Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

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Christ Church Cathedral
Cathedral Church of Christ
Christ Church Cathedral
The Crossing Tower and Spire from the Cloisters.
51°45′00″N 1°15′17″W / 51.75°N 1.254722°W / 51.75; -1.254722Coordinates: 51°45′00″N 1°15′17″W / 51.75°N 1.254722°W / 51.75; -1.254722
Location Oxford, Oxfordshire
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Website chch.ox.ac.uk/cathedral
Architecture
Style Romanesque, Gothic
Years built 1160-1200
Administration
Diocese Oxford (since 1546)
Province Canterbury
Clergy
Dean Christopher Lewis
Subdean Vacant
Canon(s) George Pattison, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity
Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology
Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History (Lay)
Angela Tilby, Diocesan Canon

Christ Church Cathedral is the cathedral of the diocese of Oxford, which consists of the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. It is also, uniquely, the chapel of Christ Church, a college of the University of Oxford.

History[edit]

Interior of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.

The cathedral was originally the church of St Frideswide's Priory. The site is claimed to be the location of the abbey and relics of St Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford, although this is debatable.

In 1522, the priory was surrendered to Cardinal Wolsey, who had selected it as the site for his proposed college. However, in 1529 the foundation was taken over by King Henry VIII. Work stopped, but in June 1532 the college was refounded by the King. In 1546, Henry VIII transferred to it the see of Oxford from Osney. The cathedral has the name of Ecclesia Christi Cathedralis Oxoniensis, given to it by King Henry VIII's foundation charter.

There has been a choir at the cathedral since 1526, when John Taverner was the organist and also master of the choristers. The statutes of Cardinal Wolsey's original college, initially called Cardinal College, mentioned sixteen choristers and thirty singing priests.

Christ Church Cathedral is often claimed to be the smallest cathedral in England, and although it did once hold this distinction there are now smaller cathedrals, as several parish churches were elevated to cathedral status in the 20th century.[1]

The nave, choir, main tower and transepts are of the late Norman period. There are architectural features ranging from Norman to the Perpendicular style and a large rose window of the ten-part (i.e., botanical) type.

Dean and Chapter[edit]

Music[edit]

Organ[edit]

The organ is a 43-rank, four-manual and pedal instrument built in 1979 by Austrian firm Rieger Orgelbau.[5]

Organists[edit]

First among the notable organists of Oxford Cathedral is the Renaissance composer John Taverner. Other significant composers and conductors are Basil Harwood, Thomas Armstrong, Simon Preston and Nicholas Cleobury.

Choirs[edit]

The main choir, Christ Church Cathedral Choir consists of 12 men (6 professional 'lay-clerks' and 6 student 'academical clerks') and 16 choristers (boys aged 7 – 13), and is directed by Dr Stephen Darlington. They sing in University term time, at Christmas and Easter, and have an extensive touring and recording programme.

The Cathedral Singers consists of volunteers and is directed by John Padley. They are usually in residence outside of term time when the main choir choristers and academical clerks are on holiday.

The College choir sings every 1–2 weeks in term time, and is made up of current undergraduates and postgraduates from the College.

Notable burials[edit]

John Locke memorial engraving

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]