All Souls College

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All Souls College is one of 32 Colleges of the Oxford University. Its full and official name is: The Warden and College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford. All Souls is purely a graduate college, restricting its membership to fellows of the highest academic distinction. It is as well one of the wealthiest colleges. It is situated on the north side of High Street, bordering Radcliffe Square, Queen’s College and Hertford College.

All Souls College was founded on 20 May 1438 by Archbishop Chichele of Canterbury and Henry VI of England, as a memorial to those who died in the Hundred Years’ War. The statutes provided for a warden and 40 fellows — all to take Holy Orders; 24 to study arts, philosophy and theology; and 16 to study civil or canon law.

Architecturally, it is one of the most interesting and most splendid buildings in Oxford. Its layout is a T-pattern. It is not homogenous. The archeological variety and beauty is manifested particularly in its two principal elements, the Front (or Old) Quadrangle and the North (or Great) Quadrangle. The Great Quad was completed in 1733 and it is famous for its imposing twin towers designed by Hawksmoor and Wren’s sundial that moved here in 1658.

Immediately after the establishment of the College, the chapel started to be built. It was finished in 1442 by mason Richard Chevynton of Abingdon. The carved reredos is from 1447, but it has been completely rebuilt after its destruction by Puritans. The roof of the chapel was probably designed by John Branche, but the angels were made by a carver, Richard Tyllok. The present chapel is strongly marked by 18th and 19th century tastes. The green-and-gold screen was designed by Sir James Thornhill in 1716. The College's Codrington Library was built with the bequest of Christopher Codrington.

Today the College is primarily an academic research institution at the University of Oxford, having strong ties to the public domain.
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