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Campion Hall, Oxford

Coordinates: 51°44′59″N 1°15′30″W / 51.7496°N 1.2582°W / 51.7496; -1.2582
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Campion Hall
University of Oxford
Arms: Argent on a cross sable a plate charged with a wolf's head erased of the second between in pale two billets of the field that in chief charged with a cinquefoil and that in base with a saltire gules and in fesse as many plates each charged with a campion flower leaved and slipped proper on a chief also of the second two branches of palm in saltire enfiled with a celestial crown or.
LocationBrewer Street, Oxford
Coordinates51°44′59″N 1°15′30″W / 51.7496°N 1.2582°W / 51.7496; -1.2582
FounderRichard Clarke SJ
Established1896; 128 years ago (1896)
Named afterEdmund Campion
MasterNicholas Austin SJ
Campion Hall, Oxford is located in Oxford city centre
Campion Hall, Oxford
Location in Oxford city centre

Campion Hall is one of the four permanent private halls of the University of Oxford in England. A Catholic hall, it is run by the Society of Jesus and named after Edmund Campion, a martyr and fellow of St John's College, Oxford. The hall is located on Brewer Street, between Christ Church and Pembroke College. The buildings, along with many of the fixtures and fittings, were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, his only buildings in Oxford. The hall also houses an extensive collection of religious art spanning 600 years; the pieces were collected primarily by Fr Martin D'Arcy in the 1930s.



The origins of Campion Hall began on 9 September 1896 when Fr Richard Clarke, who was a former member of St. John's College, Oxford, opened a private hall called Clarke's Hall. He was sent by his superiors from the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, in London to St. Aloysius Church in Oxford to set up a hall for Jesuit undergraduates. He founded a small house at 40 St Giles', Oxford, and was the first master of the hall. On 10 September 1896 the hall had its first four students. The hall allowed Jesuits to study for degrees from the University of Oxford.[1][2]

The rented accommodation that was originally used was too small and 15 months later the hall was moved to Middleton Hall at 11 St Giles', which was leased to the Society of Jesus until 1936.[3]

Pope's Hall[edit]

In 1900, Fr Clarke died suddenly at York and, with his death, the hall ceased to exist. That year the hall was reopened as Pope's Hall under Fr O'Fallon Pope as master who continued to be master until 1915. In 1902, he purchased 14 and 15 St Giles' and, in 1903, 13 St Giles' was also bought.[citation needed]

Campion Hall
Campion Hall

Campion Hall[edit]

Fr O'Fallon Pope was succeeded by Fr Charles Plater and the hall again changed its name, this time to Plater's Hall.[4]

In 1918, the hall was granted permanent status[5] and changed its name to Campion Hall after St Edmund Campion, an English Jesuit and martyr who had been a fellow at St John's College. Permanent private halls (PPH) within the University of Oxford were established for the reception of students on the condition that they are not for purposes of profit. Apart from Campion Hall, the other early permanent private halls were St Benet's Hall from 1918 and St Peter's Hall from 1929 to 1947. Permanent private halls have the same privileges as members of colleges.[citation needed]

In 1921, Fr Plater died and Fr Henry Keane was appointed master, until his retirement in 1926. He was succeeded by Fr Ernest G. Vignaux, who was master until 1933. At that time, there were plans for the building of a new hall in Giles'. He was succeeded as master by Fr Martin D'Arcy until1945.[citation needed]

Moving to Brewer Street[edit]

External view of Campion Hall with the chapel (right), from Brewer Street

In 1933, when Fr. D'Arcy became Master, the lease of the St. Giles property had only three years to run,[6] so in 1935 a project of building in St. Giles was dropped and a new home was found in Brewer Street.[4] The properties in St. Giles's were subsequently sold to St. John's College.[citation needed]

Brewer Street, also known as 'Sleying Lane' was occupied in the medieval period by brewers and butchers.[7] There is a long history of brewing in Oxford. Several of the colleges had private breweries, one of which, Brasenose College, survived until 1889.[8] In the 16th century, brewing and malting appeared to have been the most popular trades in the city. By 1874 there were nine breweries in Oxford and 13 brewers' agents in Oxford shipping beer in from elsewhere, Brewer Street was no exception.[9]

