Trinity College

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Oxford. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1939.

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, 'Trinity College', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Oxford, (London, 1939) pp. 108-114. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

. "Trinity College", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Oxford, (London, 1939) 108-114. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

. "Trinity College", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Oxford, (London, 1939). 108-114. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

Trinity College

Trinity College Arms

(23) Trinity College stands on the N. side of Broad Street, immediately to the E. of Balliol College. The walls are of local Oxfordshire stone with dressings of the same material and the roofs are covered with slates and lead. Durham College was founded c. 1286 for Benedictine monks of Durham and ranked as a cell of that monastery. It served for a time as the Benedictine College for the province of York. The surviving E. Range of the original quadrangle, with the Library on the first floor, was built in 1417–21, the former chapel on the S. side was built in 1406–8, the former N. range in 1409–14; the former W. range, with the hall or frater was built perhaps in the 14th century. Durham College was finally suppressed in 1544 and Trinity College was founded in 1555–6 by Sir Thomas Pope; his wife Elizabeth (Blount) was associated with him in the foundation. Attics were built over the W. and parts of the N. ranges in 1573 and 1577; attics were added also to the E. range in 1602. In 1618–20 under Ralph Kettell, President, the Hall was re-built and about the same time Kettell Hall was built as a private house on the S.E. angle of the present site. The N. Range of the Garden Quadrangle was built in 1665, from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren and the W. Range was built to the same design in 1682. The existing Kitchen Wing was built in 1676–7. About 1680 the W. part of the building on Broad Street, called the Cottages, was erected, the E. part being added shortly after; this building was private property till 1884–5. In 1687 under Ralph Bathurst, President, the former President's Lodging in the E. range of Durham Quadrangle was remodelled and two staircases added on the E. face. The Chapel was entirely re-built in 1691, possibly from the design of Dean Aldrich and in consultation with Sir Christopher Wren; it was consecrated in 1694. The N. end of the W. range of the Garden Quadrangle was added probably late in the 17th century and in 1728 the N. Range of Durham Quadrangle was re-built; the Hall was ceiled and decorated in 1772. In 1802 a structural storey was added to the N. and W. buildings of the Garden Quadrangle and the windows altered; the W. range was extended N. at the same time or later; the new Range on the E. side of the new front quadrangle was built in 1883–5 and in 1885 the new President's Lodging was built E. of the chapel. The New Library was built in 1925–7 and the chapel-roof has been restored in recent years.

Trinity College

The mediæval library with its glass and the chapel with the founder's tomb and woodwork are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The College is entered by a gateway on Broad Street, adjoining the W. end of the Cottages. These buildings are of late 17th-century date and of two storeys with attics and cellars; the walls are of rubble, rough-cast. The external features are mostly modern but one of the dormer-windows, on the E., retains its original moulded frame. The interiors have been modernised but retain some exposed ceiling-beams. To the W. of these buildings is a gateway erected in 1886 and incorporating large wrought iron gates of 1737; these have scrolled standards and an elaborate scrolled overthrow with the arms of the college and of Lord North.

The Durham Quadrangle (about 81¾ ft. by 79 ft.) has the Chapel on the S., the Hall on the W., the Old Library on the E. and a N. range with rooms. The Quadrangle is entered by a passage at the W. end of the chapel-range under the tower.

The Chapel (Plate 175) (68½ ft. by 27½ ft.) was entirely re-built in 1691–4. The walls are ashlar-faced; they stand on a high stylobate supporting Corinthian pilasters and are finished with an entablature and a restored balustraded parapet with vases. The E. wall has rusticated angles and Corinthian pilasters forming three bays; at the S. end of the wall is a square-headed doorway with an architrave, leading to a pew. The N. wall has a panelled stylobate and pilasters between the bays; the four windows have side-pilasters, round heads with moulded archivolts, and cherub-head keystones; below the westernmost is a square-headed doorway with a moulded architrave. The S. wall is similarly treated but there is no panelling on the stylobate and no doorway. Inside the building, the upper parts of the walls have large plaster panels with modelled cartouches and sprays of fruit, flowers and drapery above them; in the middle of the E. wall is a round-headed panel with a large cartouche and swags in the head. The walls are finished with an enriched plaster cornice with shields at intervals bearing the quarterings of the royal arms of William III, various royal badges, etc. The ceiling is panelled and coved at the sides; the minor panels are filled with modelled acanthus-scrolls with cherub-heads, fruit, flowers, palms, scallop-shells, and at the E. end the Dove and instruments of the Passion; the main central panel is shaped and has a frame of oak-leaves; it encloses a painting of the Ascension, by Pierre Berchet, died 1720; the panels to the E. and W. are also painted with cherub-heads, etc.

