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—  City  —
Some of the college and university buildings in central Oxford.

Coat of arms of the City of Oxford
Nickname(s): "The City of Dreaming Spires"
Motto: "Fortis est veritas" "Truth is strength"
Shown within Oxfordshire
Oxford is located in England
Location in England
Coordinates: 51°45′7″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W / 51.75194; -1.25778
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South East England
Ceremonial county
Admin HQ Oxford City Centre
Founded 8th century
Town charter
City status 1542
 - Type City
 - Governing body Oxford City Council
 - Lord Mayor

- Deputy Lord Mayor
Cllr Mary Clarkson (2009–2010)
Cllr John Goddard (2009–2010)
 - Sheriff of Oxford Cllr Elise Benjamin (2009–2010)
 - Executive

- Council Leader
Labour (minority administration)
Cllr Bob Price
 - MPs Evan Harris (LD)
Andrew Smith (L)
 - Total 17.6 sq mi (45.59 km2)
Population (2008 est.)
 - Total 153,900 (Ranked 117th of 326)
 Density 8,469.3/sq mi (3,270/km2)
 - Ethnicity
(2005 Estimates
73.0% White British
9.1% Other White
5.7% South Asian
3.0% Black
2.9% Chinese
2.7% Mixed Race
1.9% Other
1.8% White Irish
 - Demonym Oxonian
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 - Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcode OX
Area code(s) 01865
ISO 3166-2 GB-OXF
ONS code 38UC
OS grid reference SP513061
Website www.oxford.gov.uk

Oxford (pronounced /ˈɒksfɚd/ ( listen)) is a city, and the county town of Oxfordshire, in South East England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 151,000 living within the district boundary. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre. For a distance of some 10 miles (16 km) along the river, in the vicinity of Oxford, the Thames is known as The Isis.

Buildings in Oxford demonstrate an example of every British architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the iconic, mid-18th century Radcliffe Camera. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings. The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.[1]



Oxford was first occupied in Saxon times, and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Ox"; fords being very important before the days of bridges.[2] It began with the foundation of St Frideswide's nunnery in the 8th century, and was first mentioned in written records in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 912. In the 10th century Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes. St Frideswide is the patron saint of both the city and university.

In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin,[3]

“Be it known to all those present and future that we, the citizens of Oxford of the Commune of the City and of the Merchant Guild have given, and by this, our present charter, confirm the donation of the island of Midney with all those things pertaining to it, to the Church of St. Mary at Oseney and to the canons serving God in that place.

“Since, every year, at Michaelmas the said canons render half a mark of silver for their tenure at the time when we have ordered it as witnesses the legal deed of our ancestors which they made concerning the gift of this same island; and besides, because we have undertaken on our own part and on behalf of our heirs to guarantee the aforesaid island to the same canons wheresoever and against all men; they themselves, by this guarantee, will pay to us and our heirs each year at Easter another half mark which we have demanded; and we and our heirs faithfully will guarantee the aforesaid tenement to them for the service of the aforesaid mark annually for all matters and all services.

“We have made this concession and confirmation in the Common council of the City and we have confirmed it with our common seal. These are those who have made this concession and confirmation.”

(There follows a list of witnesses, ending with the phrase, “… and all the Commune of the City of Oxford.”)

The prestige of Oxford is seen in the fact that it received a charter from King Henry II, granting its citizens the same privileges and exemptions as those enjoyed by the capital of the kingdom; and various important religious houses were founded in or near the city. A grandson of King John established Rewley Abbey for the Cistercian Order; and friars of various orders (Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and Trinitarians), all had houses at Oxford of varying importance. Parliaments were often held in the city during the thirteenth century. The Provisions of Oxford were installed by a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort; these documents are often regarded as England's first written constitution.

The Sheldonian Theatre in 2009

The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th century records. As the University took shape, friction between the hundreds of students living where and how they pleased led to a decree that all undergraduates would have to reside in approved halls[citation needed]. Of the hundreds of Aularian houses that sprang up across the city, only St Edmund Hall (c 1225) remains. What put an end to the halls was the emergence of colleges. Oxford's earliest colleges were University College (1249), Balliol (1263) and Merton (1264). These colleges were established at a time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology – inspiring scientific discoveries and advancements in the arts – as society began seeing itself in a new way. These colleges at Oxford were supported by the Church in hopes to reconcile Greek Philosophy and Christian Theology. The relationship between "town and gown" has often been uneasy — as many as 93 students and townspeople were killed in the St Scholastica Day Riot of 1355.

Keble College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford

The sweating sickness epidemic in 1517 was particularly devastating to Oxford and Cambridge where it killed half of both cities' populations, including many students and dons.[4]

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford is unique as a college chapel and cathedral in one foundation. Originally the Priory Church of St Frideswide, the building was extended and incorporated into the structure of the Cardinal's College shortly before its refounding as Christ Church in 1546, since which time it has functioned as the cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford.

The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake, on what is now Broad Street, for their religious beliefs and teachings. The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, and the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The Martyrs' Memorial stands nearby, round the corner to the North on St. Giles.

During the English Civil War, Oxford housed the court of Charles I in 1642, after the king was expelled from London, although there was strong support in the town for the Parliamentarian cause. The town yielded to Parliamentarian forces under General Fairfax in the Siege of Oxford of 1646. It later housed the court of Charles II during the Great Plague of London in 1665–66. Although reluctant to do so, he was forced to evacuate when the plague got too close.

In 1790, the Oxford Canal connected the city with Coventry. The Duke's Cut was completed by the Duke of Marlborough in 1789 to link the new canal with the River Thames; and in 1796 the Oxford Canal company built their own link to the Thames, at Isis Lock. In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London via Didcot and Reading,[5][6] and other rail routes soon followed.

In the 19th century, the controversy surrounding the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church drew attention to the city as a focus of theological thought.

Map of Oxford (1904).

Oxford's Town Hall was built by Henry T. Hare, the foundation stone was laid on 6 July 1893 and opened by the future King Edward VII on 12 May 1897. The site has been the seat of local government since the Guild Hall of 1292 and though Oxford is a city and a Lord Mayoralty, it is still called by its traditional name of "Town Hall".

By the early 20th century, Oxford was experiencing rapid industrial and population growth, with the printing and publishing industries becoming well established by the 1920s. Also during that decade, the economy and society of Oxford underwent a huge transformation as William Morris established the Morris Motor Company to mass produce cars in Cowley, on the south-eastern edge of the city. By the early 1970s over 20,000 people worked in Cowley at the huge Morris Motors and Pressed Steel Fisher plants. By this time Oxford was a city of two halves: the university city to the west of Magdalen Bridge and the car town to the east. This led to the witticism that "Oxford is the left bank of Cowley". Cowley suffered major job losses in the 1980s and 1990s during the decline of British Leyland, but is now producing the successful New MINI for BMW on a smaller site. A large area of the original car manufacturing facility at Cowley was demolished in the 1990s and is now the site of the Oxford Business Park.[7]

Night view of High Street, one of Oxford's main streets

The influx of migrant labour to the car plants and hospitals, recent immigration from south-east Asia, and a large student population, have given Oxford a notable cosmopolitan character, especially in the Headington and Cowley Road areas with their many bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs, ethnic shops and fast food outlets. Oxford is one of the most diverse small cities in Britain with the most recent population estimates for 2005.[8] showing that 27% of the population were from an ethnic minority group, including 16.2% from a non-white ethnic minority ethnic group (ONS). These figures do not take into account more recent international migration into the city, with over 10,000 people from overseas registering for National Insurance Numbers in Oxford between 2005/06 and 2006/07.[9]

On 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister, as a 25 year old medical student, ran the first authenticated four-minute mile at the Iffley Road running track in Oxford. Although he had previously studied at Oxford University, Bannister was actually studying at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London at the time.

Oxford's second university, Oxford Brookes University, formerly the Oxford School of Art, then Oxford Polytechnic, based on Headington Hill, was given its charter in 1991 and has been voted for the last five years the best new university in the UK. It was named to honour the school's founding principal, John Brookes.


Oxford's latitude and longitude are 51°45′07″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W / 51.75194; -1.25778Coordinates: 51°45′07″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W / 51.75194; -1.25778 or grid reference SP513061 (at Carfax Tower, which is usually considered the centre).



Oxford has a Maritime Temperate climate ("Cfb" by Köppen classification). Precipitation is uniformly distributed throughout the year and is provided mostly by weather systems that arrive from the Atlantic. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Oxford was −16.6 °C (2.1 °F) in January 1982. The highest temperature ever recorded in Oxford is 35.6 °C (96 °F) in August 2003 during the 2003 European heat wave.

There is a field of thought that due to Climate change, temperatures are increasing in Oxford, precipitation is decreasing in summer and increasing in winter[citation needed].