At Brewer Street, Campion Hall bought two buildings, one a large and ancient lodging house, known as 'Micklem Hall', which in the past belonged to Hall's Brewery. It was owned by a brewer named Micklem (1820–1870). The second building was a garage which had once been the stables for the horses which pulled the Oxford trams. The garage was demolished, as well as some of the rooms of Micklem Hall, with others incorporated into the new building.[10]

The new building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1936. The building was opened in June 1936, by the Duke of Alba, Spanish ambassador to London, alongside Alban Goodier S.J., the former Archbishop of Bombay, and Julian Asquith, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Asquith.[11]

The building was Grade II* listed in 1954.[12] It is the only building in Oxford designed by Lutyens, although in 1928 he did design the fountain in Tom Quad at nearby Christ Church.[13] The style of Lutyens's exterior has been compared to 17th-century Cotswold architecture.[14] The chapel has a semi-circular apse with a baldachin,[15] and Lutyens provided chapel light fittings having red tassels like those on a cardinal's hat.[14]

In 1912 Lutyens had laid out New Delhi as the new capital of India.[16] He devised an architectural Delhi Order there, with small bells hanging from the capitals of the columns,[17] and subsequently made use of it in his design for Campion Hall, including in the columns supporting the baldachin in the chapel.[15]

Fr. D'Arcy continued as Master of Campion Hall until 1945, when he was succeeded by Fr. Thomas Corbishley.[citation needed] In 2001, the Jesuit spirituality journal, The Way, began to operate from Campion Hall.[citation needed]

Campion Hall hosts the Jesuit academic community within University of Oxford and has an international student body, admitting graduate students in Humanities and Social Science subjects, and occasionally in other disciplines.

In 2018, the Laudato Si' Research Institute was started at Campion Hall. It has the aim of conducting and fostering inter-disciplinary research on issues relating to integral ecology.[18]

Lost Michelangelo[edit]

Possible Michelangelo Crucifixion of Christ, 1540

In 2011, a painting "The Crucifixion of Jesus" which had been hanging in a hall of Campion Hall, was thought to have been a long-lost Michelangelo masterpiece worth £100 million. The painting was bought by Fr. Martin D'Arcy when he was Master of Campion Hall at a Sotheby's auction in the 1930s. Some experts argue that the painting dates from towards the end of Michelangelo's life when his eyesight was failing, so is more likely to be a painting by Marcello Venusti.[citation needed]

The painting was removed from its position on a wall in Campion Hall and sent to the Ashmolean Museum where it is on display.[19]

The Way[edit]

The Way is a spirituality journal that publishes articles quarterly to an international readership through an editorial board on subjects relating to contemporary Christian spirituality and operates out of Campion Hall. It was founded in 1961 by its editor James Walsh. He was joined by William Yeomans, Denise Critchley-Salmonson and Philip Caraman, who also edited The Month. Originally it was located in Heythrop Park. In September 1970, it moved to Beaumont College and Michael Ivens joined the staff. In May 1972, it moved to Southwell House in West Hampstead. In 1978, it moved again, this time to Campion House in Osterley in 1978. In the early 1980s, it moved to Heythrop College's new location in London, as part of the Institute of Spirituality there. James Walsh stood down as editor and Philip Sheldrake, David Lonsdale and later Lavinia Byrne became editors. In 1992, Jacqueline Hawkins became the editor. In 2001, it moved to Campion Hall and Philip Endean with Elizabeth Lock became editors two years later. It was relaunched and ceased publishing the annual supplement. In 2008, Philip Endean was replaced by Paul Nicholson.[20][21][22]

Laudato Si' Research Institute[edit]

