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Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford

All Souls College

All Souls College in winter.jpg
College name The Warden and College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford
Latin name Collegium Omnium Animarum
Named after Feast of All Souls
Established 1438
Sister college Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Warden Prof Sir John Vickers
JCR president None
Undergraduates None
MCR president None
Graduates 8 (approx.)

All Souls College, Oxford is located in Oxford (central)

Location of All Souls College within central OxfordCoordinates: 51°45′12″N 1°15′11″W / 51.753279°N 1.253041°W / 51.753279; -1.253041
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All Souls College (in full: The Warden and College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford[1]) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England.

Unique to All Souls, all of its members automatically become Fellows, i.e., full members of the College's governing body. It has no undergraduate members.

Every year, the top finalists of the University in the humanities are invited to sit the examination in Classics, English, Economics, History, Law, Philosophy and Politics for fellowship of the College.[2] About two are elected to fellowship each year. These Fellows are known as Prize Fellows, their term of office is seven years and roughly a dozen are at the college at any one time. Other categories of fellowship include Senior Research Fellows, Post-Doctoral Research Fellows, Fifty-Pound Fellows (open only to former Fellows no longer holding posts in Oxford) and Distinguished Fellows. There are also many Professorial Fellows who hold their fellowships by reason of their University post.

It is one of the wealthiest colleges with a financial endowment of £236m (2007) but because the College's only source of revenue is its endowment, it ranks nineteenth among Oxford colleges with respect to total income.[3]

The college is located on the north side of the High Street and also adjoins Radcliffe Square to the west. To the east is The Queen's College and to the north is Hertford College.

Contents

History

The College was founded by Henry VI of England and Henry Chichele (fellow of New College and Archbishop of Canterbury), in 1438. The Statutes provided for the Warden and forty fellows — all to take Holy Orders; twenty-four to study arts, philosophy and theology; and sixteen to study civil or canon law. The College's Codrington Library was built with the bequest of Christopher Codrington, sometime governor of the Leeward Islands. Today the College is primarily an academic research institution.

There are now no undergraduate members, but All Souls did once have them, especially around the early 17th century, introduced by Robert Hovenden (who was Warden of the college from 1571 to 1614) to provide servientes. The downside of this soon appeared, and the college decided to get along without them again, although four Bible Clerks remained on the foundation until 1924.[4] One such was the Rev. Thomas Forster Rolfe (born 1855), an undergraduate at All Souls from 1874–1878. Joseph Keble (1632-1710) was another undergraduate of the college.

Customs

Every hundred years, and generally on the date January 14th, there is a commemorative feast after which the fellows parade around the College with flaming torches, singing the Mallard Song and led by a "Lord Mallard" who is carried in a chair, in search of a legendary mallard that supposedly flew out of the foundations of the college when it was being built[5]. During the hunt the Lord Mallard is preceded by a man bearing a pole to which a mallard is tied - originally a live bird, latterly either dead (1901) or carved from wood (2001). The last mallard ceremony was in 2001[6] and the next will be held in 2101. The precise origin of the custom is not known but it dates from at least 1632[7].

Fellows

The gates on Radcliffe Square.
A view of All Souls' College quadrangle from its Radcliffe Square gate.
All Souls Quad abutting High Street.

Past and current fellows of the College have included:

Chapel

All Souls College at twilight

Built between 1438 and 1442 it remained largely unchanged until the Commonwealth - Oxford having been a Royalist stronghold, suffered a certain amount of the Puritans' wrath. The 42 misericords date from the Chapel’s building, and show a family resemblance to the misericords at Higham Ferrers as they were, also, possibly carved by Richard Tyllock.

Sir Christopher Wren was a Fellow from 1653 and in 1658 produced a very fine sundial, which was placed on the South wall of the Chapel, until it was moved to the quadrangle in 1877. During the 1660’s a screen was installed, which was based on a design by Wren, however this screen needed to be rebuilt by 1713. By the mid-19th century, much work was needed and so, today’s chapel is heavily influenced by Victorian ideals.

References

  1. ^ "History of the College". http://www.all-souls.ox.ac.uk/about/history11.php.  
  2. ^ Prize Fellowships, All Souls College, Oxford.
  3. ^ Finance, All Souls College, Oxford.
  4. ^ History page 3, All Souls College, Oxford (accessed 11 March 2008).
  5. ^ British Folk Customs http://www.information-britain.co.uk/customdetail.php?id=59
  6. ^ Daily Telegraph 15 January 2001: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1314859/Mallard-leads-Oxford-fellows-a-merry-dance.html
  7. ^ HOLE, Christina, English Custom and Usage, London, Batsford, 1941, p.28: "...we know that the custom existed at least as early as 1632, for in that year Archbishop Abbot censured the College for a riot "in pretence of a foolish Mallard"."

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