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The great new priory - the model for the Oxford colleges

In 1238, the friars acquired land outside of Oxford city walls to build their new priory. The new priory could have accommodated 100 friars in choir and a further 300 laypeople in the nave. It began to be inhabited from 1245 and it is significant that it was only after this date, in 1249, that we see the first foundations of the Oxford colleges.

The ground plan, based on archaeological digs, and the scale model created by George Lambrick, give a sense of the size of this priory, and indeed show how religious houses like Blackfriars became the model for the Oxford colleges.

The large size of Blackfriars meant that it was used for national assemblies. Royal patronage meant that such religious houses were expected to play host to the king’s entourage as it toured the country. The First English Parliament, led by Simon de Montfort, also met here in 1258.

The great new priory - the model for the Oxford colleges

In 1238, the friars acquired land outside of Oxford city walls to build their new priory. The new priory could have accommodated 100 friars in choir and a further 300 laypeople in the nave. It began to be inhabited from 1245 and it is significant that it was only after this date, in 1249, that we see the first foundations of the Oxford colleges.

The ground plan, based on archaeological digs, and the scale model created by George Lambrick, give a sense of the size of this priory, and indeed show how religious houses like Blackfriars became the model for the Oxford colleges.

The large size of Blackfriars meant that it was used for national assemblies. Royal patronage meant that such religious houses were expected to play host to the king’s entourage as it toured the country. The First English Parliament, led by Simon de Montfort, also met here in 1258.

Theology at the University of Oxford

The theological learning of the friars attracted men to the Order, and in turn, the Dominicans began to become influential in the Theology scene. The friars were instrumental in shaping the Oxford theology curriculum.

At this time the Dominicans dominated the life of Oxford University along with the Franciscans, as well as the intellectual life of the country as a whole. From 1261, Blackfriars Oxford (and later, Cambridge too) served as an international study centre for the Dominican Order.

This is also the period in which the great Dominican theologian and philosopher, St Thomas Aquinas OP, first rose to prominence, and the English Dominicans became the champions of his then controversial methodology of systematically explaining the Christian faith by drawing also upon non-Christian thought, especially Aristotle and his Arabic commentators.

Theology at the University of Oxford

The theological learning of the friars attracted men to the Order, and in turn, the Dominicans began to become influential in the Theology scene. The friars were instrumental in shaping the Oxford theology curriculum.

At this time the Dominicans dominated the life of Oxford University along with the Franciscans, as well as the intellectual life of the country as a whole. From 1261, Blackfriars Oxford (and later, Cambridge too) served as an international study centre for the Dominican Order.

This is also the period in which the great Dominican theologian and philosopher, St Thomas Aquinas OP, first rose to prominence, and the English Dominicans became the champions of his then controversial methodology of systematically explaining the Christian faith by drawing also upon non-Christian thought, especially Aristotle and his Arabic commentators.