The average conditions below are from the Radcliffe Meteorological Station. It boasts the longest series of temperature and rainfall records for one site in Britain. These records are continuous from January, 1815. Irregular observations of rainfall, cloud and temperature exist from 1767.[10]

Climate data for Oxford, UK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.8
Average low °C (°F) 1.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 52.6
Source: Radcliffe Meteorological Station (NB: Data from the period 1881–2004)[11] 2008-03-17


The Oxford suburb of Cowley has a long history of carmaking and now produces the BMW MINI.


Morrells, the Oxford based regional brewery was founded in 1743 by Richard Tawney. He formed a partnership in 1782 with Mark and James Morrell, who eventually became the owners.[12] The brewery building, known as the "Lion Brewery", was located in St Thomas Street, the brewery was well known for drinks such as "Sambuca".[citation needed] After an acrimonious family dispute this much-loved brewery was closed in 1998,[13] the beer brand names being taken over by the Thomas Hardy Burtonwood brewery,[14] while the 132 tied pubs were bought by "Morrells of Oxford",[15] who sold the bulk of them on to Greene King in 2002.[16] The Lion Brewery was converted into luxury apartments in 2002.[17]

Commercial areas

Outside the City Centre:

Theatres and cinemas


The dreaming spires of Oxford facing Christ Church to the south (Christ Church Cathedral on the left and Tom Tower on the right).

Oxford has numerous major tourist attractions, many belonging to the university and colleges. As well as several famous institutions, the town centre is home to Carfax Tower and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, both of which offer views over the spires of the city. Many tourists shop at the historic Covered Market. In the summer punting on the Thames/Isis and the Cherwell is popular.

All Souls College at twilight

The University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is one of the most famous universities in the world, and leading academics come to Oxford from all over the world.

The city centre

Aerial view of Oxford city centre.

As well as being a major draw for tourists (9.1 million in 2008, similar in 2009) [18]), Oxford City Centre contains many shops, several theatres, and an ice rink. The historical buildings make this location a popular target for film and TV crews.

The city centre is relatively small, and is centred on Carfax, Oxford, a cross-roads on which a clocktower stands, and which forms the junction of Cornmarket Street (pedestrianised), Queen Street (semi-pedestrianised), St Aldate's and The High. Cornmarket Street and Queen Street are home to Oxford's various chain stores, as well as a small number of independent retailers, one of the longest established of which is Boswells, which was founded in 1738.[19] St Aldate's has few shops but is the location of a number of local-government buildings, including the Town Hall, the city police station and local council offices. The High (the word street is not part of the name of this road) has a number of independent and high-end chain stores.

There are two small shopping centres in the city centre: The Clarendon Centre[20] and The Westgate Centre.[21] The Westgate Centre is named for the original West Gate in the city wall, and is located at the west end of Queen Street. It is quite small and contains a number of chain stores and a supermarket. The Westgate Shopping Centre is to undergo a large and controversial refurbishment;[22] its plans involve tripling the size of the centre to 750,000 sq ft (70,000 m2), building a brand new 1,335 space underground car park and 90 new shops and bars, including a 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) John Lewis department store. There will be a new and improved transport system, a complete refurbishment of the existing centre and the surrounding Bonn Square area. The development plans include a number of new homes, and completion is expected in 2011, although this may be delayed due to the current financial climate.

Blackwell Books

Blackwells Bookshop.
The Malmaison Hotel in Oxford Castle.

Blackwell Bookshop is a very popular tourist attraction in Oxford. Blackwell Books claims the largest single room devoted to book sales in the whole of Europe, the cavernous Norrington Room (10,000 sq ft).

Other attractions

Urban redevelopment

Oxford's alternative transport

The Westgate redevelopment is just part of a wider scheme proposed by the city council. This scheme includes a total redesign of the centre of Oxford to "pedestrianise" the city.

The scheme, entitled Transform Oxford, is only a blueprint for public consultation at this stage, but county council officials are confident it will go ahead.

The university has been rebuilt on several occasions due to fire breakout in 1789.

One of the key elements is the pedestrianisation of Queen Street, with bus stops removed next summer to make way for the eventual complete removal of buses from the street.

Pedestrianisation schemes in George Street and Magdalen Street should follow in the summer of 2010, with the removal of traffic from Broad Street the same year a possibility.

In 2011, highways engineers plan to remodel the Frideswide Square junctions near the railway station, removing traffic lights and introducing roundabouts to improve the traffic flow.



Oxford is served by nearby London Oxford Airport, in Kidlington. The airport has seasonal flights to Geneva and Rome by Flybaboo, and Jersey by CityJet.

The airport is also home to Oxford Aviation Academy, a major airline pilot flight training centre, and several high profile private jet companies.


The bus services are mainly provided by the Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach Oxfordshire. Both companies also operate regular services to London. The Oxford Bus Company also runs the Airline services to Heathrow and Gatwick.

Other operators include Thames Travel, Arriva Shires & Essex and several smaller companies.

There is a bus station at Gloucester Green, used mainly by the London and airport services, and National Express coach services.

A Stagecoach bus behind an Oxford Bus Company park-and-ride bus in Oxford.

Oxford has 5 park and ride sites that service the city centre;

  • Pear Tree (Link to city centre with bus 300)
  • Redbridge (Link to city centre with bus 300)
  • Seacourt (Link to city centre with bus 400)
  • Thornhill (Link to city centre with bus 400)
  • Water Eaton (Link to city centre with bus 500)

A service also runs to The John Radcliffe Hospital (from Thornhill/Water Eaton) as well as the Churchill and Nuffield Hospitals (from Thornhill).


In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London (Paddington) via Didcot and Reading;[5][6] in 1851, the London and North Western Railway opened their own route from Oxford to London (Euston), via Bicester, Bletchley and Watford;[23] and in 1864 a third route, also to Paddington, running via Thame, High Wycombe and Maidenhead, was provided;[24] this was shortened in 1906 by the opening of a direct route between High Wycombe and London (Paddington) via Denham.[25] The distance from Oxford to London was 78 miles (125.5 km) via Bletchley; 63.5 miles (102.2 km) via Didcot and Reading; 63.25 miles (101.8 km) via Thame and Maidenhead;[26] and 55.75 miles (89.7 km) via Denham.[25] Of these, only the original route via Didcot is still in use for its full length, although portions of each of the others remain.

There were also routes to the north and west. The line to Banbury was opened in 1850,[27] and was extended to Birmingham in 1852;[28] a route to Worcester opened in 1853.[29] A branch to Witney was opened in 1862,[30] which was extended to Fairford in 1873.[31] The line to Witney and Fairford closed in 1962, but the others remain open.

Oxford has had three main railway stations. The first was opened at Grandpont in 1844,[32] but this was a terminus, inconvenient for routes to the north;[27] it was replaced by the present station on Park End Street in 1852 with the opening of the Birmingham route.[28] Another terminus, at Rewley Road, was opened in 1851 to serve the Bletchley route;[33] this station closed in 1951.[34] There have also been a number of local railway stations, all of which are now closed.

Oxford railway station is half a mile west of the city centre. The station is served by numerous routes, including CrossCountry services as far afield as Manchester and Edinburgh, First Great Western (who operate the station) services to London and other destinations and occasional Chiltern Railways services to Birmingham. The present station opened in 1852. Oxford is the junction for a short branch line to Bicester, which is being extended to form the East-West Rail Link to Milton Keynes, providing a passenger route avoiding London.

River and canal

Oxford was historically an important port on the River Thames with the Oxford-Burcot Commission in the seventeenth century being one of the early endeavours to improve navigation to Oxford.[35] Iffley Lock and Osney Lock lie within the bounds of the city. In the eighteenth century the Oxford Canal was built to connect Oxford with the Midlands.[36]

Commercial traffic has given way to recreational use of the river and canal. Oxford was the original base of Salters Steamers and there is a regular service from Folly Bridge downstream to Abingdon and beyond.


A roads

The city has a ring road that consists of the A34, the A40, A4142 and the A423. It is mostly dual carriageway and was completed in 1966.

The main roads that lead out of Oxford are:


The M40 Extension

The city is served by the M40 motorway, which connects London to Birmingham. The original M40 opened in 1974 went from London to Waterstock where the A40 continued to Oxford. However, when the M40 was extended to Birmingham in 1991, a mile of the old motorway became a spur and the new section bent away sharply north. Now the M40 does a large arc around Oxford (staying around 10 miles (16 km) away from the centre) due to the woodland that the motorway had to avoid. The M40 meets the A34 a junction later, the latter now being in two parts, the A34 restarting in Birmingham.


There are two universities in Oxford; the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University as well as Ruskin College.

