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(History of Oxford VIII)


The nineteenth century was a time of radical new ideas in the field of religion. The most powerful expression of this in Oxford was, of course, the famous Oxford Movement linked to the figure of John Keble and J. H. Newman, vicar of St. Mary's, later to become Cardinal Newman (1879).

The Oxford Movement began 14th July 1833 when John Keble preached his famous sermon, the Assize Sermon in the University Church. One of the direct results of this sermon was the publication of Tracts for the Times hence the alternative term "Tractarian". This was a movement within the established Church of England and came about largely as a reaction to liberalising and rationalising tendencies and stressed Tradition (with a capital "T") and therefore continuity with patristic teachings. The new ideas led many, including Newman himself, to convert to Roman Catholicism and within the Church of England they led to a more elaborate liturgy rivaling even that of the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglo-Catholicism of today is a direct descendent of this movement. The University honoured Keble by founding the college bearing his name in 1870. The architect of the college was a follower of the Oxford Movement, William Butterfield and the building itself is in the Gothic Revival Style.

The religious debates at Oxford at the time greatly influenced the works of prominent literati such as Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861), Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) and Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) all of whom had studied at Oxford.

Another important building to be erected during the reign of Queen Victoria was the Asmolean Museum named after Elias Asmole



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latest update: 10/4/03