St John's College, Oxford
|Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford
St John's College
|College name||Saint John Baptist College|
|Latin name||Collegium Divi Joannis Baptistae|
|Named after||Saint John the Baptist|
|Sister college||Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge|
|President||Margaret J. Snowling|
Location of St John's College within central OxfordCoordinates:
|Blazon||Gules, on a bordure sable, eight estoiles or, on a canton ermine, a lion rampant of the second, in chief an annulet of the third.|
St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1555 by the merchant Sir Thomas White, intended to provide a source of educated Roman Catholic clerics to support the Counter-Reformation under Queen Mary. St John's is the wealthiest college in Oxford, with a financial endowment of £340 million as of 2012, largely due to nineteenth century suburban development of land in the city of Oxford, of which it is the ground landlord.
Located on St Giles', the college has an unusually large site for its central location, although the student body is of median size with approximately 390 undergraduates and 250 postgraduates. As well as over 100 academic staff, the college is supported by a similar number of other staff.
- 1 History
- 2 Buildings
- 3 Student life
- 4 People associated with St John's
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
On 1 May 1555, Sir Thomas White, lately Lord Mayor of London, obtained a Royal Patent of Foundation to create an eleemosynary institution for the education of students within the University of Oxford. White, a Roman Catholic, originally intended St John's to provide a source of educated Roman Catholic clerics to support the Counter-Reformation under Queen Mary, and indeed Edmund Campion, the Roman Catholic martyr, studied here.
White acquired buildings on the east side of St Giles', north of Balliol and Trinity Colleges, which had belonged to the former College of St Bernard, a monastery and house of study of the Cistercian order that had been closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Initially the new St John's College was rather small and not well endowed financially. During the reign of Elizabeth I the fellows lectured in rhetoric, Greek, and dialectic, but not directly in theology. However, St John's initially had a strong focus on the creation of a proficient and educated priesthood.
White was Master of the Merchant Taylors' Company, and established a number of educational foundations, including the Merchant Taylors' School. Although the College was closely linked to such institutions for many centuries, it became a more open society in the later 19th century. (Closed scholarships for students from the Merchant Taylors' School, however, persisted until the late 20th century.) Female students were first admitted in 1979.
Although primarily a producer of Anglican clergymen in the earlier periods of its history, St John's also gained a reputation for both law and medicine.
The endowments which St John's was given at its foundation, and during the twenty or so years afterward, served it very well and in the second half of the nineteenth century it benefited, as ground landlord, from the suburban development of the city of Oxford and was unusual among Colleges for the size and extent of its property within the city. The patronage of the parish of St Giles was included in the endowment of the college by Thomas White. Vicars of St Giles were formerly either Fellows of the College, or ex-Fellows who were granted the living on marriage (when Oxford fellows were required to be unmarried). The College retains the right to present candidates for the benefice to the bishop. Today St John's maintains the largest endowment of the Oxford colleges, for example owning the Oxford Playhouse building.
The college is situated on a single large site. Most of the college buildings are organised around seven quadrangles (quads).
The Front Quadrangle mainly consists of 15th-century buildings of the former St Bernard's College, a house of studies in Oxford for young Cistercian monks. The turret clock, made by John Knibb, dates from 1690.
The college library is here, consisting of three connected parts: The Old Library (south side, built 1596-8), The Laudian Library (built 1631–5 above the eastern colonnade, overlooking the garden) and The Paddy Room (1971-7). Until moving to the Kendrew Quadrangle in 2010, the Holdsworth Law Library was situated in the South-West corner of Canterbury Quadrangle. In 2011 the College Library featured in a documentary on BBC Four.
The college holds Robert Graves' Working Library and in 1936 it acquired the 'A. E. Housman Classics Library', consisting of about 300 books and pamphlets containing hand-written notes by Housman in margins and on loose leaves. It was acquired in 1936.
Consisting of an irregularly-shaped mixture of 18th, 19th, and 20th century buildings North Quad comprises the 18th-century buttery staircase adjoining the hall, the block containing the Senior Common Room, the 19th-century range along St Giles', and the "Beehive" (1958–60), made up of non-regular hexagonal rooms. The Senior Common Room ceiling, completed in 1742, features the craftsmanship of Thomas Roberts, who also worked on the Radcliffe Camera and the Codrington Library.
Built in the early 20th century on the site of the old Dolphin Inn.
Sir Thomas White Quadrangle
Built in the 1970s and known informally as "Tommy White Quad", this is not actually a quadrangle, but an L-shaped building partially enclosing an area of garden. The upper floors are predominantly student residences, but ground floor contains communal facilities including the college bar, games room, TV room, DVD room and JCR. The Prestwich, Larkin and Graves rooms are multi-purpose and used for a variety of events.
The building is an early work by Ove Arup which has won both the 1976 Concrete Society Award, and the 1981 Royal Institute of British Architects architectural excellence award. It was also Commended in the 2011 Mature Building Category of the Construct: Concrete Awards.
The Garden Quadrangle is a modern (1993) neo-Italianate design from MJP Architects that includes the college auditorium. The complex structure is very unlike a conventional quadrangle. As well as winning five awards (RIBA Award 1995, Civic Trust Award 1995, Oxford Preservation Trust Award 1994, Independent on Sunday Building of the Year 1994, Concrete Society Award – Overall Winner 1994) then a 2003 poll organised by The Oxford Times declared the £7.5m quadrangle to be the best building erected in Oxford in the preceding 75 years.
The site was previously occupied by the Department of Agriculture, and the Parks Road frontage of this building survives today, separated from the quadrangle by a detached building containing three music rooms.