Oxford is home to wide range of schools many of which receive pupils from around the world. Three are University choral foundations, established to educate the boy choristers of the chapel choirs, and have kept the tradition of single sex education. Examination results in state-run Oxford schools are consistently below the national average and regional average. However, results in the city are improving with 44% of pupils gaining 5 grades A*-C in 2006.[37]


As well as the BBC national radio stations, Oxford and the surrounding area has several local stations, including BBC Oxford, Heart, Oxford's FM 107.9,[38] and JACK fm on 106.8 along with Oxide: Oxford Student Radio[39] (which went on terrestrial radio at 87.7 MHz FM in late May 2005). A local TV station, Six TV: The Oxford Channel was also available but closed in April 2009.[40] The city is home to a BBC TV newsroom which produces an opt-out from the main South Today programme broadcast from Southampton.

Popular local papers include The Oxford Times (compact; weekly), its sister papers The Oxford Mail (tabloid; daily) and The Oxford Star (tabloid; free and delivered), and Oxford Journal (tabloid; weekly free pick-up). Oxford is also home to several advertising agencies.

Daily Information (known locally as Daily Info) is an events and advertising news sheet which has been published since 1964 and now provides a connected website.

Recently (2003) DIY grassroots non-corporate media has begun to spread.[41] Independent and community newspapers include the Jericho Echo[42] and Oxford Prospect.[43]


Literature and film

Well-known Oxford-based authors include:

Oxford appears in the following works:


Oxford, and its surrounding towns and villages, have produced many successful bands and musicians. The most notable Oxford act is Radiohead, though other well known local bands include Supergrass, Ride (band), Swervedriver, Talulah Gosh and more recently, Young Knives and Foals.


Oxford United, are currently in the Conference National, the highest tier of non-league football, but have enjoyed greater success in the past. They were elected to the Football League in 1962, reached the Third Division after three years and the Second Division after six, and most notably reached the First Division in 1985 - a mere 23 years after joining the Football League. They spent three seasons in the top flight, winning the Football League Cup a year after promotion. The next 18 years saw them decline gradually (though a brief respite in 1996 saw them win promotion to the new (post Premier League) Division One in 1996 and stay there for three years) until they suffered relegation to the Conference. They play at the Kassam Stadium (named after former chairman Firoz Kassam), which is situated near the Blackbird Leys housing estate and has been their home since relocation from the Manor Ground in 2001.

Oxford City F.C. is an amateur football club, separate from Oxford United. It plays in the Southern Football League Premier Division.

Oxford Cheetahs motorcycle speedway team has raced at Cowley Stadium on and off since 1939. The Cheetahs competed in the Speedway Elite League and then the Speedway Conference League until 2007, when stadium landlords Greyhound Racing Association apparently doubled the rent.[citation needed] Speedway is not currently running in Oxford. Details of the 1949 and 1950 seasons at Cowley can be seen on Oxford Speedway website.

There are several field hockey clubs based in Oxford. City of Oxford HC and Rover Oxford HC, two separate clubs, both play their home games on the pitch at Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus. Oxford Hawks play at Banbury Road North, by Cutteslow Park to the north of the city.

Oxford City Stars is the local Ice Hockey Team which plays at Oxford Ice Rink. The senior/adults team website can be found HERE and the junior/children's team website is HERE

Oxford is also home to the Oxford City Rowing Club which is situated near Donnington Bridge.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Oxford is twinned with:

See also

Further reading



  1. ^ Sager 2005, p. 36.
  2. ^ A Handy Guide to Oxford, ch. 2
  3. ^ whatdotheyknow.com: Oxford charter 1191
  4. ^ The Sweating Sickness. Story of London.
  5. ^ a b Simpson 1997, p. 59.
  6. ^ a b Simpson 2001, p. 9.
  7. ^ Oxford City Council.
  8. ^ ONS Population Estimates 2005
  9. ^ Department for Work and Pensions
  10. ^ "Radcliffe Meteorological Station". http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/research/climate/rms/. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  11. ^ "Summary of Long Period of Obsevations". http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/research/climate/rms/summary.html. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  12. ^ History of Headington, Oxford
  13. ^ Morrells Brewery up for sale
  14. ^ Morrells Brewery Ltd
  15. ^ Jericho Echo
  16. ^ BBC NEWS | England | Brewer buys pub chain for £67m
  17. ^ Brewery site plan nears final hurdle
  18. ^ Hearn, Dan (19 August 2009). "Oxford tourism suffers triple whammy". Oxford Mail. http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/4555044.Oxford_tourism_suffers_triple_whammy/. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  19. ^ "About Boswells". Boswells-online.co.uk. http://www.boswells-online.co.uk//mall/infopageviewer.cfm/Boswells/AboutUs. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  20. ^ "Clarendon Shopping Centre". Clarendoncentre.co.uk. http://www.clarendoncentre.co.uk/. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  21. ^ "Visit Oxford's premier shopping centre - the Westgate Shopping Centre". Oxfordcity.co.uk. 2009-05-18. http://www.oxfordcity.co.uk/shops/westgate/. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ Simpson 1997, p. 101.
  24. ^ Simpson 2001, p. 57.
  25. ^ a b MacDermot 1931, p. 432.
  26. ^ Cooke 1960, p. 70.
  27. ^ a b MacDermot 1927, p. 300.
  28. ^ a b MacDermot 1927, p. 327.
  29. ^ MacDermot 1927, p. 498.
  30. ^ MacDermot 1927, p. 551.
  31. ^ MacDermot 1931, p. 27.
  32. ^ MacDermot 1927, pp. 180-181.
  33. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2005, Historical Background.
  34. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2005, fig. 8.
  35. ^ Thacker, Fred. S. (1968) [1920]. The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. 
  36. ^ Compton, Hugh J. The Oxford Canal. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0 7153 7238 6. OCLC 76-54077. 
  37. ^ DfES Pupil Annual School Level Census 2006 see Neighbourhood Renewal Unit floor target results
  38. ^ Oxford's FM1079
  39. ^ Oxide Radio - Your Sound Education | Home
  40. ^ Milestone Group
  41. ^ UK Indymedia - Oxford indymedia
  42. ^ Jericho Echo
  43. ^ Oxford Prospect
  44. ^ Jérôme Steffenino, Marguerite Masson. "Ville de Grenoble - Coopérations et villes jumelles". Grenoble.fr. http://www.grenoble.fr/jsp/site/Portal.jsp?page_id=92. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 


  • Cooke, B.W.C., ed (January 1960). "The Why and the Wherefore: Distances from London to Oxford". The Railway Magazine (Westminster: Tothill Press) 106 (705). 
  • MacDermot, E.T. (1927). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. I: 1833-1863. Paddington: Great Western Railway. 
  • MacDermot, E.T. (1931). History of the Great Western Railway, vol. II: 1863-1921. Paddington: Great Western Railway. 
  • Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (July 2005). Oxford to Bletchley. Country Railway Routes. Middleton Press. ISBN 1 904474 57 8. 
  • Sager, Peter (2005). Oxford & Cambridge: An Uncommon History. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0500512493. 
  • Simpson, Bill (1997). A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire. Part 1: The North. Banbury and Witney: Lamplight. ISBN 1 899246 02 9. 
  • Simpson, Bill (2001). A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire. Part 2: The South. Banbury and Witney: Lamplight. ISBN 1 899246 06 1. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford
Christ Church (Meadows Building), one of the largest colleges.
Christ Church (Meadows Building), one of the largest colleges.
For other places with the same name, see Oxford (disambiguation).

Oxford [1] is the oldest university city in England, situated some 50 miles (80 km) to the west of the capital London in its own county of Oxfordshire, and located on the rivers Thames (the section of the Thames in Oxford is known as "The Isis") and Cherwell. Together with Cambridge (the second oldest university city and Oxford's great rival), Oxford has long represented the English academic establishment and élite ("Oxbridge"), a haven of tradition and endeavour. Oxford's famous "Dreaming Spires" refer to the medieval churches and colleges that dominate the bustling modern town in all their Gothic splendour. Picturesque architecture and a vibrant modern life (driven by students, light industry and technology) set in the rolling countryside of Oxfordshire make this a great destination.



Oxford was first occupied in Saxon times, and was initially known as "Oxanforda". The settlement began with the foundations of St Frideswide's nunnery in the 8th century, and was first mentioned in written records in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 912. By the 10th century Oxford had become an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by the Danes.

The University of Oxford [2] was founded in the 12th century and therefore constitutes the oldest English-speaking university. Oxford, like Cambridge, differs from many other universities in that there is no 'campus' as such, and no central university building. Instead, the University consists of approximately 30 colleges and associated buildings, such as the Exam Schools (on the High Street, closed to the public), the world-famous Bodleian Library (main buildings in Radcliffe Square, off the high street - limited access to the public), and several world-class museums. Each college has its own individual character, some date from the 13th century, others are merely a few decades old. Many of the colleges are closed to the public, particularly during term times; some, however, are open at different times. For example: Christ Church (the college of "Brideshead" fame) is mostly open, and has the added bonus of having a (small) cathedral attached, where excellent music is performed at Evensong everyday, it also has an excellent art gallery [3]. Some of Christ Church's buildings are used in films such as "Harry Potter". Other colleges of note are Magdalen (pronounced 'maudlin'), which has a deer park, and those along the High Street, all of which have an impressive list of alumni. Shelley fans should visit University College. Former women-only colleges such as the pretty Somerville (Woodstock Rd) further to the North of the centre are interesting to get a feel for the range of colleges in Oxford.


