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Cistercian Life:
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The Cistercian studium at Oxford

A cloister without literature is a grave for living men
[Abbot Richard of Melrose] (1)

St John's College, Oxford, formerly St Bernard's College
© St John's College
St John's College Oxford

The Cistercians were often at the forefront of change and were the first to found a religious house at Oxford to function as a college. This was at Rewley. However, the Cistercian studium faced difficulties from the outset. There was a general lack of support for the college from the Cistercian houses in England and Wales, and the relocation to St Bernard’s, in the centre of Oxford, brought little improvement. It was largely thanks to Abbot Marmaduke Huby (1495-1526) of Fountains that building work was finally completed and the studium resourced. St Bernard’s never flourished and numbers remained comparatively low, but it continued to function until the Dissolution.

In the following pages you can read more about the history of the college.
You can also read about Cistercian scholars of note who studied here and what they studied, and view samples of their books.

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