All Souls 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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'All Souls College', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Oxford, (London, 1939), pp. 15-19. British History Online [accessed 14 June 2024].

. "All Souls College", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Oxford, (London, 1939) 15-19. British History Online, accessed June 14, 2024,

. "All Souls College", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Oxford, (London, 1939). 15-19. British History Online. Web. 14 June 2024,

In this section

College Buildings

All Souls College Arms

All Souls College

(6) All Souls College stands on the N. side of High Street and on the E. side of Catte Street. The walls are of local Oxfordshire stone and the roofs are covered with slates and lead. The college was founded by Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, with King Henry VI as co-founder, the foundations being begun on Feb. 10th, 1438. The master-mason appears to have been Richard Chevynton. The buildingstone came mainly from the Headington and Taynton quarries. The E., S. and W. sides of the Front Quadrangle seem to have been first built, followed by the Chapel, which was consecrated by the founder in 1442; the hall, projecting N. from the end of the E. range, was finished in 1443 and the kitchen was built about the same time. A cloister was built to the N. of the chapel c. 1491–5. In 1510 a bequest was made for the addition of battlements to the quadrangle. In 1553 the S. Range was extended E. along the High Street to provide a new Lodging for the Warden; in 1594 the woodhouse, part of which is now the Brewhouse, was added S.E. of the kitchen-range. In 1598 the plaster ceiling was inserted in the Library. In 1703 the cloister was demolished and in 1704 the existing Warden's Lodging was built at the E. end of the S.E. wing. The North Quadrangle was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1714–5; the Codrington Library, forming the N. range, and the E. range, were begun in 1716; the colonnade on the W. was built in two parts, the N. half in 1727 and the S. half in 1734; the old hall and the N. vestry of the chapel were pulled down between 1724 and 1730 and the new Hall with the Kitchen and Buttery were built in 1730. A small 17th-century porch on the S. side of the chapel was removed in 1806 and in 1826–7 the front to High Street was refaced.

