Sunday, November 5, 2017


The 2017 College of Arms fee schedule for a coat of arms and crest is shown below. 

"Impersonal" arms would be for a city or town or church. The arms without crest would be the shield.

 The crest is above the shield and typically adorns a helmet. In the North Warwickshire Borough Council coat of arms the crest is a lion rampant holding a cross fleury.

A "badge" is an armiger's equivalent to a logo. It would appear on clothing worn by staff, for example. It is interesting that the badge is priced only for commercial companies. 

Any graduate of a good college with no identifiable character blemishes and a connection to England or Wales (as would be the case for any graduate of an English University) can petition to the Queen for a coat of arms. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

CLERIHEWS | Oxonians, November 2017


The Elder William Pitt,
Dreamt of an empire fully Brit.
The French he thought he'd chased away...
Egad, sailed back, helped the USA.

C. S. Lewis loved romance,
Though soulmate Tolkien looked askance.
Both chased inklings of spirits at home.
But Jack chose Joy instead of Rome.

James Oglethorpe, sure,
Planned for Georgia to help the poor –
No rum, no slaves, no large estates
And an Anglican wait for the Pearly Gates.

Frederick Lord North
Sent tax collectors forth.
Boston rebels made them swim.
How could he have been so dim?

Edmund Clerihew Bentley,
Ever so gently,
Did what he had to do,
And invented the clerihew.

All Clerihews above by JT Marlin.
See also:
Oxford birthdays . Clerihews for Writers4Kids

BIRTHDAYS | Oxonians, November 2017

Oxford Black Alumni Group Formed (2017)

09 | Noel Godfrey Chavasse (Trinity) 1884
09 | Francis Chavasse (Trinity and St. Peter's) 1884
15 William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham* (Trinity) 1708
21 | Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, "Q" (Trinity) 1863
29 | C. S. Lewis* (Univ.) 1898
18 | Charles Wesley (Ch.Ch.) 1707
22 | James Oglethorpe* (Corpus), 1st Gov. of Georgia 1696
03 | J.R.R. Tolkien, CBE (Exeter) 1892
27 Charles Dodgson, "Lewis Carroll" (Ch.Ch.) 1832
13 | Anna Watkins (rower for Cambridge against Oxford), 1983
21 John Henry Cardinal Newman (Trinity) 1801
21 | W. H. Auden
01 John Tepper Marlin (Trinity) 1942 😏
02 Dr Seuss (Lincoln), 1904
11 Rupert Murdoch, 1931
14 Stephen Hawking (Univ), death, 2018 (born in April)
24 William Morris (Exeter), 1834
26 Robert Frost, 1926
26 A. E. Housman, 1859
01 Rachel Maddow (Lincoln), 1973
03 Jane Goodall, 1934
April 23. St George's
05 NYC Boat Race Dinner, University Club
13 Frederick Lord North (Trinity), 1732
13 Christopher Hitchens, 1949
14 Michael Maclagan (Ch.Ch. and Trinity), 1914
15 Emma Watson, 1990
15 Joseph Lister, 1827
19 Dudley Moore, 1935
23 St George's Day
28 Harper Lee, 1926
28 Elena Kagan, 1960
10 | James Viscount Bryce (Trinity) 1838
20 | Melvin "Dinghy" Young (Trinity), DFC & Bar 1915
29 Sir Basil "Gaffer" Blackwell (Merton) 1889
04 Dan Topolski (New) 1945
05 | James Smithson (Pembroke) 1765
16 | Adam Smith (Balliol) 1723
17 | John Wesley (Ch.Ch.) 1703
10 | E. Clerihew Bentley (Merton) 1875
27 | Hilaire Belloc, 1870
28 | Senator Bill Bradley (Worcester) 1943
08 | Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore (Trinity) 1605
10 | George Goodman, "Adam Smith" (BNC) 1930
11 | Lawrence Binyon (Trinity)
16 | T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia) (Jesus) 1888
19 | President Bill Clinton (Univ.)
07 | Peter Darrow (Trinity) 1950
02 | Graham Greene, 1904
23 | Denis Woodfield (Lincoln) 1933

