St John’s College

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Things to do


Date of travel

June, 2016

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St John’s is a large college on the edge of the shopping area and gets few visitors compared with some of the better known colleges. It is entered from the road under a splendid tower.

It was originally part of the College of St Bernard which was a Cistercian Monastery that was closed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. During the reign of Queen Mary, it was intended to provide a supply of Roman Catholic clerics The chapel dates back to the College of St Bernard, around 1530. The Baylie Chapel off the chancel, was added in 1662-9.

There was a major restoration in the mid C19th and all the furnishings date from then and many of the monuments were moved into the Baylie Chapel.

The chapel is almost insignificant from the outside, tucked away in a corner of the main quadrangle. Doors lead from the vestibule through a wooden screen with the organ above.

The main body of the chapel is very light with white washed walls and large windows with C19th glass. Above is a hammer beam roof with carved angels on the ends of the beams. The stalls have open carved fronts and candle sticks.

The sanctuary is quite dark in comparison. The reredos has a scene of Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist.

On the left is the Baylie Chapel, just lit by the east window. The stained glass in the window commemorates William Laud, Richard Baylie and William Juxon. Laud and Juxon are buried beneath the chapel and all were Presidents of the College. Baylie is buried in the splendid tomb between the chapel and the high altar.

On the walls are more memorials to the great and good and the chapel has a beautiful fan vaulted ceiling.

Entry to the college is free and it is open 1-5pm. The post code is OX1 3JP and the grid reference is SP 513066.

There are more pictures “here.”:


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