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Museum of Oxford Digital Exhibitions

No Peel!

The cryptic injunction ‘No Peel!’ on a door at Christ Church reveals the strong anti- Catholicism within the University during the early nineteenth century. The ‘Peel’ in question was Sir Robert Peel, an alumnus of Christ Church, Home Secretary, and MP for the University of Oxford, who in 1829 decided to support a parliamentary bill for Catholic Emancipation. This controversial measure would allow Roman Catholics to sit in parliament and hold other public positions.  Once a fervent opponent of emancipation, Peel changed his mind, causing a furore in Christ Church and the University. Although he had his supporters, adversaries called for his resignation as MP and hammered home with nails ‘No Peel’ in the door of what was then Christ Church’s Treasury. Situated at the foot of the Hall stairs, it could not fail to be noticed.

In the election of 1830, Peel stood in Tamworth, previously his father’s constituency.