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April 28, 2016

@lsfabre A Trip Back in (#British) Time: #Oxford, #Egland #MFRWorg

In recent years, thanks to my husband’s job, I had several opportunities to visit England. While he attended meetings and slaved away on projects, I wandered about, sightseeing and eating. The first stop on one trip was Oxford, a great way to step back in time as well as indulge my huge fan-crush for all things Harry Potter.

Oxford began as a river crossing for oxen, and later, a military encampment. In 1066, Oxford Castle was built and included a monastic community with a chapel and living quarters. While the exact date for the founding of the educational institution is unknown, evidence indicates the religious order included teaching as early as 1096. Attendance exploded in 1167 when King Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. 

Currently, the University is composed of 38 different colleges, of which 35 offer undergraduate studies. While almost all colleges provide the same courses of study, they were founded at different times and tend to attract different types of students, and as such, have different “flavors.” One of the most notable is Christ Church, founded in 1524 by Cardinal Woolsey and re-founded and renamed by King Henry VIII after Woolsey’s fall from power.

I took both a walking tour of Oxford, which included a discussion of the University’s role in the country’s political and religious struggles. In 1555, for example, three Anglican bishops were tried and burned at the stake for heresy. A cross of cobblestones marks the spot now. Along the way, our guide pointed the oldest structure still in use in Oxford (on the left).

A tour of Christ Church College provided a chance to see the dining hall that inspired Hogwarts’ Great Hall. One notable difference was Harry Potter’s dining hall had four rows of tables, while the College dining hall has only three. We weren’t able to enter the hall until after lunch because it is still in use. Among the many notable graduates of Christ Church College is Charles Lutwidge Dodgeson—better known as Lewis Carroll. Our guide pointed out a number of objects (a small door in a wall, long-necked fire-dogs in the dining hall fireplace) that probably inspired subjects in the author’s fantastic tale.

My only regret was that I wasn't able to spend more time in Oxford. After his work was finished, we had to return to London, but that's another story....

Liese Sherwood-Fabre woking on a "Holmes Family Mystery" series, featuring the Great Detective at 13 and his family. You can read more about her works, check out some free materials, and sign up for her newsletter for a FREE short story by visiting her at 


Unknown said...

Wonderful story, Liese! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. :)

Liese said...

Just love the whole Harry Potter connection!

Thanks, Liz!


Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Liese! I want to go. I've always wanted to go to England and the whole area. Maybe one day.

Kathy Ivan said...

I love stepping into your posts and seeing Great Britain through your eyes. Always something new and different every time. Great post.