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Christ Church College, Oxford, was founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII. But this was originally going to be Thomas Wolsey’s Cardinal College. In 1525, when Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York, Wolsey suppressed the Priory of St Frideswide in Oxford and founded Cardinal College on its lands. Frideswide was a Saxon princess and healer who became the Patron Saint of Oxford; her shrine is still in Christ Church Cathedral (see separate entry) today. Anyway, Wolsey fell from grace and died, and the college was instead founded by Henry as Christ Church.
Christ Church is a large college, packed with history, and has several significant features – not least the Cathedral of Christ Church which is part of it (though has a separate entry on A Bit About Britain). Tom Tower was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, Tom Quad is the largest quadrangle in Oxford and the Great Dining Hall was the seat of the parliament assembled by King Charles I during the English Civil War. Several parts of the college have featured in films, including Harry Potter and The Golden Compass. The stairs leading to the Hall will be familiar as the place where Professor Minerva McGonagall greeted the new students.
Among Christ Church notable alumni are (allegedly) thirteen British prime ministers (more than any other Oxbridge college), including Robert Peel, WE Gladstone, Anthony Eden and Alec Douglas-Home, as well as (in no particular order) King Edward VII, William Penn, Lewis Carroll, CS Lewis, WH Auden, Richard Curtis, John Ruskin, Hugh Trevor-Roper and David Dimbleby.
Christ Church College is extremely popular with tourists. Its sister college in the University of Cambridge is Trinity College, also founded in 1546 by Henry VIII. See separate entry.
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