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About the Chapel

The College Chapel is situated in the First Quadrangle and provides a focus for Christians of all denominations in College.

There are regular services and events in the Chapel throughout the year, during term time, to which all are welcome.

Internal chapel image

A Chapel event celebrating the 45th anniversary of women at Jesus College in 2019


The Chapel originates from the early 1600s, during a period of competitive chapel-building and renovation in Oxford, the years when Archbishop Laud as Chancellor promoted the ‘beauty of holiness’ and a view of the Church centred on the sacraments and formal worship. It was consecrated in 1621, under Principal Eubule Thelwall, its main donor. It has been much altered since then, but the original (and beautiful) entrance canopy and its motto ‘ascendat oratio, descendat gratia’  – ‘let prayer ascend, let grace descend’ – remains.


Chapel entrance


The oak pulpit dates from the early seventeenth century, and the heavy oak screen to the west end was installed in 1693. In 1863, a time of Anglo-Catholic revival, the chapel was renovated by George Edmund Street, architect to the diocese of Oxford. He widened and redesigned the chancel arch, and removed much of the Jacobean woodwork. Minton tiles were added to the flooring. The stone reredos, carved to Street’s design by Thomas Earp, was added behind the altar, as was the stone arcading to the chancel walls. New seating stalls were also added.

Chapel walls

Stone arcading on the Chapel walls


The current organ was installed by the organ builder William Drake in 1994, replacing an earlier one from 1899.

Chapel organ and screen

Chapel organ and screen. Photograph by Bev Shadbolt.