"It is unusual for the High St to be this quiet and uncluttered - and with the sun shining. It allows the ancient college buildings to speak for themselves." J J Marshall
URBANPIX CAPTION for this Oxford card:
All Souls College dates from 1438 and was established by Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, with King Henry VI as its formal co-founder. Chichele acquired the site on the corner of the High Street and Catte Street for his college, which 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, but it was his pupil Nicholas Hawksmoor who designed the college’s famous twin towers that were built in Catte Street between 1716 and 1720.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 flew out of a drain when the foundations of the college were being laid.
Order No 111 All Souls College