Building began: 1160
About the cathedral:
Oxford Cathedral is surprisingly difficult to spot. Though it does have a spire (dating back to the 12th century), it is scarcely noticeable in this famous ‘City of Spires’. Hunt carefully, however, and you’ll eventually find it tucked away in the corner of Christ Church college. The cathedral also serves as the college’s chapel and, as such, has been a familiar haunt of the great and good over the years – Christ Church is the alma mater of no fewer than 13 former British prime ministers. Though it is one of England’s smaller Anglican cathedrals, it has the largest diocese, covering 814 parish churches in all.
Did you know?
A number of composers have strong links with Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. These include John Taverner, who was choirmaster here back in the 16th century and, considerably more recently, Vicar of Dibley, QI and Blackadder composer Howard Goodall, a former choral scholar. In the early years of the 20th century, meanwhile, a young William Walton arrived at the college as a boy chorister. When his voice broke, he remained as an undergraduate, but was eventually sent down without a degree.