There is Medieval glass at Christ Church, Merton, New College, All Souls, and St Michael at the Northgate. Of these, St Michael's contains the oldest, Merton the most colourful and Christ Church the most interesting.
St Frideswide is the patron saint of Oxford – a nun so holy that an importunate admirer was struck blind for his presumption. But she prayed for mercy of the man, and his sight was restored. The site of St Frideswide's abbey became, briefly, Cardinal College, and then Christ Church. The abbey church survived to become Oxford's Cathedral.
The Becket window, in the Lucy Chapel of the Cathedral commemorates the martyrdom of Thomas of Canterbury. This is the story: as a young man Thomas was a close friend and useful supporter to Henry II, and looked set for a dazzling career at Court until his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury. As Head of the Church, Thomas felt morally bound to oppose the king on many matters, and in a rage Henry asked who would rid him of this turbulent priest. Four over-zealous barons took him at his word and murdered Thomas while he was at prayer in his own Cathedral. In the window, the head of Becket was defaced by order of Henry VIII, who could not tolerate opposition to royal authority, even when it had taken place centuries before.
St Edmund was another Archbishop of Canterbury, and the first Oxford don to be canonized.
The glass in Lincoln College chapel is by a Dutchman, Abraham Van Linge the Younger, who did much Oxford glass in the seventeenth century.
The Reynolds window in New College brings us to the eighteenth century, now out of favour with the cultured, but much admired in its time (and by Philistines and tourists now). The glass is not stained, but enamelled, i.e. plain glasswas painted using transparent enamel paint. A shepherd in the top left corner is a self-portrait. The upper and central panels contain the Virgin, Christ, Joseph and angels. The idea was to make all the light proceed from the central figure of Christ in the manger.