Christ Church College ~ 2

Today we will go that way…

A fair warning: This post will be long with lots of photos!

The Grand Staircase where Professor McGonagall met new students arriving at Hogwarts.

A more well-known Harry Potter filming location is the stairwell, leading up to the Great Hall.

These iconic Harry Potter steps were used in multiple films, but they are mostly known for the grand arrival of the students at Hogwarts on their very first day at Hogwarts.

Now we move on to the dining hall that was the inspiration for the dining hall in the Harry Potter series. This great hall is filled with non-fiction history and not just the fiction of J.K. Rowling and Lewis Carroll.

The Christ Church College Dining Hall is the largest in Oxford, seats 300, and is known for its stained glass, hammerbeam roof and portrait collection.

The Dining Hall at Christ Church has dozens of paintings hanging on all four of its walls. This is the wall at the one end of the hall and features paintings of Henry VIII in the middle and Elizabeth 1 to the left. To the right of the King is Cardinal Thomas Wolsey(1475-1530), Lord Chancellor of England (1515-1529).

Christ Church College was founded during the reign of King Henry VIII in the early 16th century.  It is the only college that was founded by King Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor of England, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. It was founded in 1524 and originally called Cardinal College, named after Wolsey himself. He was a product of Oxford, having graduated from Magdalen College. The founding of his own college was a great undertaking, and one that could only increase his already-impressive status. He was not only one of the wealthiest men in England, but also one of the most powerful.

Cardinal Wolsey fell out of grace with Henry the VIII when he failed to secure an annulment for the King and his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. He was charged with allegiance to a foreign power (Rome and the Pope). He was forced to hand over all properties to the King. The college was known for some time as “King Henry VIII’s College,” and finally named Christ Church College by King Henry in the year 1546 – one year before his death.

There’s a lot more interesting history from this college but I’ll let you discover it if you wish.

Looks like I’ll need one more post in the Christ Church College series to cover Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland. Till next time, cheers!

Tuesday Guided Tour

We started our Tuesday afternoon tour with Tony on the 13th of September at 2pm sharp. Our guide pointed out the bronze statue of a man on top of Exeter college and pointed out the idea that the statue is looking down at the martyr’s cross set in a circle of cobbles on Broad Street where the three protestants, Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were burned at the stake. More about their history in a later post about these Martyrs. The Statue is by Anthony Gormley and installed in 2009. It is about 7feet tall.

 

We walked past the Sheldonian where on plinths between the railings are a series of Emperor heads, representing Roman emperors, or philosophers. Each one has a different beard. Christopher Wren is the architect of the Sheldonian and other buildings in Oxford. These heads were installed when the theater was built and then remodeled in 1868 and again in 1970’s. One of the heads has a wren chiseled in its hair in honor of Christopher Wren.

We walked to the back of the Sheldonian past the Bodlein and past the Bridge of Sighs and on to Radcliffe Camera and into University Church of St. Mary’s.

Some of the information and places we visited with our guide were already known to us but he had some other insider information that we gleaned from him.

After walking through the covered market we exited and went onto Turl Street back toward The High with the All Saint’s tower and steeple ahead of us. Once on High Street we continued on to St. Aldate’s to Christ Church College.

Tom Tower at Christ Church College is another architectural masterpiece by Christopher Wren. This school was founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525 with its entrance embellished through the addition of Tom Tower, designed by Wren, in 1680. Great Tom, the bell from Osney Abbey, strikes 101 times at 21:05 each evening: the number represents the 100 students of Henry VIII’s foundation plus an additional place funded later; 21:05 signals the student curfew according to Oxford time, which is five minutes behind Greenwich Mean Time.

We would take a tour of Christ Church College on the following day, Wednesday September 14th.

We walked along the Broad Walk through part of the school campus and on to Merton Grove.

We caught a glimpse of the Christ Church College Cathedral through the iron gate along Merton Grove. This is the only cathedral in Oxford and it’s the smallest cathedral in the U.K. Sadly, the cathedral was closed during the mourning period of the Queen and we were not able to go inside to see it.

Dear and Tony our guide ahead of me and to the right is the tower at Merton college.

We are on Merton Street now and this is the front of Merton College Chapel.

Merton college was founded in 1264 by William de Merton, Lord Chancellor to Henry III, the oldest college in Oxford.

Above, between the statues of Edward I and the founder is a relief of a book, the Lamb of God opposite de Merton kneeling in prayer, flanked by John the Baptist and a unicorn.

J.R.R. Tolkien was an alumni of this college. We tried to get into Merton and Exeter Colleges but both were closed on the days we tried, sadly.

