St. Edmund Hall

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English Heritage

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1939

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100-103

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'St. Edmund Hall', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Oxford (1939), pp. 100-103. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=121700 Date accessed: 23 October 2014.


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St. Edmund Hall

(21) St. Edmund Hall, stands on the E. side of Queen's Lane and immediately S. of the churchyard of St. Peter in the East. The walls are of local rubble and ashlar and the roofs are covered with slates and tiles. The Hall is thought to stand on the site of a house occupied by Edmund of Abingdon. It appears as St. Edmund Hall in a rental of Oseney Abbey of 1317. It remained the freehold of this foundation until the dissolution; in 1557 it passed to the Queen's College, which appointed the Principals till 1937. Nothing recognisable has been preserved of the mediæval buildings which occupied the site of the W. and part of the N. ranges. In the principalship of Thomas Bowsfield (1581–1600) in the second half of the 16th century the existing E. half of the N. Range was built and early in the 17th century, under John Aglionby (1601–9), the small House at the S. end of the E. range is said to have been built. Under Adam Airay (1631– 58) and Thomas Tullie (1658–76) the W. range, which had become ruinous, was pulled down and the existing range, with the Hall and porter's lodge, was built. The Chapel and Library were built chiefly through the liberality of Stephen Penton, Principal (1676–83); the foundation-stone was laid in 1680 and the chapel consecrated in 1682. About 1741 under Thomas Shaw, Principal (1740–51), the mediæval W. part of the N. range was pulled down and re-built with the exception of the large fireplace. The existing modern S. range of the quadrangle was completed in 1934.


St. Edmund Hall Arms

St. Edmund Hall Arms


St. Edmund Hall

St. Edmund Hall

Architectural Description—The W. or Hall Range, of two dates, the S. part of c. 1635 and the N. part of 1659, is mainly of three storeys with cellars and attics but the Hall occupies two storeys towards the N. end. The W. front is ashlar-faced and has been somewhat altered since Loggan's view was taken; it retains, however, its top range of little altered windows of 17th-century type with elliptical heads to the lights; it has three restored stone gables enclosing the dormer-windows; two lower windows, at the N. end, are similar; the projecting bay-window has been completely altered. The entrance-doorway is original an/d has flanking pilasters, imposts, three-centred arch in a square head and a heavy eared architrave supporting a pediment with a cartouche of the arms of the Hall; on the architrave is a modern chronogram. The battened door is nail-studded and has strap-hinges and a knocker. The E. front is also ashlar-faced and has two restored stone gables, one partly covered by the modern S. wing; the other has a window of 17th-century type and beside it a round-headed window, formerly a niche in which hung a bell later removed to the library. The top floor has a series of small windows like those on the W. front; below them are the three windows of the hall, each of two four-centred and transomed lights in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and label; the restored doorway to the hall has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in an eared architrave, with plain imposts and key-block. The inner archway of the entrance-passage has moulded jambs and three-centred arch in a square head; above it is a modern oriel-window. The cellar has windows of a similar type to those of the top floor and a doorway with a four-centred head. Inside the range the Hall (33½ ft. by 19¾ ft.) has a ceiling of four bays with chamfered crossbeams, curved braces and moulded corbels. Elsewhere in the range some ceiling-beams are exposed and there is a little re-set 17th and 18th-century panelling.

The N. Range is of three storeys with attics and is of two dates, the eastern half of late 16th-century date and the western of c. 1741. On the N. front, the later part of the W. front has windows with stone architraves; in the E. part the top storey is timber-framed and plastered. On the lower floors is a series of original square-headed windows, but higher up the windows are of 18th-century or modern date. On the S. front, to the quadrangle (Plate 171), the whole range is treated in a uniform manner, a straight joint indicating the junction of the two periods of building. There are string-courses between the storeys and a series of modern gabled dormers; the partly restored windows have four-centred or elliptical heads to the lights and the doorways have four-centred heads; the wooden sundial is perhaps of 1741. Inside the range the Junior Common Room retains a panelled 17th-century door and a late mediæval fireplace with chamfered jambs and four-centred arch. In the E. part there is a partly restored late 16th-century fireplace. The Vice-principal's room on the second floor has considerable remains of painted decoration; over the fireplace is the representation of an overmantel of two bays, with coupled Corinthian columns and oval panels between; it has been partly restored; over a door N. of the fireplace is a strap-work panel with birds and flowers; above the S.E. door is a similar panel, partly repainted; the exposed framing of the N. wall has also remains of painted decoration.