BIRTH | May 20 – Melvin ("Dinghy") Young (Trinity), DFC & Bar

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

LORD DUNMORE | Oct. 24 – Attacks Norfolk, Stirs Up Fear

John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore
Knew what he was fighting for.
His threats made Patriots incensed.
(He knew less what he fought against.)
Clerihew by JT Marlin. Portrait attributed by
Google to Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792).
October 24, 2017 – This day in 1775, Virginia's last royal governor, John Murray (4th Earl of Dunmore), ordered six British Navy ships to sail up the James River, attack Patriot troops and destroy the town of Norfolk, Virginia.

This and related actions during his short term as Governor  contributed to the momentum of the American Revolution.

He helped create in Virginia a climate of fear of British rule, encouraged by Virginia Whigs (Patriots). This made them responsive to rebellions in New England.

Lord Dunmore was born in 1732, son of William Murray, the third Earl. He succeeded his father to the earldom in 1756 and took his place in the House of Lords in 1761-1774 and 1776-1790

As a reward for involvement in British politics, he was named British Governor of the Province of New York from 1770 to 1771. When the Governor of Virginia died, Dunmore was named to replace him. During 1774-1776, he became the last Royal Governor of Virginia.  He made a mighty contribution to the American rebel cause, although that might not have been so clear at the time.

Dunmore began his governorship well, from the perspective of both Virginians and the British Government. He successfully launched an attack on threatening Shawnee Indians. However, he was concerned about the independence of the Virginia militias and on April 20, 1775 he removed gunpowder from the colonial Virginia capital of Williamsburg, taking the powder to British ships anchored offshore. He also brought his family from the governor's Palace to the ships. 

Local Whig (Patriot) citizens were concerned that removing the gunpowder was not merely an attempt to reserve power to the King George, but removing their ability to respond to violence from their slaves, whom Dunmore saw as a possible ally.

Dunmore's reaction to this Whig criticism was to announce that any attack on the Governor's troops would force him to pursue the option of freeing his own slaves and arming them to fight against the rebels.

The Virginia planters, collectively owning about 180,000 slaves, were shocked. They began sympathizing with the New England Yankees, who had been calling for revolt. 

By June, Lord Dunmore retreated to the HMS Fowey, a British warship in the James River. (His family returned to Scotland.) He began to assemble a small fleet to strike back at the rebels and advertised that runaways that were able to make their way to his fleet would be welcomed. 

Those were fighting words. The rebels – the Whigs now increasingly joined by Tories – responded by increasing slave patrols and threatening extreme punishment for slaves that tried to escape to the HMS Fowey. Slaves that were caught were given lashes and worse.

As ordered, Captain Matthew Squire led the six British ships into Hampton Creek and began bombarding Norfolk with artillery and cannon fire, while a second contingent of British troops sailed ashore to begin engaging the Patriots.

The British Navy expected the Patriots and local militia to come charging out and engaging in open combat. They were surprised that the Patriots knew a thing or two about "secret war" – i.e., guerrilla warfare – from George Washington's tutelage years before under General Braddock in the French and Indian War. Lord Dunmore should also have known better because the Murray and Douglas families in Scotland perfected secret warfare against Edwards I-III.

The British came under fire from expert Patriot riflemen, and Virginia’s local militia leader, Colonel William Woodford, marched an additional 100 members to defend Norfolk. With reinforcements in place, the Patriots pushed the British back to their ships, where riflemen again picked off British troops on their decks. 

Seeing defeat ahead at the hands of the local militia, Captain Squire ordered a full retreat, during which two of the six British ships ran aground and were captured. The Patriots did not suffer a single fatality.

Dunmore's response was to declare martial law on November 14, 1775. He issued a proclamation that freed
all indented Servants, Negroes, or others … that are able and willing to bear Arms.
He made no distinction between Patriot or Loyalist property. George Washington, commander of Patriot forces, was deeply worried. He said that Dunmore must be crushed, or slave defections would become like a rolling "snow ball." (Washington to Reed, December 15, 1775, The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, Vol. 2, 553.)