We turned off Merton Street onto Logic Lane.

We were drawn to the Martlets on this crest since Dear’s family crest includes these birds.

A martlet in English heraldry is a mythical bird without feet that never roosts from the moment of its drop-birth until its death fall; martlets are proposed to be continuously on the wing.

Off Logic Lane we are back on the High. We cross the street to Queen’s Lane.

Our guide pointed out The Grand Cafe which we never made it to and another cafe across the street that both claim to be the site of the first coffee house in England.

Onto Queen’s Lane past Queen’s College we turn onto New College Lane.

We see the entrance to New College, one of the colleges we did get into on the following day, and continue on to the end of our tour where we are left off at the Bridge of Sighs at the passageway to The Turf Tavern.

By this time after our 2-1/2 hour tour we are ready to quench our thirst. We say goodbye to Tony and hello to the Turf Tavern. We packed a lot of walking and touring on our first full day in Oxford.

Congratulations if you made it through this long post.

Back to the present, a Happy Thanksgiving Day to our Canadian neighbors and Happy Columbus Day here in the USA. 

The Bodlein

On Tuesday September 13th we booked a tour for the Bodlein Library at 11:00. We waited for our tour guide in this section of the building which was the Divinity School. Divinity School is the oldest and largest room in the Old Bodleian Library, and a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The stone carved ceiling is magnificent.

I’m standing between the two pulpits.

This room was used as the Hogwarts infirmary in the Harry Potter film series. It was also used in the Morse Series and Shadowlands. The Hugh Humphreys library was also used in the films. No photos were allowed in the library.

This is the door that was added by Sir Christopher Wren.

Our tour guide arrived and he had so much history stored in his brain to share with us.

We went through this door to the Convocation House and Chancellors Court which was the Universities former courtroom.

Originally built in the 17th century, Convocation House was once designed as a meeting place for the University’s supreme legislative body while Chancellor’s Court was the University’s former courtroom.

Adjoining Convocation House is the anteroom, Chancellor’s Court, which was used as the court for the university.

After we left this room we walked up a series of stairways to the Duke Humphrey’s Library. Duke Humphrey’s Library is the oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. It is named after Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester, who donated 281 books after his death in 1447.

As I mentioned before I was disappointed that photos were not allowed in the Duke Humphrey’s but I’m glad we could see it in person.

The Divinity School and the Convocation House can be rented for weddings or other meetings.

You can read some history about the Bodlein here.

Sneak Peek to Blenheim

Today Thursday the 22nd of September and the first day of Autumn we walked our feet off. After our hotel breakfast at 7am we walked to a free entrance to Blenheim Palace grounds only to find out the paths we wanted to take were closed and restricted because of work being done with dredging in the lake. We walked around the restricted paths and found our way to the Harry Potter Tree which I will post about later. Back to town and showers and lunch and then back to Blenheim grounds for a ticket to tour the grounds. On Friday we are heading back to Oxford for our last night in the United Kingdom.

Dining Hall, Christ Church College

Christ Church College Dining Hall. Inspiration for Hogwart’s Dining Hall. More from Harry Potter at this college in Oxford to come. Alice in Wonderland was inspired at this college, too.

Today was an easier walking day. We spent part of the afternoon watching the live coverage of the Queen’s journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. So moving. Still adjusting to this time zone. It seems to be harder now that we are older.

Tomorrow is our day tour in the Cotswolds.

Cheers!

Oxford Archives ~ Doors and Fences

‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.’

This is a post from my archives from 2014.

Oxford Day 6 040Our tour guide in Oxford, July of 2014, said that there are stories about this door being an inspiration to C.S. Lewis on the writing of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as he was housed behind this door from time to time.

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Oxford Day 6 041and just to the right of this doorway was this…

Oxford Day 6 042…the lamp post that served as the model in the story.

Good story if it’s true and you can see the inspirations are there. The Chronicles of Narnia are a favorite of mine.

There is so much great history to hear about and see in Oxford. We are already talking about spending at least a couple days in this city the next time we visit Jolly Old England. 

Back to the present. Not just a couple more days but our apartment is booked for 9 days!

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This fence with “Head” posts is in Oxford England close to the Bodlein and and next to the Sheldonian Theater and Old Ashmolean. Each post has a different head.

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Last night while Dear and I watched an episode of Inspector Morse they drove on the street next to this fence. I enjoy seeing places we have walked when we watch shows like Morse, Inspector Lewis, or Lord Peter Whimsy series from Dorothy Sayers mysteries.

