A few late places are available at Worcester College Oxford this summer. For an unforgettable experience of living in an Oxford College, enjoying some of the most beautiful private gardens of the city and being just a few steps away from your classes. Your programme includes:
A history of Worcester College, Oxford.
The first academic houses were monastic halls. Of the dozens that were established in Oxford during the 12th to 15th centuries, none survived the Reformation and Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Looking down the elegant line of Regency style houses of Beaumont street in Oxford, your eye is guided to the gates of Worcester College. Originally named Gloucester College, the site was founded in 1283 and offered shared accommodation to Benedictine monks. The medieval cottages that were built to house these monks are still part of the college today. “The Cottages” are now among the oldest residential buildings in Oxford.
The College briefly closed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, when the buildings were granted to Robert King, first Bishop of Oxford who used them for his Bishop’s palace. In 1560 the site was purchased by Sir Thomas White, a wealthy tailor and former Lord Mayor of London, who also founded St John’s College. He maintained the buildings as Gloucester Hall.
In 1714 Gloucester Hall became Worcester College thanks to the generosity of Sir Thomas Cookes, a landowner from Worcestershire. Cookes invested in major redevelopment, and is the driving force behind the Georgian aesthetic of the College as it appears today.
The major influences in the architectural style were George Clark collaborating with Nicholas Hawksmoor, who worked on other prestigious English landmarks such as restoration of Westminster Abbey, and later Henry Keene and James Wyatt.
Worcester Chapel is definitely a highlight on any tour of Oxford architecture. Oscar Wilde said of the Chapel, “As a piece of simple decorative and beautiful art it is perfect.”
The interior columns, dome and delicate foliage plastering are all Wyatt’s work. However, his classical interior was considered insufficiently emphatic for Victorian tastes, and the chapel was redecorated by William Burges in 1864. It is extremely and decorative and unusual. Predominantly pink, the pews are decorated with carved animals ranging from kangaroos to whales, while the walls the walls are alive with vivid frescoes. Burges wanted to make the chapel resemble an early basilica, and used sumptuous materials such as tile, alabaster, mosaics, and stained glass.
One of the major attractions for visitors to Worcester College is the gardens, which are equally beautiful as the historic architecture. Although Worcester is near the centre of Oxford today, it was on the edge of the city in the eighteenth century. This has proved a benefit, since it has allowed the college to retain these extensive gardens (a total of 28 acres) playing fields with pavilion, and a lake.