Education and the Oxford Movement

Map Unavailable
Date / time: 23 September, 9:30 am - 6:00 pm

St Edward's School, Oxford

Education and the Oxford Movement


This conference explores the close relationship between the Oxford Movement and the history of school and university education in nineteenth-century Britain. Recent work on the Oxford Movement and its ‘Tractarian’ adherents has expanded beyond traditional representations of the subject as an ecclesiastical impetus within the Church of England. It has rediscovered the ways in which a religious insurgency also worked through social criticism, literature, scholarship, and the visual arts, thereby leaving a profound impression on Victorian culture more widely. Building on this research, the conference turns its attention to the less-studied connections between the Oxford Movement and education: a sphere in which many of the other preoccupations of Tractarian activism also found expression. Tractarian-influenced Anglican clergy such as Nathaniel Woodard saw the foundation of new schools as a crucial means of realising the Oxford Movement’s hopes of renewing the faith of England. Universities comparably became environments for the application of Tractarian ideas of pedagogy, learning, and gender. Addressing these and related subjects, the conference will also consider the question of the historical legacies of the Oxford Movement’s educational work to twentieth and twenty-first century posterity.

The meeting will take place at St Edward’s School in Oxford (Woodstock Road, OX2 7NN), one of the educational institutions founded under Tractarian inspiration, where it will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the School’s relocation to its current site in 1873. The School, which is hosting the conference, will provide an ideal setting for considering the architectural and visual, as well as the intellectual and theological dimensions of the theme. The breadth of subjects covered by the conference will make it of interest to scholars in a range of disciplines as well as to a general audience.

Registration is free. For more information about the conference and how to register, please visit

Please see below for full programme details.

9.30 am – 10.00 am     Registration

10.00 am – 10.10 am    Welcome by the Warden of St Edward’s School

10.10 am – 11.10 am    Keynote lecture

Michael Wheeler: ‘A holy and beautiful purpose’: the Oxford Movement and education 

11.10 am – 11.30 am    Coffee

11.30 am – 1.00 pm     Panel 1: Schools and the Oxford Movement

Malcolm Oxley: The ethos of Tractarian school foundations: theory and practice

Ryan Blank: Masters and students: Tractarian education and educators

Joshua Bennett: History and good learning in Tractarian schools

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm      Lunch

2.00 pm – 3.00 pm     Architectural Tours

Led by William Whyte and Ayla Lepine

3.00 pm – 4.30 pm     Panel 2: Universities and the Oxford Movement

Mark Curthoys: The Oxford Movement and the University of Oxford

Janet Howarth: ‘It is only as a daughter of the church that woman can have her place or be satisfied in her vocation’ (C. M. YONGE): Tractarian perspectives on women’s higher education

George Morris: Converts and the Catholic University College: the influence of the Oxford Movement on Catholic higher education, 1871-1882

4.30 pm – 5.00 pm     Tea

5.00 pm – 5.30 pm      Closing roundtable, chaired by the Warden

5.30 pm – 6.00 pm     Evensong in the Chapel

Image details: by Len Williams – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license