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Oxford Day 6 079I didn’t have a lot of time to research why there are heads on each of these posts and information about them isn’t an easy click away.

During our 2022 visit to Oxford we do intend to take in the Sheldonian and a few museums, too. I found this Youtube description and some history of the Sheldonian.

This is my last archive post of Oxford. The days are ticking down for our trip in September.

Oxford Archives ~ University Church of St. Mary…

Oxford Day 6 046St Mary’s stands in the physical centre of the old walled City, and the university grew up around it. In medieval times scholars lived in houses with their teachers and the university had no buildings of its own, so it adopted St Mary’s as its centre. The church continued as a parish church, but by the early 13th century it had become the seat of university government, academic disputation, and the awarding of degrees.

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Oxford Day 6 120The Oxford Martyrs ~Each of the three anglican bishops, Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer, who were burnt at the stake in Oxford during the reign of the Roman Catholic queen, ‘Bloody Mary’, underwent part of his trial in St Mary’s. Their principal crime was not to believe the doctrine of transsubstantiation, although Cranmer, as Henry VIII’s Archbishop, had also played a crucial role in the downfall of Queen Mary’s mother, Catherine of Aragon.

Oxford Day 6 118This bit of history at St Mary’s really was interesting to me to read…

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, often attended the University Sermon in his Oxford days, and subsequently, as a Fellow of Lincoln College, preached some of his most stirring sermons before the University here – notably the famous sermon the ‘Almost Christian’ in 1741. In 1744, again in St Mary’s, he denounced the laxity and sloth of the senior members of the University. He was never asked to preach here again. ‘I have preached, I suppose,’ I wrote, ‘the last time in St Mary’s. Be it so. I am now clear of the blood of these men. I have fully delivered my soul.’

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In 1947 a disastrous fire destroyed the original 17th-century ‘Father’ Smith organ. Its replacement, by J W Walker, had become unplayable by 1981. The present organ, the third, was built in 1987 by Metzler Orgelbau of Zurich with the intention of recapturing the spirit of the original ‘Father’ Smith. It is undoubtedly one of the finest instruments of its kind, and incorporates the few of Smith’s decorative pipeshades which survived the fire.
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Oxford Day 6 121While traveling I never have the time to thoroughly study the history of the places we visit. In preparing my posts for my blog, after the fact, I learn so much more information and history and I find out all the things I missed while visiting these amazing places. That’s why I always am ready for another trip to see the things I missed. There’s only so much my brain can absorb in a short visit.
And now in the present I’m glad to be reading this posts from 2014 and knowing what we didn’t know the last time we visited. This time around I’m taking more time to research before we go.

Oxford Archives ~2004 and 2014

For our daughter Katie’s high school graduation, Dear and I took her to Great Britain in April of 2004. Katie is a reader, a learner, a writer, a poet and an artist. We asked her what she’d want to see and she came up with the brilliant idea of following some of her favorite authors and characters around the Isle! This is a photo log of our trip that we can highly recommend to all lovers of Hobbits, Inklings, Literary Giants, 19th Century England, Harry Potter, and wacky Holy Grail enthusiasts! For my flashbacks I’m going to cover less ground in each post. This first post will be our Oxford experience with C.S. Lewis and Tolkien on our radar. The photos on this trip were taken the old fashioned way with a camera that was still using film!

 

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The Eagle and Child (The Bird and Baby) Oxford

We set out from our first B & B base in Cheltenham to tour Oxford. We were still getting over our jet lag just arriving the day before. We found a park and ride outside of Oxford and rode a bus into town. Our first stop was The Eagle and Child (The Bird and the Baby) where the Inklings would meet and discuss their current writings, thoughts, etc.

 

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The pictures on the wall are of C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, and other Inklings, plus letters, etc. We had a bite to eat and a pint was raised to toast our respected authors! “It comes in pints?”

 

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Addison’s Walk

Dear and Katie on Addison’s Walk. This walkway is on the grounds of Magdalen College (pronounced Maudlin) where Tolkien and Lewis would walk and have long conversations, after which C. S. Lewis converted to Christianity. We found it, walked it and reflected on the beauty and wonder of it all!

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This next photo shows a spot on the walkway that we took a photo from different directions in 2004 and in 2014.

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And here’s one of the beautiful courtyards that we took photos of both of these years.

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We saw the iconic phone booth on the grounds of Magdalen, too.

Walking from Magdalen College back to the center of town we saw other familiar sites, too.

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The Bridge of Sighs

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In 2004 when we came across Logic Lane Katie insisted that we take a photo of her dad under the sign. In 2014 we came upon Logic Lane again so I had to take another photo.