Dunmore returned home to Scotland in 1776. The position of Royal Governor of Virginia was never filled again.

Other Posts on Related Topics: Lord Dunmore's Battles.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

OXONIANS DRAW U.S. BORDER | Oct. 18 – Mason-Dixon Line Set

Oct. 18, 2017 – This day 250 years ago, in 1767, the interstate border was settled that a century later became the key boundary of the American Civil War – the Mason-Dixon line.

The line was named after two British surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

They were hired by two prominent families on either side of the border, both were originally headed by Oxford alumni: 
The Calvert and Penn families, to settle a dispute over the border between them, hired English surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

The essential element of their survey, which had been interrupted by skirmishes with Indians, was completed on this day.

It established the boundary not only between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland but for territories in the west that after the Revolution became the state of West Virginia and those in the east that became Delaware. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s coat of arms on one side and Maryland’s on the other.

Why did this become the dividing line in the War Between the States? Because it was the North-South dividing line, between the slave states in the south and the free states in the north.

It is no puzzle why the South favored slavery–the earliest immigrants to the southern colonies like Virginia were loyalists to the British Crown and the Church of England and they were given generous grants of land that required huge numbers of workers. The cash crops such as tobacco and cotton that became the mainstay of the southern farms required workers to do strenuous repetitive tasks, and slavery provided a solution.

It is also no puzzle why New England did not favor slavery. They did not get large grants of land from the Crown because the earliest immigrants to New England were dissenting rebels from the Church of England. Most therefore became small farmers, traders or manufacturers.

Maryland and Pennsylvania were in-between colonies and states. Unlike most other southern states (Georgia's Wilberforce was another exception), Maryland was not founded by someone with allegiance to the Church of England. Even though Pennsylvania was not founded by a dissenting Quaker, its founder Penn had enough good will from the Crown to get some land to form a proprietary colony:
  • In Maryland, the Crown carved a large piece of land out of northern Virginia to give to the Catholic Calverts. The Catholicism of the day was not aggressively opposed to slavery.
  • In Pennsylvania (as it was to be called), lands were granted to Quaker William Penn because he had won favor with the Crown, even though leaders of his religion included many abolitionists who fought actively against slavery. It was easier in Pennsylvania than it was in Maryland to be opposed to slavery because of coal and iron reserves provided higher-paying jobs that did not have to rely on slavery to generate a competitive product.
To settle their border dispute, the land-rich Calvert and Penn families hired Messrs. Mason and Dixon to establish the borderline. The families were responding to a 1760 demand from the British Crown that colonial settlers cease their skirmishes and adhere to a 1732 border cease-fire. 

Both families claimed the land between the 39th and 40th parallels. Mason and Dixon established the border at 39º43'. If they believed that the rights on the two sides were equally balanced, they would have settled in the middle, at 39º30'. This suggests that Pennsylvania was the victor from the survey, getting 72 percent (43/60) of the disputed land area.

During the year 1767, the colonies were engaged in a dispute with the Parliament over the Townshend Acts, which sought–through taxes on tea and other imports–to pay for the British costs of troops sent by Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder (like the Calverts, an alumnus of Trinity College, Oxford) of establishing the continuing military presence that had driven the French and the Indians allied with them from the colonies.

However, the border dispute seemingly settled in 1767 was not over. The Mason-Dixon line held as a dividing line, but after the American Revolution, the states south of the Mason-Dixon line began lobbying the new U.S. Congress for the legal rights of slaveowners. The northern states argued that ownership of human beings was not acceptable in the "New Constellation" of states.

Although the arguments were temporarily ended by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which accepted the states south of the Mason-Dixon line as slave-holding and those north of the line as free, the attempted compromise–and its successors–failed and Pennsylvania became the site of many famous Civil War battles. The Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battle in 1863 was on the Mason-Dixon Line. It was  one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War, made immortal by President Lincoln's speech at the site . The Quaker commitment to abolitionism trumped their commitment to peace.

