A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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OXFORD, a university and city, locally in the hundred of Wootton, county of Oxford, of which it is the capital, 55 miles (N. N. W.) from London; containing 25,416 inhabitants. This place, which from a remote period of antiquity has been celebrated as a seat of learning, is supposed to have derived its Saxon name, Oxenford, from a ford over the river for the passage of oxen. Some historians attribute the origin of the city to the establishment of schools by Alfred the Great; but that monarch seems merely to have restored and more liberally endowed the university; its first foundation is demonstrated to have been many years prior to his reign, as, in an act of confirmation by Pope Martin II. in 802, it is described as an ancient academy of learning. During the earlier times of the Saxons, a monastery, dedicated to St. Mary and All Saints, was founded here about the year 730, by Didanus, one of the Saxon princes, for twelve sisters of noble birth; Frideswide, his daughter, was first abbess, and being canonized after her death, the abbey, in which she was interred, was dedicated to St. Frideswide in honour of her memory. This monastery having been plundered during the Danish wars, and the nuns dispersing, was re-established for secular canons. In the interval between the destruction of the abbey and its restoration, Alfred, with his three sons, resided here; he founded three public schools, established a royal mint, and contributed greatly to the rebuilding of the city. In the reign of Ethelred, the Danes burnt the place, in retaliation for the general massacre of their countrymen by order of the king; and in 1013, another party of those rapacious invaders, under the command of Sweyn, landed in England, and having laid waste the adjoining country, compelled the inhabitants of Oxford to surrender, and to give hostages for their fulfilment of the terms of capitulation. The city was again burnt by the Danes, in 1032; and in 1036, Harold Harefoot was crowned at Oxford, on which town, in revenge for the slaughter of some of his men, he inflicted considerable injury.
At the time of the Norman Conquest, Oxford, refusing to submit to William, was in the year 1067 taken by storm, and given to Robert D'Oily, who erected a strong castle on the west side of it, for the purpose of keeping the inhabitants in subjection, and fortified it with strong earthworks, within which he built a collegiate church, dedicated to St. George, for secular canons of the order of St. Augustine. William Rufus held a council in the town, under Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, at which several bishops assisted, for the purpose of defeating a conspiracy formed against him by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, his uncle, in favour of Robert, Duke of Normandy. Robert D'Oily, nephew of the above Robert D'Oily, and chamberlain to Henry I., founded the abbey of Osney, a little below the castle. Henry I. built a new hall or palace at Oxford, called Beaumont, where he celebrated the festival of Easter, in 1133, with great pomp, and in which Richard I. was born. Stephen, in the early part of his reign, assembled a council of the principal nobility here, to whom, in order to attach them to his interests and to strengthen his party in the kingdom, he promised to abolish the tax called Dane Gelt, and to restore the laws of Edward the Confessor. Matilda, having obtained possession of the castle, was besieged by Stephen, but previously to surrendering it, she contrived to escape by night over the river, which was frozen at the time. During the siege, the inhabitants being excluded from the church of St. George within the castle, the chapel of St. Thomas was erected for their accommodation, and Stephen is reported to have repaired the city walls, which had fallen into decay: these walls are supposed to have been built in the seventh century, but by whom is uncertain.
While the contest was pending between Henry II. and Thomas Becket, that monarch held a parliament at Oxford, for the purpose of counteracting the authority of the pope, who had threatened to lay the kingdom under an interdict; and in 1167, another parliament, in which the partitioning of Ireland among those of the king's subjects who had at different times achieved the conquest of it, was deliberated upon. Richard I. invested Oxford, his native city, with many privileges, in gratitude for which the citizens contributed largely to his ransom, when detained prisoner in Austria on his return from the Holy Land. King John held a parliament here in 1204, in order to raise supplies, which were liberally granted. In the reign of Henry III., who kept the festival of Christmas in the city in 1222, Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, held a synod here for reforming abuses in the ecclesiastical polity of the kingdom, by a decree of which, two men were crucified, each pretending that he was Christ, and two women starved to death for pretending to be the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. The king, in 1227, when he became of age, assembled a parliament here, in which he assumed the government, and revoked the grant of Magna Charta, and the Charter of Forests, alleging that they were signed by him when a minor. Towards the end of this reign, an adjourned parliament was held at Oxford, in which all Poictevens and other foreigners were ordered to leave the kingdom. Queen Isabel, on her return from France, remained for some time in the city, while prosecuting the war against the two Spensers. In the reign of Henry IV., a conspiracy was formed by the Earls of Huntingdon, Kent, Salisbury, and Rutland, for assassinating the king at a tournament to be held here, and for restoring the deposed monarch, Richard II., to the throne; but their plot was discovered, and the Earls of Kent and Salisbury, Sir Thomas Blount, and others were executed at Greenditch, in St. Giles' Field, near Oxford. Henry VIII. erected Oxford into a see, separating it, with the county, from the diocese of Lincoln, in which it had previously been included. Soon after the accession of Mary, Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ridley, Bishop of London, and Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, were conveyed from the tower where they had been imprisoned, to hold a disputation with the learned men of the university, at a convocation held in St. Mary's church; and in the following year, the Bishops of London, Gloucester, and Bristol were sent as commissioners to Oxford, to examine Ridley and Latimer, whom they condemned to the stake. This sentence was executed in a place called Canditch, on October 16th, 1555, in the presence of the chief magistrates of the university and city; and on the 21st of the following March, Cranmer, who had witnessed the spectacle from the prison of Bocardo, in which he was confined, suffered martyrdom on the same spot.
In 1625, the first parliament of Charles I. adjourned from London, on account of the plague, to Oxford; but on symptoms of the infection appearing in the city, the king hastily dissolved it, after repeated and unavailing attempts to procure supplies. In the earlier part of the parliamentary war, Sir John Byron, with a portion of the royal troops, attempted to garrison the city for the crown; but Lord Say, then lieutenant of the county, advancing against him with a superior force, the former retired, leaving Oxford in the hands of the latter. Byron, on his retreat from the place, advanced to Worcester, which he garrisoned for the king, who, reinforced by numbers whom the valour of his troops at Edgehill had drawn over to his party, marched to Oxford, and took possession of it as his head-quarters. During the king's occupation of the town, in 1643, a treaty of negotiation was opened, and the Earl of Northumberland, and four members of the lower house, were appointed commissioners by the parliament; the conferences continued for several weeks, but, after various propositions for a mutual accommodation, terminated without the differences being adjusted. A deputation from the citizens of London afterwards waited upon the monarch, who had resolved to pass the winter at Oxford, with proposals for peace, which, through the agency of the parliament, were also rendered ineffectual. In January, 1644, the king invited the members who had either retired or been expelled from the Westminster parliament to meet him at Oxford, and assembled a parliament in the great hall of Christ-Church College. In 1645, Sir Thomas Fairfax, advancing with his army to besiege the city, was diverted from his purpose by Prince Rapert, who attacked the castle at Leicester; but Fairfax returning to the siege in 1646, and the garrison being reduced by famine, Oxford surrendered to the parliament. In the reign of Charles II., in 1665, the plague raging in London, the parliament adjourned to Oxford, and assembling in the schools of the university, granted supplies for carrying on the war against the Dutch, and enacted statutes against the nonconforming clergy, who were prohibited approaching within five miles of any corporate town. During the continuance of the plague, the courts of law, at Michaelmas term, were held in the city; where, also, Charles, having broken up the parliament at Westminster, in 1681, assembled a new one, which, after sitting only a few days, was dissolved by the king, for the apparent purpose of preventing the differences that threatened to arise between the lords and the commons, the former having rejected a vote of impeachment decreed by the latter.
Oxford, for the splendour of its public buildings, among which the colleges and halls of the university are conspicuous for the grandeur of their elevation, and in many instances for the beauty of their architecture, is not surpassed by any city in the kingdom; and from the antiquity and importance of its institutions, possesses an intense degree of interest. It occupies a pleasant situation on a gentle acclivity, at the confluence of the rivers Cherwell and Isis, by which it is nearly surrounded, and across which are several bridges, handsomely built of stone; Magdalen bridge over the Cherwell, and a bridge over the Isis, on the Abingdon road, lately erected at an expense of 11,000, are the principal. The Approaches are spacious, and afford striking and finely-varied prospects of the city, with its sumptuous edifices and stately towers. The entrance from the London road, by Magdalen bridge, is exquisitely beautiful: on the right is the small but pleasing vale of the Cherwell, in which the church of St. Clement forms an interesting feature, together with the grounds, the waterwalk, and the noble tower of Magdalen College; while on the left are seen Christ-Church meadows, watered by the Isis and the Cherwell, with the spire of the Cathedral, and the tower of Merton College in the distance. The entrance from Woodstock is remarkably fine, leading into the town through the broad street of St. Giles'. on each side of which is a row of stately trees, and on the east side the college of St. John, and part of Balliol College. The entrance from Abingdon, over Folly or the New bridge, leads through St. Aldate's street, on the east side of which are the magnificent front of ChristChurch College, and the town-hall. The city is above a mile in length, from east to west, and, including the suburbs, more than three miles in circumference, the whole being divided into four parts by two principal streets, which intersect each other nearly at right angles, in the centre. The different portions are well paved, lighted with gas, and amply supplied with water. The High-street is one of the noblest streets in Europe, presenting in pleasing succession, from its great length and easy and graceful curvature, many of the venerable public edifices for which the city is so eminently distinguished. On the north side, after crossing Magdalen bridge, and passing the college of St. Mary Magdalen on the right, and the Physic Garden on the left, are Queen's and All Souls' Colleges, beyond which are the churches of St. Mary and All Saints, and at the upper extremity, that of St. Martin, or Carfax; on the south side are University College, and some handsome private houses. At the northern extremity of the churchyard of St. Mary Magdalen, and opposite to the spot where Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer suffered martyrdom, is the Martyrs Memorial, a splendid pile in commemoration of their piety and fortitude, of which the first stone was laid on the 19th of May, 1841, by the Rev. Dr. Plumptre, Master of University College, and chairman of the committee for its erection. This deeply interesting monument resembles, in its general design, the crosses raised in different parts of the kingdom by Edward I. in memory of his queen Eleanor, and more particularly that of Waltham. It is after a design by Messrs. Scott and Moffat; and in connexion with it is a church dedicated to the God of Martyrs, formed by taking down part of the church of St. Mary Magdalen, and rebuilding it on a larger scale. The gardens of the colleges afford delightful promenades, and in the environs, which contain many handsome residences, are varied rides and agreeable walks, of which latter, that to Headington Hill, commanding a fine view of Oxford and its vicinity, may be deemed the principal. The rivers Cherwell and Isis, branching into several streams, and pursuing a winding course, contribute to adorn the city, and their united waters present the means of aquatic excursions. Races are annually held on Port-meadow.
The trade is chiefly in corn and other agricultural produce of the surrounding district, which is extremely fertile. Coal is brought from Staffordshire by the Oxford canal, which communicates with the canals of Birmingham, Warwick, and Coventry; and a good traffic is carried on with the metropolis and the intermediate towns, by the Thames. Convenient wharfs and quays have been formed at considerable expense, and every facility provided for the increase of the inland trade. The Oxford branch of the Great Western railway is nearly ten miles in length, and runs southward to the Dudcote station of the main line: Oxford is thus 63 miles from the terminus at Paddington, London. In 1845 an act was passed for a railway to Rugby, 50 miles long; and in the same year another act for a railway to Worcester and Wolverhampton, 92 miles long. In 1846 an act was obtained for a railway to Bletchley, 29 miles in length. Oxford has been long noted for the superior quality of its brawn, of which a large quantity is forwarded to London. The markets are on Wednesday and Saturday, the latter being also for corn: the market-place is a suitable area, arranged in sections for the different kinds of produce, on the northern side of the High-street. The fairs are, one on May 3rd, on Gloucester Green; a pleasure-fair in St. Giles', on the Monday after the festival of St. Giles; and a fair upon the Thursday before New Michaelmas-day, for cattle.
The city claims to be a Corporation by prescription. It received a regular charter from Henry II., confirming every preceding grant, and extending to the inhabitants all the rights enjoyed by the citizens of London; and the whole city was bestowed upon the burgesses in fee-farm by King John, in 1199. Various additional privileges were conferred by subsequent sovereigns; and in 1606 a new charter was granted by James I., under which the corporation chiefly acted, until the passing of the act 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, by which the control is vested in a mayor, ten aldermen, and thirty councillors. The city is divided into five wards, the municipal boundaries being co-extensive with those for parliamentary purposes, and the total number of magistrates is twelve; the revenue of the corporation is about 3000 per annum. The freedom is inherited by birth, or acquired by apprenticeship to a freeman for seven years; among the privileges is the right of pasturing cattle on Port-meadow, a tract of about 440 acres in the neighbourhood. The city has regularly sent two members to parliament, from the earliest returns extant of the reign of Edward I.: the mayor is returning officer. The recorder holds quarterly courts of session, which take cognizance of all capital offences except high treason; and there are two courts of record, for the trial of pleas and the recovery of debts to any amount, one called the mayor's court (or Hustings' court), in which actions of ejectment are tried; and the other the borough court, the practice in which is nearly the same as in the common-law courts at Westminster: the town-clerk sits as judge for all purposes except trial of issues, which are brought before the recorder at the quarter-sessions. The Town-hall is a spacious stone building, 135 feet in length, and 32 feet broad, with a basement story of rustic work, forming an open corridor; in the centre is a handsome pediment. George IV., when Prince Regent, the late Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, the late Duke of York, the Prince of Orange, the Prince of Mecklenburgh, Prince Metternich, General Blucher, and other illustrious persons visited the hall, and received the honorary freedom of the city, in 1814, during their stay in Oxford. The council-chamber is decorated with portraits of Queen Anne; John, the first, and George, the third, Duke of Marlborough; and several distinguished members of the corporation and benefactors to the place. The City gaol was erected in 1789, prior to which delinquents were confined in the prison of Bocardo, over one of the city gates, which was taken down in 1771; the door of the cell where Cranmer was confined has been preserved, and fixed up in the present building with an appropriate inscription. The assizes for the county, and the election of the knights of the shire, are held in the city. The powers of the county debt-court of Oxford, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Oxford and Headington, and part of the district of Abingdon. The county gaol and house of correction is an extensive edifice, erected on part of the site of the ancient castle, the remains of which consist of the original tower and a vaulted magazine for the use of the garrison; the principal entrance is through a large gateway, flanked by embattled towers.
The origin of the University is by different historians attributed to various eras and to different founders. By some, Oxford is supposed to have been selected as a place of resort for students at a very early period of British history, and to have attained considerable eminence as a seat of learning during the Saxon heptarchy; and it is stated that Alfred, during his residence here, founded and endowed three halls, or additional colleges, which, being involved in the fate of the city, were destroyed by the Danes, whose frequent incursions and devastations of this part of the country materially retarded the progress of the university. Amidst a mass of conflicting testimony, its origin may perhaps be attributed to the monastic institutions in the city and neighbourhood, which, by the encouragement they afforded to the pursuit of literature, drew hither a number of students, who, not being able to become inmates in the establishments, may have taken up their residence near them. At the time of the Conquest, Robert D'Oily, to whom William gave the government of the city, founded, within the precincts of the castle, the collegiate church of St. George, for secular canons; and this institution being subsequently annexed to the abbey of Osney, founded by his descendants, the buildings were occupied by students, and the society existed for some time under the style of the Warden and Scholars of St. George within the Castle. Soon after the establishment of Osney Abbey, Robert Pullein, a learned member of that institution, began to read lectures at Oxford on the sacred scriptures, which had been much neglected, and revived the divinity lectures, which had fallen into disuse; and, under the patronage of Henry I. and his successor, greatly promoted the interests of literature. In the reign of Stephen, Roger Vacarius introduced the study of the Roman or civil law, which, being regarded as an innovation, was vehemently opposed by other professors. At this time the students are said to have amounted to nearly 30,000, and to have lived at their own expense in inns, of which not less than 300 were rented by them; for their supply the country for 20 miles round Oxford was appropriated by the king, whose purveyor was not permitted within that distance to purchase provisions for the king's household. And exclusively of such as lived in these hotels, under the governor, or principal, who presided over the literary and moral discipline of the seminaries, several were resident in St. Frideswide's Priory and Osney Abbey.
