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Elizabeth I: Advent Doors 2018

Written by Eleanor Sanger, posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

When is a door not a door? When a faint outline in the wall is all that remains of a doorway that was once used by royalty…

Outline of the original doorwayYou might miss this outline in the wall on your way up our beautiful Hall staircase. But if you did, you’d be missing an intriguing part of Christ Church’s history.

This rectangle in the stone is all that remains of a doorway that led to a temporary bridge, installed when Elizabeth I visited the college for the first time in 1566. The southern part of the east side of Tom Quad, opposite Tom Tower, was made into a residence for the queen (not a bad place to stay…), and direct access to the Hall was created, so that she could get to the Hall to eat meals and watch plays without having to walk up and down the stairs or go outside. Sounds like an excellent idea – after all, any reduction in the time it takes to get to lunch is definitely a bonus.

The bridge spanned the distance between the doorway above the stairs and the ante-hall, but sadly someone decided that after her visit it was no longer necessary. These days, this barely visible doorway is all that remains of this part of college’s particular brush with royalty.