John Simmons: Oxford Rejects bequest because of stipulations

Historians in the News

ALL Souls College, Oxford, announced yesterday that it was not prepared to relocate a sundial designed by Sir Christopher Wren in order to receive a bequest from a former fellow who made it a condition of his will.

The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that Dr John Simmons, an Oxford academic and All Souls historian who died last year aged 90, had left his old college an undisclosed sum from his pounds 880,000 estate, but only if the sundial was put back to its former position in the quadrangle.

The sundial, designed in 1658, was moved to a position against the Codrington Library in the 1870s.

Dr Simmons, an emeritus fellow and a leading Slavonic scholar believed the symmetry of the North Quadrangle was upset by the repositioning of the sundial.

In his will he calls for it to be "re-erected where it was originally positioned by Sir Christopher Wren; that is to say over the south front of the college chapel''.

A spokesman for the college said: "The college has decided to decline the bequest,'' adding that the conditions were "too onerous''.

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