A letter from a reader: Defining 'Protestant architecture'

July 16, 2008:

Re: "Something Old, Something New" by W. Barksdale Maynard '88 (Perspective, Feb. 13): I am surprised that so many people, including Princetonians, harbor the mistaken idea that "Oxonian architecture" is somehow Protestant. It most certainly is not.

At the time when the great colleges of Oxford and Cambridge were built, England was entirely Catholic. In fact, all the Gothic structures of England – Salisbury and Lincoln cathedrals, Westminster Abbey – are Catholic. Let us not forget that Anglo-Saxons were devoutly Catholic until the 16th century, when they were suddenly forced to abjure their faith. If one wishes to speak of "Protestant architecture," examples of it would be Tudor or neo-classic.

Santa Fe, N.M.

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