In April 1865, the south capitulated. The ensuing 13th Amendment (1865) was immediately passed abolishing slavery and nullifying the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision (1857). The bitterly fought 14th Amendment gave citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. It was ratified 101 years after the Mason-Dixon line was established. However, civil rights did not mean voting rights. It took many more debates and political battles, some more amendments, and another 100 years, for the United States to pass laws to ensure that all adult citizens be allowed to vote...

Monday, October 9, 2017

OXFORD OPEN DAY | Selling the Colleges, 2017

1. Jesus College on Turl Street flaunts its
 green color, attributed to its Welsh and
Celtic appeal or its revised arms.
 Oxford is continuing to seek applications  from the broadest possible pool of secondary school students.

This is good for Oxford and good for secondary schools.

Students have to apply to one of Oxford's 38 colleges or six Permanent Private Halls (PPHs). 

So every year the colleges open their doors about two weeks before Michaelmas term opens, and then a week and a half after the Trinity term ends (in 2018, the Open Days are June 27-28).
2. Exeter College, also on the Turl, has
the Welcome banner out.

The Michaelmas term is so named because term starts soon after the feast of St Michael the Archangel, on September 29. The colleges then open their doors to students and it is inconvenient for there to be an Open Day.

The colleges and halls are becoming more competitive about Open Day. 
3. Trinity College is central, next to the
White Horse, Blackwell's, and the Bodleian.

For that day, the college gates are opened wide. The Keep Out signs are replaced by welcoming  banners and balloons.  

Some colleges take it a little bit further, to get an edge. Unfairly? You be the judge. Here are some Open Day stories from five colleges. 

We start our walking tour going north on Turl Street. We pass Lincoln College on our right, visit Jesus on our left, then Exeter on our right. We now face Trinity College. We turn left to the corner, intending to head for St Regent's College in St Giles. 

However, as we pass Boswell's, we are hijacked. We are offered a free ride akin to that in Midnight in Paris, to a place called LMH, with the promise of free ice cream at the destination. Read on.
4. Regent's Park College makes its presence known
in front of the Sheldonian, perhaps to prevent
hijacking of young students on their way to St Giles. 

1. Jesus College. As one walks on The Turl north from High Street, Jesus is on the left. I was advised by Paul Walton, who knows a thing or two about Wales, that the green color of Jesus is related to its Welsh affiliation, because its foundation was promoted by Welshman Dr Hugh Price of St David's Cathedral, in 1571. However, the original field of Price's coat of arms was azure (blue). The field was later revised to vert (green), perhaps in honor of the Green family, or in homage to Price's Welsh heritage.  Queen Elizabeth is the founder of Jesus College; it is the only college she founded, and the only one founded during her long reign. Its Celtic Studies library is special. Its most famous alumnus is surely Welshman T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"). Its student body is 15 percent Welsh.

2. Exeter College. Exeter College's color is purple, referencing the fact that it was founded in 1315 by Walter de Stapeldon, a Devon man who rose to become Bishop of Exeter and Treasurer of England under Edward II. Purple is the color of bishops. The eight pairs of golden keys in the Exeter coat of arms reflect the episcopal origin of the college, as  St Peter, the first bishop, was given "the keys to the kingdom of heaven". Exeter was originally called Stapeldon Hall; it is considered the fourth-oldest college at Oxford.

3. Trinity College. Trinity's arms are those of its Founder, Sir Thomas Pope. The tincture on his  arms is azure (blue), with the metal or (gold). The college colors are blue and white. Pope was a Catholic entrusted with the task of dissolving and emptying out church-owned colleges. Durham College was a seminary established by the Bishop Prince of Durham. After Catholicism was reinstated by Mary I, Pope established a new Catholic college on the spot.

Offering a Free Ride to LMH.
4. Regent's Park College. Things are not always what they seem. Regent's Park College is not a college, but is the smallest of the six Permanent Private Halls. The PPHs are increasingly being given similar status as the full colleges, but because of their governing are presumed to be less independent of their religious origins as the colleges. 

