Priory of St Frideswide, Oxford

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St Frideswide's Priory, now Christ Church Cathedral.

The priory of St Frideswide, Oxford, was established as a priory of Augustinian canons regular, in 1122.[1]

The priory was established by Gwymund, chaplain to Henry I of England. Among its most illustrious priors were the writers Robert of Cricklade and Philip of Oxford, who were also writers.[2]

Cardinal Wolsey dissolved the house in April 1524 to use its premises, together with those of other adjacent religious houses, to found a new college to be called Cardinal College.[3] After Wolsey fell from power in 1530, King Henry VIII took over the nascent foundation, which he renamed "Aedes Christi" Christ Church, Oxford. The five western bays of the nave of the church of the Augustinian canons were demolished to make space to build the main quadrangle of the new college (now called Tom Quad): and the intention was to demolish the remainder of the church and replace it with a chapel on the north side of the quadrangle. That never happened; and the surviving portion of the church, including the five remaining bays of the nave, became both the chapel for the new college and the cathedral for the new Diocese of Oxford which Henry VIII had separated from the Diocese of Lincoln. (See Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford).

The original nunnery founded by Frideswide was destroyed in 1002.[4] After that there was a monastery of secular canons.[5]



  1. ^ Blair, John (1988). "St Frideswide's monastery: problems and possibilities" (PDF). Oxoniensia. 53: 221–258. ISSN 0308-5562.
  2. ^ Dunning, Andrew N. J. (2018). "St Frideswide's Priory as a centre of learning in early Oxford". Mediaeval Studies. 80: 253–296. ISSN 0076-5872.
  3. ^ Willoughby, James (October 2015). "Thomas Wolsey and the books of Cardinal College, Oxford". Bodleian Library Record. 28 (2): 114–134.
  4. ^ Berkshire History: St. Frideswide (Frilsham), Part 2
  5. ^ The Legend of Frideswide of Oxford, an Anglo-Saxon Royal Abbess, Introduction

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