Christ Church, Oxford's largest and arguably grandest college, has awed visitors ever since its foundation by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525: one seventeenth-century visitor said 'it is more like some fine castle, or great palace than a College'. The already impressive site was further enhanced during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by ever more imposing structures, and building has continued up to the present day, sometimes following fashion, sometimes leading the way with new architectural styles.
The Stones of Christ Church tells the fascinating story of the college's buildings throughout its five centuries, and of those who brought them into being, from the three great 'builder deans', John Fell, Henry Aldrich and Henry Liddell, to the humble slaters, joiners, bricklayers and stonemasons, and the materials that they worked with. The resulting buildings - Tom Tower, Peckwater Quad, Meadow Buildings and many more - are among the most iconic sights of Oxford today.
Judith Curthoys, archivist at Christ Church since 1994, is also the author of The Cardinal's College (Profile, 2012), an in-depth history of this remarkable institution. Her new and impeccably researched study shows how much each generation's buildings, whether grand or humble, can tell us about the history both of the site and of those who occupied it.
Judith Curthoys MSt, DAA has been archivist at Christ Church, Oxford, since 1994. She has contributed articles to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), was for ten years reviews editor of the Oxford archaeological and architectural journal, Oxoniensa, and is the author of The Cardinal's College (Profile, 2012), a history of Christ Church from 1525 to the present day.