Regent's Park College sells itself as a quiet place near the center of Oxford. Its origins go back to a Baptist conference in 1752. The original institution was founded in 1810 and moved to Pusey Street, off St Giles, in 1927. It is near to St Cross College, which shares an entrance with Pusey House. Regent's Park College welcomes students in the arts, humanities and social sciences. A few study to be Baptist ministers. The Library includes a special focus on the history of dissenters. In fact, because of its history of religious dissent, members of Regent's Park College are discouraged from using Latin! The college Grace is recited in English by the Principal: For the gifts of your grace and the community of this college, we praise your name, O God. Amen. At the end of Formal Hall the Principal signals the departure of senior members (there is usually no High Table) with the words: "The grace and peace of God be with us all. Amen." Amen to that.

5. Lady Margaret Hall (LMH). Just as Regent's Park College is a hall, so Lady Margaret Hill is a college, as is St Edmund Hall.

LMH is located at the end of Norham Gardens, with property extending to a wide frontage on the River Cherwell. 

Since this is a bit of a hike from central Oxford, the offer of a lift with ice cream waiting at the end is a clever way of attracting the interest of potential applicants.While the lure of free ice cream may seem to be unfair competition, how else expose impressionable students to the glory of the Banks of the Cherwell, where this 1918 photo of three LMHers (two Saunders sisters at left and someone at right identified as named C.S.L. who is clearly not C.S. Lewis).
Picnic at LMH by the Cherwell, 1918. Two Saunders sister (L) and C.S.L.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

BIRTH | Oct 7 – Helen Clark MacInnes

Helen Clark MacInnes
On this day in 1907 was born in Glasgow the novelist Helen Clark McInnes. She wrote realistic, tight stories about espionage, starting with several novels set in World War II Europe.

Her first novel, Above Suspicion (1941), was about a husband and wife who are recruited to locate a British agent who is missing in Nazi-controlled territory. The book was made into a movie in 1943.

The story was inspired by the wartime work of Gilbert Highet, a fellow alumnus of Glasgow University whom she married in 1932.  The couple began by jointly translating books from German. Highet was an Oxford classicist based at Balliol and St John's. He played a great role in popularizing the classics in the mid-twentieth century. I was a big fan of several of his books. 

He obtained a one-year appointment as a Professor of Classics at Columbia in 1937, and was offered a tenured position in 1938. He and his wife became naturalized Americans. He was a frequent speaker at the New York Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race Dinner.

MacInnes wrote more than 20 spy novels over her 40-year career. Her approach was to frighten the reader by the difficult options faced by her characters:
In my stories, suspense is not achieved by hiding things from the reader. The question is, when is the event going to take place and how can you stop it? A reader may know everything, but still be scared stiff by the situation.
She died in New York in 1985.

Friday, October 6, 2017

OXFORD IN WW2 | Felicity Tholstrup

Third stop of the tour, on the Turl, after the Weston Library and Old Bodleian.
At the Oxford Alumni Weekend five years ago Alice and I were privileged to go on a tour of New College led by Felicity Tholstrup, a five-star Oxford tour guide.

She has been offering her "Hidden Oxford" tours since 2002.

One comment Felicity made on the 2012 tour was how long New College's treasures have survived intact. 

She noted that nothing in Oxford was damaged by the Baedeker bombing during World War 2, and Hitler appeared to have removed Oxford as a target. 
A Chronicle of Wartime Trinity
College, Oxford.

This inspired me to post a commentary on the topic that has attracted 24,000 views.

World War II at Oxford

Partly because of the strong interest in this post, I did further research. I read a book by John Harper-Nelson (Trinity, Oxon. 1940), Oxford at War (Northbridge, Western Australia: Access Press, 1996), which shows the impact of World War 2 on the author's abbreviated undergraduate life at Oxford in 1940-42, at Trinity.

With all the undergraduates joining up to defend their country, Trinity had a second-year class in 1941-42 of just 29 students. Oxford offered students a certificate after one year, allowing them to continue their studies after the war ended and they were discharged from the military.