In 1209, a scholar having accidentally killed a woman of the city while amusing himself with athletic sports, made his escape, and the incensed citizens seized upon three scholars of the same hall, whom, upon receiving a mandate from the king (then at Woodstock) to that effect, they hanged. This so exasperated the students, that 3000 of them left the university; but the citizens having obtained pardon from the pope's legate, then in England, and having done penance in the churches at Oxford, the scholars returned. Repeated disturbances arose between the citizens and the students, some of which were attended with very serious consequences. In 1229, disputes having arisen in Paris, on account of the high price of wine, Henry III. invited the students of that city to Oxford, where more than 1000 of them soon afterwards settled. Cardinal Otho, legate from the pope in 1236, on his arrival in England, took up his residence at Osney Abbey, and the scholars, in token of their respect, waited upon him in great numbers to pay him their congratulations, when a dispute arose between the scholars, who pressed for admission, and the legate's servants, in which the legate's brother, who, from fear of treachery by poison, officiated as principal cook, was killed: 30 of the scholars were now put under confinement, and to compromise the affair, the principals of the schools were compelled to implore pardon of the legate. In 1248, Henry III. granted the university a charter, to defend it more effectually against the attacks of the citizens, who had wantonly assassinated a young nobleman, a student in one of the schools.
In 1274, Walter de Merton founded Merton College, which seems to have been the first regular establishment in the university, and the foundation of that system by which, under certain trifling modifications, it was afterwards organized, and is still governed. About this time, the number of scholars in the various hotels was about 15,000, but by what regulations they were controlled, is not clearly known. The statutes of Merton College, which, with little alteration are yet observed, appear to be the result of experience, and to have been adapted, in an extraordinary degree, to the diffusion of learning and to the establishment of moral discipline. Henry III., who visited the shrine of St. Frideswide, and held a parliament in the city to settle his disputes with the barons, conferred many privileges upon the university, renewing all previous charters. In 1286, Edward I. invested the chancellor with authority to take cognizance of offences committed by the Jews resident at Oxford, and subsequently gave him power to summon any of the burgesses before him, to answer pleas originating in personal action with any of the scholars. Edward II. ratified all the rights and privileges of the university, and, by letterspatent, took it under his immediate protection. Prior to this the pope had formally bestowed upon Oxford, which was considered the next great school to Paris, the rank of university, a distinction then only enjoyed by Paris, Bologna, and Salamanca; and in the reign of Edward II., schools for the Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldee languages were founded, by order of the council of Vienna. In the time of Edward III., a dispute having arisen between a scholar and an innkeeper, the latter, by an appeal to the citizens, incited them to an insurrection against the scholars; and both parties having recourse to arms, a violent conflict ensued for two days, when, after repeated skirmishes, a party of 2000 rustics, whom the citizens had invited to their assistance, entered the city, which the scholars had barricadoed; killed 63 students; and plundered the halls, to several of which they set fire. After the suppression of the tumult, the sheriff of the county, and the mayor of the city, being called to a severe account, were ordered to pay a very heavy fine; and it was made obligatory on their successors to take an oath, on entering upon office, to protect the interests and privileges of the university: the fine was subsequently commuted for the payment of one penny each by the mayor and principal citizens, annually in St. Mary's church, at the festival of St. Scholastica; but in the year 1825 the university relinquished all claim to the payment. On the breaking out of the war with France, in 1369, the students that were natives of that country were ordered to quit the kingdom.
The privileges of the university appear to have been an object of particular regard with succeeding sovereigns: Henry VI., in 1444, gave power to the chancellor to banish any refractory person to the distance of twelve miles from the city, and this privilege, with all other liberties, was confirmed by Edward IV., in the first year of his reign. The wars between the houses of York and Lancaster seem to have had an unfavourable influence upon its interest, and, during their continuance, to have considerably diminished the number of students. Richard III. visited Oxford, and was met, on his way from Windsor, by the whole body, by whom he was escorted to Magdalen College, where he passed the night; the following day he attended the public exercises and disputations. In 1501, Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII., was sumptuously entertained here, and lodged in the same college. In the reign of Henry VIII., the chest of the university was robbed, and the registers stolen: in 1518, the king and queen, attended by Cardinal Wolsey and a large retinue of the nobility, having arrived at Abingdon, a deputation from the university waited on them to offer their respects, and escort the queen to St. Frideswide's shrine; after visiting which, her majesty proceeded to Merton College, where a splendid entertainment was provided. Queen Elizabeth paid visits to the university in 1566, 1571, and 1592.
The members of the university are a body corporate. Their important privileges were confirmed and extended by a long succession of charters from the earliest period to the reign of Charles I.; and under various munificent and royal patrons, the ancient halls were endowed, and new colleges founded, the whole now forming one of the most comprehensive and magnificent seats of learning in Europe. The university was incorporated in the 13th year of the reign of Elizabeth, by the title of the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Oxford; it comprises nineteen colleges, which are distinct corporate bodies, and five halls, which are not incorporated, associated for the acquirement of learning requisite to qualify their members for the learned professions, and the high offices of the state. These several colleges and halls have their own statutes, though subject to the paramount authority of the university. The laws by which the university is at present governed were compiled by its members in the reign of James I., and confirmed in the 14th of Charles I., since which they have been modified or ratified by different parliaments.
The principal Officers are, a chancellor, vice-chancellor, high steward, two proctors, a public orator, keeper of the archives, registrar of the university, registrar of the university courts, two curators of the theatre, a librarian, keeper of the Ashmolean museum, two clerks of the market, three esquire bedels, and the yeomen bedels. The Chancellor, who is the highest officer, and is generally a distinguished nobleman, is elected for life by the members of the house of convocation. The Vice-Chancellor, who is the chief resident officer, and always the head of a college, is nominated by the chancellor, but must be approved by the house of convocation. He appoints four pro-vice-chancellors, also heads of houses, to assist him in his office, which is annual, though generally continued for four years by renewed nominations. To him is assigned the superintendence of the university. The High Steward, who is invariably a nobleman, is appointed by the chancellor, subject to approval by the house of convocation, and holds his office for life. His province is to assist the chancellor, vice-chancellor, and proctors, in the execution of their respective duties, and to defend the rights and privileges of the university; to hear and determine on capital causes in which either scholars or privileged persons are parties; and, personally or by deputy, to hold the university court leet. The Proctors are appointed annually from the various colleges in rotation, and nominate two pro-proctors each, of any college or hall, as their deputies. The Public Orator is chosen by the members of the house of convocation; his office is to write letters and addresses upon public occasions, to pronounce harangues to princes and other illustrious persons visiting the university, and to present the honorary degrees conferred by it. The Keeper of the Archives, an officer first appointed in 1634, must be at least master of arts; he is chosen by convocation, as is also the Registrar of the University. The Registrar of the University Court is appointed by patent from the chancellor. The Clerks of the Market, who must be principals of halls, masters of arts, or bachelors of divinity, law, or medicine, are appointed annually, one by the chancellor, and the other by the vice-chancellor.
The public business is transacted by two principal assemblies, called the House of Congregation and the House of Convocation, in both which the chancellor, the vice-chancellor, or, in his absence, one of his deputies, and the proctors or their deputies, preside. The House of Congregation consists exclusively of regents, who are either necessary regents, or regents ad placitum. The former are, doctors of every faculty, and masters of arts during the first year of their regency; the latter are, doctors of every faculty, resident in the university, heads of colleges and halls (or, in their absence, their deputies), professors and public lecturers, the masters of the schools, the public examiners, the deans and censors of colleges, and all other masters of arts during the second year of their regency. The House of Convocation, or, as it is sometimes called, the great congregation, consists both of regents and non-regents. The right of voting in this house is restricted by the statutes to the chancellor, vice-chancellor, the two proctors and their deputies; doctors in divinity, medicine, or civil law, who are necessary regents; masters of arts during the first year of their necessary regency; heads of colleges and halls, or their deputies; members on the foundation of any college, who have at any time been regents; doctors of divinity, medicine, or law, living with their families within the precincts of the university; professors and public lecturers, who have at any time been regents, and have performed the exercises required by the statutes, and paid all fees due to the university; and convictores, or persons not on the foundation of any college or hall, who have at any time been regents, and whose names have been constantly on the books from the time of their admission to the degree of master of arts, or to that of doctor in any one of the three faculties. The business of the house of congregation is almost confined to the passing of graces and dispensations, and to the granting of degrees: that of the house of convocation embraces all subjects affecting the credit, interest, or welfare of the university. The chancellor holds a court of record every week during term, at which his assessor presides, for the recovery of debts to any amount, the jurisdiction being limited to members of the university. The university received the elective franchise by charter of James I., in 1603, since which time it has regularly returned two members to parliament; the right of election is vested in the doctors and regent masters of arts in convocation, and the vice-chancellor is returning officer.
There are seven Regius Professorships, namely, of Divinity, Civil Law, Medicine, Hebrew, Greek, Modern History, and Botany. The first five were founded by Henry VIII., who endowed each of them with a yearly stipend of 40, the stipends of Divinity, Hebrew, and Greek, payable by the Dean and Canons of ChristChurch, and the others out of the Royal Exchequer; the original endowments have been subsequently augmented. The Regius Professorship of Modern Languages and History was founded by George I., in 1724, and confirmed by George II., in 1728; the Regius Professorship of Botany was founded by George III., in 1794. The Margaret Professorship of Divinity was founded by Margaret, Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII., who endowed it with an annual stipend of 20 marks, to which Charles I., in 1627, added a prebend in the Cathedral of Worcester, lately exchanged for a canonry in Christ-Church. The Professorship of Natural Philosophy was instituted in 1618, by Sir William Sedley, of Aylesford, in Kent, who bequeathed to the university for its endowment the sum of 2000, which was invested in the purchase of an estate producing 120 per annum. The Savilian Professorships of Geometry and Astronomy were established and endowed in 1619, by Sir Henry Savile, Knt. The Camden Professorship of Ancient History was founded in 1622, by William Camden, the antiquary, who assigned to it the manor of Bexley, in Kent. The Professorship of Music was instituted in 1626, by William Heather, doctor in music, who also established a fund for the payment of a Choragus Prfectus Music Exercitationis. The Laudian Professorship of Arabic was founded in 1636, by Archbishop Laud, who annexed to it lands in the parish of Bray, in the county of Berks. The Professorship of Botany was established in 1728, by William Sherard, D. C. L., &c., some time fellow of St. John's, and afterwards consul at Smyrna, who bequeathed to the university 3000 for its endowment, and also his valuable library and herbarium. The Professorship of Poetry was founded and endowed by Henry Birkhead, Esq., barrister of the Inner Temple, and D.C.L. some time of Trinity, and afterwards fellow of All Souls'. The Anglo-Saxon Professorship was instituted in 1760, by Richard Rawlinson, Esq., D.C.L., of St. John's College, who endowed it with rent-charges on lands in Lancashire. The Vinerian Professorship of Common Law was founded in 1755, by Charles Viner, Esq., who bequeathed 12,000 to the university for its endowment, and for the endowment of as many fellowships of 50 per annum, and scholarships of 30 per annum, of the common law, as those funds would permit. Sir William Blackstone was the first professor on this foundation, and his lectures in the university formed the substance of his celebrated Commentaries. The Professorship for reading Clinical lectures to the students in the Radcliffe Infirmary was founded in 1772, by the Earl of Lichfield, Chancellor of the University. The Aldrichian Professorships of Anatomy, of the Practice of Medicine, and of Chemistry, were founded and endowed in 1803, by George Aldrich, of the county of Nottingham, M.D. The Professorship of Political Economy was founded in 1825, by Henry Drummond, Esq., of Albury Park, in Surrey, who endowed it with a rent-charge of 100. The Professorship of Moral Philosophy was established in 1829; the Professorship of Sanscrit, on Col. Boden's foundation, in 1832; and the Professorships of Ecclesiastical History and Pastoral Theology, in 1842. The Professorship of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture was founded by the late Dr. Ireland, Dean of Westminster, who left 10,000 for the purpose, and appointed the heads of colleges to choose the professor: the first professor was elected in 1847. On Sir Robert Taylor's foundation are, a professor of modern European languages, with a stipend of 400, and two teachers in the German and French languages, with a stipend of 150 each.
The Lord Almoner's Reader in Arabic is appointed by the Lord Almoner, and has an annual stipend out of the Almonry bounty. The Readership in Experimental Philosophy was instituted in 1810, by grant from the crown; as were also the Readership in Mineralogy, in 1813, and the Readership in Geology, in 1818. The Anatomical Lectureship was founded in 1750, by Matthew Lee, M. D., of Christ-Church. The Readership in Logic was founded in 1839. The Bampton Lectures were commenced about the year 1780, by John Bampton, M.A., canon of Salisbury, who bequeathed funds for the annual preaching of eight divinity lecture sermons on the leading articles of the Christian faith, of which 30 copies are to be printed for distribution among the heads of houses. Dr. Radcliffe assigned 600 per annum for the maintenance of two fellows for ten years, one-half at least to be spent in travelling in foreign parts for their improvement. The Vinerian Fellowships of 50 each, and Scholarships of 30 each, per annum, tenable for ten years after the date of election, vary in number, according to the state of the income. The Craven Scholarships were founded in 1647, by John, Lord Craven, who bequeathed lands for the endowment of two scholarships, tenable for fourteen years: three additional scholarships, tenable for seven years only, supported by the same funds, were established by a decree of the court of chancery, in 1819. The Ireland Scholarships were founded in 1825, by the late Dr. Ireland, who transferred to the university 4000 in the three per cent. consols., for the endowment of four scholarships of 30 per annum each, for under-graduates who have not exceeded their sixteenth term from the date of matriculation. The Eldon Law Scholarship was founded by the managers of the "Eldonian Testimonial Fund;" it is for three years, and is of the annual value of 200. The other scholarships of recent date are, those of Dr. John Johnson, for some time Fellow of Magdalen College, who left 1200 for two scholarships, each for two years, the one to reward the greatest attainments in theology, and the other, in mathematics; the Boden scholarships, two in number, for four years, with an annual stipend of 50 each; the three University Mathematical scholarships, of 50 a year each, for three years; the Kennicott Hebrew scholarships, the Pusey and Ellerton Hebrew scholarships, and the University scholarship for the encouragement of Latin Literature.
