Oxford Student Discovers He’s Related to Man Whose Portrait He’s Toiled Under for a Year

Oxford Student Discovers He’s Related to Man Whose Portrait He’s Toiled Under for a Year
(Benjamin Hammond via Storyful)

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A British college student was stunned to discover that he’s related to a man whose portrait he worked under for a year.

Benjamin Hammond, a theology student at Oxford University, always studies under the same portrait while working in the Bodleian Library at the university. The portrait depicts professor Joseph Trapp, Oxford University’s first professor of poetry.

While taking a break from his studies, Hammond researched his family tree, eventually discovering that Trapp is his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather; he also discovered that Trapp’s father and grandfather were both theology scholars at the university.

“I noticed that the painting under which I had previously sat and worked was the painting of Joseph Trapp (1679-1747), my great (x8) grandfather,” Hammond told Storyful. “I was completely taken aback to learn that I had been working underneath a painting of my great (x8) grandfather for so long whilst being completely oblivious to it.”

“Overall, it’s been a delightful experience, and it’s made my studies that bit more exciting. I feel a bit more comfortable in Oxford—a naturally intimidating place—now that I know that four of my great-grandfathers walked the same halls and studied the same concepts as me. Hopefully, I’ll fit the bill.”

Hammond later noted on Reddit that while Trapp was a professor of poetry, he was also a theologian as well.

“Back in those days, everything was done within the context of theology, however. I write theology and sometimes fiction either by myself or with my friends for personal amusement,” he added.

He said the relationship between him and the professor “really is a massive coincidence,” but noted that his family hails from a town near the university and has had many family members attend over the years.


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