Oxford also offered short courses for military personnel, including for Canadians from nearby bases.

So last month I jumped at the chance to go on another tour led by Felicity, looking at Oxford in World War 2.

Stop 1. Weston Library

The tour started in front of the Weston Library – what we used to call the "New Bodleian" before the building was replaced through the generosity of several large donors and many small ones. 

One of the large donors was Julian Blackwell of the Blackwell's Book Shop, whose donation of £5 million to the renovation was announced in 2008.
In St Giles, in front of St John's.

Stop 2. Old Bod

We crossed the road to see the Old Bodleian, and Felicity spoke about the Oxonians involved with the Bletchley Park research that led to the breaking of Germany's Enigma coding machine.

The most famous man at Bletchley Park's cryptography unit was surely Alan Turing, credited with inventing the modern computer. He was recruited by the first project leaders people at Bletchley Park, Dilly Knox and Tony Kendrick.

Other key leaders included Peter Twinn and Gordon Welchman.

They nabbed all the students who were studying mathematics at Oxford and pulled strings to have them shunted off the path to the infantry, to work instead on defeating the Enigma.
That's Felicity on the left, with her attentive tour group.

The project was successful as of January 1940, and for the rest of the war British intelligence intercepted many German messages, shortening the war on the European front.

(A former neighbor, the late Tom Collins, nicknamed "Sam Scram" by his British associates, was the person who accompanied the Dragon 1 
computer in 1942. This was an American contribution to the project to defeat the German Enigma machine. He stayed in Bletchley Park for a year but was not allowed to talk about his role for another 30 years.)

The Oxonians working on Bletchley Park projects included Maurice Allen, a don; J. W. B. Barns, an Oxford Professor of Egyptology, who worked in Hut 4, Hut 5 and Block A; Geoffrey Barraclough, Chichele Professor of Modern History at Oxford; Hilary Brett or Brett-Smith (Lady Hinsley), from Somerville College, a cryptologist in Hut 8; Lord Asa Briggs, member of the Watch in Hut 6, an historian elected a Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford (1945–55) after the war; and Nakdimon ("Naky") Doniach, RAF, linguist (later GCHQ and Oxford).

Stop 3. The Turl. What the Oxford Staff Worked On

We moved on to the Turl and Felicity discussed what happened to the staff and some of the colleges. 

As the students went to war, one-fourth of the dons were recruited for Whitehall jobs. 

Some research was continued, some stepped up for wartime purposes: 

  • Penicillin was extracted and purified by an Oxford team (Florey, Chain and Heatley) and was then produced in the United States.
  • Penicillin was first used at a pop-up St Hugh's hospital and next door at the Radcliffe Infirmary, reducing the death rate for head injuries from 50 percent in World War I to 5 percent in World War II.
  • Neurosurgery was advanced at St Hugh's under the team of Ritchie Russell, Hugh Cairns and Freda Newcombe.
  • Another team worked on ship and aircraft radar.
  • Another worked on development of a more portable form of anesthetics for mobile operating teams.
  • Another team pioneered in use of organ transplants.

Stop 4. St John's, and How the Colleges Were Transformed

We stopped in front of St John's and the back entrance of Balliol. Here's how some of the colleges were used during the war:

Balliol was a center for research on foreign intelligence for the Foreign Office.

Brasenose's facilities were formally requisitioned for a series of government offices, and the students moved in with Christ Church. Hugh Last, Professor of Ancient History at the College, was put to work on Bletchley Park projects.

Merton was used as a center for transport administration. One of its famed history professors, Hugh Trevor-Roper, was given responsibilities for research for MI5 on radio security.

Oriel was a center for War Office intelligence.

Queen's College was dedicated to home security issues.

St Hugh's as mentioned became a neurosurgery center with 300 beds, processing 13,000 patients during the war. Patients were flown to the Brize Norton air force base and transported to St Hugh's by ambulance.

St John's was turned over to the the Food and Fisheries administration.

Hat tip to Felicity Thorstrup for helping me with details after the tour, especially information on what the colleges were doing to help the war effort.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

OXFORD | Russian Heritage

Dr Nina Kruglikova at
Weston Library, Oxford.

