Christ Church Cathedral - Oxford. Image courtesy of Randy Connolly

Visiting Oxford > What to See > Historical Places

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is perhaps the most stunning college chapel in Oxford. It was built as a place of worship in the late 12th century. Though one of England’s smallest cathedrals, it’s a wonderful example of late Norman architecture.

The story of Christ Church Cathedral starts with St Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. This Anglo-Saxon princess forswore marriage to found a convent – despite the clear wishes of the king, who was hoping to marry her. The townspeople of Oxford protected her, and she founded a convent there, in 1122, on what is now the Cathedral. 

 In 1522, the priory was taken over by Thomas Wolsey. Although he planned to knock down the church and replace it with a new chapel for his Cardinal College, it was taken over by Henry VIII when Wolsey fell from grace. He named it Christ Church and retained it as the cathedral of the diocese of Oxford.

Where is Christ Church Cathedral?

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