Cows & curates


Christ Church University Shop

Judith Curthoys, College Archivist & Library Manager, introduces her latest book, Cows and Curates: The Story of the Land and Livings of Christ Church, Oxford. "When Christ Church was founded in 1546, Henry VIII made the college a generous grant of land and other property. This endowment was large enough to ensure the smooth running of the college and cathedral including maintaining its buildings, educating its students and paying its staff. From earliest days up to the present, the endowment and later gifts - in all parts of the country, from Montgomeryshire to Norfolk and Cornwall to Yorkshire - have been managed with varying success, sometimes expertly, at other times less so. The shelves of the college archives are full of maps and plans, account books, manorial records, deeds, photographs and detailed correspondence with tenants and vicars. Drawing on this rich material, Cows and Curates recounts the history of the management of farms, urban dwellings, commercial property and industrial estates, as well as the relationship between the college and its incumbents, against the backdrop of national social change, legislation, agricultural developments and depressions, wars and modernisation. This is the fourth book in the archivist’s ‘Christ Church Saga’: The Cardinal’s College was published in 2012, recounting the history of the college; in 2017, The Stones of Christ Church told the story of its buildings; and, in 2019, The King’s Cathedral looked at the development of the ecclesiastical foundation from its earliest days as a small priory founded by Frideswide to its role as the diocesan seat in the 21st century."