Christ Church, Oxford

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    Christ Church I - General Facts

    by King_Golo Updated Feb 8, 2014

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    Tom Quad

    Founded in 1546, Christ Church is nowadays Oxford's biggest and also one of its richest colleges. Its front quad alone provides enough space for a "normal" college... Moreover, the college is home to some of Oxford's weirdest rules and traditions. First of all, it has got a different time zone than the rest of England. Some genius has found out that Oxford should not exactly follow Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) but rather GMT-5, i.e. noon is at 12.05pm instead of 12pm. You can experience this oddity yourself when you are somewhere near Christ Church at 9.05pm: Then the bell of Tom Tower will ring 101 times, once for each one of the college's 101 original scholars. Second, it sometimes calls itself only "The House" instead of Christ Church - officially because of its Latin name "Aedes Christi", but inofficially because there is only one house that deserves to be called that - Christ Church. By the way, you must never call it Christ Church College - this is something that only outsiders would do. Another weird tradition is the right of every Christ Church student to let his cow graze on Christ Church Meadow in order to have fresh milk for breakfast. Although I doubt that this tradition is actually still alive, one must never underestimate the English belief in their long-proven customs...
    Apart from these oddities, the college educated several very famous people: John Locke, W.H. Auden, Lewis Carroll, John Searle as well as 13 (!) English prime ministers.

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    Christ Church II - Hall

    by King_Golo Updated Feb 8, 2014

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    Laid tables in Christ Church Hall
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    Christ Church's Hall is one of the most spectacular of Oxford. That's probably why it was chosen to be the Great Hall of the Harry Potter movies. In real life, the ceiling is not enchanted to look like the weather outside, nor are you likely to meet a lot of wizards and witches here - but the atmosphere is nonetheless magic.
    Built in 1529, the Hall hasn't changed a lot since then. Only the roof had to be reconstructed once following a fire in the 18th century. As in every college, the Hall is the place where students have lunch and dinner. Whenever you visit it, the tables will be laid for the next meal with little lamps lighting the plates and cutlery, so that it looks as though every second Harry Potter and his wizard friends might enter the scene - were it not for the tourists with their cameras clicking wildly.
    If you are lucky to be there with only a few other people (for instance if you come in the morning instead of in the afternoon), take your time to take a closer look at the pictures on the wall. Many of them show famous former students of Christ Church (e.g. the philosopher John Locke), but those above the high table show the deans of the college. It is interesting that the style of how one likes to be painted has changed tremendously over time. My personal favourite is the white painting with a dean and his dog.
    Walking back the other aisle don't miss searching for the picture of Alice and other figures from "Alice in Wonderland" in one of the stained glassed windows. Alice was the daughter of the dean of Christ Church when Lewis Carroll taught there. He enjoyed being with her and her two sisters, and legend has it that he invented the world-famous story of "Alice in Wonderland" on a boat trip together with the girls on the Thames.

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    Christ Church III - Cathedral

    by King_Golo Updated Feb 8, 2014

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    Christchurch Cathedral
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    As Christ Church is Oxford's biggest college, everything there is somehow oversized. The front yard, called Tom Quad, is the size of a "normal" college, the meadow is so vast that you need half an hour to circle it, and the college chapel is not only a chapel, but a cathedral - albeit one of the smallest of England.

    Christ Church Cathedral was built in the late 12th century and was then the church of a monastery, as the college didn't exist yet. When the college was founded, the cathedral was chosen to be the college chapel simultaneously, which makes it rather unique. Until today, it is also the see of the Oxford Diocese.
    The cathedral itself may be a little disappointing if you compare it with the milestones of Gothic architecture in England, but it is definitely worth a visit mostly because of two parts.

    First, there is St. Frideswide Window, a colourful stained glass window by Edward Burne-Jones. He depicted scenes from St. Frideswide's life back in the 8th century: her refusal to marry, her decision to become a nun, her flight from the king whom she was supposed to have married, her death and her way to heaven on the soul ship. But Burne-Jones didn't only show her life, he spiced it up with some nice little ideas of his. In 1858, when the window was made, the flushable loo had just been invented. So Frideswide, who lived more than 1,000 years earlier, can be seen in a room with a Victorian loo. In another picture, you can see a road sign (which probably didn't exist back in the 8th century as hardly anybody would have been able to read it); yet another one shows a bunch of sunflowers which were only introduced to Europe after the discovery of America. Also look out for the duck and its ducklings: Behind them their father can be seen dabbling.

    Second, there is the Becket Window. Thomas Becket was archbishop of Canterbury but fell from grace with the king who ordered to kill him. The picture shows Becket kneeling between four knights who later killed him. This stained glass window is the oldest in the cathedral and one of very few remaining of that time.

    While there are leaflets with some helpful information, you should not miss asking the Cathedral Stewards for more (e.g the secret door on the ceiling...). They can tell you some good stories about parts of the cathedral that would otherwise not be mentioned.