The four Terms in the year are, Michaelmas, which commences on October 10th, and ends on December 17th; Hilary, which begins on January 14th, and closes on the Saturday before Palm-Sunday, or, if that day be a festival, on the Monday after; Easter, which includes a period from the 10th day after Easter-Sunday to the day before Whit-Sunday; and Trinity, which continues from the Wednesday after Whit-Sunday till the Saturday after the first Tuesday in July. The full term begins on the first day of the week after the first congregation is held. Michaelmas and Hilary terms are kept by six weeks' residence, by such as have not taken any degree in arts, and Easter and Trinity terms by a residence of three weeks each. Sixteen terms are requisite to qualify for the degree of bachelor of arts, except for the sons of English, Scotch, or Irish peers, matriculated as such, and not on the foundation of any college, who are admitted candidates for that degree after three years' residence. Twelve terms, exclusively of the term of matriculation, are requisite for bachelors of arts keeping terms for a master's degree, and for students in civil law, who, having resided three weeks in each term, assume the civilian's gown. For the degree of bachelor in civil law, without proceeding through arts, 28 terms are requisite: but of these, two are considered as being kept by matriculation in term, and by taking the degree; and, as in the case of a master's degree, three others are dispensed with by congregation, and six more by the chancellor's letter. For the degree of doctor in civil law five years are requisite, to be computed from the time of taking the bachelor's degree; but upon making oath in convocation of intention to practise in Doctors' Commons, one year is remitted. For the degree of bachelor in medicine, one year is necessary from the regency; and for that of doctor, four years' residence from the time of matriculation. For the degree of bachelor in divinity, seven years are required from the time of matriculation; and for that of doctor, four years more.
The Exercises for the degree of bachelor of arts, are responsions held in Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity terms, to which candidates who have entered on their sixth term and not completed their ninth are admitted; and public examinations, held in Michaelmas and Easter terms, to which candidates who have entered on their fourth year of matriculation, and have previously responded before the masters of the schools, are admitted, by giving their names for that purpose three days before the examination commences. The exercises requisite for a bachelor's degree in divinity, law, or medicine, are, disputations on two distinct days, before the professors of those respective faculties; and in divinity, the preaching of a Latin sermon at St. Mary's, before the vicechancellor, is also required. For a doctor's degree, in any one of the faculties, three distinct lectures are to be read in the schools on three several days, which, by a dispensation from the houses of congregation and convocation, are permitted to be read at three different hours on the same day.
Three Prizes of 20 each are given annually by the chancellor for the best compositions in Latin verse, Latin prose, and English prose. For the first, candidates only who have not exceeded four years from their matriculation can contend; for the other two, all such as have exceeded four years, but not completed seven, and have not taken the degree of M.A. or B.C.L., may be competitors. Sir Roger Newdigate, in 1806, bequeathed funds to the university for an annual prize for English verses. Dr. Ellerton, fellow of Magdalen College, gave a rent-charge of 21 on an estate at Horsepath, in the county of Oxford, for an annual prize for the best English essay on a doctrine or duty of the Christian religion, or on some subject in theology. Mrs. Denyer's two theological prizes are of 30 each.
University College is supposed by some to have been founded so early as 872, by Alfred the Great, and to have been the largest of his three halls; but with far greater probability, its foundation may be ascribed to William, Archdeacon of Durham, who in 1249 left 310 marks to the chancellor and university, to purchase certain annual rents for the maintenance of ten, twelve, or more masters, at that time the highest academical title, the first purchase being made in 1253. The funds left by him were appropriated to the support of a limited number of persons, chosen by the various halls of the university, and who at first did not form an independent society, but were subordinate to the several schools in which they had been educated: in 1280, however, the institution of a society was determined upon, and some statutes that were eventually settled by the university bear the date 1292. The situation of the original house, or hall, is generally considered to be the site now occupied by Brasenose College, and historians assert that the society removed to the present college about 1343, under the style of "the Master and Scholars of the Hall of the University of Oxford," giving to their house the name of "University Hall." The foundation consists of a master, twelve fellows, and twenty-four scholars and exhibitioners: two of the fellowships were founded by William of Durham; three by Henry IV.; three, in 1442, by the Earl of Northumberland; and four in 1631, by Sir Simon Bennet. The Crown is visiter.
The buildings of the college, which are on the south side of the High-street, are in the ancient English style, with portions in the Italian, and comprise two parallel quadrangles. One of these, built at various periods, with a chapel and hall on the south side, is 100 feet square; the other, erected principally by Dr. Radcliffe, has only three sides, each being about 80 feet in length: on the south is the master's garden. The two constitute a front of about 240 feet, presenting a magnificent appearance from the High-street, which it faces. Each quadrangle is entered by a gateway surmounted by a tower: over one entrance, in front, is a statue of Queen Anne, and within, one of James II.; over the other, in front, a statue of Mary II., and within, one of Dr. Radcliffe. At the western extremity of the college, a handsome building in the later English style, has been erected under the superintendence of Mr. Barry, containing a suite of apartments for the fellows; the front is enriched with two spacious oriel windows of elegant design, rising to the parapet of the building, and the whole forms a conspicuous and interesting feature. The chapel, built in 1665, displays a profusion of painted glass, and contains a fine cenotaph, by Flaxman, to the memory of Sir William Jones. In the library, which was completed in 1660, is a very valuable collection of books and manuscripts. Amongst the most eminent members formerly belonging to the society may be enumerated, Ridley, Bishop of London, who was burnt at the stake in the city; Bingham, author of Origines Ecclesiastic; Sir William Jones; Dr. Radcliffe; Edward, Lord Herbert, of Cherbury; Dr. John Hudson, a learned critic; Carte, the historian; Richard Jago, an ingenious poet; Sir Robert Chambers, Vinerian professor, afterwards a judge in India; Lord Chancellor Eldon; Lord Stowell; the poet Shelley; two archbishops, and nine bishops.
Balliol College appears to have been founded about 1260, by John Balliol, of Barnard-Castle, father of John Balliol, King of Scotland. He gave to each of his scholars 8d. per week for their commons, and settled yearly exhibitions upon them, with the intention of providing a house and appropriate accommodation, which was carried into effect after his decease in 1269, by his wife, Devorguilla, who in 1281 purchased a tenement in Horsemonger-street, now called Broad-street, and prescribed statutes for their government. In 1284, she purchased the adjoining hall of St. Mary, and having repaired it, established the society there by charter of incorporation, which being confirmed by the king her son, and Oliver, Bishop of Lincoln, the name of New Balliol College was given to it. The society consists of a master, twelve fellows, and fourteen scholars, of whom nine fellows and ten scholars are on the old foundation. In 1620, Lady Elizabeth Periam, widow of the lord chief baron, Sir William Periam, Knt., added one fellowship: in 1615, and 1676, the trustees of Mr. Peter Blundell founded two fellowships. There are also 29 exhibitions, including four founded by John Warner, Bishop of Rochester, in 1666 or 1667, and endowed with 20 per annum each. This college has the peculiar privilege of electing its own visiter: the late venerable Dr. Howley, Archbishop of Canterbury, was visiter until his death in 1848.
The buildings chiefly form a quadrangle of 120 feet by 80, in addition to which is an area on the north-west side. In the centre of the front is a fine square embattled tower, surmounted by a turret, and ornamented with a highly-enriched canopied niche, and the arms of the founder. On the west side of the quadrangle are the hall and master's residence; and on the north the chapel and library, which latter, originally completed in 1477, was repaired and embellished under the direction of Mr. James Wyatt, architect, and contains a valuable collection of illuminated manuscripts, and several rare English Bibles: the other sides consist of rooms for the fellows and scholars. The buildings to the north-east of the quadrangle were the gift of Archbishop Abbot; those to the south-west of it, fronting the street, and containing twelve sets of rooms, were erected at the expense of Mr. Fisher, formerly a fellow of the college. In 1827, a building was added on the north, fronting the church of St. Mary Magdalen, and consisting of twenty-two sets of rooms. Among the more eminent members may be enumerated, John Wycliffe, the Reformer, who was master; Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester; Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester; Sir John Popham, chief justice of the king's bench; Sir Robert Atkyns, chief baron of the exchequer; John Evelyn; Dr. Bradley, astronomer royal; John Kyrle, Pope's Man of Ross; the Rev. John Hutchins, author of the History of Dorset; Robert Southey; John Gibson Lockhart; three archbishops, and eight bishops.
Merton College was established by Walter de Merton, Bishop of Rochester, and lord high chancellor of England, who, having previously founded a college at Merton, in the county of Surrey, removed the society to Oxford in 1274, under the name of Domus Scholarum de Merton; the statutes bear that date, and the college, in point of legal establishment, is the oldest in the university. It was so well endowed that, in the 26th of Henry VIII., its revenue was valued at 354. The society consists of a warden, twenty-four fellows, fourteen postmasters, four scholars, two chaplains, and two clerks. The exhibitions for twelve of the postmasters were given in 1380, by John Willyott, D.D., chancellor of Exeter; and the number was increased to fourteen by John Chamber, fellow of Eton, and canon of Windsor, who directed his two exhibitioners to be elected from Eton College. The four scholarships were founded in 1753, by Henry Jackson, M.A., of this college, and afterwards a minor canon of St. Paul's, London. The Archbishop of Canterbury is visiter.
The college is on the south side of the city, in a beautifully secluded situation, in St. John's street; its southern front commanding a fine view of the still, picturesque scenery of Christ's-Church meadow, the noble academical walk, lined on each side with ancient, majestic, and lofty elms, and the silver streams of the Isis and Cherwell. The buildings form three quadrangles. The first, which opens by a noble arch into the inner quadrangle, and is 110 feet by 100 feet, was rebuilt in 1589, with the exception of the tower and gatehouse, which were constructed in the early part of the fifteenth century, during the wardenship of the celebrated mathematician, Thomas Redburn, Bishop of St. David's. It contains the warden's apartments, some portions of which are thought to be coeval with the original edifice. The second, or grand, court is of modern date, and exhibits a mixed style; the central elevation is adorned with tiers of columns of the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders. The third, or small, court is very ancient; the library, which forms its south and west sides, was founded in 1376, by Rede, Bishop of Chichester, and is considered to be the most ancient structure of the kind in existence. At the western end of the outer court is the chapel, one of the most handsome in the university, and which consists of a choir in the decorated style, and transepts, with a low massive tower at the intersection, in the later English style; the windows are of painted glass, and the east window of seven lights is ornamented with a rich wheel, crocketed canopies, and pinnacles. This is the parochial church of St. John the Baptist. Among the eminent members of the society may be classed, Dr. Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood, warden of the college; the celebrated Duns Scotus, Archbishop Bradwardyn, John Wycliffe, Sir Henry Savile, John Greaves, John Hales, Francis Cheynell, Hugh Cressy, Samuel Clarke; Anthony Wood, the Oxford historian; Sir Richard Steele; the Earl of Essex, the parliamentary general; Thomas Farnaby, a learned critic; Dr. Edmund Dickinson; Thomas Tyrwhitt, editor of Chaucer's Tales; five archbishops, and thirteen bishops.
Exeter College was founded in 1314, by Walter de Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, and called Stapleton Hall. On the removal of his scholars to this spot, from Hart Hall, the foundation comprised a rector and twelve fellows, eight of the thirteen to be elected from the archdeaconries of Exeter, Totnes, and Barnstaple, four from the archdeaconry of Cornwall, and one to be nominated by the Dean and Chapter of Exeter from any other place, provided the candidates should be in priest's orders. Two additional fellowships were founded in 1404, by Edmund Stafford, Bishop of Exeter, who obtained leave to bestow on the college its present name; eight, in 1565, by Sir William Petre, Knt., who procured a new body of statutes, and a regular deed of incorporation for the college; one by Charles I., in 1636; and two, about 1700, by Lady Elizabeth Shiers. The society at present includes a rector and 25 fellows, and there are sixteen scholarships and exhibitions: the Bishop of Exeter is visiter.
The front of the college is on the eastern side of the Turle, and is 220 feet in length. A gateway of rustic work, surmounted by a tower, with Ionic pilasters, which support a semicircular pediment ornamented with the arms of the founder, leads into the first quadrangle, in which are, the hall, a handsome building in the later English style, erected about 1610, by Sir John Acland; the chapel, in a similar style, towards the erection of which, about 1623, Dr. George Hakewill contributed 1200, and which has two aisles; and the rector's lodgings. There is an inner court of similar construction, 135 feet square, behind which is a garden laid out with great taste. The library was erected about 1778, and contains, with other valuable works, a fine collection of the Aldine classics; also a portrait of Mr. Sandford, a learned but eccentric divine, who included in his important bequest to this college, the extremely rare and valuable Hebrew Bible printed at Soncino, in Italy, in 1488. Among the eminent members may be enumerated, Trevisa, Grocyn, Sir John Dodderidge, Digory Whear, George Hakewill, Joseph Caryll; Browne, the poet; the celebrated lawyer, Sir John Fortescue; Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury; Maundrell, the oriental traveller; Dr. William Borlase, the Cornish antiquary; Jonathan Toup, an eminent critic; Nicholas Tindal, the continuator of Rapin; Sir Michael Foster, a learned lawyer; Dr. Benjamin Kennicott, an able divine and biblical critic; two archbishops, and eleven bishops.
Oriel College was founded in 1326, by licence of Edward II. to his almoner, Adam de Brome, to build and endow a college in honour of the Virgin Mary, towards which project the king had in 1325 given the advowson and parsonage-house of St. Mary's. Of this institution Brome became the first provost. In 1333, the parsonage-house was converted into an academical hall called St. Mary's, and Edward III. gave to the society a tenement called L'Oriele, on which the college was established, and whence its name is derived. The original foundation included a provost and ten fellows: four fellowships were added about 1441, by John Frank, master of the rolls; one by John Carpenter, Bishop of Worcester, about 1476; one by William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln, in 1507; and two by Richard Dudley, chancellor of the church of Salisbury, in the year 1529. A prebend in Rochester cathedral was annexed to the office of provost for ever by Queen Anne. There are fifteen exhibitions. Her Majesty is visiter of the college.
The buildings comprise a spacious and handsome quadrangle, and two lateral ranges of chambers on the east and west sides of the garden; the eastern wing erected by Robinson, Bishop of London, in 1719; the western by Dr. George Carter, provost, in 1729. In 1817 a stone building, comprising fifteen sets of rooms, was erected to the south of Bishop Robinson's wing. The entrance to the quadrangle from the street is through a tower-gateway, the roof of which is decorated with the arms of Charles I., and the tower with a baywindow or oriel. The hall, immediately opposite, is approached by a flight of steps, under a portico surmounted by statues of Edward II. and III. in niches; and above these in another niche, are sculptured representations of the Virgin and Child. The provost's house is on the north side of the quadrangle; the south and west sides are occupied by the members' apartments; on the east side is the entrance to the chapel, which edifice was completed in 1642, and, like the hall, presents specimens of the later English style. The library was designed and constructed under the direction of Mr. James Wyatt. Among the eminent members have been, Dr. Joseph Butler, the learned Bishop of Durham; Bishop Mant; Archbishop Whately; Dr. Copleston, Bishop of Llandaff; Sir Walter Raleigh; William Prynne; Sir John Holt, the distinguished lawyer, and lord chief justice of the king's bench; Dr. Joseph Warton; and the late Dr. Arnold.
