Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
Christ Church Cathedral
Cathedral Church of Christ

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
Style Romanesque, Gothic
Years built 1160-1200
Diocese Oxford (since 1546)
Province Canterbury

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.



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.

Interior of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.
Inside Christ Church Cathedral

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 from Osney to the see of Oxford. 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.

Notable burials

  • Bishop George Berkeley, philosopher (his memorial is in the nave)
  • John Fell, Bishop of Oxford
  • Sir Henry Gage (1593–1645), buried in the Lucy Chapel off the south transept
  • George Stewart, 9th Seigneur d'Aubigny, Cavalier
  • Thomas Banks Strong, Bishop of Oxford
  • John Underhill (bishop)
  • John Urry


The organ is a 43-rank, four-manual and pedal instrument built in 1979 by Austrian firm Rieger Orgelbau. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.

List of organists

  • 1530 - 1564 John Taverner
  • 1564 - 1611 Bartholomew Lant
  • 1611 - 1613 Matthew White
  • 1613 - 1630 William Stonard
  • 1630 - 1682 Edward Lowe
  • 1682 - 1690 William Husbands
  • 1690 - 1691 Charles Husbands
  • 1691 - 1718 Richard Goodson (snr)
  • 1718 - 1741 Richard Goodson (jnr)
  • 1741 - 1776 Richard Church
  • 1776 - 1790 Thomas Norris
  • 1790 - 1807 William Crotch
  • 1807 - 1825 William Cross
  • 1825 - 1846 William Marshall
  • 1846 - 1882 Charles William Corfe
  • 1882 - 1892 Charles Harford Lloyd
  • 1892 - 1909 Basil Harwood [2]
  • 1909 - 1926 Henry George Ley
Christ Church Cathedral from across the Christ Church Meadow.
Christ Church Cathedral from its gardens, adjacent to the Meadow Building.
Oxford Cathederal in 2011

Assistant organists

  • William Walond 1753
  • Arthur Herbert Brewer
  • Sidney Thomas Mayow Newman 1924 - 1928
  • Ivor Christopher Banfield Keys 1938 - 1940
  • Alec Wyton 1943 - 1946 (afterwards organist of St Matthew's Church, Northampton)
  • Ivor Christopher Banfield Keys 1946 - 1947
  • Harrison Oxley 1953 - 1955 (formerly assistant organist of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, afterwards organist of St Edmundsbury Cathedral)
  • Anthony Crossland 1957 - 1961
  • Nicholas Cleobury 1972 - ????
  • Simon Lawford 1986 - 1990
  • Stephen Farr 1990-1996?
  • David Goode 1996 - 2001

Sub organists

See also


  1. ^ Christ Church Cathedral — Miscellany,, 2004.
  2. ^ Cathedral Organists. John E West. Novello and Company. London. 1899

External links

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