All Souls College

The chapel with its stained glass, stalls and screen is of great interest and the ceiling of the old library is noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Front or South Quadrangle (124 ft. by 74 ft.) is substantially of mid 15th-century date (Plate 63) and is entered by a Gatehouse in the middle of the S. range; it is of four storeys with an embattled parapet. The S. front was refaced in 1826–7 when the four-centred entrance archway was renewed and the windows completely restored; flanking the first-floor window are restored niches containing figures of a king and an archbishop, no doubt Henry VI and the founder; these figures are said to have been repaired and cleaned in the restoration, but represent the 15th-century figures ascribed to the carver John Massingham; in the middle of the two top storeys is a large restored niche containing a carving of the Resurrection of the Dead, renewed in 1826–7. The N. face of the gatehouse has an archway with moulded and shafted jambs, four-centred arch in a square head with traceried spandrels and a label with shield-stops carved with the arms of the founder and Henry VI; the first floor has a niche, with a cinque-foiled crocketted and pinnacled head, containing a modern figure of Christ; it is flanked by windows of one cinque-foiled light in a square head with a label; the two top floors have each a similar window, but of two lights. The gatehall has a much restored stone vault in two bays springing from shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the vault has modern ridge, diagonal, subsidiary and lierne ribs and bosses, but the wall-ribs are old. The rest of the S. range is of two storeys with attics and finished with a restored embattled parapet. The windows on the S. front are all modern; on the N. front, they are partly original and of one or two lights with square heads and labels, but in every case the cusping has been cut away; the doorways have moulded jambs and four-centred arches in square heads, with quatre-foiled spandrels and moulded labels. The E. and W. ranges fronting the quadrangle are generally similar to the side portions of the S. range, with doorways and windows similarly treated; the single-light windows, on the lower floor, are mostly modern insertions. On the W. face of the E. range the upper floor has a range of eight two-light windows, lighting the old library and retaining their cinque-foiled heads; there are six similar windows on the E. face; two other windows on this side, and on the ground floor, also retain their cinque-foiled heads; the parapet on this side is plain. The W. range has windows and doorways as in the S. range and a small projection against the ante-chapel forming the end of the vestibule. Inside the S. range, the first floor of the gatehouse has a groined vault of two bays, erected in 1728; the E. room on this floor is lined with 17th-century panelling; flanking the doorway in the E. wall are fluted Doric pilasters supporting an entablature; the stone fireplace is original and has a four-centred arch in a square head; flanking it are early 17th-century fluted pilasters supporting an overmantel; the latter is of two bays divided and flanked by Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature; the bays have enriched and arcaded panels. The room to the N. has some 17th-century painted panelling and that to the W. is lined with panelling of 1631; this room has an early 17th-century overmantel of three bays divided and flanked by columns supporting an enriched and bracketed entablature; the side bays have enriched and arched panels and the middle bay a central panel with a cartouche-of-arms of the college. The W. room in the range is lined with late 16th and 17th-century panelling of two dates and the fireplace has an early 17th-century overmantel of two bays with Ionic pilasters, cornice and arcaded panels; the staircase at this end was re-built in 1727. The range retains a number of original doorways with square or four-centred heads; the roof has curved braces to the collar-beams and curved wind-braces. The E. range has, at the N. end, a small square lobby with an original fan-vault springing from corbels in the angles; the cones have cinquefoil-headed panels and there are four quatrefoils in the central spandrel. In the Bursary, adjoining it on the S., are two 17th-century wood statues probably of Henry VI and the founder. The Old Library is a large room on the first floor; it has modern panelling incorporating fourteen late 16th-century panels with arabesques and shields of the Tudor royal arms and those of the college; some of the other panels have arched enrichment. The fireplaces were inserted in 1750 but one of them has an early 18th-century marble surround and an overmantel made up of material of c. 1600 with modern work; it is flanked by coupled pilasters supporting carved pediments and in the middle are three panels with arcaded enrichment and a central cresting; the other fireplace has a made-up overmantel of two bays divided and flanked by coupled Corinthian columns supporting an enriched entablature and centre-piece; the two bays have panels with carved figures of Ceres and Apollo. The room has a plaster barrel-vault (Plates 67, 39) of four bays and of four-centred form, set up in 1598; it springs from an entablature with an enriched arabesque frieze and between each bay is a moulded rib springing from corbels with angels holding shields-of-arms of the college or the founder, except the two at the S. end which have the symbols of St. Mark and St. John; at the intersection of these ribs with the ridge-ribs are pendants in the form of a small square building with an arch in each face; the bays have each a curved geometrical design in smaller ribs enclosing nine wreaths with cartouches-of-arms of the founder, the royal arms in a garter, the University, the various colleges, Tudor badges, the initials E.R. and two later crests; the N. and S. ends of the room, above the entablature, have the achievement of the founder, the royal Tudor arms, the arms of John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, Hoveden (for Robert Hoveden, Warden 1571–1614) and the University. In one of the W. windows is a collection of painted glass including two panels with a castle and crown, two with a feather in a scroll, one with a cock and the date 1651, one with the head of a woman and two 18th-century quarries with men playing a pipe and bagpipes; the figures and dated panel are foreign and the rest probably of the 16th century. The room N. of the old library is lined with early to mid 17th-century panelling; the overmantel is of two ranges both divided and flanked by small terminal pilasters; the upper has two enriched arcaded panels with a leopard's head in each. The room S. of the old library is lined with mid and late 17th-century panelling. The room on the second floor above this has mid 17th-century panelling; part of the roof is visible and has heavy curved braces and a moulded ridge. In the W. range the southern staircase retains two original doorways with moulded oak frames and four-centred arches in square heads. The N. room on the first floor is lined with early 17th-century panelling as is another room (1633) N. of the staircase just mentioned; the room to the S. of this has beams cased in 17th-century plaster and an overmantel of 1635; it is of three bays, divided and flanked by Ionic columns supporting an enriched entablature; the side bays have arcaded panels and the middle bay a cartouche of the arms of the college. The room above this has 17th-century panelling. The original roof of the range is visible in places and is similar to that of the S. range. The Vestibule to the chapel forms part of the W. range and is entered by a 15th-century doorway, with moulded and shafted jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with quatre-foiled spandrels, and a label with one shield-stop of the arms of the founder. The roof has four bays of fan-vaulting similar to that of the lobby in the E. range, but springing from shafts or corbels, two carved with men's heads. In the N. wall is a stoup with a round head and the front of the bowl cut away.

