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Christ Church, Oxford
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Christ Church, Oxford

Christ Church
Established 1546
Sister College Trinity College
Dean The Very Revd Christopher Lewis
Graduates 174
Undergraduates 426
Christ Church (in full: The Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford of the Foundation of King Henry VIII) is one of the largest and wealthiest of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The city of Christchurch, New Zealand was named after the college, which was the setting of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. The college itself is the setting for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. More recently the college was used in the filming of the movies of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

Table of contents
1 Organisation
2 Student life
3 History
4 Famous Former Students
5 External link


Christ Church is the only Oxford college which is also a cathedral (the smallest in England, and the seat of the Bishop of Oxford), and its corporate title is The Dean, Chapter and Students of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford of the Foundation of King Henry VIII. The cathedral has a famous men and boys' choir, and is one of the main choral foundations in Oxford. The Visitor of the college is the reigning British Sovereign. The Governing Body of Christ Church consists of the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral, together with several "Students", who until the 19th century had no governing powers, but are now equivalent to Fellows in other colleges. Two Censors are responsible for undergraduate discipline.

Student life

As well as providing accommodation, the college houses a cathedral (which also acts as the college chapel), a great hall, two libraries, two bars, and common rooms for dons, graduates and undergraduates. There are also gardens and a neighbouring sportsground and boat-house.

Accommodation is provided for all undergraduates, and for some graduates, though some accommodation is off-site. Members are generally expected to dine in hall, where there are two sittings every evening, one informal and one formal (where jackets, ties and gowns are worn). The Buttery next to the Hall serves drinks around dinner time. There is also a college undercroft bar, as well as a Junior Common Room (JCR) and a Graduate Common Room (GCR).

There is a college lending library which supplements the university libraries (many of which are non-lending). Law students have the additional facility of the college law library. Most undergraduate tutorials are carried out in the college, though for some specialist papers undergraduates may be sent to tutors in other colleges.

Croquet may be played in the Master's Garden in the summer. The sportsground is mainly used for cricket, tennis, rugby and soccer, and also contains a bar. Rowing and punting is carried out by the boat-house across Christ Church Meadow.


In 1525, at the height of his power, Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York, suppressed the Abbey of St Frideswide in Oxford and founded Cardinal College on its lands. He planned the establishment on a magnificent scale, but fell from grace in 1529, before the college was completed.

In 1531 the college was itself suppressed, and refounded in 1532 as King Henry VIII's College by Henry VIII, to whom Wolsey's property had escheated. Then in 1546 the King, who had broken from the Church of Rome and acquired great wealth through the dissolution of the monasteries in England, refounded the college as Christ Church as part of the re-organisation of the Church of England and made it the cathedral of the recently created diocese of Oxford.

Christ Church's sister college in the University of Cambridge is Trinity College, Cambridge, founded the same year by Henry VIII. Since the time of Queen Elizabeth I the college has also been associated with Westminster School, which continues to supply a large proportion of the scholars of the college.

Major additions have been made to the buildings through the centuries, and Wolsey's Great Quadrangle was crowned with the famous gate-tower designed by Sir Christopher Wren. To this day the bell in the tower, Great Tom, is rung 101 times at 9:05 GMT (9 o'clock Oxford time) every night for the 101 original scholars of the college. In former times this signalled the close of all the college gates throughout Oxford.

King Charles I made the Deanery his palace and held his Parliament in the Great Hall during the English Civil War.

The college has long been the most prestigious of the colleges of the University due to its wealth and the nobility of its undergraduates. However, today the proportion of undergraduates from maintained and independent schools is roughly equal, which is typical of most Oxford colleges.

Christ Church has produced 13 British prime ministers (the most recent being Sir Alec Douglas-Home in 1963-1964), which is more than any other Oxford or Cambridge college.

Famous Former Students

Christ Church's famous Tom Tower, seen from St Aldate's (street).

External link

Colleges of the University of Oxford
All Souls; | Balliol | Brasenose | Christ Church; | Corpus Christi; | Exeter | Green | Harris Manchester; | Hertford | Jesus | Keble | Kellogg | Lady Margaret Hall; | Linacre | Lincoln | Magdalen | Mansfield | Merton | New College; | Nuffield | Oriel | Pembroke | Queen's | St Anne's; | St Antony's; | St Catherine's; | St Cross; | St Edmund Hall; | St Hilda's; | St Hugh's; | St John's; | St Peter's; | Somerville | Templeton | Trinity | University | Wadham | Wolfson | Worcester
Permanent Private Halls at the University of Oxford
Blackfriars | Campion Hall; | Greyfriars | Regent's Park College | St Benet's Hall; | St Stephen's House; | Wycliffe Hall;