Central Oxford is built around two intersecting throughfares which cross at Carfax:

  • the High Street, or "the High" [4] - running east-west, this is the main road coming in from Headington and the London road
  • running north-south is another road, essentially continuous, but with separate ancient names for its various stretches - St Aldates and St Giles [5], separated by the Cornmarket (now a pedestrianised shopping boulevard)

One of the best online resources for planning a visit to Oxford is the Virtual Tour of Oxford [6], hosted by the university's chemistry department...

Get in

By plane

While Oxford has an airport of its own at Kidlington, it is used mainly for private and charter aircraft, and has very little scheduled domestic or international flights. Useful only if you fly your own plane, or are able to charter a small aircraft, though flights to and from Geneva are currently in operation through Baboo [www.flybaboo.com] and in the summer, Air South West operates a flight to and from Guernsey[www.airsouthwest.com]. [7]

The nearest commercial airports to Oxford are those situated around London to the south-east or Birmingham to the north, with most foreign travellers preferring the former.

London Heathrow is certainly the closest airport to Oxford, followed by Gatwick in terms of size and popularity. Road access from both Heathrow and Gatwick (fastest) is by M25 (heading north and west respectively), thereafter the M40 to Oxford's outskirts (follow the signs).

Oxford Bus Company [8] runs several airport bus services to Oxford Gloucester Green bus station (running in from Headington and up the High with several convenient stops - check web pages below):

  • between London Heathrow and Oxford [9], £18 single, £20 return, frequency: every twenty minutes 5AM-10AM and 2PM-7PM, less frequently at other times
  • between London Gatwick and Oxford [10], £22 single, £29 return, frequency: hourly 6AM-8PM, less frequently thereafter

National Express Bus Company runs airport bus services to Luton Airport and to Stansted Airport: [11]

Birmingham Airport doesn't have as many destinations as the London airports (still quite a lot though), but it is definitely the closest to Oxford in terms of public transport travel time. Birmingham International Airport has its own railway station, which is connected to the airport terminal building via the free AirRail Link cable car shuttle, taking 1-2 minutes. From the railway station, trains depart to Oxford every hour between 0614 and 2214 and take about an hour to get there. A non-advance, non-rail card single costs £25.50, a return £28.80 off-peak or £51 any time. You could do a lot cheaper by booking an advance ticket though.

By road

Oxford is linked to London, the capital of England, by the 50 mile (80 km) south-eastern stretch of the M40 motorway (depending on traffic - which can be heavy - the journey varies between 50 - 90 minutes). The north-western continuation of the M40 also conveniently links Oxford with England's second largest city Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Parking and access restrictions are very stringent in the narrow streets of central Oxford, policed both by wardens and by cameras, with heavy fines applicable. The council has also implemented circuitous and confusing one-way traffic systems, making it difficult to get around by car. Visitors driving to Oxford from the south have easy access to the Westgate multi-storey car park on Oxpens Road near the city centre, which is handy but expensive. An alternative is to use one of the five municipal Park and Ride National Park and Ride Directory [12] services which are located in the city outskirts on all sides of Oxford (these are well signposted). They offer free parking and, on the park and ride bus, take about 12 minutes to reach the city centre. However £2.00 is charged for the return bus trip to the city centre. For more information visit the following site : [13].

Also check out Parkopedia.com [14] - a website that allows users to search and compare parking rates and locations for commercial and private parking facilities in Oxford [15].

By train

Oxford has a large railway station situated in the western part of the city (immediately west of the city centre and south of Jericho). Fast First Great Western trains run to and from London Paddington every half an hour, taking about an hour to complete the journey. Commonly these trains call at Reading, Slough (for Windsor Castle), and Didcot Parkway though not all trains call at each of these stations. Tickets to London cost £20 off peak without a railcard, and £40 at peak times without a railcard, although you can buy tickets for about £2.50 if you book in advance and online. There are also stopping services to London calling at a large number of stations, these run every hour and take about 90 minutes to complete the journey. First Great Western also run approximately hourly trains on the Cotswold line to Worcester and also to Bicester.

Cross Country Trains also run through Oxford, mostly running to/from Manchester and Southampton, though some trains run to Brighton. These trains run approximately half-hourly in both directions, though they don't run late in the evening, stopping at about 9PM. All of these trains stop at Reading going south, and Leamington Spa for Warwick and Warwick Castle, and Birmingham going north.

By bus

Frequent and comfortable coach services run from several convenient bus stops to Gloucester Green coach station in Oxford, normally starting at Londons Victoria Station, running westwards via Marble Arch, Notting Hill and Shepherd's Bush and then onwards to Oxford. Stops in Oxford include beside others Thornhill Park and Ride station, Headington, Brookes University, St Clements, High Street (Queens Lane) (which is best for daily visitors, as it it right in the middle of the majority of University Colleges) and finally Gloucester Green, which is also well situated. Bus companies between London and Oxford include Oxford Tube [16], Oxford Espress [17] and the low-cost Megabus.com [18](which one must book in advance via the website or by 'phone. The service uses the infrastructure of the Oxford Tube).

Prices range between £10 and £13 for an adult day return ticket. It is costs slightly more (£20) for an adult return that lets you return at any point within three months) and the journey time is usually 100 minutes. The Oxford Tube and Oxford Espress both cost exactly the same, and run very frequently. They do take slightly different routes in London, so depending on where you want to go to/from may influence where you board the coach. If you wish to travel late at night only the Oxford Tube runs 24 hours a day, unlike the Oxford Espress which stops services between 12.30AM and 4.30AM.

There are regular bus services between Oxford and London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports with The Airline [19].

There is also an X5 bus between Oxford and Cambridge, taking approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes, as well as buses to Bicester and Banbury run by Stagecoach. There are also several coaches to other parts of the country run by National Express.

Get around

On foot

Oxford city centre is very compact and easily walkable. Many areas of the city centre are pedestrianised and all major tourist sights are well signposted. The main hazard is cyclists who will routinely ignore pedestrian crossings and will often take short-cuts along the pavement be wary when crossing the road.

By Bicycle

The preferred mode of transport for the university student is the bicycle and like Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Beijing, you'll see hundreds of them. Most trains into Oxford will allow bicycles to be carried for free. Unfortunately cycle lanes are sporadic at best so often you'll be sharing the road with other motorists. The best option is to follow the locals as they know what they are doing, although remember that it's illegal for cyclists to run red lights (although many do) and you should use lights at night. Bike parking is available everywhere, but make sure you get a strong lock as bike-theft is a possibility.

By Car

Driving in central Oxford is NOT recommended. Traffic is heavy, the one-way system is very confusing, the streets are often very narrow and have restrictions, and parking is VERY expensive. You're best off using the park & ride system or forgetting the car and coming in by public transport. If you have a motorcycle or a scooter things are a little easier.

By bus

Local urban buses are mostly operated by the Oxford Bus Company. Fares are a little pricey and are charged by distance (pay the driver when boarding - change is available) but if you plan on making more than 2 trips in one day it's worth buying an all-day pass. The main hubs for local buses are the rail station and the high-street. If you're in town a while there's also a rechargable smart-card that gives discount on bus fares.

By taxi

Oxford has both metered taxis which can be flagged down from the street or taken from taxi stands located around the city as well as 'minicabs' which must be ordered by phone. Meter taxis are quite pricey but are convenient for short hops if travelling in a big group. Minicabs are much cheaper for long-distance journeys - the fare should be agreed over the phone when booking or should be bargained with the driver - never get in a minicab without agreeing the price.


Visitors to Oxford should definitely visit at least one museum, visit at least one college and - if possible - hear one of the world class college chapel choirs. A walking tour (see 'Do' below) is a good way of achieving this.