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    Christchurch College

    by jo104 Updated Aug 15, 2008

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    Christchurch is a beautiful college to visit, we did not have time to visit here. It has a world famous choir and is Oxfords largest college. The great hall was replicated in the Harry Potter films. Charles Dodgson, also known as Lewis Caroll writer of Alice in Wonderland studied here as a mathematician

    It costs GBP4.90 open monday to saturday 9am - 5pm & sunday 1pm - 5pm

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    Cherish Christ Church

    by marinarena Written Mar 16, 2008
    Christ Church, Oxford, England
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    Christ Church, besides the geographically college-sparsed University of Oxford itself, is considered the main attraction of the town of Oxford. Regardless of religious affiliation or atheist preference, the site is a must memrely to see.

    One a few occasions, I visited here and for about 50% of the time, it was raining. I managed to get some nice exterior shots and spned quality time inside the cathedral. When visiting, refer to the gate custodian for best times to visit. Portions of the site are closed off to tourists regularly to allow worship and students service. Though somehow managing to get in for free in the church along with my group (kind offer made for us including a wheelchair bound relative), admission prices are :

    adults : £4.90
    students: £3.90
    "family ticket":£9.80 (not entirely sure but family likely means 3-5 in a family. Website doesn't make clear of this. Refer to custodian when in oxford)
    seniors/retired: £3.90

    Other info:

    Christ College is both a college and Catholic cathedral.

    Hours:

    Monday to Saturday: 9am - 5pm, and Sunday: 1pm - 5pm

    Last Visitor Admission at 4.30pm

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    Christ Church

    by kelnsha Written Nov 13, 2006

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    Oxford Christ Church College and Cathedral
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    You need more than a day to cover 'Oxford' but at least make sure you visit Christ Church and Oxford Cathedral. It is perhaps the most famous and one of the largest colleges in the University of Oxford.

    Some the distinguished people who have studied here (including John Taverner, Philip Sidney, John Locke, Robert Hooke, John Wesley, Robert Peel, William Gladstone, Frederick Lindemann, William Walton, W.H. Auden, Hugh Trevor Roper, Jan Morris, David Dimbleby, Rowan Williams, Richard Curtis and Howard Goodall).

    Therefore, take your time and enjoy the vicinity!

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  • Christ Church Dining Hall and Oxford University

    by oxbridgelover Written Nov 6, 2006

    Christ Church Dining Hall epitomizes the essence of Oxford in only one of a myriad of ways, one of which is that Oxford is the very most greatest University in the world. Only Cambridge University can claim the same. Oxbridge beats harvard, yale, and princeton combined. Now you know why Benno Schmidt and Ann Richardson left the Chancellorships of Yale to become Master of University College, Oxford & Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University respectively. Going to either University blows me away. Their hardest to get into admissions, collegiate structure, architecture, history, culture, beauty, intellectually brilliant faculty and student body, most beautiful quads and ancient libraries, and superb facilities all concentrated into one location, combined with its legion of very most important and famous alumni of poet laureates, novelists, world leaders, financiers, royal family members, genius academics, Nobel prize winners, explorers, sports athletes, members of parliament in every civilized country on earth, saints, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals, et cetera, that fills eight volumes makes Oxford University, like Cambridge University, the Mecca and Jerusalem of the academic world and the home of the elite-elite.
    Now you know why the very best of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton graduates with stellar qualifications attempt to get into Oxbridge each year in droves via the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Overseas Research Scholarships, and Gates Scholarships, with only a handfull from each institution becoming the lucky few to gain admission. These same individuals eventually become powerful Americans (i.e. President Bill Clinton, his political advisor George Stephenopoulus, economist Robert Reich, U.S. Supreme Court justices Breyer & Souter, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Senator Bill Bradley, Congressman Tom Hayden, and actor Chris Cristopherson, just to name a very, very few. The Ivy League can't hold a candle to Oxbridge.

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    Christchurch College

    by CheekyDee Written Apr 19, 2006

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    The gang at the Quad
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    Christchurch College is absolutely amazing! It's a gorgeous campus I really can't get enough of it! They have their own cathedral and clock tower, it really is a sight to behold. For a nominal fee you can get into the college and just explore everything from the Great Hall, to the Quad and the beautiful hallways where you will see scenes from the Harry Potter movies! It's just stunning, something not to be missed, a feast for the eyes and the mind! To fathom that so many people, famous people have walked the same halls and stairways as you have. it's just great!

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    Do you like Harry Potter?

    by JSMeans Updated Dec 27, 2005

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    If you do then you might want to check out Christ Church. You will recognize many places outside the building from the movies and inside was used as Hogwart's Great Hall! This is also a very beautiful building besides just being used in a movie and you wont want to miss the gardens at Christ Church.

