Charsley's Hall

Charsley's Hall was a private hall of the University of Oxford. After 1891 it was renamed as Marcon's Hall.

Charsley's Hall
University of Oxford
LocationParks Road
Coordinates51°45′29″N 1°15′23″W / 51.758031°N 1.256501°W / 51.758031; -1.256501Coordinates: 51°45′29″N 1°15′23″W / 51.758031°N 1.256501°W / 51.758031; -1.256501
Latin nameAula Privata Magistri Charsley[1]
Closed1891, then became Marcon's Hall (1892–1918)
Named forWilliam Henry Charsley (Master)
MasterWilliam Henry Charsley
Charsley's Hall is located in Oxford city centre
Charsley's Hall
Location in Oxford city centre

The hall was established in 1862 by William Henry Charsley, formerly of Christ Church,[2][3] under the University statute De Aulis Privatis (On private halls), passed in 1855, which allowed any Master of Arts or other member of Convocation aged at least twenty-eight years to open a private hall after obtaining a licence to do so.[4][5] The hall was in what is now 10 Parks Road, at the eastern corner of Museum Road, on the other side of the road from the Oxford University Museum.[6][7] It was a red-brick Victorian house designed by Charles Buckeridge and built in 1862.[8] At the 1871 census, it contained nine residents.[9]

Charsley's Hall had no published tuition fees, members electing their tutors and making their own arrangements for payment, but in general the terms were higher than elsewhere. Despite this, the hall was popular.[10] One writer noted in 1883

Mr Charsley is the first master who has achieved any success as the head of such an institution. His hall, however, is the resort of a class of pupils who have, for the most part, larger means than those who enter the University avowedly as frugal students, the terms being somewhat high.[11]

By 1889, migration to Charsley's was seen as a way of circumventing some requirements of the colleges, and its demise was prematurely foreseen by The Oxford Magazine.

... and yet if they, through lack of natural ability, fail to pass Mods, by a certain time, down they go and nothing is left them but to migrate to Charsley's Hall, itself perhaps to be abolished ere long. The life of a man at a private hall now-a-days is utterly different from that of a man at New Inn Hall as it used to be. Some of the restrictions (we hope Mr. Charsley will pardon us) are vexatious in the case of men residing at the Hall...[12]

Charsley's Hall features several times in The Lay of the First Minstrel, a parody of Sir Walter Scott dating from the 1870s, beginning:

It was an Oxford Scholar bright,
(The sun shone fair on Charsley's Hall,)
And he would get him thoroughly tight,
For Gilbey'll still be lord of all...[13]

In 1889–1890 Charsley's had forty-seven undergraduates, while Turrell's, the only other private hall, had seven.[14] The Master, William Henry Charsley, appears to have kept a school for boys as well as a house of the university. This is suggested as a reason for matriculations at Charsley's at an unusually young age. By the end of 1891 Charsley's Hall had closed,[15] to be reopened by Charles Abdy Marcon as Marcon's Hall in 1892.[16] Marcon had himself been educated at Charsley's.[17]

Whitaker's Almanack for 1897 lists three private halls in the university, based on the University Calendar for 1895: Marcon's, Turrell's and Grindle's.[17] Marcon's continued under that name until C. A. Marcon retired in 1918.[18]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ George Valentine Cox, Recollections of Oxford (1868), p. 373: "Since the above was written , the ' Aula Privata Magistri Charsley ' has proved a great success."
  2. ^ Christopher Hibbert (ed.), "Private halls" in The Encyclopaedia of Oxford (London: Macmillan, 1988), p. 337
  3. ^ Kelly's directory of Berkshire, Bucks and Oxon (Kelly's directories, 1883), p. 640: "... a private hall under licence from the Vice-Chancellor... There are now two of these: Charsley's Hall, in the Parks road, William Henry Charsley MA late of Christ Church, licensed master..."
  4. ^ Statuta Universitatis Oxoniensis [Oxford University Statutes] (in Latin). University of Oxford. 1876. pp. 275–279. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  5. ^ William Geddie, Chambers's Encyclopaedia, Volume 7 (1874), p. 174: "To these may be added Charsley's Hall, being a private hall under the mastership of WH Charsley, in virtue of a statute passed in 1854..."
  6. ^ The pictorial and historical gossiping guide to Oxford James J. Moore, Herbert Hurst (A. Thos. Shrimpton & Son, 1889), p. 149
  7. ^ Physics in Oxford, 1839-1939: Laboratories, Learning and College Life Robert Fox, Graeme Gooday (eds.) (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 67
  8. ^ Jennifer Sherwood, Nikolaus Pevsner The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Penguin Books, 1974) p. 276
  9. ^ Digest of the English Census of 1871 (Adamant Media reprint, 2004), p. 78
  10. ^ Edwin Wooton, A guide to degrees in arts, science, literature, law, music, and divinity, in the United Kingdom, the colonies, the continent and the United States (L. Upcott Gill, 1883), p. 39: "At Charsley's Hall the members elect their own tutors, with whom they make their own arrangements."
  11. ^ The Oxford magazine vols. 7-8 (1889), p. 83
  12. ^ From The Shotover Papers (Oxford), 17 October 1874, in Walter Hamilton, Parodies of the works of English & American authors, vol. 3, p.
  13. ^ Paul John Rich, Creating the Arabian Gulf (1991), p. 231: "CHARSLEY HALL Oxford... private halls licensed by the Vice Chancellor. In 1889-90 there were two: Charsley's with 47 undergraduates, and Turrell's with 8.
  14. ^ Maggie Macdonald, Oxford University Archives, quoted in Paul John Rich, Creating the Arabian Gulf (1991), pp. 231–232: "It is my guess that W. H. Charsley, the licensed master, in addition to teaching undergraduates as in a College, also taught younger boys, i.e. he ran a school. There was at least one other 14-year-old from Charsley's matriculating at the same time as Stewart. The Hall itself had ceased to operate by the end of 1891."
  15. ^ T. H. Aston, Brian Harrison, The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 7, Nineteenth-Century Oxford, Part 2 (1994), p. 120
  16. ^ a b Whitaker's Almanack for 1897, p. 258
  17. ^ a b 'MARCON, Charles Abdy', in Crockford's Clerical Directory (1930)