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We walked about to find this address where Tolkien lived at 21 Merton St. after his wife died in 1971.

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Katie would not let us leave Oxford till we found Tolkien’s grave. This was no small feat! Here we are at Wolvercote Cemetery in North Oxford at the graveside where he and his wife are buried. His son is buried here, also.  Katie left a note in Elvish, (yes, she learned to write and speak Tolkien’s Elvish).

EDITH MARY TOLKIEN
LUTHIEN
1889 – 1971
JOHN RONALD
REUEL TOLKIEN
BEREN
1892 – 1973

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Wolvercote Cemetery in North Oxford

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We headed back to our B & B in Cheltenham to rest up for our next days adventure around the Cotswolds in search of Hobbits.

The thing about film photography is that we didn’t know if the photos we took even turned out well till we were home and had the film developed. Aren’t you happy we have digital cameras now? You can see if you chopped someone’s head off or missed the top of a beautiful cathedral etc. These photos that I took with film in 2004 were scanned and uploaded onto my computer and in a lot of cases lightened up and sharpened and sometimes cropped.

Now we await our time in Oxford in 2022. We still do not cling too tightly to this trip as we know anything can change on the world landscape in a day. Trusting God if we go or if we can’t go.

Oxford Archives ~ Magdalene College Cloisters

The 15th Century Cloisters construction commenced in 1474 which makes this medieval square of stone among the oldest parts of Magdalen.

Oxford Day 6 156Balancing on the buttresses that jut from the Cloister walls are the figures later known as ‘hieroglyphics’, the ‘GARGELS”, Magdalen’s very own gargoyles. Some are biblical, some heraldic, all symbolic. Since they entered the College in 1508-9 they have been keeping their emblematic eyes on the comings and goings in the Cloisters and the quad.

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Oxford Day 6 155Wanted to let you all see that we did “keep off the grass”.

From the Cloisters we headed out to Addison’s walk and the New Building following the footsteps of Tolkien and Lewis along one of the paths that leads to  the famous meetings of the “Inklings”.

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Back to the present day Saturday August 6, 2022. This evening we are hosting a raclette meal for 6 in our home. We offered the meal as an auction item for our Church Missionary fundraiser back in May. Hopefully I’ll remember to take photos of the event.

Oxford Archives ~ Magdalene College

We visited Magdalen College with our daughter Katie in 2004 and we were happy to re-visit the buildings and grounds this past July. What drew us to this college in 2004 was the information we read about Tolkien and C.S. Lewis enjoying walks and theological discussions here and along Addison’s Walk. We wanted to walk along that path, too.

Magdalen College was founded just outside Oxford’s City walls in 1458 by William Waynflete.

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Oxford Day 6 137The chapel was begun in May 1474. The remarkable West Window of the Antechapel is a dramatic depiction of the Apocalypse and the judgement of souls. This vision was cast in 1637 but has been subjected to subsequent restorations, the re-glazing in 1859-1861 leaving the windows as they appear today.

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Oxford Day 6 141Above the stalls hangs Giampetrino’s remarkable 15th copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, on permanent loan from the Royal Academy. In view of the bad condition of the original fresco in Milan, (which I had the privilege of seeing in March of 2013) Magdalen’s copy on canvas is a piece of increasing historic and artistic significance.

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Oxford Day 6 139In 1635, the repaving of the Chapel floor in a pattern of black and white marble tiles.

Oxford Day 6 140The doors to the main Chapel were locked so I had to get these photos by looking through the glass on the doors. The choir sings from the middle stalls at either side. Towards the end of the 19th century the Choir achieved renown and played a pivotal role in ensuring an unprecedented fondness of carol singing among the general public by the publication of an anthology of carols.

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Oxford Day 6 157This is the Hall which was built at the founding of the College. The High Table at the far end seats the President, Fellows and formal guests, just as it did in the early 16th century when it welcomed King James I. Oscar Wilde was a former member of Magdalen.

This post is getting long so I will do another post with photos from the Cloisters and some outdoor spaces.

This September 2022 we are going to be in Oxford during an ‘Open Day’ for the Oxford Colleges. We aren’t sure what that means but we hope it means we can walk onto any of the colleges without a fee and that we can see inside some quads and buildings we haven’t been able to see in prior trips. Time will tell if that is the case.

Back to the present day which is Friday August 5th. We are having a slight relief with our heat dipping into the 80’s for a couple of days and then it will spike up again reaching the 100’s again next Tuesday. It has been nice to start the mornings off in the 50’s instead of the 60’s. Have a great weekend everyone!