Merton college was founded in 1264 and is one of the oldest colleges in Oxford. Merton College Chapel has been a place of prayer and worship for over seven hundred years.
Work on the church of St Mary and St John, now the Quire of Merton College Chapel, started in the late 1280s to replace the parish church of St John the Baptist which stood on the site now occupied by the north wing of Mob Quad. The Quire’s large size attests perhaps to thirteenth-century confidence in the growth of the College as well as the practical need to accommodate parishioners. It was designed as a small-scale cathedral but the knave was never built, so the choir and the transcepts form a T-shape.