Queen's College was founded in 1340, by Robert de Egglesfield, rector of Brough, in the county of Westmorland, and confessor to Philippa, queen of Edward III. It has received the especial patronage of the queens of England. The original foundation consisted of a provost and twelve fellows, afterwards increased to sixteen, to be elected exclusively from the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland: to these, eight fellowships were added, on the foundation of John Michel, Esq., of Richmond, in Surrey, for natives of any county; and there are forty-eight scholarships and exhibitions. The Archbishop of York is visiter.
The magnificent buildings were erected in the last century. The entire area forms an oblong of 300 feet by 220, and is divided into two spacious courts by the chapel and hall; the principal front is on the north side of the High-street, and the grand entrance is under a large central gateway, which is surmounted by an open cupola, supported on pillars, and containing a statue of Queen Caroline, consort of George II., by whose munificence it was erected. This gateway leads into the first quadrangle erected in 1710, by Hawksmoor, at the expense of Provost Lancaster, and measuring 140 feet by 130. On three of its sides are lofty cloisters, sustained by square pillars, and leading to the lodgings of the provost, and the rooms of the different members of the society. The north side, at the extremities of which are the chapel and hall, consists of a grand Doric elevation with an enriched central pediment, supported on four lofty columns, terminating in a circle, with intervening pilasters, and crowned by a balustrade and fine Ionic cupola; the south front is ornamented with six figures, of which the two placed on pediments are Jupiter and Apollo. The chapel windows contain several exquisite specimens of ancient stained glass, and the ceiling is decorated with a painting of the Ascension by Sir James Thornhill. The inner court is 130 feet by 90, and has on its western side the library, which was completed in 1690; it is one of the largest libraries in the university, and contains, besides a valuable collection of more than 18,000 volumes of books, some fine busts and pictures, two paintings in glass of Henry V., who was educated at the college, and a magnificent cast of a Florentine boar. In the buttery is an ancient drinking horn capable of containing two quarts, presented to the college by Queen Philippa; the ornamental engravings on the horn are extremely rich and curious, and it bears several inscriptions of the Saxon word Wacceyl.
Among the more eminent members may be enumerated, Dr. Holyoake, Wycherley, Halley, Addison, Tickell; Bernard Gilpin, called "the Apostle of the North;" Dr. John Mill, the learned editor of the New Testament; Sir John Davies, a lawyer and poet; Dr. Thomas Hyde, professor of Arabic, and canon of Christ-Church, Oxford; Sir John Floyer, a physician, and author of several works on subjects connected with his profession; Dr. Thomas Shaw, the traveller; Collins, the poet; Mitford, the historian; Jeremy Bentham; one archbishop, and fifteen bishops, including Cardinal Beaufort and Bishops Gibson, Nicholson, Tanner, and Van Mildert.
New College was founded in 1386, by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, and lord high chancellor of England, for a warden, seventy fellows and scholars, ten chaplains, an organist, three clerks, and sixteen choristers. In the original charter it is called the College of St. Mary of Winchester: the present popular appellation was acquired at the period of its erection, and has continued to this time. Wykeham's school or college, at Winchester, was instituted as a nursery to supply scholars by election to the college here, and is yearly subject to the visitation of the warden; for which reason the fellows enjoy the privilege of admission to degrees, without obtaining a grace from the house of congregation, or being examined in the public schools, provided they have undergone examinations in their own college, according to the forms of the university. The fellows and scholars must be elected from the school at Winchester, at a regular meeting held annually for that purpose, and attended by the wardens of both colleges, two fellows of New College, and the sub-warden and head-master of Winchester. The founder's kin are fellows on admission; others are probationary scholars until the expiration of two years. The statutes of the founder, the counterpart of those at Winchester, were so complete that they served as a model in framing regulations for most of the succeeding colleges in Oxford. The Bishop of Winchester is visiter.
The college is situated in New College lane, and has a principal quadrangle, measuring 168 feet by 129, which includes the chapel, hall, and library; and a smaller quadrangle called the Cloisters, adjacent to which is a lofty and substantial square tower. The other buildings, forming the garden-court, are an addition to the original design, and were built in imitation of the palace at Versailles, or, according to some, of the king's house at Winchester, but with battlements to correspond with the old quadrangle and the city wall, by which latter the more ancient part of the buildings is surrounded. This garden-court was finished in 1684, and is separated from the garden, which is spacious and tastefully arranged, by an iron palisade. The approach to the great quadrangle is by a portal, surmounted by a tower, the front of which yet bears, in one of its ornamented niches, the sculptured effigy of the founder. The chapel and hall, on the north side of the court, present a magnificent elevation. The chapel was remarkable for its splendour prior to the Reformation, and still retains a primary rank among the sacred structures of the university; it has been restored, and a very rich screen and organ-case erected. The ante-chapel portion is a remarkably fine composition, 80 feet by 36, leading at right angles into a choir of 100 feet by 35. In the former division is a splendid display of painted glass, in four different styles of execution; but this is surpassed by the great west window, which is divided into two parts, the higher representing the Nativity, and the lower containing seven figures emblematical of the Christian and cardinal virtues, executed by Jarvis, from the designs of Sir Joshua Reynolds. On the north and south sides of the choir are other paintings: those on the south side were originally Flemish, and are said to have been done from designs by some of the scholars of Rubens; they were purchased by the college, and repaired in the year 1740. Over the altar are some beautiful specimens of sculpture, by Westmacott. The costly crosier of the founder, seven feet in height, of silver gilt, and richly decorated, is preserved in the chapel; it is in good condition, and admirably displays the mode in which architectural ornaments were in that day adapted to utensils and furniture. Among the eminent literary persons educated here have been, Somerville, the poet, Wood, author of the Institutes, the Rev. Sydney Smith, Dr. Bandinel, and Dr. Crotch; and among the numerous clerical dignitaries, two archbishops and twenty-nine bishops, including Archbishop Warham and Dr. Lowth.
Lincoln College was founded in the year 1427, by Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, under permission obtained from Henry VI. to make the church of All Saints collegiate, and establish a college for a rector and seven scholars. It was completed by Rotherham, Archbishop of York, who added five fellowships, and, by a new body of statutes enacted in 1479, limited the election of all the fellows to the old dioceses of York and Lincoln, with one exception, to the dioceses of Wells. There are twelve exhibitions, founded by Lord Crewe; eight scholarships, and one Bible clerkship. The Bishop of Lincoln is visiter. The college is situated between All Saints' church and Exeter College, and consists of two quadrangles, one 80 feet and the other 70 feet square; the larger, begun soon after the founder's death, and finished by Bishop Rotherham, is entered by a tower-gateway, and contains the hall, library, rector's lodgings, and rooms for members. The inner quadrangle was erected about 1612; and six sets of rooms were added in 1759, from the funds of the college. The chief ornament of this inner court is the chapel, on its south side, erected by Bishop Williams: the windows, which present splendid specimens of painted glass and emblazonry, were procured from Italy, by that prelate, in the year 1629; the large east window is divided into six compartments, and exhibits a variety of scriptural subjects, while in the twelve side windows are representations of the Prophets and Apostles. On the south side of the college is a small garden. Among the eminent members may be enumerated, Sir William D'Avenant; James Hervey, author of the Meditations; John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who, though a student of Christ-Church, was elected a fellow of this college; Dr. Robert Sanderson, Bishop of Lincoln, a learned divine and casuist; Dr. George Hickes; Sir George Wheler; Dr. Matthew Tindal; Archbishop Potter, and nine bishops.
All Souls' College was founded in 1437, by Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, who induced Henry VI. to assume the title of cofounder; it was chiefly endowed with the lands of alien priories dissolved by that monarch. A code of statutes, on the model of Wykeham's, was drawn up by the archbishop, by which, in conformity with the charter, the society consists of a warden, forty fellows, two chaplains, and clerks. There are likewise six scholarships. The fellowships are open to descendants of the founder's family, or to others born within the province of Canterbury. The Archbishop is visiter.
The buildings consist of two quadrangles. That erected by the founder is about 124 feet by 72, and still retains many of its ancient features. It is entered from the High-street through two gateways, the western surmounted by a tower ornamented with large and well-sculptured effigies of Henry VI. and Chichele: in the court is a curious dial, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The whole line of building is adorned with battlements. The other quadrangle, which is comparatively modern, measures 173 feet by 155; and contains the grand entrance from Radcliffe-square, and the cloister, on the west; the common and other rooms, with two magnificent towers, on the east; the chapel and hall on the south; and the library on the north. This square is in the later English style, with some admixtures. The chapel, which is very generally admired, has an elegant screen, by Wren: the windows are in chiaro 'scuro, and among the interior decorations, immediately over the altar, is the beautiful Noli me tangere of Raphaello Mengs, purchased of the artist for 315; above which is a remarkably fine al fresco painting, intended to represent the assumption of the founder, by Sir James Thornhill. The respective dimensions of the choir and ante-chapel are 70 feet by 30. The hall of the college contains a fine marble bust of Chichele, and some paintings. The splendid library, consisting of about 40,000 volumes, was the gift of Colonel Codrington, a member of the college, who, in addition to his own collection, bequeathed 4000 for the purchase of books, and 6000 to defray the expense of a building. The building was completed in the year 1756, and its principal room, exclusively of a central recess, containing a statue of the colonel, is 198 feet by 33; the foundation stone was laid by Dr. Young, author of the Night Thoughts. Among the eminent members are, Leland, the antiquary; Linacre; Caius; Sir Christopher Wren, who removed hither from Wadham College; Sir William Blackstone; Dr. Thomas Sydenham; Robert Heyrick, the poet; and Marchmont Needham, a political writer in the reign of Charles I.; with one archbishop and twelve bishops, including Bishop Jeremy Taylor.
Magdalen College was founded in 1456, by William of Waynfleet, Bishop of Winchester, and chancellor of England, on or near the site of the hospital of St. John the Baptist, which, with all the estates belonging to it, was given to him by Henry VI., for a president, 40 fellows, 30 scholars (called demies, because formerly they were entitled only to half-commons), a schoolmaster, usher, four chaplains, an organist, eight clerks, and sixteen choristers. There are nine exhibitions, exclusively of some founded by John Hygden, D.D. The Bishop of Winchester is visiter.
The college is situated at the bottom of the Highstreet, on the western bank of the river Cherwell, near the bridge to which it gives name; and from the generally unaltered state of the buildings, presents a most venerable appearance. It consists chiefly of two quadrangles built by Waynfleet, one side of a third, called the New Buildings, a lofty tower, and the chaplain's court. The principal entrance is from the gravel walk, through a modern Doric gateway, ornamented with a statue of the founder, and leading into the first quadrangle. On the north side of this quadrangle are the president's lodgings, and near them an ancient gateway, now disused, surmounted by a tower (in which is an apartment called the founder's chamber), with battlements and pinnacles, and adorned with small statues of the founder, of Henry VI., St. Mary Magdalen, and St. John the Baptist, under canopies of exquisite workmanship. In the south-east angle of the court is a stone pulpit, from which an annual sermon was formerly preached on the festival of St. John the Baptist. A passage leads from this court into the second quadrangle, which is surrounded by covered cloisters, and from which are the entrances to the chapel, library, hall, common-rooms, and apartments for the fellows and demies: the interior of the court is adorned by series of hieroglyphics, the solution of which has been given by William Reeks, fellow of the college, in a manuscript preserved in the library. The Chapel, which occupies its south-western angle, was erected by the founder, but has undergone several modern alterations; near the west door, which opens into the first quadrangle, is a light detached stone arch. This elegant structure is adorned with beautiful stained windows, and the ante-chapel portion contains several interesting monuments; the western window, painted in chiaro 'scuro, and executed after a design by Christopher Swartz, represents the Last Judgment. Underneath the altar-piece, by Isaac Fuller, which was placed here about 1680, is the celebrated picture of Christ bearing the Cross, now generally attributed to Moralez, a Spanish artist of the sixteenth century; it was presented to the college by William Freeman, Esq., of Hamels, in the county of Hereford. The inner chapel is paved with black and white marble, and separated from the ante-chapel by a handsome screen, over which is a fine organ. The Library occupies the western side of the cloisters. The Hall, at the south-eastern angle, is decorated with various devices in wainscot, principally from scripture history, and with portraits; the windows exhibit some curious specimens of old painting in glass. The remainder of the quadrangle is occupied by the fellows' and demies' common-rooms, the kitchen, and the rooms of members of the society. A passage on the north side leads to the New Buildings, the first stone of which was laid in 1733: the structure is 300 feet in length, and consists of three stories, divided into their respective ranges of apartments; in front is a handsome covered cloister. Eastward of this quadrangle are the water walks, which, bordered with trees, and extending along the side of a branch of the Cherwell, surrounding a spacious meadow, afford a delightful promenade; part of these is called Addison's Walk, having been the favourite retreat of the poet whilst a student of the college: on the north is the College Grove, containing more private walks, and enlivened with a number of deer. In the centre of a range of buildings, on the south side of the chaplain's court, is the lofty and elegant tower already mentioned, completed in 1498, and crowned with eight pinnacles; in the belfry story are two fine windows, and a rich open battlement, and it contains a ring of ten musical bells.
Magdalen College is required by its statutes to maintain the kings of England and their eldest sons, on the occasion of their visiting the University of Oxford; and the hall has, in consequence, been honoured at various times with the presence of several royal guests, amongst whom were Edward IV., Richard III., Prince Arthur (in 1496), James I., and Prince Henry, who was admitted a member in 1605. During the parliamentary war, Generals Cromwell and Fairfax, with their officers, were entertained here in 1647, and after dinner amused themselves at bowls on the college green. Among eminent members have been, Dr. John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, and founder of St. Paul's school; Lily, the grammarian, who was appointed first master of St. Paul's school by the founder, in 1510; John Fox, the church historian; Hampden, the patriot; Heylin, the controversial writer; the poets Addison, Collins, and Edward Holdsworth; Cardinals Wolsey and Pole; Theophilus Gale, an eminent nonconformist divine; Dr. Henry Hammond; Dr. Sacheverell; Edward Gibbon, who took no degree; Dr. Richard Chandler, a learned traveller and antiquary; Professor Wilson, of Edinburgh; Sir Charles Wetherell; one archbishop, and twentyseven bishops.
Brasenose College was founded in 1509, by William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln, and Sir Richard Sutton, of Prestbury, in Cheshire, the latter of whom revised its statutes. The society originally consisted of a principal and twelve fellows, natives within the old diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, which was subsequently divided into the dioceses of Worcester, Hereford, Lichfield, Leicester, and Lindesey; with preference to persons born in the county of Chester and a certain part of Lancashire, especially in the parishes of Prescot and Prestbury. Eight additional fellowships were founded, viz., two by the will of J. Williamson, rector of St. George's, Canterbury, in 1522; one by John Elton, alias Baker, canon of Salisbury, in 1528; one by William Porter, clerk, in 1531; one by Edward Darbie, archdeacon of Stow, in the county of Lincoln, in 1538; one by William Clyfton, subdean of York, in 1538; one by Brian Higden, dean of York, in 1549; and one, in 1586, by Joyce Frankland, of London, widow. There are 32 scholarships and 15 exhibitions, principally founded by Dr. Claymond, president of Corpus Christi College; John, Lord Mordaunt; Dr. Nowell, dean of St. Paul's: Dr. Radcliffe, principal of the college; Sarah, Duchess Dowager of Somerset; Dr. Yate, also principal of the college; William Hulme, Esq.; William Grimbaldson, M.D.; and George, Marquess of Buckingham. The Bishop of Lincoln is visiter.