The Bridge of Sighs?
The Bridge of Sighs?
  • Bodleian Library, [20]. The main research library of the University of Oxford, The Bodleian is one of the oldest libraries in Europe (opened in 1602, based on the collection of Thomas Bodley), and in the UK is second in size only to London's British Library. The Bodleian now possesses numerous branches throughout the university; visiting bibliophiles will be most keen to peruse the the central site, which includes Duke Humfrey's Library above the Divinity School, the Old Schools Quadrangle with its Great Gate and Tower, the Radcliffe Camera, Britain’s first circular library, and the Clarendon Building.
    • Radcliffe Camera, Radcliffe Square. Built 1737-1749, the round Camera functions as a reading room for Oxford students and so is not generally accessible. The grand exterior, however, is well worth viewing.
  • Hertford Bridge, (Hertford College). A quaint pedestrian bridge for the students of Hertford College which has popularly become known as the "Bridge of Sighs" of Oxford.  edit
  • Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street, [21]. This unusual building was Sir Christopher Wren's first major architectural commission. At the time he was a Professor of Astronomy at the University. There is a series of busts outside the theatre facing Broad St with strange expressions and facial hair.
  • Taylorian Institute, [22], also known as The Taylor Institution, was established in 1845 and is the University's centre for the study of modern European languages and literature. Its library contains the largest specialist collection in its field in Britain. It is in a neo-classical building designed by Charles R. Cockerell and erected between 1841 and 1844 by the University to house the Institution and the Randolph Galleries (now the Ashmolean Museum)[23]. It is on the corner of St. Giles and Beaumont Street, opposite the Randolph Hotel [24].
  • University Church of St Mary the Virgin, High Street (entrances from the High and from Radcliffe Square), [25]. Some of the best views of Oxford are afforded from the tower of the church, dating to 1280. The church itself, rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries (with various additions after this time), is full of architectural and historical interest. The church has a coffee shop, "The Vaults and Garden", +044 01865 279112, now re-opened under the management of Will Pouget (already known for his 'Alpha Bar' in the Covered Market) and specialising in organic food and fair trade tea and coffee.


Many Oxford colleges allow tourists to visit their grounds during certain hours and certain seasons, although some are closed to tourists at all times. Keep in mind that those that are open will generally prevent tourist access during certain times of the year, especially during University terms (approximately October/November, January/February and May/June), particularly in May/June, which is when exams are taken. It is advisable to visit the College's own website before visiting or to enquire at Oxford's local tourist information office (www.visitoxford.org) to be certain you are not disappointed. Some of the University's oldest and most beautiful colleges are Balliol, University College, Merton, New, the College of All Souls, Oriel College, and the Queen's College.

Two colleges (some of the largest and most famous in Oxford) that have somewhat established themselves as tourist destinations are Magdalen and Christ Church. You're as likely to see a tourist inside as a student, but they do offer regular visiting hours, tourist facilities, meticulously manicured and beautiful grounds, and ticket booths for charging admissions fees.

  • Christ Church [26] The college of Brideshead Revisited fame, Christ Church is an Early Modern period college founded in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey as "Cardinal College". Noted for associations with Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) and was a location for the filming of the first Harry Potter film. The Christ Church Meadows south of the college is a beautiful green space offering nice views of the spires and quiet corners to relax. Admission is a bit steep at Adults-£6; Seniors, Children, and Students £4.50.
  • Magdalen College, eastern end of the High Street, +44 01865 276000, [27]. 1 October-21 June 1PM-6PM or dusk (whichever is earlier), 25 Jun-30 Sep noon-6PM, closed 22-24 June. Founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, Magdalen is frequently the first college seen by many visitors if coming into Oxford on the London Road, its high tower serving as a much-loved landmark. Significant Magdalen alumni include CS Lewis, Oscar Wilde, Seamus Heaney and Edward Gibbon. Visitor gift shop and afternoon café. Maximum 20 people in a group. Adults £3, seniors, children, students £2.
  • The Ashmolean Museum REOPENED AFTER RENOVATIONS, Beaumont Street (between Worcester and St. Giles), +44 01865 278000, [28]. Tu-Su 10AM-6PM. Vast, impressive, and recently undergone major redevelopment, the Ashmolean is Britain's oldest public museum, having been founded in 1683. The museum displays ancient art from Egypt, the Near East, Greece and Rome, a fine collection of Western art and artifacts and a sizable Eastern Art collection. Highlights include the Amarna Princess Fresco and the Alfred Jewel. A restaurant and gift store also feature. Admission free.
Inside the Natural History Museum.
Inside the Natural History Museum.
  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road (opposite Keble College), +044 01865 270949, [29]. Daily 10AM-5PM except for Easter and Christmas. Houses the University's scientific collections of zoological, entomological, geological, palaeontological and mineralogical specimens, accumulated in the course of the last 3 centuries. The exhibits occupy a large central court with elegant Victorian cast-iron columns supporting the great glass roof, and surrounded on four sides by upper and lower arcades. They are devoted to the history and diversity of life on Earth and the rocks and minerals that form it. Highlights include the famous Oxford Dodo, the largest display of dinosaur remains outside London, a great collection of skeletons, and the nesting swifts in the Museum's main tower. Admission free.
  • The Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, [30]. Daily noon-4:30PM. Oxford's museum of anthropology and ethnology, still largely arranged in Victorian style, making this a rare museum experience. The Pitt Rivers requires time and effort but gives great satisfaction. Look out for the shrunken heads! (Entrance to the Museum is through the Oxford University Museum Natural History (OUMNH) on Parks Road - the entrance is at the far side of the lobby from the main entrance to the OUMNH; visitors therefore need to walk across the ground floor to reach it). Admission free.
  • The Museum of Oxford, [31]. The museum tells the tale of the growth of the city and University.
  • Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, [32]. An art gallery often showing temporary exhibitions of art and photography by renowned contemporary artists, which are accompanied by well designed talks and workshops. Admission free.
  • Christ Church Picture Gallery, (Entrance via Oriel Square), 01865 276 172, [33]. Houses an internationally renowned collection of Old Master paintings and drawings – some 300 paintings and almost 2000 drawings. The paintings include works by Carracci, Tintoretto, Filippino Lippi, Van Dyck and Frans Hals. Christ Church’s collection of Old Masters drawings is one of the most important in the country and includes work by major artists such as Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Durer and Rubens. For reasons of space and conservation, it is not possible to show the entire collection but a selection of drawings is always on view.  edit
  • University of Oxford Botanical Gardens, Rose Lane and the High Street (opposite Magdalen College), +044 01865 286690. [34] Daily 9AM-4:30PM (Nov-Feb), 9AM-5PM (Mar/Apr/Oct), 9AM-6PM (May-Sep), last admission approx 30-45 minutes before closing. Admission £3 for adults, £2 concessions during peak season, free during weekdays out of season.
  • Oxford University Parks, Large expanse of park along the Cherwell River with paths running from Marston to the City Centre.(entrances at Parks Road, Norham Gardens, and South Parks road, near Linacre College), Closing Times vary according to the season. [35]


Walking tours, that last about two hours, from St Aldates, near the centre, are an excellent way of visiting some of the more famous colleges, such as Christ Church and Merton. A number of independent general and ghost tours also start nearby in Broad Street.

The Oxford Dodo - Not as lively as the swifts
The Oxford Dodo - Not as lively as the swifts
  • Punting - in the summer, punting is an ever-popular activity, involving propelling a wooden boat along the river with a pole. You can also hire someone to do the punting for you, although it is easy and fun to do it yourself. Bring a bottle of wine and good balance along for a more interesting trip (although it helps to have a sober crew member along!) Punt rental available at Magdalen Bridge [36], from Salter's [37] at Folly Bridge, and from the Cherwell Boathouse [38] in North Oxford.
  • In the summer, check out the nesting Swifts (birds) at the Oxford Museum of Natural History [39] - these elegant little birds have been nesting in ventilation flutes in the tower of the University Museum for many years, providing a wonderful opportunity for scientists. Visitors to the Museum can watch live pictures from three of the nests in the tower on a television monitor, from May to August.

Stage and screen

Oxford has four city-centre cinemas, screening mainstream (Odeon) and art films (Ultimate Picture Palace, Phoenix Picturehouse). The latter sometimes has showings at 11:30PM for night owls.

Oxford also hosts a number of London productions on tour, as well as playing host to a large number of student productions each year. Oxford has a lively student-drama scene. The following theatres put on amateur student productions during term-time, which are often very good value for money:

  • Burton Taylor Theatre - tickets sold at the Box Office of the Oxford Playhouse (see above)
  • Old Fire Station Theatre (OFS), George Street
  • The Oxford Playhouse [40] - worthwhile plays
  • New Theatre - popular shows, musicals and ballets.
  • Oxford Show Details [41] - Show Details
  • The Sheldonian Theatre. Recently voted the most uncomfortable concert hall in England, the Sheldonian never has a shortage of both professional and amateur classical music concerts.
  • Covered Market, High Street. [42] Oxford has the oldest covered market in England. Unusual small shops, including a chocolate shop, cake shop, fine butchers, hat shop, florists, glassware, and charming cafes.

A large number of shops in the city centre specialise in selling the ubiquitous Oxford University range of souvenirs. One is official, the others less so, but all do a roaring trade in T-shirts, sweaters, calendars and paraphernalia:

  • the University of Oxford Shop, 106 The High Street, +044 01865 247414, fax +044 01865 724379. [43] M-Sa 9AM-5.30PM, Bank Holidays and Sundays in June 11AM-4PM, Sundays in July and August 11AM-5PM. Since 1990, the official outlet for official university souvenirs and gifts
Blackwell's book shop
Blackwell's book shop

Unsurprisingly for a university city, Oxford is noted for both antiquarian, specialist and new books.