The Chapel (70½ ft. by 27½ ft.) and Ante-Chapel (68½ ft. by 25 ft.) were consecrated in 1442 and the roof covered in 1447. The stonework has been considerably restored. The chapel proper (Plate 85) is of five bays with a moulded plinth, buttresses and an embattled parapet with pinnacles; each bay has a window of three cinque-foiled and transomed lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head, with moulded reveals and label. The ante-chapel has parapet and buttresses similar to those of the chapel; it has two similar but smaller windows in the E. walls of the two arms and in the N. wall of the N. arm, and a single similar window in the W. wall of each arm; the western window in the N. wall is partly blocked and below it is a doorway with moulded jambs and square head with a label and shields of the royal arms and those of the college as stops. The main W. wall has a low-pitched gable and the main W. window is of seven cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and label; below the internal sill is a range of tall trefoil-headed panels; flanking the window-recesses of the W. windows of the two arms are tall recesses with moulded jambs and four or two-centred heads. The stair-turret at the N.W. angle is finished with an embattled parapet and a crocketted pinnacle. The main walls of the chapel are continued across the ante-chapel (Plate 65) by a pair of tall arches on each side; they are moulded and two-centred and spring from quatre-foiled piers with moulded capitals and bases and half-piers as responds. In the S. wall of the ante-chapel is a doorway with moulded jambs and square head. The Roof of the chapel was ceiled in 1713–7 but was again uncovered in 1872–6 and restored; it is of hammer-beam type and of seven bays with moulded main timbers, curved braces below the hammer-beams and the collars, and cusped filling in all the spandrels; the wall-plates are embattled and below them are curved braces springing from the wall-posts; at the ends of the hammer-beams are carved angels and in the middle of the collars are foliage-bosses; the roof rests on stone corbels carved with the heads of kings, bishops and one queen. The roof of each arm of the ante-chapel is of two bays with tie-beams and curved braces forming four-centred arches; otherwise the details are similar to those of the main roof.

