Thomas Wolsey: Patron of Education

Chapter 2 : Cardinal College, Oxford

The site chosen was the Augustinian St Frideswide's Priory and a Bull was received in 1524 from Pope Clement VII, permitting its suppression. The site was extended to include surrounding houses, the Oxford Jewish quarter, various inns and also Canterbury College.

Originally the Priory Church of St Frideswide, then incorporated into Cardinal Colleg. Now Christ Church, Oxford.

Works began almost immediately, with the centrepiece being the Gothic quadrangle known as Tom Quad which, measuring 264 by 261 feet, is still the largest in Oxford.

By the time of Wolsey's fall in 1529, the building work was incomplete, with only three sides of the quadrangle finished, and the fourth, the Chapel location, still at foundation level.

The Hall was finished, worked on by the mason Thomas Redman and the glazier James Nicholson, as were the kitchens.

The College was to be staffed by a Dean (the first being John Higdon, formerly a Fellow at Magdalen with Wolsey) and sixty Canons, as well as a schoolmaster,priests, clerks and choir boys, honest paupers (!) and undergraduates.

Work stopped in 1529, then, in 1532, Cardinal College was re-founded as King Henry VIII's College, on a reduced scale, with only twelve canons.

On 20 th May 1545, the College was surrendered to the Crown, as one of the last monasteries in England, and combined with the new See of Oxford to create the new Christ Church, Oxford, which remains the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Oxford.

"Tom Quad", laid out as part of Wolsey's Cardinal College, Oxford