The college is situated on the west side of Radcliffesquare. The buildings comprise a spacious quadrangle, which contains the hall and rooms for members, and in the centre, statues called Cain and Abel, presented by Dr. Clarke; and there is a small court towards the south, containing the chapel and library, and an elegant house for the principal, which fronts the High-street. Over the gateway entrance to the great quadrangle is a square tower, ornamented with architectural designs. The small court was built in the seventeenth century, from the plan, as is believed, of Sir Christopher Wren; its style is of the mixed kind, windows with pointed arches being occasionally opposed by Grecian pilasters and capitals. Amongst the eminent members of the college may be reckoned, John Fox, the martyrologist, prior to his removal to Magdalen College; Prince, author of the Worthies of Devon; Sampson Erdeswick; John Gwillim, author of the Heraldry; Sir William Petty; William and Robert Burton, of Leicester; Sir Elias Ashmole, founder of the museum called after his name; Sir Peter Leycester; John Watson, author of The History of the Earls of Warren and Surrey; the Rev. Mr. Milman; and Lord Nugent, author of Memorials of Hampden. Of the ten bishops who have been members, may be named, Miles Smith, of Gloucester, one of the greatest scholars of his day, and principal translator of the Bible; and Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta.
Corpus Christi College was founded in 1516, by Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester, and lord privy seal to Henry VII. and Henry VIII., for a president, twenty fellows, twenty scholars, two chaplains, two clerks, and two choristers: Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, gave 6000 marks towards the building, and land towards the endowment. The Bishop of Winchester is visiter. The entrance to the college is opposite the south wall of Oriel College, under a square tower ornamented in front with three canopied niches; the quadrangle to which the gateway leads measures 101 feet by 80, and in the centre is a curious cylindrical dial, constructed by Charles Turnbull, fellow of the college, and described in a manuscript in the library, written by Robert Pegg. On the eastern side of the college are apartments for the gentlemen commoners; the fellows' building was erected in 1700, at the expense of Dr. Turner, president, on the site of the old cloisters, facing the broad walk in Christ-Church meadow. In the chapel, which was built by the founder of the college, is a very fine altar-piece of the Adoration, by Rubens, presented in 1804, by Sir R. Worsley, Bart.; there are monuments to the memory of distinguished members. The hall contains full-length portraits, admirably painted by Owen, of Lord Tenterden, late chief justice of England; Dr. Burgess, late Bishop of Salisbury; and Dr. Copleston, Bishop of Llandaff, formerly fellows on the foundation. In the college is still preserved the crosier of the founder, which is upwards of 300 years old, of silver gilt, richly ornamented, and about six feet in length; also his gold sacramental plate, salt-cellar of silver gilt, rings, and other valuable relics. On the visit of the sovereigns to the university, the King of Prussia resided in the president's lodgings. Amongst the eminent members have been, Basil Kennett, author of the Antiquities of Rome, president of the college; Hooker, author of the Ecclesiastical Polity; Hales, commonly called "the ever-memorable;" Fiddes, the biographer of Cardinal Wolsey; Coleridge, the poet; and Professor Buckland, afterwards canon of Christ-Church, and now dean of Westminster, the eminent geologist. Of the members who have been prelates, may be mentioned, Cardinal Pole, first of Magdalen; Jewell, Bishop of Salisbury; Webb, Bishop of Limerick, some time of University College; Dr. Fowler, of Gloucester; and Dr. Richard Pococke, Bishop of Meath, in Ireland.
Christ-Church College was founded about 1525, by Cardinal Wolsey, on the site of the monastery of St. Frideswide, and was intended to comprise a dean, subdean, 100 canons, ten public readers, thirteen chaplains, an organist, twelve clerks, and sixteen choristers. On the disgrace of that dignitary, the establishment was suspended. In 1532 it was completed under the name of Henry the Eighth's College, for a dean and twelve canons; but the society was suppressed in 1545, and in the following year, on the removal of the see from Osney to this college, the church of St. Frideswide was constituted a cathedral, under the name of Christ's Church; the society to consist of a dean, eight canons, and 100 students, eight chaplains, a schoolmaster, an organist, eight clerks, and eight choristers. An addition of one student was made in 1664, on the foundation of William Thurstone, Esq. The deanery and canonries are in the gift of the Crown; one canonry is annexed to the Regius professorship of divinity, and one to the Regius professorship of Hebrew. There are thirty scholarships and exhibitions. The Queen is visiter.
The extensive buildings of the college form three quadrangles. The great front is in St. Aldate's-street, and extends 400 feet, presenting a very grand elevation, though its effect is much weakened by the declivity of the ground on which it stands, the narrowness of the approach to it, and the proximity of other buildings. The principal entrance is through a gateway begun by Wolsey, and finished by Sir Christopher Wren, over which is a magnificent circular tower, surmounted by an ogee dome, and containing the huge bell called "Great Tom of Oxford," which weighs nearly 17,000lb., is seven feet one inch in diameter, and five feet nine inches from the crown to the brim; the weight of the clapper is 342lb. The bell formerly belonged to Osney Abbey, and was re-cast in 1680.
The court to which the gateway leads is called the Great quadrangle, and measures 264 feet by 260; it contains the hall, the dean's lodgings, those of some of the canons, and rooms for members of the society. In the centre is a small fountain, supplied with water from the Isis, and from the spring at Hincksey. Over the passage at the north-east corner is a statue of Bishop Fell, and over the opposite one leading to the hall and chapel is one of Cardinal Wolsey. The ascent to the hall, which is in the south-eastern angle, is by a stately staircase, with a vaulted roof supported by a single central pillar. The interior of this magnificent refectory, which was erected by Wolsey, is 115 feet by 40, and 50 feet in height; the roof, which is lofty, presents a fine specimen of open-work in wood highly ornamented, and at the upper end of the south side is a large window, having a fine carved canopy in the ancient English style. In this hall many of the kings and queens of England have been entertained. The second quadrangle, called Peckwater-square, derives its name from an ancient hall which stood at the south-west corner: the hall was the property of Richard Peckwater; but having been given to the ancient monastery in the reign of Henry III., and having received in that of Henry VIII. the addition of another called Vine-hall, it eventually formed the present quadrangle, which was rebuilt in 1705, the expense being partly defrayed by means of 3000 bequeathed by Anthony Radcliffe. The south side is formed by the library, which contains an ample collection of books, manuscripts, prints, and coins, also several paintings, statues, and busts; the upper room is 141 feet by 30, and 37 feet in height, having a richly-decorated ceiling, with wainscot and pillars of the best Norway oak. Eastward of Peckwater is Canterbury quadrangle, the smallest of the three, which consists of modern buildings; its principal ornament is a magnificent Doric gateway, erected in 1778, under the superintendence of Mr. James Wyatt. The chapel is also the cathedral of the diocese, and is described hereafter.
Attached to the college, and situated southward of the great quadrangle, are, a grammar school for the choristers and other boys, and a theatre which contains many anatomical preparations and some very elegant wax models; lectures are delivered here by the reader in anatomy. There are likewise the chapter-house, common room, chaplain's quadrangle, Fell's-buildings, and the east cloisters, with a portal and passage leading to Christ-Church meadow, which is bounded on the north and west by the Isis, on the east by the Cherwell, and on the north by a wide walk overshadowed by lofty elms, and leading to narrower walks on the margin of the rivers. Forming a circumference of one mile and a quarter, and being kept in excellent order, these walks are the most frequented in the city. Some of the greatest names of which this or any other country can boast have been enrolled on the books of the college: amongst them are those of Dr. South, Bolingbroke, Ben Jonson, Philip Sidney, Otway, Locke, Canning; the Duke of Wellington; Dr. Buckland, dean of Westminster; and Sir Robert Peel.
Trinity College was originally founded and endowed by Edward III., Richard II., and the priors and bishops of Durham, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, St. Mary, and St. Cuthbert; it was also called Durham College. At the Dissolution the site and buildings were purchased by Sir Thomas Pope, Knt., of Tittenhanger, in the county of Hereford, and the college was refounded by him, in 1554, for a president, twelve fellows, and twelve scholars. The Bishop of Winchester is visiter. The college is situated opposite the Turle, in Broadstreet, from which it is separated by an iron palisade, inclosing a spacious area. The chapel, as seen from the street, is a light and elegant edifice, with columns supporting a rich cornice; it is terminated at its western end by a tower of similar construction, beneath which is the principal entrance to the first quadrangle, which contains the hall, library, and the lodgings of the president. In the chapel, which opens into this court, is a monument to the memory of the founder and his lady, whose remains were removed hither, in 1567, from the church of St. Stephen, Walbrook, London. The second court consists of three sides, with an opening on the east into a large garden, which is partly inclosed by yew hedges, in the formal Dutch style, and partly arranged in devious walks, interspersed with shrubs and evergreens. Among the more eminent names of former members enrolled here, are those of Archbishop Sheldon, Selden, Chillingworth, Sir John Denham, Merrick, Warton, Lord Chatham, Lisle Bowles, Walter Savage Landor, and Medwin, the translator of schylus.
St. John's College was founded in 1557, by Sir Thomas White, citizen and merchant of London, on the site of a college dedicated to St. Bernard, for student monks of the Cistercian order. The society comprises a president, fifty fellows or scholars, one chaplain, an organist, six singing men, six choristers, and two sextons: the founder's kin are actual fellows on admission. There are also eighteen scholarships and exhibitions. The Bishop of Winchester is visiter. The buildings contain an outer and an inner quadrangle: in the former are the hall, chapel, and president's lodgings; and a passage leads from this to the inner quadrangle, on the east and west sides of which are cloisters supported by eight pillars, over which are busts, representing the four cardinal virtues, the three Christian graces, and the arts and sciences, with emblematical cornices. Each cloister is divided by a Doric gateway, surmounted by a semicircular pediment of the Ionic and Corinthian orders. This quadrangle leads to the spacious and picturesque gardens of the college: a range of buildings to the north-east includes two very handsome common rooms, and other apartments. The chapel belonged to the original monastery of St. Bernard: its altar is ornamented with a representation in tapestry of Our Saviour and his two disciples at Emmaus; and on the north wall is a black marble urn, containing the heart of Dr. Richard Rawlinson, a distinguished benefactor to the college. The remains of the founder, of Archbishop Laud (once president), of Archbishop Juxon, and of Dr. Bailie, repose in vaults beneath the altar; and in a small inner chapel, called Bailie's chapel, are various monuments to subsequent presidents. The library is on the south and east sides of the inner quadrangle, and consists of two spacious and handsome rooms: amongst its many curious and valuable contents are, a picture of Charles I., comprising the whole book of Psalms written in the lines of the face and on the hairs of the head; and an ancient crosier of dark wood beaded with silver, lately discovered in a garret of the president's lodgings; also many old missals, manuscripts, and coins. The most eminent members have been, Archbishops Laud, Juxon, and Dawes; Bishops Meaux and Buckeridge; Shirley, the dramatic poet; William Lowth and Charles Wheatley, learned divines and commentators; Sherard, who founded the professorship of botany; Dr. Bliss; and Dr. Dibdin.
Jesus College was founded in 1571, by Queen Elizabeth, on petition of Hugh ap Price, D.C.L., a native of Brecknock, and treasurer of St. David's, for a principal, eight fellows, and eight scholars. In consequence of various benefactions, the society now consists of a principal and nineteen fellows (among whom is one from Jersey or Guernsey, on the foundation of Charles I., in 1636); and there are eighteen scholarships and several exhibitions. The Earl of Pembroke is visiter. The buildings consist chiefly of two quadrangles, the first containing the chapel and hall, and the second the library; the altar-piece in the chapel is a fine copy of Guido's painting of St. Michael overcoming the Devil. In the library are many scarce books and valuable manuscripts; the statutes of the society, written on vellum, beautifully illuminated; a curious metal watch, given by Charles I.; one of Queen Elizabeth's stirrups; and a capacious silver-gilt bowl, capable of containing ten gallons, and weighing 278 ounces, the gift of Sir W. W. Wynn, in 1732. Amongst its eminent members have been, David Powell, the antiquary; and John Davis, lexicographer and antiquary.
Wadham College was founded in 1613, on the site of an ancient and magnificent priory of Augustine friars, by Nicholas Wadham, of Edge and Merrifield, and Dorothy his wife, for a warden, fifteen fellows, fifteen scholars, two chaplains, and two clerks. There are several other scholarships and a number of exhibitions, among which latter are four for the study of Hebrew, six for Greek, and one for botany. The most eminent benefactor was the Rev. John Wills, D.D., warden of the college, who died in 1806, and bequeathed, subject to legacy duty, 400 per annum to the office of warden, 1000 to improve the warden's lodgings, 100 a year for a law exhibition to a fellow, 20 a year for a law exhibition to a scholar, 100 a year for a medical exhibition to a fellow, and 20 a year for a medical exhibition to a scholar; also 31. 10. to a divinity lecturer and preacher, 75 to one superannuated fellow, and 50 to a second, annually. The Bishop of Bath and Wells is visiter.
The buildings comprise an extensive quadrangle, 130 feet square: in the centre of the eastern side is a portico, ornamented with statues of James I. in his robes, and of Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham, with a Latin inscription commemorative of the foundation. In an adjoining court are two buildings of three stories, one erected in 1694, the other in 1829, inhabited by members. The front of the college was greatly improved in 1822, by the removal of some heavy iron and stone work, and substitution of light iron palisades. The chapel contains a fine east window, exhibiting typical paintings and historical subjects, the work of Bernard Van Linge, and presented by Sir John Strangeways: the design of the altar-piece is the Lord's Supper, in brown and white crayons, on cloth, by Isaac Fuller, accompanied with other subjects. At right angles with the choir is a noble ante-chapel, containing monuments of several distinguished members of the society; on the north side of the chancel is a marble monument to Sir John Portman, Bart., who died in 1624. The hall is one of the largest in the university, and adorned with handsome modern painted windows. The gardens are extremely neat. The Royal Society of London originated in this college, and amongst its eminent members have been Walsh, the poet; Sir C. Sedley; Admiral Blake; Sir Christopher Wren; Arthur Onslow, for many parliaments speaker of the house of commons; Floyer Sydenham, translator of Plato; and Dr. Kennicott: the famous Bentley, of Cambridge, became a member in 1689; and of prelates may be named, Gauden, Seth Ward, Thomas Sprat, and Parker, Bishop of Oxford.
