Christ Church College Part 1

On Wednesday morning September 14th we ate breakfast out at The Breakfast Club on the upper level of Westgate Shopping Center. After breakfast we made our way to Christ Church College via Brewer Street right past the home where Dorothy Sayers was born. We’ve enjoyed many books by Sayers like her Lord Peter Wimsey series. She was a friend of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. She was baptized by her father in Christ Church Cathedral.

We walk past the front of the college where it’s famous Tom Tower looms onto the Oxford Spire skyline.

We crossed St. Aldates and continued on Broad Walk to the Christ Church Gift Shop to buy our tickets for our tour of Christ Church College.

Our tickets were discounted since the Cathedral was closed to visitors during the Mourning Period for the Queen. Christ Church College was the most commercialized tour and restricted of the colleges we visited. You had to wear a lanyard attached to an electronic tour guide and you got head phones for listening. All the paths were marked and restricted areas marked, too. Not my favorite way to tour but for many it’s a great way to get all the information you need as you walk through.

Christ Church is one of the most famous Oxford colleges for several reasons: its size, its wealth, its grandeur and, to the current generation Harry Potter. But this college’s history spans back over 500 years as Christ Church was founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII.

The tour visitor door is off of Broad Walk across from the Gift Shop. This was the only college to our knowledge that had a gift shop, too.

Christ Church was founded in 1546, and there had been a college here since 1525, but prior to the dissolution of the monasteries, the site was occupied by a priory dedicated to the memory of St Frideswide, the patron saint of both university and city.

Christ Church receives over half a million tourists each year

We’ll go that way in my second post about Christ Church. Today we’ll cover the outside and the small courtyard and beautiful cloisters.

As you approach the “Harry Potter steps” at Christ Church, which lead up to the dining hall, you will notice a curious form of graffiti on a door to the right.

On an old brown door, there is the word “Peel”, with each letter formed out of very small circles.

This is the oldest form of graffiti on record and the door was marked in protest against the Sir Robert Peel who was the British Prime Minister in the early nineteenth century.

The reason it looks like there are lots and lots of tiny circles making up the word is because the name “Peel” was marked onto the door with nails.

Past the ‘No Peel’ door we head out to Tom Quad but have to turn right to the Courtyard that will eventually lead us out of the college.

I was happy to be able to see Tom Quad even though we couldn’t walk around the Quad.

The plaque on the left reads Culham College, Founded by Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, to prepare school teachers to serve children within the Diocese of Oxford and well beyond its borders. 1852-1979

Samuel Wilberforce, FRS was an English bishop in the Church of England, and the third son of William Wilberforce. Known as “Soapy Sam”, Wilberforce was one of the greatest public speakers of his day. He is now best remembered for his opposition to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution at a debate in 1860.

The Cloisters here were used in filming of Harry Potter movies, too.

After touring the courtyard and cloisters around the courtyard we exited the college.

My second post from Christ Church College will cover the Harry Potter and Lewis Carroll connections.


Quotes of the Week 11

Real Christianity (A Paraphrase in Modern English of A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed  Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. Published in 1797. by William Wilberforce, Esq. Member of Parliament for the County of York – Revised and Updated by Dr. Bob Beltz (Regal From Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., USA)

In 1797 long descriptive titles for books were in vogue. I’m amazed how up to date the issues of Wilberforce’s day are. I’m posting the following from the book. I’m finding it’s one of those books where I want to share every other paragraph! The following is from the first chapter titled, The State of Contemporary Christianity (Cultural Christianity, What the Bible Says, the Problem of Ignorance)

“Understanding Christianity is not something that comes without effort. Almost every example in the natural world teaches us this principle. The very way we must exert effort to enjoy all the good things God has provided illustrates this lesson. No one expects to reach the heights of success in education, the arts, finance or athletics without a great deal of hard work and perseverance. We often use the expression “You have to really want it!” Growing in our faith requires the same. Christianity is based on a revelation from God that is filled with information that the natural mind could never have imagined. The wealth of this knowledge will never be mastered without diligent effort.

Carefully studying the Bible will reveal to us our own ignorance of these things. It will challenge us to reject a superficial understanding of Christianity and impress on us that it is imperative not to simply be religious or moral, but also to master the Bible intellectually, integrate its principles into our lives morally, and put into action what we have learned practically.

The Bible is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. It tells us of the greatest gift that men and women have longed for through-out the ages and of which the prophets spoke about for centuries. When Jesus finally came, His arrival was hailed by the angelic host with the exclamation, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). How can you measure the value of the good news of Christ? It is spoken of in the Bible as light in the darkness, freedom from slavery and life from death. Look at how much the Early Church valued the message. They received it with great joy and overflowing gratitude.

Surely all these things should help us come to terms with the inexpressible value of true faith. The greatest gift of God is often either rejected outright or treated as if it is of little worth. But if we really began to study the Bible, we would be impressed with the proper value of the gift.”