Back
Next

Oxford Inscriptions: Annie Rogers


Annie Rogers

This stone bench dedicated to Annie Mary Anne Henley Rogers (1856–1937), promoter of women's education, is in the churchyard to the north of St Mary-the-Virgin Church. The inscription on it reads:

UT FLOREAT MEMORIA ANNIE MARIAE ANNAE HENLEY ROGERS A.M.
LITTERARUM ANTIQUARUM PRAECEPTRICIS MULIERUM IURIS IN UNIVERSITATE
VINDICIS FLORUM HORTORUMQUE CULTRICIS QUAE IN HAC AEDE DEUM FREQUENTER
ADORABAT HOC SEDILE EXSTRUXERUNT HORTULOS CIRCUM FLORIBUS REPLEVERUNT
COLENDOS IN FUTURUM CURAVERUNT COLLEGAE ALUMNAE AMICI MCMXXXVIII

Literal translation:

So that the memory may flourish of Annie Mary Anne Henley Rogers, M.A.,
teacher of ancient literature, champion of the right of women in the University,
fosterer of flowers and gardens, who frequently worshipped God in this church,
her colleagues, pupils [and] friends created this seat, filled the little gardens around
with flowers, [and] took care that they would be tended in the future. 1938

Annie Rogers and her brother

Annie Rogers was the eldest child of the economist and politican Thorold Rogers, and the only girl.

She came top in the Oxford school examinations of 1873, and The Times of 25 August 1873 reported, “An interesting question is raised by the position of Miss Rogers in this list. Certain Exhibitions are offered to successful candidates by Balliol and Worcester College. The question is thus raised as to the admission of women to University residence, examinations, and degrees.”

 

Right: Annie Rogers with her brother,
photographed by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)

In 1875 the University introduced degree-level examinations for women, and in 1877 Annie won first-class honours in Latin and Greek, and in 1879 in ancient history. At the age of 23 she became Oxford's first female don. She campaigned for women to be admitted to membership of the University of Oxford, and when this was eventually achieved in 1920, she was able to collect her degree

Annie Rogers loved gardens, and was custos hortularum (person in charge of the gardens) at St Hugh's College, and created a garden there. She was knocked down by a lorry in St Giles' on 28 October 1937 when on her way to an evening lecture, and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery. The garden to the north of the University Church was laid out in her memory. A blue plaque was unveiled at her home at 35 St Giles' on 23 September 2020.

More about Annie Rogers:


The following Latin inscription is on the steps leading up from Annie Rogers' garden towards the Radcliffe Camera:

Steps up from University Church

DOMINUS CUSTODIAT INTROITUM TUUM ET EXITUM TUUM.

May the Lord preserve thy coming in and thy going out (Psalm 121:8)

Stephanie Jenkins