Pembroke College, formerly called Broadgate Hall, was founded in 1624, by means of a bequest from Thomas Tesdale, of Glympton, in the county of Oxford, aided by a donation from Richard Wightwick, B.D., rector of East Ilsley, in the county of Berks, under letters-patent of James I., and during the chancellorship of the Earl of Pembroke, from whom it received its name. The original foundation comprised a master, ten fellows, and ten scholars, now extended to fourteen fellows, and thirty-one scholars and exhibitioners. In 1636, a fellowship was founded by Charles I.; and about 1672, two fellowships were added by Sir John Bennet, afterwards Lord Ossulstone; also one, in 1749, by Sir John Phillips, Bart. The Chancellor of the university is visiter. The college is situated nearly opposite to the grand front of Christ-Church College, and consists chiefly of a quadrangle, the work of different periods, but regularly built. The interior has of late years been newly faced with Bath stone, and altered from the Palladian to the later English style, the whole presenting a neat appearance; the northern front and the master's lodgings, also, have been appropriately decorated (these buildings likewise having been originally Palladian), after a design by Mr. Daniel Evans, of Oxford, in the later style. The oriel windows may be mentioned as well worthy of attention, particularly that over the gateway, constructed on the model of the remains of one in John of Gaunt's palace at Lincoln. The hall, which has been considerably enlarged and improved, contains a bust of Dr. Johnson, by Bacon, a gift to the college by the late Samuel Whitbread, Esq. The chapel is a small edifice of the Ionic order; the altar-piece is a copy from the picture by Rubens, at Antwerp, of Our Saviour after his Resurrection, presented by Archdeacon Corbett. Among the eminent residents may be enumerated, the learned Camden, who studied at the original hall, after he left Magdalen College; Judge Blackstone, previously to his removal to All Souls'; Dr. Johnson, whose rooms were upon the second floor, over the gateway; George Whitefield, founder of the Calvinistic Methodists; Shenstone, the poet; Sir Thomas Browne, author of the Religio Medici; Richard Graves, author of the Spiritual Quixote; and Dr. Newman, Primate of Ireland, author of the Harmony of the Gospels.
Worcester College was founded in 1714, by the trustees of Sir T. Cookes, Bart., of Bently-Pauncefoot, in the county of Worcester, by elevating Gloucester Hall, also named St. John the Baptist's Hall, to the rank of a college. The original foundation was for a provost, six fellows, and six scholars. In 1727, two fellowships and two scholarships were added by James Finney, D.D., prebendary of Durham; in 1731, seven fellowships and five scholarships, by Sarah Eaton; and six fellowships and three scholarships in 1734, by George Clarke, D.C.L. The society at present consists of a provost, twenty-one fellows, sixteen scholars, and three exhibitioners. The Bishops of Oxford and Worcester, and the Vice-Chancellor of the university, are visiters. The college is pleasantly situated on an eminence, at the western extremity of the university, near the Isis. The buildings form three sides of a quadrangle, the eastern elevation being occupied by the library, hall, and chapel; on the north is an elegant pile, containing the provost's lodgings, and rooms for fellows and scholars, while on the south are the old buildings of Gloucester Hall. The chapel has a richlyornamented stucco roof; the altar-piece is a fine old painting of a Magdalene. In the library is the large and curious collection bequeathed by Dr. Clarke, who also left 1000 towards a building; the room is 120 feet in length, with an extensive gallery. The gardens, which occupy three acres, are laid out with great taste, and ornamented with a fine sheet of water. Thomas Allen, the mathematician, and Sir Kenelm Digby, studied here, previously to the conversion of Gloucester Hall into a college: among later members may be named De Quincey.
Besides the above colleges, are five Halls, enjoying the same privileges, and requiring the same terms and exercises for taking degrees, as the colleges, but not incorporated, their estates and other property being held in trust by the university. The Chancellor of the university is visiter, and appoints the principals to all of them, with the exception of St. Edmund Hall. St. Alban Hall derives its name and foundation from Robert de Sancto Albano, a burgess of Oxford, who lived in the time of John; it now belongs to Merton College, to which it was united June 15th, 1549. The buildings are eastward of Merton College. Massinger was educated here. St. Edmund Hall is situated in Queen's-lane, and derives its name from St. Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Henry III.; it is the most ancient of the halls now remaining, having been devoted to the purposes of academical instruction so early as the thirteenth century. In 1537 it had come into the possession of Queen's College, which society soon afterwards obtained from the university the right of nominating the principal. Oldham, the poet; Hearne, the indefatigable antiquary; and Dr. Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta, were educated here. St. Mary Hall, formerly the parsonage-house of the rectors of St. Mary's, was given to Oriel College in 1325, and made academical in 1333: four scholarships were founded by Thomas Dyke, M.D., in 1677. The buildings, which are near Oriel College, are comprised in a quadrangle, containing the hall, the chapel, the principal's lodgings, and rooms for members. Sir Thomas More, and Sandys, the poet, were educated here. New Inn Hall, formerly Trilleck's Inn, was originally inhabited by Bernardine monks, and afterwards by students of canon and civil law; it came into the possession of New College in 1392. During the civil war, from 1642 to 1646, it was used by Charles I. as a mint, where the plate sent by different colleges for his majesty's use was melted. Upon the Restoration it again became a place of study, but subsequently fell into disuse, on which the apartments were let to poor people; recently, however, Dr. Cramer, now dean of Carlisle, having succeeded to the office of principal, so long a sinecure, several students entered their names as members, and the ordinary instructions and lectures have since been carried on as at the other academical institutions. The celebrated lawyer Blackstone was principal. Magdalen Hall, originally erected by Waynfleet, for students previously to admission into his college, became an independent hall in 1602. It having been accidentally destroyed by fire, the society was removed by act of parliament, in 1822, to Hertford College, which, having lapsed to the crown and become decayed, was repaired and fitted up for their reception. There are 23 scholarships and exhibitions. Among the eminent persons educated here have been, William Warner, the poet; Lord Clarendon, Thomas Hobbes, Sir Matthew Hale, and Dr. Plot. Charles James Fox was educated at Hertford College.
The principal Public Buildings connected with the University are, the Theatre, Schools (comprising the Bodleian Library and the Picture Gallery), Clarendon Printing-House, New Printing-House, Ashmolean Museum, Radcliffe Library, Astronomical Observatory, Music Room, and Taylor and Randolph Institution. The Theatre is situated northward of Radcliffe-square, on the south side of Broad-street, and is appropriated to holding the acts denominated Comitia et Encnia, to Lord Crewe's annual commemoration of benefactors, the recitation of prize compositions, the ceremony of conferring degrees on illustrious personages, and other public meetings of the university. It was constructed in 1664, by Sir Christopher Wren, at an expense of 12,470, which was defrayed by Archbishop Sheldon, who also gave 2000 towards keeping it in repair, directing the surplus to be applied in the erection of a printing-house. The plan of the building is that of the Theatre of Marcellus, at Rome, and it is capable of containing nearly 4000 persons; a new roof was constructed in 1802, the ceiling exhibiting a magnificent allegorical painting, by Streater, serjeant-painter to Charles II., divided into compartments. The room is adorned with portraits of the founder, of George IV., by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and of the late Emperor of Russia and late King of Prussia, presented by those respective sovereigns; the two last of whom, with other illustrious personages, received honorary degrees in this noble edifice, on their visit to the university in 1814.
The Schools, founded early in the fifteenth century, by Thomas Huskenorton, abbot of Osney, form a handsome quadrangle on the north side of Radcliffe-square, comprising schools for divinity, logic, moral philosophy, music, sculpture, &c., in which lectures are read by the professors, and candidates for degrees pass their examinations. The Bodleian Library is on the western side of the quadrangle, and the Picture Gallery in the upper story of the other three sides; on the north is the Clarendon Printing-office. The principal front, in Catstreet, is 175 feet in length, and is divided by a tower gateway, adorned with pinnacles and mullioned windows, and exhibiting all the five orders of architecture: this part of the building is the repository for the muniments and registers of the university, and is surmounted by a statue of James I., enthroned, and presenting a copy of his works, with his right hand to Fame, and with the left to the university; over the throne are the emblems of Justice, Peace, and Plenty. In the logic and moral philosophy school, at the south-east angle of the court, are the Pomfret statues, given to the university in 1755, by the Countess Dowager of Pomfret. The divinity school, which is opposite the principal gateway, and devoted to the exercises for the degrees of bachelor and doctor in divinity, exhibits a beautiful specimen of later English architecture, with a roof consisting of bold four-centered arches, with fan tracery.
The Bodleian Library was founded by Sir Thomas Bodley, of Dunscombe, near Crediton, in the county of Devon, Knt., on the remains of one by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and was opened to the public, November 8th, 1602. It is entered at the south-west angle of the court, and consists of three principal and some smaller rooms: one is devoted to topographical works and manuscripts, bequeathed to the university by Mr. Gough, the antiquary, in 1799; a second to foreign, and a third to domestic literature. On the entrance staircase is the Auctarium, for the reception of the choicest books and manuscripts. The several rooms are decorated with valuable portraits. In addition to the continual increase of books by donations and purchase, the institution claims as a matter of right, in common with other national establishments, a copy of every work printed in the country. The Picture Gallery contains, besides numerous portraits, landscapes, and historical pieces, some fine busts, especially one near the entrance, of John, Duke of Marlborough; casts of Apollo and Venus de Medicis; a superb brass statue of William, Earl of Pembroke, Chancellor of the university from 1616 to 1630, designed by Rubens, and executed by Hubert le Sur; and many elegant models of ancient buildings. In an apartment on the north side of the quadrangle are the famous Arundelian marbles, collected by the Earl of Arundel, and given to the university by his grandson, the Duke of Norfolk; here also are the antique marbles presented by the executors of the learned Selden.
The Clarendon Printing-office was erected in 1711, from the designs of Sir John Vanbrugh, out of the profits arising from the sale of Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, the copyright of which was a gift by the author's son to the university. Over the south entrance is a fine statue of Lord Clarendon; the north entrance is by a flight of steps from Broad-street: the summit is ornamented with statues of the nine muses. A New Printing-House has been erected westward of the Observatory, at the expense of the university, and under the direction of Mr. Daniel Robertson, architect, with a press-room 201 feet by 28, and other apartments and conveniences, which render it the most complete, and, with the exception of the royal printing-house at Paris, the largest, establishment of the kind in Europe. The buildings occupy an area of two acres and a half, and form a square, two sides of which are appropriated to the Bible department, and the other two to that of the classics. The edifice is constructed of stone procured in the neighbourhood, faced with Bath stone; the principal front has a splendid entrance gateway, designed after the arch of Constantine at Rome.
Nearly adjoining the theatre, on the western side, is the Ashmolean Museum, founded in 1682, by Elias Ashmole, who gave to the university his own collection of coins, medals, and manuscripts, together with a curious collection made by the Tradescants, two eminent gardeners and botanists at Lambeth; on condition that the university should erect a building for their reception. At his death the museum was enlarged with his valuable antiquarian library, and it has been since greatly increased by various donations. On the first floor of this building the lectures on experimental philosophy and mineralogy are delivered, and in the lower one those on chymistry, for which the apparatus is kept here.
The Radcliffe Library, esteemed one of the most splendid architectural ornaments of the university, situated in the centre of Radcliffe-square, was completed by Gibbs, in 1749, at the expense of Dr. Radcliffe, who bequeathed 40,000 for the building, 150 per annum for the librarian, 100 a year for the purchase of books, and large sums for other purposes connected with the establishment. This superb structure is circular in form, and has a rustic basement, with several arched entrances into an area, from which a flight of steps conducts to the chief room, which contains a variety of casts and busts, and, by a late determination of the trustees, has become the repository of books in natural history and medicine. Above the basement is a series of duplicated columns of the Corinthian order, supporting an enriched frieze, entablature, and cornice, and surmounted by an open balustrade ornamented with urns; the building is crowned with a well-proportioned dome, which rises to the height of 80 feet from the floor. Over the door of the entrance from the principal staircase is a portrait of the founder, by Sir Godfrey Kneller; and within the library is his statue, finely sculptured by Rysbrach. On the visit of the allied sovereigns, a magnificent dinner was provided by the university for the illustrious guests, of which they partook in the library, on the 14th of June, 1814.
The Botanic Garden, said to be the site of an ancient burial-ground belonging to the Jews, was founded in 1622, by Henry, Lord D'Anvers, Earl of Danby; it is situated opposite to the tower of Magdalen College, near the bridge, and consists of about five acres of ground, divided into four parts, and containing a great variety of plants, arranged according to their respective classes. On the right and left of the entrance are green-houses; and eastward of the garden, without the walls, is an excellent hot-house. The entrance is by an elegant arched gateway, thought to have been designed by Inigo Jones, the centre of which is ornamented by a bust of the founder, and the sides by statues of Charles I. and II.; it is fronted by a broad area next the High-street, and encompassed by a parapet surmounted with iron palisades. The library attached to the Botanic Garden was built, and furnished with a valuable collection of botanical works, by Dr. Sherard, Fellow of St. John's College. There is a handsome residence for the professor at a small distance from the garden.
The Astronomical Observatory, situated at the northern extremity of Oxford on the road to Woodstock, was erected by trustees under the will of Dr. Radcliffe, who bequeathed 7000 for the object, the Duke of Marlborough giving ten acres of ground for the site. This beautiful pile of building comprises an excellent library, apartments for observation and for lectures, a valuable apparatus of astronomical instruments, and a residence for the professor: the tower, which exhibits a general representation of the Temple of the Winds, at Athens, is surmounted by a figure of Hercules, and one of Atlas supporting the globe.
In Holywell-street is the Music-room, built at an expense of 1263, and opened in 1748, the funds having been principally raised by means of subscription oratorios; concerts, under the direction of stewards from different colleges, are performed during term.
A spacious and elegant building has just been erected after the designs, and under the superintendence, of Mr. Cockerell, professor of architecture at the Royal Academy, for the Taylor and Randolph Institution, founded by the bequests of Sir Robert Taylor, architect, and Dr. Randolph, for the study of modern languages, and the exhibition of paintings. The site is 260 feet in length, and 100 feet in breadth, and the building consists of a central range with a noble portico of the Corinthian order, and two wings ornamented with pilasters of the same order in front, and at the ends with columns and ant of the Ionic. The east wing is appropriated to the Taylor institution, and contains the curator's residence, six lecture-rooms, and a library forty feet square; that portion appropriated to the Randolph institution consists of the centre and west wing, the lower part containing galleries for statuary and sculpture, and the upper for painting.
Oxford, on the removal of the see of Dorchester to Lincoln, was included within that diocese, from which, however, it was separated in 1542, and erected into a see by Henry VIII. That monarch appointed the chapel of the abbey of Osney the cathedral; but this distinction was subsequently transferred to the monastery of St. Frideswide, on the site of which Cardinal Wolsey had commenced the foundation of a splendid college, afterwards completed, but upon a scale of less magnificence, by the king, who, having dedicated the chapel of the college to Christ, assigned it as the cathedral of the diocese. The jurisdiction of the see comprehends the whole of the counties of Berks, Bucks, and Oxford. The ecclesiastical establishment consists of a bishop, dean, three archdeacons, eight canons, eight chaplains, one hundred and one students, eight clerks, eight choristers, and twenty-four almsmen. The bishop has the patronage of the archdeaconries, the chancellorship, and 22 benefices, with an income of 5000. The dean and canons, who are appointed by the crown, constitute the chapter, and have the patronage of 88 benefices and the chaplaincies, with an income of 12,547, subject to deductions for the augmentation of small livings; also a revenue of 2153 derived from college offices.
The Cathedral is a spacious cruciform structure chiefly in the Norman style, with a central tower surmounted by a spire of early English architecture. The exterior is concealed by the college buildings, with which it is surrounded. The interior contains many portions of peculiar and beautiful design: the arches of the nave, part of which has been demolished, are in a double series, the tower springing from corbels on the piers; the roof of the choir is richly groined, and adorned with pendants. On the north of the choir are some chapels of later character than the rest of the building, and the Latin chapel has several windows in the decorated style. In the Dean's chapel are altar-tombs of considerable antiquity, a monument in the decorated style, with three canopied niches of great beauty, and the shrine of St. Frideswide, an elaborate design in the later English style, consisting of three tiers of tabernacle work, the upper tier of which is ornamented with canopied niches. Many of the windows were destroyed during the parliamentary war. In the east window is a painting of the Nativity, from a design by Sir James Thornhill. The central west window is embellished with ancient stained glass exhibiting St. Frideswide, St. Catherine, and other saints; and in the central part of the great window in the north transept is a representation of the murder of Becket, which appears to be of great antiquity. The pulpit is very antique, and richly carved. There are numerous monuments, among which are those of Lady Elizabeth Montacute; Robert Burton, author of the Anatomy of Melancholy; several distinguished members of the university; and some eminent persons who died at Oxford while Charles I. held his court at Christ-Church: likewise a fine statue of Dr. Cyril Jackson, executed by Chantrey, from his portrait in the hall. Part of the cloisters, in the later English style, is remaining; and the chapter-house is a beautiful specimen of early English architecture.