What would the main themes be of a Russian Heritage tour of Oxford? 

I asked Nina Kruglikova, a fellow Trinity College, Oxford alum whom I met on a tour led by Felicity Tholstrup of WW2 Oxford earlier this month on the Oxford Weekend. 

Here are some topics for a Russian Heritage tour, which Nina has conducted in the past.

17th Century – Visit to Oxford from Peter the Great. Tsar Peter I ("the Great"), founder of St Petersburg, was born in 1672 and became emperor at ten years of age. He ruled for 43 years. 

He visited the United States in 1698 and later Oxford, incognito, staying at the Golden Cross and visiting the Chapel at Trinity College. Even though he was in disguise, he cut such a figure that he attracted attention.

19th Century – Visit from Alexander I. Emperor Alexander (1777-1825) went to Radcliffe Camera to celebrate the victory over Napoleon in 1814. He stayed in the Queen's Room in Merton (where the wife of Charles I lived during the period before Cromwell prevailed over the monarchy). He gave a big vase from Suberia and also a double-headed eagle in a stained-glass window, the arms of the Tsar. One legend is that Alexander caused damage during his visit and the vase and window were repayment.
Peter I ("The Great")

20th Century (A) – Prince Felix Felixovich Yusupov. Yusupov (1887-1967), who as a youth went under the title Count Sumarokov-Elston (Князь Фе́ликс Фе́ликсович Юсу́пов, Граф Сумаро́ков-Эльстон) was for three years, 1909-12, at University College, Oxford. He had lavish parties at Univ. For example, he brought in a famed Russian ballet dancer named Pavlova (a cake is named after her). His best friend from St. Petersburg, Oswald Raynor, was at Oriel.

At the end of his student years at Oxford he was reported to have visited Royal Albert Hall for a full-dress event and to have impressed many onlookers as the best-dressed person in the Hall. Five years later he went to the United States and was depicted in a thinly fictionalized film as having raped his wife. He sued the film company and won.

He is credited along with the Tsar's cousin Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich with killing Father Grigori Yefimovich (Gregory) 1869-1916, the "mad Monk" friend of the family of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra. Rasputin died at Yusupov's home; he did not eat the cyanide-laced cookies so he was shot in the head.

Nicolas II – Nice man,
bad tsar.
Yusupov and his wife Irina migrated to England after the assassination of Tsar Nicholas with his wife and five children in 1918, after having abdicated under pressure from the Bolshevik government in 1917, ending three centuries of Romanov rule. Yusupov and his wife bought a house at 4 Marston Street, Oxford that is now called St Nicholas House. They were interviewed about his 1953 book, Lost Splendor. Prince Yusupov died at St Pancras Hospital in 1963 and is buried at Headington Cemetery outside of Oxford. 

The influence and origins of Rasputin continue to be a mystery, so that when Yusupov died there was interest in his personal papers; however, he apparently burned them.

20th Century (B) – Charles Sydney Gibbes. Son of John Gibbs (sic – he added the "e" later in life), he did the Moral Sciences Tripos at St John's College, Cambridge. He became the tutor to the children of Tsar Nicholas II. He was deeply distressed a perceived betrayal of the Tsar by his British relatives, but the Great War was going so badly that all of the countries were fearful of revolution. One view is that George V's wife Mary was hostile to the Tsar's family because they lorded over her at Osborne on the Isle of Wight when Victoria was still alive. After Nicholas II and his family were assassinated, Gibbes first became a monk and then became an Orthodox priest in Oxford, taking the name Nicholas out of respect for the Tsar and his family.

20th Century (C) – Leonid Pasternak. The father of Boris Pasternak, Leonid lived in Park Town, Oxford. He was an artist and his house is now a museum, full of his paintings.

21st Century – St Nicholas Church. The church that Nina and other Russian Orthodox faithful attend is at the previously mentioned #4 Marston Road (St Nicholas House), near the intersection with Ferry Road. It used to be the Anglican church of St Nicholas. They have Sunday services from 10:30 until 1:30 pm or later.