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    Christ Church College

    by Tom_Fields Written Nov 21, 2005

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    Christ Church College
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    This is the largest college at Oxford University. It is also Oxford's cathedral, making it both an academic and a religious institution. It is usually open to the public, unless there are special events going on.

    Founded in 1524, on the site of an old monastery, this college has played a vital role in history. During the English Civil War, King Charles I lived here, attended services at the Cathedral, and held his Parliament in the Great Hall. For its loyalty to the crown, when the monarchy was restored in 1660, the college received a generous grant for expansion. That made possible the construction of the quadrangle seen in the photo. In addition, the bell tower was built. Designed by Christopher Wren (who also designed St Paul's in London), it houses the famous bell called Great Tom.

    Alumni include John Locke, William Penn, John Wesley, and Lewis Carroll.

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    Magdalen's Rival....

    by nickandchris Written Nov 3, 2005

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    What a building....
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    Like Magdalen, Christchurch College is one of the largest of the university. It is also Magdalen's biggest rival and whenever Christchurch is mentioned to Magdalen students it is not taken in good spirit!!! (Watch University Challenge!!!)
    It is another architectural gem and is probably the best known college in Oxford.It's beautiful parklands were created on the Thames flood plain.
    The college was founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1524 and was built on the site of a monastery. In 1529 Wolsey fell from power and Henry 8th re-founded the college in 1546. The college combined the cathedral and the university and was called Aedas Christi - Christchurch, in English.
    The principal of Christchurch is always a clergyman.

    Daily visiting, excepy Christmas day. Charge of £4 for adults unless you know a student!!

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  • Magnificent place to visit!

    by Manyana Written Aug 21, 2005

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    Christ Church,a

    Christ Church is a must-see activity in Oxford. It is a big place that not only covers a church area but also a garden and architectural design.
    It is very big and visitors can have access to the garden for free. But to get inside the palace or the cathedral, there is admission fee.
    I've not got inside but my friend told me it's worth paying to see around. You'd look for Alice (of Wonderland) in the window of the cathedral. Guess where?There is only ONE picture of Alice at a corner of one of the windows. She's at the fifth bottom window from the right.
    Also the Oxford canal runs through some parts of the garden. The boat ride is for BP12.
    The gate closes at 8:00 pm.

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    Tom Tower, Christ Church

    by evaanna Updated Apr 27, 2005

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    Tom Tower, Christ Church

    Tom Tower is probably the best-known part of Christ Church, facing St Aldate's on one side and being part of the Great Quadrangle, popularly called Tom Quad, on the other. It looks like the main, and very imposing, gateway to the college. Not for tourists, though. If you don't have a pass issued to local residents only, walk on and then turn left into the Memorial Gardens gate, where you will find signposts for the college.
    The Tower itself is worth a second look from the inside though. Designed in 1681 by Sir Christopher Wren, whom you will know as responsible for the design of St. Paul's Cathedral, the Greenwich Observatory and many London churches, it is a real masterpiece, imposing and exquisite at the same time.
    If you happen to be near it at 9.05 pm any day of the week, you will hear the seven ton bell it houses, Great Tom, strike 101 times, once for each of the original members of the college. Why at 9.05? Because Christ Church observes its own real time, five minutes behind GMT, as Oxford lies five minutes west of Greenwich. So, if you are a little late for Mass or a concert at the Cathedral, as I was once, you are bound to get a surprise - you will still be on time.

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    The grandest of all

    by evaanna Updated Feb 5, 2005

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    The statue of Mercury in Tom Quad, Christ Church

    This grandest of all the Oxford colleges was founded on the site of the Priory of St.Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. Founded as Cardinal's College by Thomas Wolsey in 1525, four years later it was taken over by king Henry VIII, who gave it the name of Christ Church in 1546. It is probably the only college in the world that comprises a cathedral. Christ Church is famous for its interesting architecture, some of which dates back to the twelfth century. Its members include Gladstone, Lewis Carroll, the author of 'Alice in Wonderland' and John Locke. The founders of Christchurch in New Zealand were former members of the college too.
    The Great Quadrangle that you can see in the picture, popularly Tom Quad, was originally designed as cloistered - the outlines of the planned cloisters still remain there. In the middle there is a fountain with the statue of Mercury. In the background you can see Fell Tower with the statue of Dean John Fell, who greatly added to the college construction. He cannot have been loved by his contemporaries though. As the popular poem goes:
    I do not like you, Dr Fell,
    The reason why I cannot tell,
    But this I know full well,
    I do not like you, Dr Fell.

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    visit one of the many colleges of Oxford

    by skywalkerbeth Written Jan 12, 2005

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    a sunny day in February...

    Cardinal Wolsey founded Christchurch College in 1525. A pleasant stroll through the town will undoubtedly lead you past this.

    Also don't forget to visit one of the oldest bars there, named Bear. It dates from the 12th century. It has very low ceilings and I found it interesting that they had the various ties, with the designs of the different fraternities of Oxford, behind glass.

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