What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there=.–Train from Paddington. Great Western Railway. =Nearest Station=.–Oxford. =Distance from London=.–63-1/2 miles. =Average Time=.–Varies between 1-1/4 to 2-3/4 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares=.–Single 10s. 6d. 6s. 8d. 5s. 3-1/2d. Return 18s. 6d. 11s. 8d. 10s. 7d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Randolph Hotel,” “Mitre Hotel," “The Roebuck Hotel,” “Railway Hotel,” etc. =Alternative Route.=–Train from Euston. L. and N.W. Railway.
Oxford was a centre of learning in the time of Alfred. Walter de Merton founded the first college there, and others started the collegiate system of corporate colleges which makes English universities unique. The most celebrated colleges are Christ Church, Magdalen, New College, and Merton. Keble, Mansfield, and Hertford were established in Victorian times. In one part of the High Street the scene is architecturally magnificent. On the south side is University College, which claims the oldest foundation, although the present building only dates from the seventeenth century. Opposite is Queen’s College, then comes All Souls’. On the same side is St. Mary’s Church, and a little further All Souls’ Church. A turning by St. Mary’s Church leads to the Bodleian Library, the Sheldonian Theatre, and the Ashmolean Museum. At one end of St. Giles’ Street is the Martyrs’ Memorial and the Taylor Institution. Returning to High Street, and going towards the stations, a turning on the left leads to Oriel, Corpus Christi, and Merton Colleges, and still further on, St. Aldate’s Street, on the left, leads to Pembroke College and the fourteenth-century church of St. Aldate’s. Opposite the church are the buildings known as Christ Church, which has the Cathedral Church of St. Frideswide for its chapel. In the principal entrance is “Great Tom,” the famous bell that tolls at 9.5 P.M. Christ Church, though the smallest cathedral in England, and possibly in Europe, is of great interest on account of its very distinct transitional style. Magdalen College, near the bridge over the River Cherwell, and the Botanic Gardens, are at the other end of the High Street.
There was a monastery in Oxford in the eighth century. A castle was built by William I. after he captured the town, and from that time it was often visited by English kings. Several parliaments have been held there, and the courts of law as well as the parliament removed to Oxford during the plague of 1665. Charles I. made it his headquarters until Fairfax took the town.
[Illustration: Photochrom Co., Ltd. MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD.]