Saturday, December 02, 2006

Old Tom

Christopher Wren built Tom Tower, to complete, at last, Wolsey’s gateway. Built in 1681-2, and funded partly by a £1000 gift from the King, Christopher Wren aimed that the tower, ‘..ought to be Gothic to agree with the Founder’s work’, The tower houses great Tom, the recast bell from Oseney Abbey. Weighing seven tons and over 7 feet in diameter, Tom was moved from the cathedral spire to occupy the new tower. Famously, the bell rings 101 times every evening at 9.05 to commemorate the original 100 Students plus the extra one added to the foundation in 1663. The tower gate is the original, and in the fan-vaulted ceiling of the gateway are 48 coats of arms commemorating some of the distinguished college benefactors including Wolsey, Henry VIII, and Charles II.

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