The West Tower is of three stages, the lowest forming the entrance corridor to the quadrangle. The archways on the N. and S. are round-headed with moulded archivolts and imposts; flanking them are Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature. The S. arch is hung with panelled doors in two folds, with a wicket. The passage has a panelled plaster ceiling with an enriched cornice. The second stage has, in the N. and S. walls, windows of two lights with side-pilasters and a semi-circular tympanum above; this is carved with a cartouche-of-arms of Bathurst on the N. with putti-supporters and with a similar cartouche of the arms of the college on the S.; flanking the windowheads are carved cartouches with women's heads; the main entablature of the chapel is continued across the head of this stage. The third stage rises above the roof of the chapel and has three bays on the E. face divided by pilasters; the angle-pilasters have large scrolls at the base. The N. and S. faces have each a square-headed window and pilasters at the angles each with a lion's mask, swags and pendant on the face. The W. face has two or three windows in each stage and scrolls; at the base of the top stage is a vase. The tower is finished with a cornice and balustraded parapet; the angle piers have carved cartouches and support standing female figures (Plate 52), representing Geometry, Astronomy, Theology and Medicine; the last named is modern, the original figure being now in the President's garden; the figures may be ascribed to Caius Gabriel Cibber. The two rooms in the second stage of the tower are lined with bolection-moulded panelling; the fireplaces have enriched mantelpieces and panelled overmantels with draped swags and pendants. The W. room in the third stage has moulded panelling and the staircase has turned balusters.

Fittings—All of late 17th-century date, unless otherwise described. Chests: In ante-chapel—(1) with panelled and carved front, carved and arched panels at ends, mid 17th-century; (2) with panelled front carved with geometrical and guilloche ornament, mid 17th-century. Communion Rails (Plate 18): Of juniperveneer with panels etc. in pine or pear, divided into three bays in front and one on each return by inlaid pilasters with continuous moulded plinth and cornice, panels in gate and bays carved with acanthus-scrolls, cherub-heads and censers. Communion Table: Of juniper-veneer and pine, with twisted legs, plain stretchers and ball-feet. Doors: In E. doorway— panelled with strap-hinges. In N. doorway—of two panelled leaves. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In N.E. angle of chapel—to Sir Thomas Pope, founder of the college, [1559], and Elizabeth and Margaret his wives, alabaster altar-tomb and effigies of the founder and his second wife Elizabeth (Blount), altar-tomb with moulded slab, S. side and W. end divided into bays by carved pilasters, side in four bays, each with a laurel-wreath and shield-of-arms of Pope, Blount and Sutton, end in two bays with standing figures of man and woman holding shields-of-arms partly defaced; remains of colour and gilding; effigy of man in armour with head on helm with crest and double chain-collar, feet on griffin, effigy of woman with tight sleeves, French cap and chain-collar, feet on lion; monument erected c. 1567. Floor-slabs: In ante-chapel—(1) to Thomas Sykes, S.T.D., Lady Margaret Professor, 1705; (2) to Ralph Bathurst, M.D., President of the college and Dean of Wells, 1704, with achievement-of-arms. Panelling: In ante-chapel—on N., S. and W. walls, bolection-moulded panelling with enriched cornice ramped up to screen, fixed seat against W. wall. Paving: In chapel—of black and white marble squares set in a geometrical pattern. In antechapel—of stone squares set diagonally. Rain-water Head: On E. wall, moulded head and straps with remains of painted scroll-work. Reredos (Plate 175): Of juniper veneer and of three bays, divided by fluted Corinthian columns and pilasters, supporting an enriched entablature with a curved pediment over the central bay, supporting reclining figures of angels and vases, middle bay with large panel with geometrical inlaid designs grouped round a central star, above and at sides of panel applied carving (Plate 188) in full relief in lime-wood with flowers, fruit, foliage, cherub-heads and a vase; side-bays with large panel and applied lime-wood carving above of cherub-head and flowers; on cornice above side-pilasters, two carved vases. Screens (Plate 169): Between chapel and ante-chapel—of juniper-veneer and of three bays, divided by fluted Corinthian columns and flanked by pilasters of the same order, supporting an enriched entablature and a curved pediment over the middle bay, in tympanum a carved cartouche and on pediment two reclining figures of St. Luke and St. John, and a vase; middle bay with plain square-headed doorway and in side bays large panels filled with elaborate pierced and scrolled carving and surmounted by open books and drapery-swags; against screen, two stalls with ogee canopies and carved terminals; W. face of screen similar in general features but with figures of St. Matthew and St. Mark and different carving (Plate 187) in side-bays including cherub-heads. On N. and S. sides at E. end—enclosurescreens for monument and pew, of juniper-veneer and oak with Corinthian pilasters, enriched coved cornice, shaped pediments and carved vases (Plate 51), front fitted with sash-windows glazed with bevelled glass. Stalls: On N. and S. sides of chapel—ranges of oak stalls with pierced scrolled arms and panelled backs, on wall above, range of bolection-moulded panels, carved and coved cornice below the window-sills and ramped up to the screen, on cornice in middle of each side, a pediment supporting an ornate urn with two cherubs; stall-fronts and lower stalls with bolection-moulded panels and standards with shaped tops and carved vases; in front of lower stalls, benches with turned legs.

