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Queens Court Residential College
Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus

By Sarah Downey

History

Queen's Court Residential College, formerly called Our Lady's Court, is a residence hall on Fordham University's Rose Hill campus in the Bronx. The building is comprised of three separate halls, St. John's Hall, St. Robert's Hall, and Bishop's Hall. St. John's Hall is the oldest of the three, dating back to 1844. It was constructed under the guidance of the Archbishop of New York, John Hughes, the founder of Fordham, and was initially the college's seminary. The construction of St. Robert's Hall, named for St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, S.J., and Bishop's Hall, named for all the Fordham alumni appointed bishops, did not begin until December of 1939.

Structure

Each of the three halls was created in the neo-Gothic, or Revival Gothic, style of the 19th century, which extended world wide and was patterned after the original Gothic style of late medieval (specifically between the 12th and 16th centuries) western Europe. Gothic architecture was, and remains, most obvious in ecclesiastic, as opposed to secular, structures. Therefore, many of the Gothic characteristics present in the architecture of Queen's Court suggest an ecclesiastic influence. Queen's Court is a stone structure built in an U shape, each U being one of the three halls. The building surrounds a courtyard, in the center of which is a statue of the Virgin Mary. This courtyard, although it is not fully cloistered, is reminiscent of the courtyards of medieval monasteries. The exterior doors facing the courtyard are wooden and in the image of the French Gothic arch. There are windows on all sides of the building, and they are aligned in perfect symmetry. On the top of Queen's Court there are archery posts, certain remnants of medieval castles. Inside, the three halls are connected by one large living room, called Bishop's Lounge. This capacious room is paneled in dark wood and is supported by wooden ceiling beams. The center, or focal, point of the lounge is a large stone fireplace, framed by the same deep wood. The windows in the lounge are leaden with stained glass. Within the glass, the crests of all Fordham bishops are detailed. These stained glass windows obviously are derived from the windows of medieval churches.

Origin of Idea

In structure, Queen's Court is patterned after the Gothic architecture of late medieval Europe, while in theory it is patterned after the ideal of the residential college at Oxford University in the Middle Ages. While there is no definitive date for when Oxford was established, it is speculated to have been in the year 1168. Oxford began thriving as an university with the arrival of the Catholic clergy, specifically the Dominican and Franciscan orders. In 1264, the House of Scholars of Merton was founded. It began as a home for twenty impoverished students and was presided over by two or three priests. Likewise, Fordham is controlled by a Catholic order of priests, the Jesuits, and Queen's Court is presided over by two Jesuits. Students who reside in Queen's Court, like Oxford students, are offered the opportunity to enroll in classes in the building, with the students with whom they live. Monday through Thursday evenings, the residents of Queen's Court gather in the lounge for Night Court, a social event where one resident speaks on any topic and encourages discussion among the group. Also, once a month, the residents gather for Common Dinner, a special community dinner. Each of these events is an effort to promote a sense of community among the residents of Queen's Court. This attempted union between the academic and social spheres of university life is directly derived from Oxford University in the Middle Ages.

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