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Canterbury College, Oxford


Canterbury College, Oxford

Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford

Canterbury College

College name Canterbury College
Named after Owners - Christ Church Priory, Canterbury
Established 1362
Closed c. 1536-1541

Canterbury College, Oxford, was a University of Oxford college owned and run by Christ Church Priory, Canterbury. The Priory first sent 4 monks to study in Oxford in 1311, in a hall it had bought there near the church of St. Peter-in-the-East, but the actual college was founded in 1362 by Simon Islip, archbishop of Canterbury, in the parish of St. Edward. It was to consist of twelve students (initially 4 monks and 8 "secular clerks" - i.e. ordained clergy who were not monks), under a warden, who would be a monk chosen by the Priory's prior and admitted by the archbishop. Its endowment was granted in 1363, and included the church of Pagham, Sussex, along with (initially) eight Oxford houses' rents and a portion of the rents from Woodford, Northamptonshire and Worminghall, Buckinghamshire, where the Priory had manors. Other endowments came in 1373, 1380, and 1392, eventually coming to about £86 a year, although these all gradually disappeared.

The licence to acquire land for building was only given in 1364 though a year later Islip pulled out the monks and appointed as warden a secular clerk, John Wycliffe. Then in 1366 Islip's successor as archbishop, Simon Langham, wished to put the monks back in place and litigation at the Roman Curia ensued. In 1368 Langham was appointed Cardinal and his influence induced the Curia to give judgment in favour of the monks in 1370.[1] One more monk was added in 1383, with the Priory paying for all 5 monks' maintenance at 10 pennies per week per monk. One of its students from Canterbury Priory was Thomas Chillenden, later Prior of the monastery. Rooms were rented to other Benedictine monasteries' members, including Rochester, Coventry, Battle, Peterborough, and Evesham, though all inmates were to a greater or lesser extent subject to Gloucester College's 'prior studentium'. In 1426 the 'prior studentium' complained that Canterbury College's students were breaking Benedictine rules on eating meat.

Shortly after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the college's hall, chapel and other buildings were acquired by Christ Church.


  • 'Houses of Benedictine monks: Canterbury College, Oxford', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2 (1907), pp. 68. Date accessed: 31 October 2007.


  1. ^ Knowles, David. The Religious Orders in England, Volume II. Cambridge University Press, 1955, p. 21.

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