Monument of Sir Thomas Pope, 1559 and his second wife.

The E. Range of Durham Quadrangle, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are ashlar-faced. It was built in 1417–21, the attics added in 1602 and the E. staircases c. 1687. On the W. side the modern lower windows are of one or two square-headed lights with moulded reveals and labels; the middle doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head with a label. On the first floor, the windows lighting the Old Library are of two pointed lights in square heads and are 19th-century alterations of the original windows. The dormer-windows of the attics are modern restorations on the original lines. On the E. face of the range are two staircase bays of 1687; both have blocked doorways at the base and a plastered top storey with original barge-boards and pendant to the gable. The main wall has diagonal buttresses at the ends; against the E. buttress is a modern niche with a decayed figure of St. Michael from the E. gable of the hall of New College. The windows and doorways on the ground floor are mostly modern but near the S. end is a window of three cinque-foiled lights to the former vestry. On the first floor the four southern windows light the Old Library; they are of the 15th century and of two cinque-foiled and transomed lights in square heads; two of the other windows on this floor are of the 15th century. The attics have dormer-windows of 1602 with original barge-boards and pendants. The N. end of the range has a blocked 15th-century window on the first floor of two cinque-foiled and transomed lights with vertical tracery in a square head with a label. The S. end has a 15th-century ground-floor window of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a label; the first-floor window is of the same date and is of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a label. Inside the range the middle staircase is of late 17th-century date and has turned balusters and close strings; in the lobby is a 15th-century doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; the room to the S. has panelling of c. 1700 and the S. room of the range, formerly the vestry, has 15th-century moulded ceiling-beams and plates and flat joists. In the S. wall of a cupboard in this room is a blocked 15th-century doorway to the former Chapel. The Old Library on the first floor has a 15th-century N. doorway with a moulded frame and a four-centred arch in a square head. The ceiling has moulded cross-beams and plates, apparently of the 15th-century. The E. windows have a series of figures (Plate 186) in 15th-century painted glass (there is a record of the glazing of one window in 1431) with some 18th-century and modern repair, re-set in 1878; the figures are set under canopies of tabernacle-work and many have modern names attached of no authority; the figures are as follows—1st window, (a) crowned female saint, perhaps St. Hilda, with veil, sceptre and book, kneeling monk at side with scroll and shield-of-arms of Gray or Talbot impaling England with a label; (b) Benedictine nun with veil, crozier and book, wrongly ascribed to St. Frideswide; (c) Benedictine abbot with crozier, ascribed to St. Placidus, with kneeling monk at side; (d) king, with shield-of-arms azure fretty argent a molet gules above, kneeling monk at side; 2nd window, (a) archbishop, ascribed to St. William of York, with shield-of-arms of Percy; (b) bishop, ascribed to St. Swithin, kneeling figure of donor at side; (c) monk with book, ascribed to St. Benedict, modern shield-of-arms of Percy above and kneeling figure of donor with the name Johannes Tokot; (d) St. John the Baptist with the Agnus Dei on a book; 3rd window, (a) pope, ascribed to St. Gregory, with shield-of-arms of Wessington (for John Wessington, Prior of Durham); (b) archbishop, ascribed to St. Augustine; (c) archbishop, ascribed to St. Thomas of Canterbury, with broken sword-blade in head, modern shield-of-arms above; (d) archbishop, ascribed to St. Dunstan; 4th window, (a) St. Mark with book and winged lion; (b) St. John with book and eagle; (c) St. Matthew, with wings and book; (d) St. Luke with book and winged ox, mostly modern. In the tracery of the S. window is a shield of the personal arms of Thomas Hatfield, Bishop of Durham, with angels as supporters and apparently in situ; in the lights below are 15th or 16th-century shields of the University, quartered arms of Wykeham, the royal Tudor arms (fragmentary), shield-of-arms of Richard, Duke of York, the Merchant Venturers, the Staple of Calais, the letters IHC and a late 17th-century shield of Henry Compton, Bishop of London (1673–1713), also Wolsey's badge of the crossed pillars and cross-staff, two monograms probably A. H., a hart with a collar and bell and the initials I.D., E.D., and I.D. (probably for John Dormer and his wife); there are also 16th-century roundels with figures of St. Margaret and David carrying the head of Goliath, and 17th-century quarries with figures of ten virtues and six apostles. The book-cases are of the 17th century, heightened in the 19th century and with the original cornices re-set at the top.

