Posts Tagged ‘Oxfordshire’


20 JUNE 1214

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Events in History

Charter granted to the University of Oxford to appoint a chancellor by Nicholas de Romanis, the papal legate.

Though it is not known when exactly Oxford University was founded, there is evidence of teaching from as early as 1096.  The early structure of the university is impossible to ascertain.  In 1209 there is evidence that by 2 January 1201, a John Grim held the title magister scolorum Oxonie (master of schools of Oxford), which indicates that he was the head of all the schools of Oxford.

The papal legate enhanced the status of the office of the master of schools by his award of 1214, which was accepted and sanctioned by the Bishop of Lincoln, Hugh of Wells.


M.B. Hackett, ‘The University as a Corporate Body’, in: The Early Oxford Schools, Volume I, ed by J.I.Catto, Oxford University Press, 1984, pp.37-95.  ISBN 0-19-951011-3

The photograph shows the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford  (© Dorothea Preis)

Dorothea Preis

Tags: , ,



   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Events in History

Death of Alice Chaucer, duchess of Suffolk. She is buried in St Mary’s Church Ewelme.  Her tomb (pictured left) shows her wearing the Garter insignia on her left forearm.  The tomb is remarkable:   Alice’s effigy rests on an alabaster tomb chest, with a cadaver effigy below.

Alice had been married as a child to Sir John Phelip, who died when she was only 11 years old.  After 1421 she married Thomas Montagu, earl of Salisbury.  After his death in 1438, she married in November 1430 William de la Pole, earl of Suffolk.

Source: ODNB on Alice Chaucer, duchess of Suffolk

More on St Mary’s Church and the foundation of William and Alice de la Pole in Ewelme here.

Photograph of the tomb of Alice Chaucer by the present author.

Dorothea Preis

Tags: ,



   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Events in History


Statue of Edward IV on the gate of Magdalen College, Oxford (D. Preis)

Edward IV visits Oxford University and stays at Magdalen College on the invitation by the college’s founder, William Waynflete, bishop of Winchester.  The king arrived after sunset with a large company, innumerable torches burning before them. They spent the night and much of the next day at the College, where he listened to a brief speech congratulating him on his arrival and petitioning his support.  A statue of Edward on the gate commemorates his visit.


Robert C Hairsine, “Oxford University and the Life and Legend of Richard III”, in:  Richard III:  Crown and People, ed. by J Petre, Richard III Society, 1985, pp. 307-332

Dorothea Preis


Tags: ,


11 AUGUST 1486

   Posted by: Michael    in Events in History

Death of William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester

Source: ODNB on William Waynflete


Tags: ,


Richard III Visits Oxford University

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Events in History

Richard III Visits Oxford University

Magdalen College, Oxford (© D Preis)

Richard III Visits Oxford University

Not long after his coronation, Richard III visited Oxford University as one of the first stops of his Royal Progress.  He stayed for 3 days, 24 to 26 July 1483, at Magdalen College on the invitation by the college’s founder, William Waynflete, bishop of Winchester.

Richard was “honourably received, firstly outside the University by the Chancellor of the University and by the Regents and non-Regents; then he was received honourably and in procession at the College of the Blessed Mary Magdalene by a speech by the lord Founder”.  The day after his reception, we see Richard following his own cultural taste. He listened to two debates, one on moral philosophy and one on theology.

I think Hairsine is right when he remarks:

There was certainly no need for a medieval autocrat to sit through not one but two learned debates if he did not find a genuine interest there.  One is lead to believe that Richard’s visits to Oxford and Cambridge were welcome interludes from the cares of government.

Richard seems to have been impressed with the debates as well as his welcome and rewarded the participants and Magdalen College handsomely with venison and cash.  The whole event was in detail recorded in the Register of Magdalen College, which the anonymous Chronicler ended with the words Vivat rex in eternum, which can be translated as a “may the King live forever!”.

On the last day of his visit, Saturday 26 July, the king toured the university, before travelling on to Woodstock.


