Campion Hall, Oxford
|Location||Brewer Street, Oxford|
|Founder||Fr. Richard Clarke, SJ|
|Named after||St. Edmund Campion|
|Master||Rev. Nicholas Austin, S.J.|
Campion Hall is one of the six Permanent Private Halls of the University of Oxford in England. It is run by the Society of Jesus and named after St. 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 and important 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.
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 No. 13 St Giles' was also bought.
Fr. O'Fallon Pope was succeeded by Fr. Charles Plater, and the hall again changed its name, this time to 'Plater's Hall'.
In 1918, the hall was granted permanent status 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.
In 1921 Fr. Plater died and Fr. Henry Keane was appointed Master of Campion Hall, 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 St. Giles'. He was succeeded as Master by Fr. Martin D'Arcy till 1945.
Moving to Brewer Street
In 1933, when Fr. D'Arcy became Master, the lease of the St. Giles property had only three years to run, so in 1935 a project of building in St. Giles was dropped and a new home was found in Brewer Street. The properties in St. Giles's were subsequently sold to St. John's College.
Brewer Street, also known as 'Sleying Lane' was occupied in the medieval period by brewers and butchers. There is a long history of brewing in Oxford. Several of the colleges had private breweries, one of which, Brasenose College, survived until 1889. 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.
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.
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 the Earl of Oxford.
The building was Grade II* listed in 1954. 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. The style of Lutyens's exterior has been compared to 17th-century Cotswold architecture. The chapel has a semi-circular apse with a baldachin, and Lutyens provided chapel light fittings having red tassels like those on a cardinal's hat.
In 1912 Lutyens had laid out New Delhi as the new capital of India. He devised an architectural Delhi Order there, with small bells hanging from the capitals of the columns, and subsequently made use of it in his design for Campion Hall, including in the columns supporting the baldachin in the chapel.
Fr. D'Arcy continued as Master of Campion Hall until 1945, when he was succeeded by Fr. Thomas Corbishley. In 2001, the Jesuit spirituality journal, The Way, began to operate from Campion Hall.
Campion Hall hosts the Jesuit academic community within University of Oxford and has an international student body including not only Jesuits but also priests of other Roman Catholic orders and congregations. Admission is usually only open to clergy, although sometimes exceptions are made for laymen.
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.
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.
The Way is 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.
Laudato Si' Research Institute
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 masters 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. On 21 February 2020, its new offices in Albion House, Oxford were opened by the Master of Campion Hall, Nicholas Austin.
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