Great Houses Make Not Men Holy: Mendicant Architecture in Medieval Oxford

Jim Knowles (Grad ’09), Michal Koszycki (Trinity ’09)

Project Website

Jim Knowles (Grad ’09) and Michal Koszycki (Trinity ’09) combined architectural, archaeological, and literary scholarship to create an animated film which tells the story of the Franciscan and Dominican foundations in Oxford, from their beginnings in the early thirteenth century through Henry VIII’s dissolution of religious houses in the 1530s. Using a sixteenth-century map of Oxford as their visual base layer—a map that shows no traces of the friars’ buildings—the authors first created a 3D virtual cityscape of late medieval Oxford, then superimposed new digital reconstructions (SketchUp models) of the friars’ lost buildings on this virtual map. The film narrates the development of these sites against a backdrop of increasing animosity towards the friars’ architectural expansion and the impingement of their massive compounds on the Oxford cityscape. An online streaming version of the finished film is available for viewing:

Great Houses Make Not Men Holy: Mendicant Architecture in Medieval Oxford (High Res) from Jim Knowles on Vimeo.


Related Courses

The Mendicant Revolution


Related Projects

Mapping and Modeling Religious Communities in Medieval Europe