The city comprises the Parishes of St. Aldate, containing 1417 inhabitants; All Saints, 593; Holywell, or St. Cross, 933; St. Ebbe, 4169; St. Giles, 3970; St. John the Baptist, 89; St. Martin, 459; St. Mary Magdalen, 2600; St. Mary the Virgin, 762; St. Michael, 1034; St. Peter-le-Bailey, 1282; St. Peter-in-the-East, 1167; and St. Thomas, or St. Nicholas, 3733. The living of St. Aldate's is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at 8. 13. 4.; net income, 137; patrons, the Master and Fellows of Pembroke College. The church is a very ancient edifice, with a tower surmounted by an octagonal spire; it is said to have been restored in 1004. All Saints' is a discharged curacy, valued at 5. 6. 8.; net income, 65; patrons, the Rector and Fellows of Lincoln College. The church is a good structure in the Grecian style, with a tower crowned by a circlet of Corinthian pillars, from within which rises an elegant spire; it was erected by subscription, in 1708, on the site of the former edifice. The walls are ornamented by a handsome balustrade, the floors laid with variegated marble, and the ceiling adorned with curious fret-work, and with the arms of benefactors, painted in compartments. The living of the parish of St. Cross is a perpetual curacy; net income, 80; patrons and impropriators, the Warden and Fellows of Merton College. The church is in the early English style, with some later insertions, and has a tower, which was added in 1664. St. Ebbe's is a discharged rectory, valued at 3. 5., and in the gift of the Crown; net income, 111. The church is said to have been founded by Athelmer, Earl of Cornwall, and annexed to the monastery of Eynesham, on the destruction of which by the Danes it was given to the monastery of Stow, which grant was confirmed by Henry I.; the ancient edifice was taken down in 1814, and the present, a plain neat building, was erected in 1816. A district named the Holy Trinity was formed out of the parish in 1844, by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners: the church, an early English structure with a campanile turret, was built at a cost of 3000, and consecrated in Oct. 1845. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Crown and the Bishop of Oxford, alternately; net income, 150. St. Giles' is a discharged vicarage, valued at 14. 12. 3.; net income, 160; patrons and impropriators, the President and Fellows of St. John's College: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1829. The church, an ancient structure in the early English style, with lancet-shaped windows, and a square embattled tower is said to have been built in 1120. A district church has been erected at Summer-town, in the parish of St. Giles. St. John's is a perpetual curacy; patrons and impropriators, the Warden and Fellows of Merton College. The college chapel forms the church of this parish. St. Martin's is a discharged rectory, valued at 8. 1. 5., and in the gift of the Crown; net income, 62. The church is an ancient structure, with a tower which, in the reign of Edward III., was considerably lowered, on complaint of the scholars that the townsmen used to retire into it and annoy them with arrows, stones, and other missiles. St. Mary Magdalen's is a discharged vicarage, valued at 6; net income, 145; patrons, the Dean and Canons of Christ-Church. The church, founded prior to the Conquest, was given by Robert D'Oily, to the college of St. George, within the castle, and, after the annexation of the college to Osney Abbey, was, with that monastery, granted to Christ-Church by Henry VIII.
St. Mary's the Virgin is a discharged vicarage, valued at 5. 4. 2.; net income, 38; patrons and impropriators, the Provost and Fellows of Oriel College. The church, which is the university church, though used by the parishioners, is a spacious and elegant structure in the later English style, with a tower in the decorated style on the north side, surmounted by a beautiful spire rising to the height of 180 feet. The front of the building is in the best style of the period of Henry VII., but rather disfigured by a porch of heavy twisted pillars, over which is a statue of the Virgin. The interior is very beautiful: the piers and arches are richly moulded, and above the piers are elegant niches, from which spring corbels, supporting the wooden arches of a finely-carved ceiling; on the north of the chancel is the sepulchral chapel of Adam de Brome, founder of Oriel College, and there are several ancient and interesting monuments. At Littlemore, in St. Mary's parish, is a separate incumbency. St. Michael's is a curacy; net income, 100; patrons and impropriators, the Rector and Fellows of Lincoln College. The church is an ancient edifice in the early English style, with a square embattled tower, and a handsome porch in the later style; the windows are in general of large dimensions, and finely pointed. St. Peter's-le-Bailey is a discharged rectory, valued at 3. 14. 2., and in the gift of the Crown; net income, 104. The church is a neat edifice erected in 1740, on the site of the old structure, which had fallen down in 1726.
St. Peter's-in-the-East is a perpetual curacy, valued at 13. 2. 1.; net income, 147; patrons and impropriators, the Warden and Fellows of Merton College. The church is said to have been originally built in the ninth century; the prevailing character of the present building is Norman, and the details are rich and elaborately wrought. It has undergone many alterations and repairs, and received several additions in the later English style, which have materially altered its external appearance: the roof in the nave and north aisle having been restored, and a new organ erected, the church was reopened in December, 1844. At the west end of the north aisle is a square tower, which has vestiges of great antiquity. Underneath the chancel is a fine Norman crypt, the roof of which is vaulted, and supported on four ranges of low massive pillars; several of the windows of the church have remains of painted glass, and there are many ancient monuments. Hearne, the antiquary, was interred in the churchyard; and in the church is a brass plate with an inscription to his memory, placed there in 1833, by the late Sir R. C. Hoare, the original inscription in the burial-ground having become obliterated. St. Thomas' is a perpetual curacy; net income, 105; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Canons of Christ-Church. The church, founded by the canons of Osney Priory, in 1141, is a neat structure, with a square embattled tower, and has recently undergone an extensive repair; a new aisle, also, has been built. The churchyard is tastefully planted with flowering shrubs and evergreens. A district church in the Grecian style, dedicated to St. Peter, has been built in the parish of St. Thomas, containing 860 sittings, 700 of which are free. The parish of St. Clement, being without the ancient limits of the city, although now included in its municipal government, is described under its own head. A complete floating chapel has been erected at Oxford, at an expense of 1000, by Mr. Henry Ward, for the use of watermen and their families, with a residence at one end for a schoolmaster and mistress; it is capable of containing 140 persons, and has a regular chaplain, to whose stipend the heads of the colleges subscribe. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans; and a Roman Catholic chapel. The Infirmary, an elegant and commodious structure of stone, was erected and completely furnished by the trustees of Dr. Radcliffe, and was opened for the reception of patients in 1770: the buildings comprise a chapel, to which a late Duke of Marlborough presented a communion service of gilt plate; attached to them are five acres of land given by Thomas Rowney, Esq. The House of Industry, a neat stone edifice, 237 feet in length, and two stories in height, was erected for the accommodation of eleven parishes, united by act of parliament, in 1771, for the maintenance of their poor. The parishes of St. Giles, St. Clement, and St. John are in the Headington union.
Of the numerous Monastic Establishments that flourished here, some have been incorporated in the buildings of the various colleges, in which, however, only a few memorials are now preserved; while of others, vestiges still exist in different parts of the city and neighbourhood. About a quarter of a mile from the church of St. Thomas are some trifling remains of Osney Abbey, already noticed, consisting chiefly of an arched window and a small portion of a wall, now belonging to a corn-mill, which occupies the site; the bells are in the steeple of Christ-Church. Half a mile to the east of the city, adjoining St. Clement's parish, was the hospital of St. Bartholomew. There are some slight remains of the convent for Benedictine nuns instituted at Godstow, in 1138, by Editha, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, in which Rosamond Clifford was interred, and to which Henry II. was a considerable benefactor; the revenue at the Dissolution was 319. 18. 8. The hospital of St. John the Baptist, without the east gate, was established previously to the reign of John, who was a great patron of the institution; and was rebuilt by Henry III. In the reign of Henry VI. it was given to Waynfleet, Bishop of Winchester, who built on its site his magnificent college of Magdalen, in the walls of which some vestiges of the ancient building may be traced. The house of Dominican friars was founded in 1221, by Isabel de Bulbec, widow of Robert, Earl of Oxford, and was subsequently removed to a small island near the Watergate, in the parish of St. Ebbe, given to that fraternity by Henry III., where it continued till the Dissolution. The Franciscan priory was originally instituted in 1224, by Richard Le Mercier and others, and was afterwards refounded by Henry III.: the fine chapel and extensive inclosures of this establishment were alienated in the reign of Henry VI. The priory of Carmelite or White friars was established in 1254, and to it King Edward II. assigned the palace of Beaumont, built by Henry I.: there are scarcely any vestiges of the buildings. The monastery of Augustine friars was built by Henry III., in 1268, and continued till the foundation of Wadham College, which was built on part of the site. Rewley Abbey, for monks of the Cistercian order, was erected in 1280, by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, in pursuance of the will of his father, Richard, King of the Romans, on an island called North Osney, and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary: at the Dissolution, the revenue was estimated at 174. 3. Of this monastery, some arched windows and doorways in an out-building still remain, and also some stones on which are inscriptions and armorial bearings. Oxford confers the title of Earl on the family of Harley.
OXFORDSHIRE, an inland county, bounded on the south-west, south, and south-east by Berkshire, on the east by Buckinghamshire, on the north-east by Northamptonshire, on the north and north-west by Warwickshire, and on the west by Gloucestershire. It extends from 51 28' to 52 9' (N. Lat.), and, in its greatest breadth, which is a little north of the centre of the county, from 1 2' to 1 38' (W. Lon.); and comprises an area of 752 square miles, or about 480,000 acres. There are 32,165 houses inhabited, 1442 uninhabited, and 202 in course of erection; and the population amounts to 161,643, of whom 80,436 are males, and 81,207 females.
At the period of the Roman invasion, the county formed part of the territory of the Dobuni, who, desirous of releasing themselves from subjection to their eastern neighbours, the Cattieuchlani, offered no resistance to the Romans, by whom, on their first division of the island, this district was included in Britannia Prima. Its central situation retarded its final subjection to the Saxon dominion, until the latter part of the sixth century. It had been the scene of several sanguinary conflicts between the Saxons and the retiring Britons, and became that of several others between the sovereigns of Wessex and Mercia. In the year 778, the county being ceded by Cynewulf, King of Wessex, to Offa, King of Mercia, the latter made a wide and deep trench, as a boundary between the two kingdoms, which may still be traced at Ardley, Stoney-Middleton, Northbrook, Heyford, and Kirtlington. The county lies in the diocese of Oxford, and province of Canterbury; and forms an archdeaconry, comprising, exclusively of Oxford, the deaneries of Aston, Burcester, Chipping-Norton, Cuddesden, Deddington, Henley, Witney, and Woodstock, and containing 212 parishes. For purposes of civil government, it is divided into the hundreds of Bampton, Banbury, Binfield, Bloxham, Bullington, Chaddington, Dorchester, Ewelme, Langtree, Lewknor, Pirton, Ploughley, Thame, and Wootton. It contains the city and university of Oxford, the borough and market towns of Banbury and Woodstock, and the market-towns of Bampton, Bicester, Burford, Chipping-Norton, Henleyupon-Thames, Heyford, Thame, Watlington, and Witney. Three knights are returned to parliament for the shire, two representatives for the city, two for the university, and one each for the boroughs of Woodstock and Banbury. The county is in the Oxford circuit; and the assizes and the quarter-sessions are held in the city of Oxford.
The shape of the county is extremely irregular: near the middle, at Oxford, it is not above seven miles across, and though the northern portion spreads out to a breadth of about 38 miles, yet that lying to the south of the city is no where more than twelve miles broad. The surface of the southernmost part has a fine alternation of hill and dale; and the Chiltern elevations, more particularly, which are in some places clothed with fine woods of beech, and are partly arable, and partly in open sheep downs, are beautifully varied. The more central district has little inequality, but is adorned with numerous woods, presenting a rich aspect. In the northern and western districts of that portion of the county north of Oxford, the prospects are for the most part less agreeable, the inclosures being formed by bare stone walls: in Wychwood Forest, however, are many grassy vales and woody glens, which afford charming scenery. The rivers of Oxfordshire are among its chief natural attractions, flowing through nearly every part of it, and luxuriant meadows almost every where bordering on their banks. In the vicinity of Oxford, the vale of the Isis expands into a spacious amphitheatre, bounded by some striking hills, and in the centre of which rise the majestic towers, domes, and spires of that city, from behind the thick shade of venerable groves. To the south of Wallingford, in Berkshire, the scenery upon the banks of the river, now called the Thames, assumes an increased variety of beauty, and forms an extended valley through the range of the Chiltern hills, which, gradually losing the appearance of downs, exhibited by some of the more naked summits in the distance, are marked by much picturesque effect, both of art and nature. Hamlets and villages lie scattered in the neighbourhood of the stream, and magnificent seats occupy the declivities on each side; and having received the waters of the Kennet and the Loddon from the south, it swells into a majestic river, and glides onward through the plain, until it becomes engulfed amidst the fine hills around Henley, the scenery of which is among the most interesting in the county.
With regard to soil, Oxfordshire comprises three different tracts, the limits of which are pretty clearly defined, and which may be distinguished as the red-land district, the stone-brash land, and the Chiltern hills. The red-land, which includes the whole northern part, much exceeds in fertility any other district of equal extent in the county, and contains about 79,635 acres, consisting of a rich sandy loam of a reddish colour, well adapted to the production of every crop, and having a substratum of red gritstone rock. The stone-brash tract adjoins the former, and extends from the verge of Gloucestershire, on the west, nearly to that of Buckinghamshire, on the east, the southern border of it running from the boundary of the county, near BroughtonPoggs, in a north-eastern direction by Brize-Norton, Witney, North Leigh, Bladon, Kirtlington, and Bicester, to Stratton-Audley, and thence northward, at a short distance from the border of Buckinghamshire, to Mixbury. It comprises 164,023 acres. The Chiltern district comprises the south-eastern extremity of Oxfordshire: the basis of this tract, which contains 64,778 acres, is chalk, covered to various depths with a clayey loam, generally sound and dry, and containing a considerable quantity of flints. The remaining portion of the county, extending from this to the stone-brash district, and calculated to comprise 166,400 acres, includes all sorts of soils.
The corn crops commonly cultivated are, wheat, barley, and oats: peas are occasionally raised; beans are sown on the heavier soils, and the common turnip and the Swedish turnip are both extensively grown. Clover and trefoil are cultivated, and sainfoin is to be seen to a great extent upon all the soils that are proper for it. Of the grass-lands, the chief are the narrow flat tracts on the borders of the rivers, containing most of the openfield meadows, which are extensive, and situated so low as to be often overflowed by sudden rains. At WaterEaton is the best dairy land in the county, but it is very liable to summer floods: at North Weston, in the rich district near Thame, the meadows are mown twice a year. The inclosed pasture or meadow land is almost confined to the central part of the county, near Oxford, where is a considerable tract of deep rich soil. Much butter is forwarded to the London market from some parts of Oxfordshire, particularly from the vicinity of Bicester; and in the county around Thame many calves are fattened, to be sent as veal to the same market. The best feeding land lies on the banks of the rivers Thame, Isis, and Cherwell; but the lower meadows are subject to floods, which sometimes do much damage to the herbage, when they occur late in the spring.