The Chapel and Library (Plate 171) were built in 1680–2, the library occupying the first floor of the W. portion, above the ante-chapel. The W. front is of two storeys ashlar-faced and finished with a plain plinth, entablature and panelled parapet; the middle bay is flanked by tall attached Composite columns supporting the main entablature and a pediment containing a bellniche; the central doorway has moulded jambs and elliptical arch all within an architrave with a cartouche of the arms of the Hall; above the architrave is a curved pediment resting on two piles of books and a panel inscribed "Deo opt. max. Capellam hanc sumtu suo, et Amicorum, posuit Stephanus Penton S.T.B. istius Aulae Principalis, Anno Domini 1682"; above the doorway is a window with an architrave and of two lights with two transoms; the upper side-windows of the front are of uniform design; the lower windows have only one transom and are finished with pediments. The front has been considerably restored. The Chapel (50 ft. by 20½ ft.) has a modern E. window, replacing one of four lights with tracery in a semi-circular head. The side walls are finished with a cornice and have each two windows, partly restored, and of two transomed lights in a square head with architrave and apron; the W. window on the N. has lost its mullion and transom and is covered by the modern organ-chamber. Internally (Plate 182) the side windows have moulded architraves and the walls have a cornice stopped on either side of the E. window; the plaster ceiling is of segmental barrel-form.

Fittings—The woodwork is all by Arthur Frogley and of c. 1682. Bell: inaccessible but said to be of 1658 and cast at Burford by Edward Neale. Communion Table: with turned legs and shaped brackets to top-rail, partly restored. Door: In W. doorway, of two panelled leaves. Paving: of octagonal stone slabs with small black marble squares between them. Screen (Plate 182): between the chapel and ante-chapel—is of panelled oak on the W. and of cedar on the E. face; towards the W. it is finished with a deep coved cornice with carved acanthus leaves on the cove; the square-headed central doorway has enriched mouldings and carved brackets flanking the head; there are similar brackets against the side walls; the rest of the screen has bolection-moulded and fielded panels with a dado-rail, but one panel on each side is or was open and is fitted with a scrolled wooden grille. On the E. face the screen is rather more elaborate and is higher; above the doorway is a curved pediment and the side-panels are arranged to agree with the stalls below; the bays flanking the doorway have side-pilasters with carved pendants of flowers, etc. and brackets supporting a five-sided projection to form a canopy to the stall below; the doorway is fitted with oak panelled gates with enriched and pierced upper panels and a ramped top with conventional ribbon-ornament. Stalls: against screen and side-walls of chapel—twelve stalls of oak against both side-walls and two on the returns; the two stalls flanking the entrance have twisted legs, continued above the seat to support the curved arms; at the back is an enriched panel; the rest of the stalls are simpler and have shaped arms and moulded pendants beneath the ends of the rests; against the side walls the stall-backs are formed by cedar panelling with bolection-moulded and inlaid panels and finished with a moulded cornice below the window-sills; in the middle of each wall is a wider panel with side-pilasters and a pediment with a cartouche-of-arms of Robert Partridge on the N. and Henry Worsley on the S. The cedar panelling is continued round the E. end beyond the stalls, the place of which is taken by a panelled dado; in the middle of the E. wall is a slight projection and the middle panel is surmounted by a curved pediment. The lower stalls of oak form benches with a continuous moulded front and scrolled supports at the ends; the bench-ends have triangular tops with pedestals on which stand enriched vases filled with fruit; the backs of the benches are panelled.

The staircase-hall to the S. of the ante-chapel contains some re-set 17th-century panelling. In the S. wall is a high two-centred arch of stone. The fittings of the Library are mostly modern but the gallery retains some original turned balusters.

The Building forming the rest of the E. range is of two storeys with attics and was built probably early in the 17th century. The windows have been partly restored and are of the same type as those in the N. range. Inside the building the staircase is of the 17th century except for the lowest flight; it has turned balusters and square newels with ball-finials and moulded pendants; on the first floor is a much restored fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred head.

The S. Range is entirely modern. In the middle of the quadrangle is a mediæval well with a modern stone head.

Condition—Good.



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