Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Oxford Colleges (1)

Keeble, Hartford and the Divinity School

A trip to Oxford last Friday gave me a chance to visit several colleges accompanied by an excelent guide who had stayed up to the early hours to finish an essay so she could escourt me - what a star!.

First we went to Keeble College.

Keble College was founded in memory of John Keble (1792-1866), a founding member of the so-called ‘Tractarian’ or ‘Oxford’ movement which sought to recover the Catholic heritage of the Church of England. Keble College opened in 1870, and the Chapel was opened on St Mark’s Day 1876.

The architect was William Butterfield (1814-1900), who’s striking polychromatic brickwork in the Victorian Gothic style, was very different to the styles of the other Oxford colleges. He also broke with Oxford tradition in arranging rooms off corridors rather than up staircases.

Accommodation blocks to the north side of Liddon Quad, one of the two original quadrangles. It is named after Henry Parry Liddon, who was partly responsible for the choice of William Butterfield as the architect of the College.

The Library on the east side of Liddon Quad.

William Butterfield was a High Churchman himself; Keble College was one of his few secular buildings although one of the most impressive buildings is the chapel – unfortunately works were being carried out to the organ so we could not go inside when we visited.

After Keble we briedly put our heads into the quad at Hartford College - a complete contrast. At the end of the thirteenth century, Elias de Hertford founded Hart Hall on Catte Street, where the oldest parts of the current college, the Old Hall and the north east corner of the Old Quadrangle (view below), are currently situated.

Hartford College is also close to the Divinity School. This is a medieval building attached to the Bodleian Library .The ceiling consists of very elaborate lierne vaulting with bosses, designed by William Orchard in the 1480s. A Lierne (from the French lier - to bind) is an architectural term for a tertiary rib spanning between two other ribs, instead of from a springer, or to the central boss. The type of vault that utilizes liernes is called a lierne vault.

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