The N. Range was built in 1728 on the site of the mediæval range. It is of three storeys with cellars; there are bands between the storeys and the wall is finished with a cornice and parapet, the ground-floor windows are round-headed.

The W. Range includes the Hall, Buttery and Senior Common Rooms; it was largely re-built in 1618–20 but incorporates some walls of the earlier range. The range is mainly of two storeys with attics and is partly of rubble and partly ashlar-faced, with a modern embattled parapet. The greater part of the ground floor is occupied by the Hall (59½ ft. by 30½ ft.) which has an oriel, three other windows and a doorway to the 'screens' in the E. wall; the oriel has three cinque-foiled and transomed lights on the face and one on each return; it is finished with an embattled parapet; the other windows are each of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and label; the doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with quatre-foiled spandrels; above it is a recess with enriched scrolls and moulded cornice in which is a three-quarter length figure of the founder in a flat cap and fur-trimmed cloak; between the bays of the hall are two-stage buttresses. On the W. side the hall is partly covered by the kitchen-wing; to the S. of it are two two-light windows similar to those in the E. wall, and a third similar window of three lights. The doorway at the W. end of the screenspassage has moulded jambs and elliptical arch in a square head. The screen is panelled, on the N. face, in two heights and three bays; on the S. face it has an 18th-century facing and three vases. The other fittings of the hall are mostly of the 18th century; above the fireplace is a painted panel of the royal arms of Philip and Mary; in the oriel or bay-window are nine panels of 16th-century painted Swiss glass, given to the college in 1877; they are as follows—(a) St. George and a bishop, inscription and date, Jacob, Provost of Lucerne 1547; (b) two men in armour and smaller figures with names Bernhart Brüner and Jörg Knecht von Hynwill, 1595; (c) figures of St. Michael and a saint with arrows, shield-of-arms and date 1527; (d) man in armour with armorial pennon, small figures and two shields-of-arms; (e) man in civil dress and wife with names Heinrich Steiner von Kalttbrünnen and Anna Musslin his wife, figure-subjects above; (f) man in civil costume and wife with shield-of-arms, name and date, Werny Betschcter, 1545; (g) man in armour with pennon, 1534; (h) man in armour with pennon and shield-of-arms, with date 1564; (i) crozier with mitre and shields-of-arms and name Johan Cristoffel von G .. tes, Abbot (?) of Mury. Above the hall on the E. side is a range of windows each of two four-centred lights in a square head with a label; the S. end of the E. wall may be part of the 14th-century building; it has a restored doorway and two two-light windows above, the lower of two cinque-foiled and transomed lights with tracery in a square head, and the upper window similar to those above the hall. The upper part of the W. wall has restored windows of early 17th-century type and three modern gables. The S. end of the range has added buttresses and late 17th-century windows; there is also a re-cut inscribed panel relating to E. Hutchins with the date 1558. Inside the range the Buttery, at the N. end, is entered by an early 17th-century doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with shields in the spandrels; further W. is a blocked 14th-century doorway with a two-centred head. The room, S. of the hall is lined with bolection-moulded panelling of 1681 and is finished with an enriched entablature; the doorways have enriched architraves and carved swags above; the fireplace has a moulded surround and an enriched panel to the overmantel, with carved scrolls and a crest of Pope. The E. window of a side room, on the first floor, contains some painted glass; in the tracery are hands holding scrolls inscribed "Willmus Ebch[e]str Cu[s]tos huius Collegii Dominus (?)"; he was Warden of Durham College c. 1464–c.1475; in the lights are (a) a figure of an archbishop of the 14th century, (b) a 15th-century figure of an archbishop similar to those in the library, (c) figure of the Virgin and Child of the same period, (d) a 15th-century head of a bishop, (e) various 15th-century quarries and fragments with lions, grotesques, an old man, part of a figure of St. Raphael, foliage, monkey, crowns, etc., (f) later glass including 16th-century initials I.D. for John Dormer, Tudor rose, cartouche with arabesques, male heads, merchant's mark, shield-of-arms of Jesus College, etc.

