All Souls College, or ‘College of the souls of all the faithful departed’ as it is formally called, was planned and built in the 1430s. It received its foundation charter in 1438.
The Fellows of the College, next to their scholarly work, had the obligation to pray in chapel for the souls of the founders, of those who had fallen in the long wars with France (at the time not being prosecuted with much vigour), and of ‘all the faithful departed’.
The antechapel has beautiful stained glass windows, some dating from the fifteenth century. The niches behind the altar contain statues of saints, bishops, and monarchs. In the centre are a Crucifixion scene, and a Last Judgement, high up under the roof. The original fifteenth-century statues were destroyed in Reformation. They were replaced with these Gothic imitations in the nineteenth century. Gilded wooden angels adorn the ends of the roof beams.
The North Quadrangle, facing Radcliffe Square, is dominated by its iconic twin towers.
The Codrington Library contains about 185,000 volumes, about a third of which were printed before 1800.