Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Christ Church, Oxford

Christ Church is one of the largest and wealthiest of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

It is the only 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 Visitor of the college is the reigning British Sovereign.

Its sister college is Trinity College, Cambridge.

It was the setting of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. The city of Christchurch, New Zealand was named after the college.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Famous Former Students
3 External Link


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

In 1531 the college was 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, as part of the re-organisation of the Church of England refounded the college as Christ Church and made it the cathedral of the recently created diocese of Oxford.

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.

The college has long been the most prestigious of the colleges of the University due to its wealth and the nobility of its undergraduates. King Charles I made the Deanery his palace and held his Parliament in the great hall during the English Civil War.

Christ Church has produced 13 British prime ministers (the most recent being Sir Alec Douglas-Home in 1963-1964), which is more than all the other colleges of Oxford and Cambridge combined.

Famous Former Students

External Link