Monday, September 18, 2017

WOMEN AT OXFORD | Rhodes, Trinity, St Benet's

On the Trinity wall: Lady Elizabeth Pope (L)
and Anna Thompson. Photos by JT Marlin.
Oxford University has a brief note on its web site about the history of women at Oxford.

Here are three reports on the inclusion of women, among (1) Rhodes Scholars, (2) at Trinity College and (3) at St Benet's Hall.

1. Rhodes Scholars.This year is the 40th anniversary of the first women Rhodes Scholars.

Some have already made their mark. One of the 13 women listed attended Trinity College – Bonnie St John.

Clare Booth (top) and Roma
2. Trinity College. Trinity has replaced for a year all but two of its paintings with photographs of women – the exceptions being the painting of its founder, Sir Thomas Pope, and self-styled foundress, Lady Elizabeth Pope (Sir Thomas's second wife). 

Founded in 1555, Trinity College dates back several centuries more to the beginnings of its predecessor college, Durham, which was on the site for several centuries before Sir Thomas Pope first dissolved it.

Having closed Durham under Henry VIII, Sir Thomas purchased the land. He was a Roman Catholic, and repented of having closed Durham. Under Mary I, of whom he was a mentor, he founded a new college on the emptied Durham property.

Emily Boswell (top) and Kate Mavor.
He called it Trinity College and required its members to pray for his conscience-stricken soul every day, a commitment that the College still adheres to.

Clare Hopkins, the Trinity Archivist, reports that the first women's colleges at Oxford opened in 1879 but women were not allowed to take degrees until the 1920s.

(That is why American suffragist Inez Milholland, when she applied in 1909 to Oxford to study law, was rejected. Instead, she went to New York University, received her degree and became a lawyer.) 

Dame Frances Ashcroft (far left) and Georgia
Queenly, both to the left of Trinity's Founder
 (top) and Foundress.

Hopkins says that the first woman to study at Trinity was Frances Rich of Somerville, in 1885-86, sitting beside the Lecturer's wife. 

Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall were created in 1879. A full century later, in 1979, the first women were admitted, 17 undergraduates and six postgraduates.

The first female Fellow at Trinity was biochemist Sue Kingsman, who was a member of the Governing Body in 1884-97.

The first female President, Hilary Boulding, took up her position during the summer, succeeding Sir Ivor Roberts, who wrote the Foreword to the booklet entitled, with a nod to the past, "Feminae Trinitatis".

The paintings have been replaced by photos of recent alumnae.

The 16 featured women are shown in the 4x4 poster and samples of them on the wall are shown here.

The 16 women are, in alphabetical order: Dame Frances Ashcroft, Siân Berry, Claire Booth, Emily Boswell, Dame Sally Davies, Louise Hardwick, Olivia Hetreed, Zoe King, Kate Mavor, Sarah Oakley, Georgia Quenby, Emily Reynolds, Rosemarie Jordan Shore, Bonnie St John, Roma Tearne, and Anna Thompson.

3. St Benet's Hall. The City of Oxford reports on its web site's "Fun Facts" that Oxford did not admit women until 1878 and did not award degrees to them until 1920, and did not finish the coeducation program for the 38 Oxford colleges until 1974.

Actually, some Permanent Private Halls, which have religious affiliations but otherwise operate like the colleges, continued to exclude women until 2016.

A year ago, my wife Alice Tepper Marlin and I were privileged to flank the Master of St Benet's, Dr. Werner Jeanrond, at the first Sunday luncheon of the members of the newly coeducational St Benet's Hall, the last of the 38 colleges and six permanent private halls at Oxford to become coeducational.

St Benet's is one of six remaining Permanent Private Halls at Oxford, although one of them (St Regent's College) is called a college, and two of the colleges (St Edmund Hall and Lady Margaret Hall) still have the word "hall" after their names.

My connection to St Benet's is that for three years I attended Ampleforth College, of which St Benet's is a foundation. Ampleforth became coeducational long before St Benet's.