"This photo was taken from the base of the spire of St Mary the Virgin Church, High Street, Oxford. It is open to the public, so you can do it too - but it's hard work!" J J Marshall
URBANPIX CAPTION for this Oxford card:
All Souls College dates from 1438 and is unique amongst Oxford colleges in that it has no students. All its members are Fellows and full governing members of the college. The original statutes required they should be ‘born in wedlock, dressed as befitted their respectable position as clerics and be able to sing plainsong’.
Sir Christopher Wren attended All Souls from 1653-61, at which time he was known as a designer, astronomer and College Bursar - he was not known as an architect at this time.
Nicholas Hawksmoor is the architect of the College’s eighteenth-century twin towers. The original drawings show them to be less elevated, but with a touch of genius Hawksmoor pulled them up like telescopes, to become today’s dramatic architectural statement.
Every 100 years, All Souls continues the tradition of ‘Hunting of the Mallard’, a ceremony in which the Warden, followed by ‘Lord Mallard’ who is carried in a chair with a dead duck suspended from a pole, leads a procession in search of the legendary mallard which, it is said, flew out of a drain when the foundations of the College were being laid.