The Kitchen Wing, to the W. of the range, was built in 1676–7. It was formerly of two storeys with cellars, but a third storey was added or raised in the 18th century. The N., S. and W. walls have each an original window, of two transomed lights with a square head; on the S. chimney-stack is cut the name John Hought ...., in late 17th-century lettering. Inside the wing are some original doorways and the staircase has turned balusters and close strings. In the cellar are remains of two original windows.

The Garden Quadrangle has a N. Range built from the designs of Wren in 1665. It is ashlar-faced and of three storeys, the top storey being an addition of 1802, in place of the former attics. The front has a band between the lower storeys and a cornice above the second storey; the central bay projects and was formerly finished with a pediment. The doorways have moulded architraves and cornices, but the windows were altered in 1802; the central bay has two niches, the lower with a square head and the upper with a shell-head. The N. side is of simpler design but the band and cornice are continued round the E. end. One original window with mullion and transom remains on the N. side. Inside the range several rooms have late 17th-century panelling and the two staircases have turned balusters, close strings and square newels with moulded tops. The W. Range was built in 1682 and continued the lines and general character of the N. range, the top storey being modern. Inside the range, the two staircases have turned balusters, square newels and close strings. Some rooms have original panelling and one room on the first floor has, in addition, a panelled overmantel with carved pendants of fruit and flowers at the sides.

Kettell Hall stands on the S.E. angle of the site and was built c. 1620. It is of coursed rubble and of three storeys with cellars and attics. The S. front has a projecting central bay containing the entrance; it has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a label; the door is of moulded and nail-studded battens. The windows are of three lights with labels but the mullions of the ground-floor windows have been removed; the three gables have been refaced. The W. side has been much repaired and the windows restored; it is finished with five gables. The windows in the N. end have also been restored, but some original windows and a doorway remain on the E. side. Inside the building, some of the rooms have late 17th-century panelling and fireplaces with moulded surrounds. The Garden, on the W. side, has a wrought-iron gate with a scrolled overthrow; this and a similar gate near the President's House were part of the front railings of 1757.

Built into a modern wall, between the Chapel and the President's Lodging, are stones with the arms and initials of Ralph Bathurst, President, and the date 1687, from a former building on the site.

On the outer side of the S. boundary-wall of the college-garden is a 13th-century archway brought from elsewhere and erected here c. 1800; the jambs have shafts with foliage-capitals and the moulded two-centred arch has a label; flanking the arch are niches made up of old material. In the E. boundary-wall of the college-garden are large stone gate-piers and grille (Plate 28) erected in 1713. The piers have round-headed niches and angle-pilasters supporting entablatures and vases; the wrought-iron grille has scrolled standards and overthrow, with a cartouche of the arms of the college.