father of Lord Chancellor Talbot, was
translated to Salisbury in 1715, and to Durham in 1721.

=John Potter= (1715-1737), son of a linen-draper in Wakefield, wrote a
well-known book on the "Antiquities of Greece." He was "a learned and
exemplary divine, but of a character by no means amiable, being strongly
tinctured with a kind of haughtiness and severity of manners." He became
Archbishop of Canterbury in 1737.

=Thomas Secker= (1737-1758) came of dissenting parents, but was persuaded
by the great Bishop Butler to abandon the study of medicine and to take
orders in the Church. He was an estimable and able person, and in 1758
became Archbishop of Canterbury. His portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds
is at Lambeth.

=John Hume= (1758-1766), Bishop of Bristol 1756: translated to Salisbury

=Robert Lowth= (1766-1777) was the author of a variety of works, including
a "Life of William of Wykeham," and a "Short Introduction to English
Grammar." His controversy with Warburton, and the "Letters" to which
it gave rise, are well known. Of his "Isaiah" Philip Skelton said that
"Lowth on the Prophecies of Isaiah is the best book in the world, next to
the Bible." He was moved to London 1777, and he refused the Archbishopric
of Canterbury.

=John Butler= (1777-1788) was a popular preacher and political
pamphleteer; in reward apparently for his efforts in the latter function,
Lord North advanced him to see of Oxford, though he was not a university
man. Translated to Hereford 1788.

=Edward Smallwell= (1788-1799), St. David's 1783. The first bishop since
Dr. Fell to remain faithful to the diocese.

=John Randolph= (1799-1807), regius professor of Greek and a trustee
of the British Museum, was the author of many sermons and charges. One
of his last works was a report of the progress of the National School
Society. Translated to Bangor 1807, and to London 1809.

=Charles Moss= (1807-1811) avoided translation, and died shortly in the
palace at Cuddesden, and "leaving his splendid furniture for the use of
his successors."

=William Jackson= (1812-1815) was a prominent Oxford man, being regius
professor of Greek and curator of the Clarendon Press.

=Hon. Henry Legge= (1816-1827) was a son of the Earl of Dartmouth;
he had been Dean of Windsor, and in 1817 became Warden of All Souls,
retaining the bishopric.

=Charles Lloyd= (1827-1829). Had he not died at the early age of
forty-five, Lloyd would have played a great part in the stirring times
that were in store for the Church. He was, says Mr. Gladstone, "a man
of powerful talents, and of character both winning and decided." He was
Student and Tutor, then Regius Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ
Church, and had Sir R. Peel among his pupils and constant friends. Lloyd
warmly supported the Roman Catholic Relief Bill in 1829. He was the first
to publish the Prayer Book with red lettered rubrics.

=Hon. Richard Bagot= (1829-1845), translated to Bath and Wells. He
graduated in 1803, and it is characteristic of his times that in 1804 he
was fellow of All Souls, in 1806 rector of Leigh, and in 1807 canon of
Windsor,--all within seven years of his matriculation at Christ Church.
He was bishop at the time of the Oxford movement, and was reluctantly
obliged to play a part in its history. He did not exactly please either
side, but he behaved with great fairness and courtesy, as Newman bears
witness in his _Apologia_. In 1845, being ruined in health by the worry
of previous years, he was translated to Bath and Wells.

=Samuel Wilberforce= (1845-1870), translated to Winchester. This famous
bishop was the third son of William Wilberforce, the great slave
emancipator. At the early age of forty he was made bishop of Oxford,
and he administered the diocese with wonderful ability for a quarter of a
century, guiding it through the most difficult period, when the Tractarian
storm was at its height, without offending either party. His extraordinary
tact and charm enabled him to perform a valuable work for the Church
by binding the various sections together at a time when party-feeling
ran high. He was the most accomplished preacher in the English Church,
one of the fore-most parliamentary orators of his day; "the most witty
and genial of companions, he was the favourite of social life, and
was equally irresistible in the drawing room or on the platform." As a
theologian he was the inferior of his brother the Archdeacon; he wrote,
however, several books, of which the best remembered are "Agathos" and
"Rocky Island." He was killed by a fall from his horse when riding with
Lord Granville in 1873.

=John Fielder Mackarness= (1870-1888) was recommended to the bishopric
by Mr. Gladstone, having lost his seat in convocation through refusing to
oppose the disestablishment of the Irish Church. He was a hard-working
prelate of great courage and independence. When an attempt was made to
force him to take proceedings against the rector of Clewer, he argued the
case in person before the judges of the Queen's Bench, and at last won his
case on appeal. On surrendering to the ecclesiastical commissioners the
management of the Oxford bishopric estates, Dr. Mackarness paid them the
sum of £1729, which he estimated that he had received in excess of his
statutory income during the previous nine years. He had been made a fellow
of Exeter College on taking his degree; he wrote several pamphlets, among
them "A Plea for Toleration, in Answer to the 'No Popery' Cry, 1850." He
resigned, owing to failing health, in 1888, and died in the next year.

=William Stubbs=, the present bishop, was translated from Chester in
1888, being already an Honorary Student of Christ Church. He is one of
the leading historians of our time, and his Constitutional History has
long been the standard work upon the subject.

[Illustration: ARMS OF CHRIST CHURCH.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed by Neill and Co., Ltd., Edinburgh.


[Footnote 1: S. _Skeletons_; B. _Bones_; P. _Drain-pipe_.]

[Footnote 2: Mr. Park Harrison has collected some very interesting
drawings from various Anglo-Saxon MSS., which afford striking parallels
to the ornament on these and other capitals in the church. A reproduction
of the drawing here referred to, and of others equally important, will
be found in his "Pre-Norman Date."]

[Footnote 3: St. Frideswide: Two sermons preached in the Cathedral Church
of Christ in Oxford, by H.G. Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, pp. 21-24.]

[Footnote 4: Mr. Rashdall's theory has, however, already been called
in question by Mr. A.F. Leach, who (_National Review_, September 1896)
asserts decisively that there were schools at Oxford even before Guimond's
time, and that "Oxford is as much, there is every reason to believe, a
natural growth from the schools and schoolmasters of St. Frideswide's as
Paris from those of Notre Dame."]

[Footnote 5: Prior Robert published an abridgment of Pliny, addressed
"to the studious, and especially to those in cloisters and schools." He
also published another work on _Jacob's Marriage_, which he said he had
written when he was himself a scholar and "a regent master."]

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