The Laudato Si' Research Institute was also based out of Campion Hall. It was founded in 2018 and named after the encyclical by Pope Francis. It was founded by its current director Celia Deane-Drummond to conduct multidisciplinary research on the environmental issues present in the world. Celia Deane-Drummond also edits the international journal Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences. It has links with a master's degree programme operating out of the London Jesuit Centre on theology, ecology and ethics. It is currently working on establishing the Laudato Si' Research Network to encourage global research collaboration.[23][24] On 21 February 2020, its new offices in Albion House, Oxford were opened by the Master of Campion Hall, Nicholas Austin.[25]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Reckoned Expense: Edmund Campion and the Early English Jesuit, page ix, Woodbridge 1996
  2. ^ "On the other side, the Statutes of the University of". catholicherald.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013.
  3. ^ "No. 11: Middleton Hall/St John's House". headington.org.uk. Archived from the original on 8 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b "British History Online". Retrieved on 20 January 2013
  5. ^ "Jesuitinstitute".Retrieved on 20 January 2013.
  6. ^ The Fordham Ram, Fr.d'Arcy Assumes University Post, page.1, New York, 20 October 1939, No.5
  7. ^ "Consultation.oxford.gov.uk" (PDF).PDF document. Retrieved on 20 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Brasenose Ale Verses - Brasenose College, Oxford". bnc.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  9. ^ "Brewery History: 111, pp. 37-63". breweryhistory.com. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  10. ^ "British History Online". Retrieved on 20 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Campion Hall Pages 339-340 A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3, the University of Oxford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954" – via British History Online.
  12. ^ Historic England. "Campion Hall (including chapel) (1046738)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  13. ^ Richardson, Margaret (1981). "Catalogue of Works by Sir Edwin Lutyens". Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944). London: Arts Council of Great Britain. p. 196. ISBN 0-7287-0304-1.
  14. ^ a b Amery, Colin (1981). "Campion Hall, Brewer Street". Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944). London: Arts Council of Great Britain. p. 146. ISBN 0-7287-0304-1.
  15. ^ a b Gradidge, Roderick (1981). Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate. London: George Allen and Unwin. p. 161. ISBN 0-04-720023-5.
  16. ^ Gradidge (1981), p. 69.
  17. ^ Gradidge (1981), p. 151.
  18. ^ Anthony K. Nairn, Laudato Si’ Institute – Major new research institute at Campion Hall, Oxford from International Society for Science and Religion, 4 July 2018, retrieved 18 February 2021
  19. ^ "BBC". BBC News. 11 July 2011.Retrieved on 20 January 2013.
  20. ^ Spiritual Direction Journals and Electronic Resources from Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction, retrieved 19 February 2021
  21. ^ Publications from Society of Jesus, retrieved 19 February 2021
  22. ^ John Coventry, The Way, 1961–1986, The Way, Issue 50/1, January 2011.
  23. ^ ACU academic named inaugural Monsignor Professor Denis Edwards Visiting Scholar from Australian Catholic University, 1 April 2020, retrieved 19 February 2021
  24. ^ Celia Deane-Drummond from the Human Flourishing Research Project, retrieved 19 February 2021
  25. ^ Oxford: Blessing ceremony for new Laudato Si Research Centre from Independent Catholic News, 21 February 2020, retrieved 19 February 2021
  26. ^ "British History Online".
  27. ^ "Painting of Father Thomas Corbishley". Retrieved on 20 January 2013.
  28. ^ "Indcatholicnews". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved on 20 January 2013.
  29. ^ "theway.org.co.uk" (PDF). Retrieved on 20 January 2013.
  30. ^ "Oxford University Gazette". Archived from the original on 27 February 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018. Retrieved on 22 January 2013.
  31. ^ "The Claims of the Prtimacy and the Costly Call to Unity by Archbishop John R. Quinn". Retrieved on 22 January 2013.
  32. ^ "Catechism The Making: Questions and Answers in the Eighth Century and Today by Joseph Munitiz SJ p.1, Brisbane". 1993. Retrieved on 22 January 2013.
  33. ^ "Biography of Gerard J Hughes". Archived from the original on 2 August 2013. Retrieved on 20 January 2013.

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