Fittings—Bell: one, in N.W. turret, dated 167.. Brasses and Indent. Brasses: In ante-chapel—(1) of Richard Spekynton, J.U.B., 1490–1, small figure of man in academic gown and hood, with indent and part of scroll; (2) of David Lloyde, J.U.B. and Thomas Baker, 1510, half-figures of priest in gown and man in civil dress and hood; (3) of Philip Polton, B. Can., Archdeacon of Gloucester, 1461, kneeling figure of man in academic dress, head missing, four shields of Polton; on W. wall, (4) to Roderic Lloyd, J.C.B., 1609, inscription in stone frame. Indent: In ante-chapel—of figure, inscription and four roundels. Chest: In ante-chapel—with panelled and carved front, 17th-century. Glass: In ante-chapel, in four E. windows, in situ and of c. 1442, but repaired c. 1870; each window of two tiers of three lights with standing figures on pedestals, against red and blue backgrounds, with names and under canopies, in tracery of each window, four figures of seraphim and two scrolls with the name Emanuel; in N. window (Plate 72), figures of (a) St. Anne and the Virgin, (b) St. Mary the Virgin with Child, (c) St. Mary Cleophas with four children, (d) St. Peter, (e) St. Andrew, (f) St. James the Great; in second window (Plate 72), figures of (a) St. [Mary] Salome, with two children, (b) St. Mary Magdalene, with pot of ointment, (c) St. Anastasia with book, (d) St. John the Evangelist, (e) St. Thomas, (f) St. Matthew; in third window (Plate 73), figures of (a) St. Elizabeth holding a child, (b) St. Helena, with crown, cross-shaft and book, (c) St. Agatha, with book, (d) St. James the Less, (e) St. Philip, (f) St. Bartholomew; in S. window (Plate 73), figures of (a) St. Etheldreda, with crown, book and crosier, (b) St. Catherine, with crown, wheel and sword, (c) St. Sidwell (Sativola) with scythe, (d) St. Jude, (e) St. Simon, (f) St. Matthias. In N.W. window and in two smaller W. windows, series of figures of kings and archbishops formerly in the windows of the old library but removed thence in 1750 and placed here, arranged and restored in 1820, canopies, etc. added in 1876, some heads and two or three figures modern, rest of figures 15th-century; in N.W. window, figures of (a) Archbishop Chichele, (b) Henry VI, (c) King Arthur, (d) St. Dunstan, (e) St. Edmund, (f) Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury; in N. window in W. wall, figures of (a) St. Augustine, (b) Archbishop Chichele, (c) St. Gregory, (d) St. Ambrose, (e) Archbishop John Stratford, (f) St. Jerome, (g) St. Dunstan, (h) St. Oswald of York, (i) St. Alphege, (j) St. Cyprian, (k) St. Augustine of Canterbury, (1) St. John of Beverley; in S. window in W. wall, figures of (a) Edward II, (b) John, King of Spain and Duke of Lancaster, (c) Henry V, (d) St. Edward the Martyr, (e) King Canute, (f) Edward the Confessor, (g) King Alfred, (h) King Athelstan, (i) King Edgar, (j) King Constantine, (k) King Ethelbert, (1) King Oswald. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In antechapel—on E. wall, (1) to Richard Mocket, S.T.D., 1618, painted stone tablet with Corinthian side-columns, entablature, achievement and shield-of-arms; (2) to John Hill, M.A., LL.B., 1662–3, black and white marble and alabaster tablet with cornice, broken pediment and cartouche-of-arms; (3) to Bryan Broughton, LL.D., 1710, grey and white marble tablet with cornice and achievement-of-arms; on N. wall, (4) to Christopher Petty, J.C.B., 1610, marble wall-monument (Plate 32) with Corinthian side-columns, entablature, broken pediment, cartouche and two shields-of-arms; on W. wall, (5) to John Meredith, S.T.P., Provost of Eton and Warden of All Souls, 1665, marble wall-monument (Plate 32) with Corinthian side-columns, entablature, broken pediment and cartouche-of-arms; (6) of Robert Hoveden, S.T.D., Warden and Vice-chancellor, 1614, marble wall-monument (Plate 31) with painted bust of man in cap and gown, Corinthian side-columns, entablature, broken pediment, two cartouches and four shields-of-arms; on S. wall, (7) to William Osbern, M.A., 1628, marble wall-monument with Corinthian side-columns, cornice, broken pediment and cartouche-of-arms; (8) to Edward Man, LL.B., 1673, black and white marble oval tablet (Plate 35) with cornucopiae, scrolls and cartouche-of-arms. On E. wall of cloister next ante-chapel, (9) to John Hollingworth, 1671, oval stone and slate tablet with cartouche-of-arms. Floor-slabs: In antechapel—(1) to T.B., 1627; (2) to Thomas Sergeant, LL.D., 1708, with shield-of-arms; (3) to Rowland Towneshend, J.C.D., 1685, with shield-of-arms; (4) to Thomas Jeams, S.T.D., Warden, 1686–7, with achievement-of-arms; (5) to Leopold William Finch, S.T.P., Warden, 1702, with shield-of-arms; (6) with date 1632–3; (7) to John Levett, M.A., 1702. Piscina: In choir—recess with cinque-foiled head and modern base, set in cinque-foiled and quatre-foiled stone panelling with cornice, pateræ and cresting below window-sill, mid 15th-century, much restored. Reredos: (Plate 161) covering E. wall of chapel—in three stages each with a series of canopied niches, middle portion raised slightly above the rest, the whole of the front and all the figures modern, but back part, with backs of niches, most of vaulted canopies and pedestals, mid to late 15th-century; vaulting with small bosses carved with heads, shields, pelican, roses, beasts, etc., backs of niches traceried and parts of traceried background of central panel original, much remains of colour-decoration; reredos cut back in 1664, niches filled in, surface plastered and painted with a Last Judgment by Robert Streater, repainted by Sir James Thornhill in 1714; reredos restored in 1872–9. Screen: (Plate 66) between chapel and ante-chapel of deal, painted and gilt, and of five bays divided and flanked on the W. face by fluted Corinthian columns supporting an enriched entablature over the side bays with a panelled attic; over the middle bay, a wide semi-circular arch with architrave and coffered soffit surmounted by a pediment with cherub-head brackets and a cartouche-of-arms of Sir William Portman the donor; between columns of side bays, low panelled doors into recesses or pews with panels of pierced and scrolled ornament at back; E. side of screen generally similar but with pilasters instead of columns and attic with carved panels and pedestals surmounted by pineapples, central pediment with vases and achievement-of-arms of the founder with swans as supporters and swags, in side bays segmental recesses with carved half-domes; screen given in 1664 and much altered in 1713 by Sir James Thornhill. Sedilia: of three bays with three-sided canopies resting on moulded shafts and responds with ribbed vaulting, back of each seat panelled in two bays each of two cinque-foiled lights, mid 15th-century, fronts entirely modern. Stalls: twenty-one on each side of chapel, with moulded and shafted arm-rests and moulded top rail, misericordes (Plates 69–71) with carved brackets and side-pieces the latter almost all foliage, carved brackets as follows—N. side (a) foliage, (b) lion passant, (c) queen's head, (d) oriel window, (e) man's head, (f) man with salade, round shield and sword, (g) woman's head, (h) owl, (i) crouching lion, (j) erotic bearded man, (k) woman's head, (1) man's head, (m) half-angel with crown, (n) eagle, (o) double-headed eagle, (p) leopard's head, (q) eagle, (r) pedlar putting on shoe, (s) man seated on stool, smaller figures at sides, (t) mermaid, (u) man playing bagpipes; on S. side, (a) goat-monster, (b) king's head, (c) woman's head, (d) monster's head, (e) two sheep, (f) winged dragon, (g) stag or yale, (h) rose, (i) winged dragon, (j) Prince of Wales' feathers, (k) hart and scroll, (1) woman filling jug, (m) mounted man, (n) griffin, (o) grotesque face, (p) man's head, (q) half-angel with shield, (r) bishop's head, (s) crowned swan, (t) two goats, (u) falcon and fetterlock; against wall above stalls, oak panelling one bay to each seat, divided by buttresses and with trefoiled and sub-cusped ogee heads and tracery, modern cornice with paterae and cresting; desks with plain panelled fronts and standards with popey-heads (Plate 48) carved with foliage and—(a) an angel and bishop, back to back, (b) archangel, (c) man's and woman's heads, (d) angel's heads; mid 15th-century. Stoup: In ante-chapel—in W. wall, in wall-recess, pedestal with moulded capping and shallow octofoiled bowl, probably stoup, mid 15th-century. Sundial: formerly on S. wall of chapel, now on S. wall of the Library, with cartouche-of-arms of the college, festoons and segmental cornice, 1658–9. Table: In chapel—of oak with carved bulbous legs and carved top rails, c. 1600, top modern. Tiles: In chapel—slip-tiles with the arms of the founder impaling Canterbury and the college, 15th-century.

