Christ Church College ~ 3

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll attended Christ Church at Oxford and this is where he found inspiration for Alice in Wonderland.

The character of Alice is based on a girl called Alice Liddell, who was the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church at the time.

The Alice stories were first created one legendary ‘golden afternoon’ on 4 July 1862. While entertaining the three Liddell sisters, Alice, Lorina and Edith, during a boating trip, Dodgson improvised the story that would become Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

In the dining hall at Christ Church, there is a tiny tribute to Alice in Wonderland in the stained glass. In the bottom left of one of the stained glass panels is a small Alice in Wonderland with long blonde hair in her iconic blue dress. In the centre of the panel is a girl’s face and this is Alice Liddell.

If you are an Alice in Wonderland fan you can read more of the real story behind the book here.

Truth be told, I’m not one of those fans and we do not own a copy of Alice in Wonderland but I do find the story behind the story very interesting. It’s interesting to me how books by C.S. Lewis, Beatrix Potter, and Carroll stemmed from letters they sent to young ones in their lives or from entertaining the children in their lives.

Across the street from Christ Church is Alice’s Shop.

Formerly the grocer’s where Alice Liddell would buy her favorite barley sugars and the inspiration for the Old Sheep Shop in Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass (1871), when Alice finds herself: in a little dark shop, leaning with her elbows on the counter, and opposite to her was an old sheep, sitting in an arm-chair knitting.’ from Walking Oxford 1,000 years of history in 8 walks by Vicky Wilson. I highly recommend this guide book if you are going to spend some time in Oxford.

As we walked out of our tour and headed back to St. Aldate’s via Broad Walk (the tourist entrance to Christ Church College) we noticed this quotation inscribed on  the path from John Bunyan’s, The Pilgrim’s Progress.

My Sword I Give to Him That Shall Succeed In My Pilgrimage. ~ John Bunyan

Speaking of John Bunyan, we visited Blackwell’s Bookstore and their famous Norrington room in the basement, the largest bookselling room in the world. Hmm…but not one book by John Bunyan to be had in this huge collection of books. I wanted to buy a copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress while in England but I had no success.

We did find a copy of Grace Abounding ~ The Life and Death of Mr. Badman by Bunyan in St. Philips Books for ten pounds. This bookstore was a couple shops away from Alice’s shop. A very small shop.

I’m in the process of reading The Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s not a quick read for me. It was first published in 1678.

Here are some of the descriptions written about The Pilgrim’s Progress;

An enormously influential 17th-century classic, universally known for its simplicity, vigor, and beauty of language, The Pilgrim’s Progress remains one of the most widely read books in the English language.

The Pilgrim’s Progress, religious allegory by the English writer John Bunyan, published in two parts in 1678 and 1684. The work is a symbolic vision of a Christian man’s pilgrimage through life. At one time second only to the Bible in popularity, The Pilgrim’s Progress is the most famous Christian allegory still in print.

John Bunyan: Born at Elstow, near Bedford, in 1628, the son of a brazier. Served in the Civil War on the Parliamentary side. Became a preacher in 1657; and pastor of a congregation in Bedford, 1671. Intermittently imprisoned for preaching from 1660 to 1672, and again in 1675. Died in London on 31st August 1688.

Have you ever read The Pilgrim’s Progress?

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!

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.