Oxfordshire may be termed a well-wooded county, excepting the northernmost part of it; but it has, comparatively, very little oak. The woodlands may be classed as follows: first, groves on spring-woods; secondly, woods consisting of timber trees and underwood; and thirdly, coppices of underwood only. Of the first class, the extensive natural beechwoods confined to the Chiltern district are the principal. Of the second kind are the woods in the vicinity of Stanton St. John, called "the Quarters," the soil of which is a strong clay: there are also numerous spots of woodland of this description dispersed in various other parts of the county. Coppices are not very numerous, and there are hardly any extensive ones besides those tracts of Wychwood Forest that are thus called, but which, containing timber trees, are more properly woods. There are extensive artificial plantations in several places, particularly at Blenheim. The waste lands, excepting the large tract of Wychwood Forest, are inconsiderable. Wychwood Forest is situated within a few miles of the navigable part of the Thames or Isis, and between the rivers Evenlode and Windrush, which form respectively its boundaries on the north and south. It is an exceedingly fine tract of forest land, comprising with its purlieu woods and wastes nearly 7000 acres, and is interspersed with hills and glens covered with copse wood and timber, abounding with deer and game, and diversified with wild and romantic scenery. There is excellent building-stone within a few feet from the surface, in almost every part of it; also freestone; hard durable plank, and fine greystone, slate; limestone; and a quarry of dark grey marble susceptible of a very high polish and well adapted for mantel-pieces. Beds of gravel and sand of superior quality also abound. Otmoor, near Islip, six miles north of Oxford, contains about 4000 acres, and prior to its inclosure, under an act obtained in 1816, was used as common by the inhabitants of eight adjoining townships. The soil is generally a good loam, but the whole tract is so extremely flat, and situated so low, that in wet seasons much of it lies under water for a long time, the consequence of which is that the cattle and sheep upon it become diseased.
The principal rivers are the Thames (or Isis), the Cherwell, the Thame, the Evenlode, and the Windrush; the four last-named fall into the Thames within the limits of the county. The Thames, which forms the entire southern boundary of the county, separating it from Berks, rises in Gloucestershire, and having been joined by different small streams near Lechlade, first touches Oxfordshire at its south-western extremity, being then imperfectly navigable, and bearing the name of Isis. Having received the waters of the Cherwell at Oxford, it becomes navigable, and pursues a very devious course, for the most part in a south-eastern direction, through an extensive tract of rich low meadows, to a short distance below Dorchester, where it is joined by the Thame, and first popularly called the Thames. The Oxford canal, which is of great advantage to the county, by opening a communication through other canals with Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and the Staffordshire collieries, enters at its northern extremity, and soon approaching the Cherwell, runs nearly parallel with the course of that river, which it crosses a few miles to the east of Deddington and Woodstock, to the city of Oxford, where it communicates with the navigation of the Thames. The principal Manufactures are, that of blankets, at Witney; and those of gloves, and articles of polished steel, at Woodstock: glove-making was established at that town about the middle of the last century, and now furnishes employment to the lower classes for many miles around. A coarse kind of velvet, called shag, is made at Banbury: the female poor in the southern part of the county are chiefly engaged in lace-making.
Several very curious British coins have been found in the county; and one of the most interesting remains of antiquity which it contains is the circle of high stones, called Rollrich Stones, supposed to be Druidical, in the vicinity of Chipping-Norton. Few considerable remnants of Roman military works exist in Oxfordshire: at Alcester, or Aldchester, in the eastern part, are the traces of a station, the Alauna of the Itinerary; and it is probable that there was another at Dorchester. Roman coins and pavements have been discovered, at different periods, in almost every quarter; and in addition to these, may be noticed several sepulchral mounds formed of rude grassy squares of turf, which, says Dr. Plot, the Roman soldiers were accustomed to raise over the ashes of any eminent warrior, and the most remarkable of which in the county is termed Astal Barrow, in the vicinity of the Akeman-street: numerous urns, and other funeral relics of the same people, have also been dug up. One of the four consular or prtorian ways passed through Oxfordshire, namely the Ikeneld street. It crossed the southern part, from north-east to southwest: entering from Buckinghamshire, at the parish of Chinnor, it proceeds along the base of the Chiltern hills; leaves Lewknor, Shirburn, and Watlington to the northwest; crosses the vallum, or ridged bank, called Gryme's Dyke; and passing Ipsden, may be traced to an inclosure about three miles distant from the village of Goring. Its course out of the county cannot be followed; but it is asserted by Dr. Plot, that it quitted at Goring, and the name of the hamlet on the opposite bank of the Thames, Streatley, seems to corroborate this opinion. Of the vicinal ways, the principal was the Akeman-street, which enters from Buckinghamshire, in the parish of Ambrosden, whence it proceeds to the north of Gravenel or Gravenhill Wood, and Alcester, to Chesterton and Kirtlington, and crossing the river Cherwell, near Tackley, passes through Blenheim Park towards the village of Stonesfield; here it crosses the Evenlode, and then passes near Wilcote and Ramsden, to Asthally and Asthall, and thence to Broadwell Grove, where its form is bold and perfect, and whence it proceeds nearly in a straight line towards Gloucestershire. Several minor roads, traces of which are still visible, diverged from this, or crossed it in different parts of its course. Between Mongewell and Nuffield, towards the southern extremity of the county, is the vallum, or long earthwork, called Gryme's Dyke. It is very high, and only single until it approaches the vicinity of Nuffield, where it is double, with a deep trench between the ramparts: it has been conjectured that the other part of it was once likewise double-banked, but that the trench was filled up by one of the banks being thrown into it in the progress of agricultural improvements. Marks of the sanguinary contests between the Saxons and the Danes are distinguishable in many parts, consisting chiefly of military intrenchments and sepulchral mounds.
At the period of the general dissolution, the number of religious houses, exclusively of the colleges at Oxford, was about 40, including hospitals, &c.; the principal relic is St. Frideswide's Abbey church, now the cathedral of the diocese. In the number and magnificence of its public and private buildings, Oxfordshire at least rivals any other county in England. Blenheim House is well known as one of the most magnificent residences in the kingdom; and many other mansions of the nobility and gentry possess considerable beauty and grandeur, both of exterior appearance and interior decoration: among the chief are, Ditchley Park, Nuneham-Courtney, and Wroxton Priory. The medicinal Springs are very numerous, the greater number being of the various kinds of chalybeate; and within Cornbury Park is one resembling the water at Dorton, in Buckinghamshire. In the extensive bed of gravel on which Oxford stands, and which forms one of the geological features of England, are found many remarkable Fossils, such as fragments of teeth, tusks, and bones of elephants; bones of the hippopotamus, horses' teeth, and horns of a species of stag.
OXHEY, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Watford, hundred of Cashio, or liberty of St. Alban's, county of Hertford; containing 744 inhabitants. An earthen vessel, containing some Roman seals, was turned up by the plough some years since.
Oxhill (St. Lawrence)
OXHILL (St. Lawrence), a parish, in the union of Shipston-upon-Stour, Kington division of the hundred of Kington, S. division of the county of Warwick, 4 miles (S. S. W.) from the town of Kington; containing 348 inhabitants, and comprising 1699 acres. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 14. 10.; net income, 254; patron, the Rev. Walter D. Bromley. The tithes were commuted for land and an annual money payment in 1797. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Oxnead (St. Nicholas)
OXNEAD (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Aylsham, hundred of South Erpingham, E. division of Norfolk, 4 miles (S. E.) from Aylsham; containing 56 inhabitants. The parish is bounded on the west by the navigable river Bure, and comprises 650 acres. It formerly belonged to the Paston family, of whom Clement Paston, in the reign of Elizabeth, built the Hall, to which his descendant, who was created Earl of Yarmouth, added a splendid banquet-room for the reception of Charles II. and his suite, in 1676; the whole, except a small portion now a farmhouse, was long since taken down. A blanket manufactory is carried on. The living is a discharged rectory, united, with the vicarage of Buxton, to the rectory of Skeyton, and valued in the king's books at 9. 1. 5.: the tithes have been commuted for 180. The church is a handsome structure in the decorated English style, with a tower, and contains some monuments to the Pastons, of which the principal is one to Clement Paston.
OXNEY, formerly a parish, now annexed to that of St. Margaret-at-Cliffe, in the union of Dovor, hundred of Cornilo, lathe of St. Augustine, E. division of Kent, 5 miles (N. E.) from Dovor; containing 20 inhabitants. It consists of 313 acres. The tithes have been commuted for 113. 12., and the glebe consists of 4 acres. The church has long been in ruins.
OXSHOT, a hamlet, in the parish of Stoke-D'Abernon, union of Epsom, Second division of the hundred of Elmbridge, W. division of Surrey, 2 miles (N. N. W.) from Leatherhead; containing 193 inhabitants. It appears to have belonged to the abbey of Waverley; and in the time of Henry VIII., Newark Abbey had some land here: the estate now forms part of the Claremont property.
OXSPRING, a township, in the parish of Penistone, union of Wortley, wapentake of Staincross, W. riding of York, 2 miles (E.) from Penistone; containing 241 inhabitants. The township includes the hamlets of Roughbirchworth, Clay-Green, and Storrs; and comprises about 1000 acres. The village is situated a little to the north of the river Don and of the road between Penistone and Sheffield.
Oxted (St. Mary)
OXTED (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Godstone, First division of the hundred of Tandridge, E. division of Surrey, 2 miles (E. by N.) from Godstone; containing 1154 inhabitants. It comprises 3407a. 2r. 34p., of which about 1875 acres are arable, 958 meadow and pasture, 347 woodland, 46 in hop-grounds, and the rest common, waste, &c. A fair is held on May 1st. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 24. 6. 0., and in the gift of C. L. H. Master, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for 770, and there is a glebe-house, with about 36 acres of land. The church, which was much damaged by fire in 1719, has a tower and turret; a new gallery was built on the south side, with an organ, in 1838, chiefly at the expense of the rector, and the interior generally is neat. A building in the cottage style was erected in 1837, at Hall Hill, also by the incumbent, at a cost of about 400, for an evening school for adults. At Barrow Green is a very large barrow.
OXTON, a township, in the parish of Woodchurch, union, and Lower division of the hundred, of Wirrall, S. division of the county of Chester, 2 miles (W. S. W.) from Birkenhead; containing about 2000 inhabitants. The manor was part of the possessions of Matthew de Domville, a person of high consideration among the more ancient families of the county; and after passing by various female heirs through different families, it became, by the marriage of a Talbot with the heiress of the Troutbecks, the property of the earls of Shrewsbury. The estates of the present earl are probably the most extensive in the hundred. The township is situated on a bold eminence, commanding views of the river Mersey, Liverpool, and the high lands of Lancashire; and comprises 650 acres, partly a sand and partly a clay soil, with a substratum of sandstone, of which there are some good quarries. In 1821, Oxton is described as being a dreary and barren waste. It has since been inclosed, and is now studded with residences, which are yearly increasing in number, owing to the liberal grant of building-leases for a fixed term by the Earl of Shrewsbury; of this circumstance, numerous respectable persons from Liverpool have availed themselves, and the commanding position of Oxton, which can hardly be exceeded, and its proximity to Birkenhead and the ferries, seem likely to insure a continuance of prosperity. The approach from Birkenhead is by roads kept in excellent condition, and regularly lighted and watched at the expense of the commissioners of that town. By the recent act of parliament authorising the formation of a park in Birkenhead, a portion of Oxton was included for police purposes in the limits of that township; and the park, being immediately adjacent to Oxton, affords the inhabitants a delightful resort. Considerable purchases of land have been made by William Potter, Esq., of Liverpool, who has a seat here, called Malvern Villa: Lingdale House is the seat of Marcus Freeman Brownrigg, Esq.; and Oxton Hall that of Thomas Alfred Yarrow, Esq. These are among the many handsome residences recently built at this place, whose population has trebled within the last few years. A chapel was erected in 1848, at an expense of 1500, of which the rector of Woodchurch, the Rev. Joshua King, contributed 1000, also appropriating the Easter dues towards its permanent endowment; it is dedicated to St. John, is in the early English style of architecture, and being situated at the extremity of Oxton, is visible many miles out at sea, from distant parts of Cheshire, and from part of Wales. There is also a Roman Catholic place of worship. The great tithes of the township have been commuted for 110.
Oxton (St. Peter)
OXTON (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Southwell, S. division of the wapentake of Thurgarton and of the county of Nottingham, 5 miles (W. by S.) from Southwell; containing 841 inhabitants. This parish, through which runs the small river called the Dover Beck, is situated on the south-eastern border of the ancient forest of Sherwood, but is said never to have formed part of that district. It comprises 3579 acres, of which 994 are common or waste land; the soil is chiefly a strong clay. The village is large, and lies in an open vale: stockings and lace are manufactured by a small portion of its population. There is a sheep-fair on the second Tuesday in September. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the patronage of the Bishop of Ripon, valued in the king's books at 6; net income, 195. The tithes have been commuted for 170, and the impropriate farm pays 6 per annum to the vicar: there is an acre of glebe land in the parish of Blidworth, and upwards of an acre in that of Calverton. The church was erected about the time of Richard III., on the site, and with the materials, of a former building; and in 1841 was enlarged and repewed at an expense of 700. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; also a free school, founded by Mrs. Sherbrooke, and endowed with a rent-charge of 20. In 1789, a barrow was opened in the neighbourhood, containing some curious remains.
OXTON, a township, in the parish of Tadcaster, W. division of Ainsty wapentake, W. riding of York, 1 mile (E.) from Tadcaster; containing 57 inhabitants. It is on the north side of the vale of the Wharfe, and comprises by computation 590 acres of land.
Oxwick (All Saints)
OXWICK (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Mitford and Launditch, hundred of Launditch, W. division of Norfolk, 3 miles (S. by W.) from Fakenham; containing, with the hamlet of Pattesley, 80 inhabitants. The parish comprises 1039 acres, of which 749 are arable, 246 pasture and meadow, and 35 woodland. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at 6. 9. 2., and in the gift of J. Blake, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for 224, and the glebe consists of nearly 35 acres. The church is an ancient structure in the early English style.
OZENDIKE, a hamlet, in the parish of Ryther, Lower division of the wapentake of Barkstone-Ash, W. riding of York, 8 miles (N. W.) from the town of Selby; containing 47 inhabitants, and consisting of a few scattered farmhouses.
Ozleworth, or Woosleworth (St. Nicholas)
OZLEWORTH, or Woosleworth (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Tetbury, Upper division of the hundred of Berkeley, W. division of the county of Gloucester, 3 miles (E. by S.) from Wotton-underEdge; containing 106 inhabitants. The surrounding scenery is finely varied, and the views embrace the cities of Bath and Bristol, about 20 miles distant. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at 6. 10. 5., and in the gift of Lewis Clutterbuck, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for 116. 10., and the glebe comprises 23 acres. The church has an octagonal central tower, rising from enriched Norman arches.