"I liked the effect of the Christmas tree and its lights against Balliol College at night. During the day-time this area is quite messy so this cropped night-time shot was the best way to get the city's Christmas tree." J J Marshall
URBANPIX CAPTION for Oxford Christmas Card:
Balliol College was founded by John de Balliol as penance for a territorial dispute with the Bishop of Durham in 1263. The Bishop dictated Balliol should carry out a substantial act of charity and he chose to rent a house outside Oxford’s city wall and maintain 16 poor scholars there, each of whom would receive 8d per week until they achieved their Master of Arts degree. When Balliol died in 1269, his devoted widow Dervorguilla not only removed Balliol’s heart from his corpse, embalmed and kept it in a silver casket for the next 21 years of her life, but undertook too, to complete his work at Oxford. She funded and endowed the college and in 1282 provided it with statutes for 16 scholars studying arts degrees.
Despite the antiquity of its foundation, Balliol’s buildings are mainly Georgian and Victorian, though parts of the 15th-century library remain. In a passage leading to Garden Quad hangs the Martyrs’ Gate, scorched by the flames which consumed Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, and Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester, as they burned at the stake in Broad Street in 1555 for their alleged Protestant heresies. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury suffered the same fate in 1556. An iron cross, set into the road outside Balliol marks the spot.