  • Blackwell's Books, 48-51 Broad Street (opposite the Sheldonian Theatre) - founded in 1879, Blackwell's main Oxford shop is a veritable tourist attraction in itself, the vast 10,000 square foot Norrington Room excavated beneath Trinity College Gardens laying claim to being the largest space dedicated to book sales in Europe. Another 9 speciality branches of this Oxford institution dot the city.
  • Oxford University Press Bookshop, 116 High Street, +44 1865 242 913, fax +44 1865 241 701 [44] - stocks a wide variety of books published by Oxford University Press.
  • Alpha Bar, 89 Covered Market, Avenue 3, +44 1865 250 499. 9-5(ish). One of the healthier options inside the Covered Market, Alpha Bar serves up organic, fair-trade food. Sandwiches are reasonably priced, at around £3.50, and you can choose from their many interesting fillings, including baked tofu, seaweed and roasted vegetables. Their salads are priced by the pound and you can fill your recyclable container with good-for-you grains. A favourite among students for lunch, but make sure you get there early - they tend to run out of the more popular ingredients by around 3:30. £.  edit
  • G&D’s (George and Davis), 55 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX1 2HS, +44 1865 516 652, [45]. 8AM-midnight). £.  edit
  • G&D’s (George and Danver), 94 St. Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1BT, +44 1865 245 952, [46]. 8AM-midnight). £.  edit
  • G&D’s (George and Delila), 104 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JE, +44 1865 727 111, [47]. 8AM-midnight). The original G&D’s was opened in Little Clarendon Street by an Oxford University student and soon became an Oxford institution. No other ice-cream themed shop has survived long in Oxford due to the fierce loyalty of G&D’s customers. Popular flavours include ‘Oxford Blue’ (blueberry), Crunchie bar, Turkish delight and InLight Delight (white chocolate with chocolate chip cookie dough). G&D’s also offers bagels, salads and baked goods, all extremely reasonably priced and extremely tasty. £.  edit
  • Café Zouk, +44 1865 250 499. 12 noon – 2:30PM; 5:30 – 11:30PM. Café Zouk serves up authentic, traditional Indian and balti dishes at fair prices. Starters are generally between three to five pounds, with mains priced between five to ten pounds. Service can be unpredictable, but the food is good enough to excuse the occasional offhand waiter. £.  edit
  • Georgina’s, +44 1865 249 527, [48]. Mon–Fri 9–4.30, Sat 9–5. Georgina’s is tucked away on the upper floor of the Covered Market, and this small café has a fairly groovy, hippy-ish décor and atmosphere. You’ll pay more for your sandwiches and wraps here than you would at other places, but portions are huge and, for the most part, healthy. An exception to the latter is their loaded potato skins, which are slightly spiced and come with a heaping of sour cream. Delicious! £.  edit
  • The Nosebag Restaurant, +44 1865 721 033. Tuesday – Thursday 9:30AM - 9:30PM; Friday - Saturday 9:30AM - 10PM; Sunday 9:30AM - 8:30PM. An Oxford institution, The Nosebag is a favourite among students who come for the huge portions of their tasty, wholesome food. It’s worth paying the extra couple of pounds for the leftovers you’ll be heaving home – the varied menu includes Hungarian goulash, served with tagliatelle and green salad, spanakopita, pea, asparagus and salmon risotto, and blackeye bean curry. Or you can just pick up one of their delicious cakes. £.  edit
  • Noodle Bar, 100-101 Gloucester Green, Oxford, OX1 2DF, +44 1865 201 400, [49]. Mon & Tues: 11.30AM-10PM; Wed - Sat: 11.30AM-11PM; Sun: 12noon-10PM. A cheaper, less ubiquitous version of Wagamama, Noodle Bar is useful for its location on Gloucester Green, near the bus terminal. A blend of Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisines, the menu is almost overwhelmingly large and dishes are fully customisable. 10% student discount with card. £.  edit
  • Combibos Coffee, +44 1865 250 072, [50]. 7AM – 8PM. Doing its best despite the location of a Caffe Nero just a few doors down, Combibos is an excellent place for a cup of coffee and a pastry. Sandwiches are unspecial but the pictures of rock ‘n’ roll stars and quotations on the walls provide a hip setting for a chat with a friend. £.  edit
  • Meltz, +44 1865 202 016. 7AM – 8PM. Great for sandwiches – their hot toasties come with salad, dip and tortilla chips, and other lunch options are large and tasty, including pastas, baked potatoes with all sorts of fillings and spaghetti and meatballs. £.  edit
  • Jamie’s Italian, +44 1865 838 383, [51]. Monday – Friday 12noon – 11PM; Saturday 10AM – 11PM; Sunday 10AM – 10:30PM. Offering traditional, simple Italian food at reasonable prices, Jamie Oliver’s venture opened recently and has been a huge success. One drawback is that no reservations are accepted, so be prepared to put your name on the wait-list and endure a growling stomach. Favourites include the crab spaghettini, wild mushroom ravioli and the exquisite truffle tagliatelle. You can order a starter-sized portion of any pasta dish, and mains include grilled steak, yellow fin tuna salad and, unusually, lamb chop lollipops. Nothing on the menu is over £17 and most dishes hover around the £10 mark. ££.  edit
  • Brasserie Blanc, +44 1865 510 999, [52]. 11AM – 11PM. Raymond Blanc’s French brasserie is intimate and full of charm. Considering the quality of the food, prices are extremely reasonable – a rack of lamb, potatoes and cabbage will set you back £17.50, and for vegetarians the grilled Crottin goats’ cheese and beetroot tart is an exquisite choice. A great place for a date or to bring your mother. ££.  edit
  • The Grand Cafe, +44 1865 204 463, [53]. 9AM – 8PM. Lunch options include Waldorf salads, oak smoked salmon and varied sandwiches, but the real draw here is the afternoon tea. For £16.50 you get a couple of sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, handmade chocolate truffles, tea or coffee and a glass of champagne. True extravagance! ££.  edit
  • The Randolph Hotel, +44 1865 791 678, [54]. Afternoon tea at the Randolph is world-renowned, but a sit-down dinner in the beautiful dining room is an experience, albeit an expensive one. Mains include roast loin of Highland venison, served with chestnuts and sprouts at £26.50, and fillet of wild seabass, fennel puree and langoustine sauce at £25.50. Their cheese trolley is an indulgent way to end the meal. £££.  edit
  • The Alternative Tuck Shop, 24 Holywell Street, [55]. One of the best sandwich shops in Oxford. Cheap, lightning-fast service, high-quality food. Offers a great selection of sandwiches (warm and cold), paninis, pastys and cakes. Friendly and efficient staff. £.  edit


Oxford has many old pubs, as well as newer nightclubs.

  • The Missing Bean, 14 Turl Street (only 3o sec walking from the bodlien labrary), [56]. 8:00-18:30. Hidden halfway down Turl Street is this little gem of a coffee shop, it only opened in October but already has a reputation for the best coffee in Oxford. Laid back atmosphere & friendly staff. Ask for the famous flat white!  edit
  • Turf Tavern, 4 Bath Place (off New College Lane), +44 01865 243 235. 11AM-11PM, Su 12noon-10.30PM. A well-hidden pub, but also well known by locals. Good range of beers. Nice beer garden with coal fires where you can roast marshmallows on chilly evenings in spring and autumn. This ancient pub (a favourite with Inspector Morse) is an unmissable Oxford institution that many consider to be the best pub in the city - in the summer watch out for drenched students enjoying the end of their exams. Pint £2.50.
  • the Eagle and Child, 49 St Giles. Popularly known as "the bird and baby", this pub was the frequent haunt of the Inklings, a group of Oxford literary dons that included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien
  • The Jericho Tavern, Jericho. Great place for a drink and maybe some food. Also famous for being the place that Radiohead played their first show.
  • the Lamb and Flag, 12 St Giles, +044 01865 515787. A big old pub, long, with lots of nook and crannies
  • Royal Oak, Woodstock Road (opposite Radcliffe Infirmary). Graduate and North Oxford local, offers Schneider Weiße from Germany, popular with scientists and doctors working in the area.
  • The Bear, Blue Boar Street. A small pub, but curiously full of old school ties. The oldest pub in Oxford by its own description, founded in 1492, and probably has the lowest ceilings of any pub in Oxford.
  • King's Arms, (opposite Broad Street and the Sheldonian Theatre). A popular student pub - selection of beers and reasonable food although perhaps prices are a little high. Excellent location.
  • Hobgoblin, St. Aldates. Small and traditional but with adequate seating, with drinks varying in price depending on how early you get there.
  • Hobgoblin, Cowley Road. Lively student pub. Staff are friendly until 11PM, at which point you'll be rudely kicked out.
  • The Old Bookbinders' Arms, hidden in the back streets of Jericho (go down Great Clarendon Street, turn right into Canal Street). Has eccentric decorations, but friendly and with lots of beers.
  • Freud's, Jericho. This bar and restaurant occupy a grand church building producing a unique, slightly austere atmosphere. When buzzing with people, this becomes a great place for an evening out; the restaurant area is cleared to become a dance floor later in the evening. They serve a range of cocktails from about £3 upwards.
  • Raoul's, Jericho. A trendy and upmarket cocktail bar. Often very busy at weekends.
  • Sugar Brown's, Jericho. Cocktail bar.
  • The Duke of Cambridge, Little Clarendon Street. Fashionable for young students wanting great cocktails with some cheeky bar staff. Swisher than you might expect.
  • The Bullingdon, Cowley Road. Lively and unpretentious with a mixed clientele. Live music and club nights in the back room. Jazz club on Tuesday nights. Blues on Monday nights.
  • Half Moon, St. Clement's. Ignore the plastic faux-Irish outlets in the city centre and head out along the High St and over Magdalen Bridge and enjoy the relaxed vibe in this small, friendly pub.
  • Angel and Greyhound, St. Clement's. Popular with Friday evening after-work crowd, letting their hair down. In quieter moments good for board games. Food is average.
  • Head of the River, Folly Bridge, +44 01865 721600. Perfectly located, right on the Thames. Follow St Aldate's down past Christ Church college until you reach the river (the pub's on the far bank). This place buzzes on summer evenings, when the large garden gets extremely busy.
  • The Gardener's Arms, Plantation Road. Very pretty with a beer garden, and an excellent all-vegetarian menu.
  • The Fir Tree, on the corner of Bullingdon Road and Iffley Road. Good beer, open till 2AM most nights, friendly atmosphere.
  • The Kite, Mill Street, west Oxford. Close to the railway station, this tired and run down pub for locals and their dogs is best avoided.


