Christ Church Cathedral School

Christ Church Cathedral School
Christ Church Cathedral School.
Christ Church Cathedral School is located in Oxford (central)
Location of Christ Church Cathedral School within central Oxford

Christ Church Cathedral School is a Prep and Pre-Prep, fee-paying boarding and day school for approximately 140 pupils based in Oxford, England. Steeped in music and history, the School was founded by Henry VIII in 1546 to provide choristers for Christ Church Cathedral and College. Now a Church of England School, it was originally housed within the College itself. Today its premises are located across from Christ Church at 3 Brewer Street and Cardinal Wolsey's house is still used for teaching.[1]

In the 19th century, the Dean of Christ Church, Henry Liddell (father of Alice, who was immortalised in the books of Lewis Carroll) arranged for the building of a new choir school on its present site. More recent developments include the opening of a Pre-Prep department and nursery, and the William Walton Centre which comprises several new classrooms and teaching facilities.[2]

All pupils are boys except a few girls who attend the nursery. The 22 boarders are choristers or probationary choristers for the Cathedral. The dormitories in which they sleep are named after distinguished former organists including Ley, Taverner, Armstrong and Harwood. All other pupils are day boys, among them eighteen non-boarding choristers who sing in Worcester College Chapel. The school used to provide choristers for Exeter College but this ended when Exeter established a mixed choir. In addition to the focus on Music, there is also a distinguished tradition of Art, and the school contributes an annual exhibition to Oxford's Artweeks festival.[3]

Leavers typically move on to local schools such as Magdalen College School, Oxford, Abingdon School, St Edward's School, Oxford and Bloxham School . There is also a tradition of choristers winning Music Scholarships to destinations further afield, which in recent years have included Harrow School, Uppingham School, Eton College, Sherborne School and Wellington College, Berkshire.[4]

The current headmaster is Martin Bruce, and the deputy headmaster is Paul Wavell.


The choir

The Choir, which is unique as both a Cathedral and College Choir, comprises twelve men and sixteen boys together with two organists. Six of the men are professionals (the lay clerks), and six are undergraduates (the academical clerks). The boys' ages range from eight to thirteen. Nearly all Cathedral choristers gain musical scholarships to public schools.[5]

Throughout its history, the 500-year-old choir has attracted many distinguished composers and organists — from its first director, John Taverner, appointed by Cardinal Wolsey in 1526, to William Walton.

Famous alumni


  1. ^ "Christ Church Cathedral School". [1]. Retrieved June 07, 2011. 
  2. ^ [2] Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)website. URL accessed August 18, 2007.
  3. ^ [3] Artweeks website.
  4. ^ 2010
  5. ^ Official School website. URL accessed August 13, 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 51°44′59″N 1°15′28″W / 51.7497°N 1.2578°W / 51.7497; -1.2578

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