Robert C Hairsine, “Oxford University and the Life and Legend of Richard III”, in:  J Petre (ed.), Richard III:  Crown and People, Richard III Society, 1985, pp. 307-332

Rhoda Edwards, The Itinerary of King Richard III, 1483-1485. Richard III Society, 1983 , p.5

For the interesting history of Magdalen College, you can download an illustrated history book, The Story of Magdalen College Oxford, by Rena Gardiner from the College website.

Dorothea Preis


Tags: , , ,


3 JULY 1437

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Events in History

William de la Pole and Alice Chaucer, later duke and duchess of Suffolk, were licenced to found an almshouse at Ewelme for thirteen poor men and two chaplains.  The almshouse was called God’s House.  The statutes of 1448 show that by then a grammar school was added.  The almshouse as well as the school exist to this day.



Cloister of the almshouse at Ewelme (© Dorothea Preis)

Source:  ODNB on Alice Chaucer, duchess of Suffolk

You can read more about God’s House on Dottie Tales.

Dorothea Preis

Tags: ,


Next General Meeting 10 Feb. 2018

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley    in Meetings

We would like to invite you to our first meeting of the new year, on 10 Feb. 2018 at 2pm at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts.

Our speaker will be our own Dorothea, who has spoken to us often on many different Ricardian topics. Her chosen topic will be “William & Alice de la Pole’s God’s House at Ewelme”.

The cloister of God’s House at Ewelme

As many of us know, Dorothea came originally from Germany. After living for 5 years in the UK, she came to Australia in 1998. Dorothea joined the Richard III Society in 2004 and has since served in a variety of positions on the committee of the NSW Branch, at present as Membership Secretary. In addition, she is a member of the Bulletin Committee of the Society as a whole.

Dorothea has always been fascinated by things relating to Richard’s time in our world today, be it places or items or even ideas. Another area of interest is the lives of medieval people. Therefore, God’s House was an obvious choice: it is a place you can visit today, it hasn’t changed much since the 15th century and it involves the de la Pole family, who were anything but boring.

Dorothea decided to be a bit like the story of ‘Muhammad and the mountain’, if we can’t pop over to Oxfordshire to the real God’s House, God’s House will have to come here. We look forward to hearing her presentation!

Tags: , ,



   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News, Ricardian Places

The following information I heard on the highly informative ‘Ricardian grapevine’.  I  have not been able to find any press notices or similar about it, but thought it might be of interest to visitors of our page.

Should you be visiting the Henley-on-Thames area in Oxfordshire between Easter and December this year, you might be interested to know that there will be a small exhibition on Francis Lovell, who once owned the property.   Though from what we heard, it will just be information and image displays, a visit to a place which belonged to Richard’s loyal friend is always a treat.

And if you are also a Downton Abbey fan, you might already have caught a glimpse of Grey’s Court:   the picnic scene in series 3 was shot there.  As this series is at present screening in Australia, viewers here will have seen the family outing only a few weeks ago.

You can find out more on Grey’s Court here, though there is no mention of the exhibition, at least not yet.

Tags: ,


The April General Meeting

   Posted by: Julia Redlich    in Meetings

The speaker at our meeting on April 9 was Dorothea Preis, whose report on the “Blood and Roses” special interest weekend held at Christ Church College, Oxford, at the end of March features elsewhere on our website. Luckily for those many members attending we heard about the enlightening papers in much more detail and enjoyed the excellent choice of illustrations and photographs that brought the weekend to colourful life.  When it comes to colour, I suspect most of us were green with envy at what was obviously a time of special interest to Ricardians and Dorothea’s good fortune in participating and meeting other Ricardians from the USA, Canada and the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,


The Language of Maps

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

The Bodleian Library in Oxford is hosting a fascinating colloquium and exhibition called The Language of Maps:  Communicating through cartography during the middle ages and renaissance in June this year.

“Historic maps have broad appeal in contemporary cultures around the world. One reason for this – it might be thought – is because the ‘language of maps’ is universal and straightforward, but is it? How do maps communicate to us? How do they work?’  The colloquium tries to answer these questions and promises to “further our understanding and appreciation of the complexity of medieval and Renaissance maps and map‐making”.

This sounds fascinating to anyone with an interest in our period, and the beautiful setting will just add to it.

To find out more, click here.