Certain weeknights are student-only at some clubs, so you should probably check before going.

  • The Bridge, 6-9 Hythe Bridge Street, +044 01865 242526. [57] Nightclub frequented by students. Two floors - R&B on one, dance on the other. Plenty of acceptable seating, long bars and quite importantly clean bathroom facilities! Drinks can be a bit pricey: bottled beer £3 (no draught), double vodka coke £2.70, entry £4-£5. VIP room.
  • Maxwell's, 36-37 Queen Street, +044 01865 242192. [58] 11:30AM-2AM daily. Bar and restaurant by day; cocktails and nightclub by evening. Claims to have the longest bar in Oxford. £3-£5 cover (after 10PM).
  • Park End, 37-39 Park End Street, +044 01865 250181. [59] M-W 21:00-02:00, Th-Sa 21:30-03:00. Nightclub frequented by students and locals. Come here to drink heavily and dance to uninspired pop tunes. £1-£5 cover, £3 pints, £3 mixed drinks (some nightly drink specials). Monday is Brookes student night, Wednesday is OUSU student night (many bottled drinks £1.50). Student ID required for both.
  • Baby Love, (3 King Edward Street - Just off the High Street). Open until 2AM M-Sa, closed Sunday. Small venue but spread out over two floors. Varied music. Home to one of Oxford's most popular gay nights (Tuesdays).
  • O2 Academy Oxford [60] (previously Carling Academy and The Zodiac) Live music venue and stop-off for many a band's UK tour, turned nightclub after hours.
  • Po Na Na's, 13-15 Magdalen Street. Don't be put off by the inconspicuous entrance - below is a relatively small, mysteriously decorated (apparently its Moroccan), funky cave, with great not-too-loud music, and an unusual and relaxed atmosphere. Cocktails 2 for 1 between 9 and 10:30.
  • Thirst, 7-8 Park End Street, +044 01865 242044. [61] M-W 18:30-02:00, Su 18:30-01:30. Cocktail bar, drinks from £1.75.


Oxford has a large number of B&Bs and guesthouses, located both centrally and in the suburbs. Check the website of the Oxford Association of Hotels and Guesthouses [62] to get some ideas of available options.

Most hotels in the city centre are pretty expensive, and you pay almost London prices. Be advised to book in advance if you are travelling in summer since free accommodation can be rare during high season. The tourist information office in the city centre can help find available accommodation for a small fee.


Travelodge [63] and Premier Inn [64] have budget hotels on the outskirts of Oxford, although one will need to take a twenty minute bus ride to get to the centre. Alternatives in the centre include:

  • YHA Oxford , 2a Botley Road, (in UK) 0870 770 5970, (outside UK) +44 01865 727275, fax +044 01865 251182, [65] [66] Housed in a brand new, purpose-built building next to the railway station and minutes from the city centre, prices from £20.50 adult, £15.50 under 18s. Prices are a bit steep, but the price includes a delicious full-English breakfast in the morning. Location is convenient although avoid getting a room facing the train station as the sound of passing trains and station PA announcements can become annoying after a while.
  • Central Backpackers Hostel, 13 Park End Street, +044 01865 242288 [67] Only recently opened and situated close to the city centre. Clean and airy. From £14.
  • Oxford Backpackers, 9a Hythe Bridge Street, +044 01865 721761, fax +044 01865 203293. [68] [69] Cheap and a little dingy. Conveniently located for both the rail and bus stations (2 mins walk). Dorm beds from £13.
  • Victoria House Hotel [70] Popular hotel located in the heart of Oxford on Georges Street.
  • Abodes of Oxford B&B in Oxford, 6 Blackman Close Kennington Oxford, +44 1865 435229, [71] [72]
  • Remont Boutique B&B Oxford Hotel, 367 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7PL, [73].+44 (0)1865 311020, [74],
  • Oxford University Rooms, some of the colleges rent out rooms out of term time, providing a B&B like experience, [75]
  • The Old Bank Hotel, 92-94 High Street, +44 +044 01865 799599, [76], [77]. £150 (single).
  • Randolph Hotel, Beaumont Street, +44 (0)870 400 8200, Fax: +44 01865 791678, [78]. Plush English accommodation experience and is centrally located directly opposite the Ashmolean Museum. Can be hired for conference also if required.
  • Malmaison Oxford Prison Hotel,Oxford Castle, OX1 1AY [79] Set within the old prison this modern quirky 5* hotel also allows pets!

Oxford has a small gay scene and a gay area - which is accepting and friendly. The city is suprisingly gay-friendly for Middle England - evidently helped by a huge student population(and when compared to places like Birmingham and Coventry). The city's LGBT population is not as high places like Manchester, Brighton, London, Blackpool; but it is safe and comfortable feeling for gay visitors.

Stay safe

Oxford is mostly safe, apart from a few social housing estates on the edge of the city

Blackbird Leys is possibly the most well known locally. The area suffers instances of drug dealing and youths committing robbery at knifepoint. Many colleges now refuse to home foreign students in this area due to a rise in attempted muggings.

Whilst the estate is safer than most inner city areas in larger cities such as London or Birmingham, it is certainly not advisable to venture into this area at night. Tourists would have no need to visit area, other than the Oxford United football stadium which is on the edge of the estate.

Street crime in the center of the city is low, though proper precautions as would be followed in any city should be taken. Avoid getting caught up in drunken revelry or street fights and, remember, traffic is on the left (so look both ways!).


Oxford public library in the Westgate Shopping Centre has free internet available. The hostels near the train station all provide the Internet to residents.

There are also internet cafes in the city. One to try is located above the baguette (sandwich) shop on the far south end of New Inn Hall Street (the little lane running perpendicular to George Street, right across from Gloucester Green bus station and immediately parallel to Cornmarket Street). They also offer international telephone calls, international fax, and printing.

  • Blenheim Palace [80] - located 8 miles north-west of Oxford in the picturesque and historic town of Woodstock on the A44 Evesham Road - well worth a visit
  • Bicester - 10 miles north of Oxford, a nice little town with last seasons designer shopping at discounted prices from the outlet stores at Bicester Village.
  • Waterperry Gardens, [81]. Gardens & Garden Shop 10.00 - 5.30 (March - October) / 10.00 - 5.00 (November - February). A lovely wander through manicured gardens. Adults £4.95 (March - October)/ £3.50 (November - February).  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

="">See Oxford (disambiguation) for articles sharing the title Oxford.

OXFORD, a city, municipal and parliamentary borough, the county town of Oxfordshire, England, and the seat of a famous university.1 Pop. (1901) 49,336. It is situated on the river Thames, 51 m. by road and 63¾ m. by rail W.N.W. of London. It is served by the main northern line of the Great Western railway, and by a branch from the London & NorthWestern system at Bletchley; while the Thames, and the Oxford canal, running north from it, afford water communications. The ancient nucleus of the city stands on a low gravel ridge between the Thames and its tributary the Cherwell, which here flow with meandering courses and many branches and backwaters through flat meadows. Modern extensions of Oxford cross both rivers, the suburbs of Osney and Botley lying to the west, Grandpont to the south, and St Clement's to the east beyond the Cherwell. To the north is a large modern residential district. The low meadow land is bounded east and west by well-wooded hills, rising rather abruptly, though only to a slight elevation, seldom exceeding Soo ft. Several points on these hills command celebrated views, such as that from Bagley Hill to the S.W., or from Elsfield to the N.E., from which only the inner Oxford is visible, with its collegiate buildings, towers and spires - a peerless city.

