Christ Church War Memorial Garden was created in 1925 in memory of those who died in the First World War, and into the paving at its entrance is laid a sword with the inscription from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress ‘My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage’.
Christ Church was the thirteenth Oxford college to be founded. In 1524 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey obtained a Bull from the Pope for the dissolution of St Frideswide’s Priory, and work began on the new ‘Cardinal’s College’ as it was originally called. Although construction wasn’t complete by the time of Wolsey’s fall from power in 1529, Wolsey had taken care of the physical well-being of his students, and the Hall - the work of two of the greatest craftsmen of the time (the mason Thomas Redman and the glazier James Nicholson), and the kitchen were both
complete, and have not been fundamentally altered since, although the great hammerbeam roof in the Hall had to be replaced in the 18th century after a fire caused by choristers attempting to burn the Christmas decorations in the fireplace.
In addition to the lavishly carved and gilded roof, the Hall includes many portraits along its wood panelled walls, including those of Lewis Carroll and John Wesley who both attended Christ Church, and one portrait where the head seems to follow you around the room. The Hall was more recently made famous by its inclusion in the Harry Potter films, where it appeared as Hogwart’s Hall – though a replica had to be built in the film studio to enable filming to be done.
112 Christ Church great Hall