Under the E. end of the chapel is the original Buttery Cellar (27¼ ft. by 18½ ft.); it is roofed with six bays of 15th-century quadripartite vaulting, with chamfered ribs springing from two octagonal columns, responds and angle-shafts all with moulded capitals.

The main range of the chapel is now continued eastwards by the Hall and Buttery of 1730. The hall has buttresses and windows of Gothic form and following the main lines of the chapel; on the S. face is a restored central feature with six carved cartouches-of-arms. The Colonnade or cloister on the W. side of the N. Quadrangle is of pseudo-Gothic character and has a central entrance and cupola. The E. Range of the quadrangle, begun in 1716, has two Gothic towers and spires, flanking the Common Room. The Codrington Library forms the N. range and was also begun in 1716; it follows the general lines of the Hall and Chapel and has a cross-wing at the W. end to balance the ante-chapel. The S. front has a central feature with the elaborate painted sundial, formerly on the chapel. In the library are a statue of Christopher Codrington and busts of fellows, by Henry Cheere.

The S.E. Range, fronting on to the High Street, was added in 1553. It is of two storeys with attics; the S. front was entirely refaced in 1826–7. The N. front is ashlar-faced and has altered square-headed windows with moulded reveals and labels and two windows with pointed lights; at the E. end is an entry from the street; it has jambs and four-centred arch of two hollow-chamfered orders with a square moulded label and shields of the college and another coat in the spandrels; at the W. end is a doorway similar in general form to those in the quadrangle. Inside the building, the room next the entry is lined with panelling of 1618; the fireplace has an early 18th-century surround with carved scrolls and acanthus frieze with a cartouche of the college arms; the early 17th-century overmantel (Plate 21) is of three bays divided and flanked by terminal figures standing on carved pedestals and supporting a cornice with a carved and bracketed frieze above; the bays have carved lower panels and enriched arcaded upper panels. The adjoining room and passage have some panelling of 1618 and a mid 16th-century fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head. The E. room on the first floor has a painted overmantel of c. 1600; it is of three bays divided and flanked by Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature; the bays have arcaded panels; the lower ends of a roof-truss are visible in this room; they have curved and hollow-chamfered braces springing from moulded corbels. The W. room is lined with panelling of c. 1600 with arcaded panels and a main Doric entablature and Doric columns flanking the doorways and supporting entablatures; the overmantel (Plate 19) of three bays has Doric columns under the main entablature; the middle bay has a carved arched panel enclosing the royal arms of Elizabeth; the side bays have smaller arched panels with cartouches-of-arms of Hoveden and the college.

The Warden's Lodging, to the E. of this range, was built by Dr. George Clarke in 1703–4, and is of two storeys with basement and attics. The walls are ashlar-faced and the windows are square-headed. The lower storey on the S. is rusticated and two windows have consoles and cornices. This front was remodelled later in the 18th or early in the 19th century. The interior retains some original moulded panelling and the staircase has twisted balusters and cut strings with carved brackets. On the N. of the Warden's garden is the Brewhouse built in 1594. It was originally of two storeys but is now of one only. The building is of stone and retains one 16th-century doorway and a window of the same age of two four-centred lights.