A Farewell to Office

In Hilary Term 1992, a shy academic had his arm twisted to become Senior Dean of Keble. Over the last three years, this shrinking violet has blossomed into the Dr Michael Hawcroft we see in the bar today. Sadly, or perhaps not, Dr Hawcroft has reached the end of his term of office. the brick shared with him some of his fondest memories of his Deanship.

The retiring Dean says his job has ranged from the pleasant to the less than pleasant, taking in the downright embarrassing on the way. Unpleasant are the late night call-outs for students' crises; pleasant the social and official functions through which he has enjoyed meeting a broad range of the "lively and boisterous" students in college; embarrassing, when, at the Keble Ball 1993, Dr Hawcroft entertained a handful of national journalists to a champagne reception in the SCR only to discover that he was serving the college's finest champers to a bunch of "sophisticated gatecrashers".

Now, after his crusade against pre-dinner drinks and 'vomit pollution', Dr Hawcroft, also Keble's Tutor in French, is looking forward to relinquishing his decanal duties, although he advises his successor, Dr Nigel Smith, Fellow in English, to expect the job to be more enjoyable than it might appear.

Dr Hawcroft is eagerly anticipating having more time to devote to his latest research project, rhetorical and stylistic approaches to seventeenth century French comedy. "Well", as he says, "one does get tired of putting on one's black tie twice a week." What a shame for a man who is so famed for his tie collection... "It's from Liberty, you know."

N.R.W.*


Not by Bread Alone

The mystery of the Hall windows. It sounds like a good detective thriller but turns out to be a riddle a little closer to home. Every day, Butterfield's stained glass windows are seen by hundreds of diners in Hall, but for some the interest in their meaning goes deeper. Bert Lain, a Keble Classicist doing post-grad. work, reveals his findings...

The stained glass windows in the Hall contain fifty-five quotations from the Psalms. All are the opening words of a psalm or of a section of the long Psalm 119. Twenty-five contain a form of the word Dominus (Lord) and most of the rest contain combinations of the Latin words deus and tuus, both referring to God.

A pattern seems to emerge. But the scribe at work added a bit of a twist. In nineteen of the quotations, our deities seem to be missing. They are, however, to be found, (just out of sight) for anyone with a pretty extensive knowledge of the Psalms, in verses following directly on from those quoted. Perhaps the most famous example in our windows is Psalm 121, which reads: "I have lifted up mine eyes unto the hills. Whence will my help come?" Just out of sight of the Keble diner, the psalm continues, "My help cometh from the Lord".

So the overall trend seems to be that the decision was made only to quote from psalms which contained a form of Dominus, deus or tuus in the first verse, or very close by. Perhaps Butterfield's intention was to keep an image of God ever before our eyes, or at least only just out of sight, and to remind us that even in Hall, the food we eat is not our only sustenance.

N.F.L. *


PAGE 2

the brick issue 4 - Trinity Term 1995
Return to Contents Page.
Go to Previous or Next page.

Go to Keble College, Oxford, Home Page.