The most recent quad, completed in 2010. The quad is named after Sir John Kendrew, former President of the College, Nobel Laureate and the College's greatest benefactor of the twentieth century. The construction has been dubbed "the last great quad in the city centre" and is notable for its attempt to provide energy from sustainable sources: much of the energy required to heat the building is provided by a combination of solar panels on the roof, geothermal pipes extending deep below the basement and woodchips from the College wood used to fire the boilers.
As the first phase of The Kendrew Quadrangle project Dunthorne Parker Architects were appointed by the College to refurbish three Grade II Listed buildings fronting on to St Giles. Works were carried out to No 20 St Giles which became alumni residential accommodation, The Black Hall, a 17th-century building, which became teaching accommodation and The Barn, which became an exhibition and performance space. This project was awarded an Oxford Preservation Trust Plaque in 2008.
The Chapel was built and dedicated to St Bernard of Clairvaux in 1530. The Chapel was re-dedicated to St John the Baptist in 1557.The Baylie chapel in the north-east corner was added in the late 17th century. In 1840 the chapel's interior underwent major changes which created the gothic revival pews, roof, wall arcading and west screen. William Laud, President of St John's 1611–21 and Archbishop of Canterbury was reburied under the Chapel altar in 1663.
Choral services have been sung in the chapel since 1618. Orlando Gibbons's famous anthem "This is the record of John" was written at the College's request, and presumably received its first performance here. The Chapel Choir is one of the leading mixed-voice choirs in Oxford. It sings two Evensong services a week and is directed solely by the organ scholars. The Chapel has always been home to an organ, and the present three-manual instrument in the west gallery was built by Bernard Aubertin in 2008.
Other buildings on the site include the Holmes Building (a south spur off the Canterbury Quad, containing fellows' rooms), and Middleton Hall, a curious house, north of the North Quad and abutting the Lamb and Flag, which has a stone frontage in early 19th-century style, though the back part is in Victorian red brick and contains a Jacobean staircase (perhaps originally from another building).
Since the College also incorporates Middleton Hall (see above) and owns St Giles House, the former judge's house north of the college, the opening of Kendrew Quadrangle mean that the College extends for almost the entire length of the east side of St Giles, as well as owning parts of the opposite side. This includes the The Eagle and Child pub (where the well-known writers J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis often met their literary friends), complementing the Lamb and Flag opposite it on the College side of the road, which the College owns and operates (using the profits to fund graduate scholarships).
Unusually amongst Oxford colleges, St John's offers onsite accommodation to all undergraduates for the duration of their course (although students are not obliged to take up this offer). For first years, this is mostly in the Thomas White Quad, with some students accommodated in the Beehive. The College also accommodates a number of students, traditionally second-year undergraduates but nowadays also a significant number of final year undergraduates and graduate students, in the houses owned by the college on Museum Road and Blackhall Road.
St John's College Boat Club (SJCBC) is the largest of a number of college sports clubs. In Summer Eights 2013, eight SJCBC boats qualified for the racing, and the women's 1st VIII bumped up to become the Head of the River - the first time any crew from SJCBC has achieved this in the club's 150 year history. The women's 1st Torpid won blades three years in succession from 2011 to 2013, and in 2013 also won the right to represent the Oxford colleges in the women's intercollegiate race at the Henley Boat Races.
In 2006 St John's launched SJCtv, becoming the first Oxford college to start its own television station. The college drama group operates under the banner of St John's Mummers. In addition to the chapel choir, the college regularly hosts performances from professional musicians and two non-auditioning ensembles (open to all Oxford students) rehearse in college: the Oxford Open Orchestra and Oxford University Symphonic Band.
People associated with St John's
Fellows and alumni of St John's have included 17th century Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud, the early Fabian intellectual Sidney Ball, former Sudanese prime minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi, poet Philip Larkin, Bangladeshi-born Labour Party politician Rushanara Ali and more recently former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair.
- "Undergraduate numbers by college 2011-12". University of Oxford.
- "About Us". St John's College Oxford. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- St John's College, Oxford (31 July 2011). "Report and Financial Statements". Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- St John's College, Oxford (31 October 2012). "Report and Financial Statements". p. 21. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Schmitt, Charles Bernard (1983) John Case and Aristotelianism in Renaissance England. Kingston [Ont.] : McGill-Queen's University Press ISBN 0-7735-1005-2
- Kettler, Sarah Valente & Trimble, Carole (2003) The Amateur Historian's Guide to the Heart of England. Sterling, Va.: Capital Books 1892123657
- "Oxford Playhouse and University of Oxford". Oxford Playhouse. Retrieved 11 December 2012. "St John's College owns the Playhouse building, and leases the auditorium and adjoining offices to the Playhouse Trust."
- Lisle, Nicola (17 December 2010). "The clockmakers of Claydon". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- Mr Michael Riordan (24 June 2011). "St. John, the College and the Merchant Taylors’ Company". Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- "History". St John's College Oxford. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "BBC Four – The Beauty of Books, Ancient Bibles". BBC. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "Robert Graves". St John's College Oxford. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "A. E. Housman's Classics Library". St John's College Oxford. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- Tyack, Geoffrey (1998) Oxford: An Architectural Guide. Oxford University Press, 1998 ISBN 0-19-817423-3
- The Times. 8 June 1976. p. 3.
- Charles McKean (7 August 1981). "Double first for Arup designs". The Times. p. 3.
- "Sir Thomas White Building, St John's College". Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- Little, Reg (2 February 2007). "St John's to build quad off St Giles". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "Garden Quadrangle, St John's College". MJP Architects. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "History". St John's College Oxford. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "Blair in a boater, a crude hand gesture, and the Class of '75". Daily Mail. 3 March 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "Professor Margaret J Snowling". British Academy. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to St John's College, Oxford.|
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- Works by or about St John's College, Oxford in libraries (WorldCat catalog)