Main roads from east to west and from north to south intersect near the centre of ancient Oxford at a point called Carfax,2 and form four principal streets, High Street (east), Queen Street (west), Cornmarket Street (north) and St Aldate's (south).3 Cornmarket Street is continued northward by Magdalen Street, and near their point of junction Magdalen Street is intersected by a thoroughfare formed, from west to east, by George Street, Broad Street, Holywell Street and Long Wall Street, the last of which sweeps south to join High Street not far from Magdalen Bridge over the Cherwell. This thoroughfare is thus detailed, because it approximately indicates the northern and northeastern confines of the ancient city. The old walls indeed (of which there are many fragments, notably a very fine range in New College garden) indicate a somewhat smaller area than that defined by these streets. Their line, which slightly varied, as excavations have shown, in different ages, bent south-westward from Cornmarket Street, where stood the north gate, till it reached the enceinte of the castle, which lies at the west of the old city, flanked on one side by a branch of the Thames. From the castle the southern wall ran east, along the modern Brewers' Street; the south gate of the city was in St Aldate's Street, where it is joined by this lane, and the walls then continued along the north side of Christ Church meadow, and north-eastward to the east gate, which stood in High Street near the junction of Long Wall Street. Oxford had thus a strong position: the castle and the Thames protected it on the east; the two rivers, the walls and the water-meadows between them on the south and east; and on the north the wall and a deep ditch, of which vestiges may be traced, as between Broad and Ship Streets.


An early rivalry between the universities of. Oxford and Cambridge led to the circulation of many groundless legends respecting their foundation. For example, those which connected Oxford with " Brute the Trojan," King Mempric (1009 B.C.), and the Druids, are not found before the 14th century. The town is as a fact much older than the university. The historian, John Richard Green, epitomizes the relation between the two corporations when he shows4 that " Oxford had already seen five centuries of borough life before a student appeared within its streets.. .. The university found Oxford a busy, prosperous borough, and reduced it to a cluster of lodging-houses. It found it among the first of English municipalities, and it so utterly crushed its freedom that the recovery of some of the commonest rights of self-government has only been brought about by recent legislation." A poor Romano-British village may have existed on the peninsula between Thames and Cherwell, but no Roman road of importance passed within 3 m. of it. In the 8th century an indication of the existence of Oxford is found in the legend of St Frideswide, a holy woman who is said to have died in 735, and to have founded a nunnery on the site of the present cathedral. Coins of King Alfred have been discovered (though not at Oxford) bearing the name Oksnaforda or Orsnaforda, which seems to prove the existence of a mint at Oxford. It is clear, at any rate, that Oxford was already important as a frontier town between Mercia and Wessex when the first unquestionable mention of it occurs, namely in the English Chronicle under the year 912, when Edward the Elder " took to himself " London and Oxford. The name points to a ford for oxen across the Thames, though some have connected the syllable " ox-" with a Celtic word meaning " water," comparing it with Ouse, Osney and Exford. The first mention of the townsmen of Oxford is in the English Chronicle of 1013, and that of its trade in the Abingdon Chronicle, which mentions the toll paid from the 11th century to the abbot of Abingdon by boats passing that town. Notices during that century prove the growing importance of Oxford. As the chief stronghold in the upper Thames valley it sustained various attacks by the Danes, being burned in 979, 1002 and 1010, while in 1013 Sweyn took hostages from it. It had also a considerable political importance, and several gemots were held here, as in 1015, when the two Danish thanes Sigfrith and Morkere were treacherously killed by the Mercian Edric; in 1020, when Canute chose Oxford as the scene of the confirmation of " Edgar's law " by Danes„and English; in 1036, when Harold I. was chosen king, and in 1065. But Oxford must have suffered heavily about the time of the Conquest, for according to the Domesday Survey (which for Oxford is unusually complete) a great proportion of the ” mansions" (106 out of 297) and houses (478 out of 721) were ruined or unoccupied. The city, however, had already a market, and under the strong hand of the Norman sheriff Robert d'Oili (c. 1070-1119) it prospered steadily. He made heavy exactions on the townsfolk, though it may be noted that they withheld from him Port Meadow, the great meadow of 440 acres which is still a feature of the low riverside tract north of Oxford. But d'Oili did much for Oxford, and the strong tower of the castle and possibly that of St Michael's church are extant relics of his building activity. His nephew, another Robert, who held the castle after him, founded in 1129 the most notable building that >><< Oxford has lost. This was the priory (shortly afterwards the abbey) of Osney, which was erected by the branch of the Thames next west of that by which the castle stands. In its finished state it had a splendid church, with two high towers and a great range of buildings, but only slight fragments may now be traced. About 1130 Henry I. built for himself Beaumont Palace, the site of which is indicated by Beaumont Street,`and the same king gave Oxford its first known charter (not still extant), in which mention is made of a gild merchant. This charter is alluded to in another of Henry II., in which the citizens of Oxford and London are associated in the possession of similar customs and liberties. The most notable historical incident connected with the city in this period is the escape of the empress Matilda from the castle over the frozen river and through the snow to Abingdon, when besieged by Stephen in 1142.

It is about this time that an indication is first given of organized teaching in Oxford, for in 113 3 one Robert Pullen is said to have instituted theological lectures here. No earlier facts are known concerning the origin of the university, though it may with probability be associated with schools connected with the ecclesiastical foundations of Osney and St Frideswide; and the tendency for Oxford to become a centre of learning may have been fostered by the frequent presence of the court at Beaumont. A chancellor, appointed by the bishop of Lincoln, is mentioned in 1214, and an early instance of the subordination of the town to the university is seen in the fact that the townsfolk were required to take oaths of peace before this official and the archdeacon. It may be mentioned here that the present practice of appointing a non-resident chancellor, with a resident vicechancellor, did not come into vogue till the end of the 15th century. In the 13th century a number of religious orders, which here as elsewhere exercised a profound influence on education, became established in Oxford. In 1221 came the Dominicans, whose later settlement (c. 1260) is attested by Blackfriars Street, Preacher's Bridge and Friars' Wharf. In 1224 the Franciscans settled near the present Paradise Square. In the middle of the century the Carmelites occupied part of the present site of Worcester College, but their place here was taken by the Benedictines when, about 1315, they were given Beaumont by Edward. II., and removed there. The Austin Friars settled near the site of Wadham College; for the Cistercians Rewley Abbey, scanty remains of which may be traced near the present railway stations, was founded c. 1280. During the same century the political importance of Oxford was maintained. Several parliaments were held here, notably the Mad Parliament of 1258, which enforced the enactment of the Provisions of Oxford. Again, the later decades of the 13th century saw the initiation of the collegiate system. Merton, University and Balliol were the earliest foundations under this system. The paragraphs below, dealing with each college successively, give the dates and circumstances of foundation for all. As to the relations between the university and the city, in 1248 a charter of Henry III. afforded students considerable privileges at the expense of townsfolk, in the way of personal and financial protection. Moreover, the chancellor already possessed juridical powers; even over the townsfolk he shared jurisdiction with the mayor. Not unnaturally these peculiar conditions engendered rivalry between " town and gown "; rivalry led to violence, and after many lesser encounters a climax was reached in the riot on St Scholastica's and the following day, February 10th and 11th, 1 354/5. Its immediate cause was trivial, but the townsmen gave rein to their long-standing animosity, severely handled the scholars, killing many, and paying the penalty, for Edward III. gave the university a new charter enhancing its privileges. Others followed from Richard II. and Henry IV. A charter given by Henry VIII. in 1523 at the instigation of Wolsey conferred such power on the university that traders of any sort might be given its privileges, so that the city had no jurisdiction over them. In 1571 was passed the act of Elizabeth which incorporated and reorganized the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In 1635 a charter of Charles I. confirmed its privileges to the university of Oxford, of which William Laud had become chancellor in 1630. Vestiges of these exaggerated powers (as distinct from the more equable division of rights between the two corporations which now obtains) long survived. For example, it was only in 1825 that the ceremony of reparation enforced on the municipality after the St Scholastica riots was discontinued.

During the reign of Mary, in 1555, there took place, on a spot in Broad Street, the famous martyrdom of Ridley arid Latimer. Cranmer followed them to the stake in 1556, and the three are commemorated by the ornate modern cross, an early work of Sir G. G. Scott (1841), in St Giles Street beside the church of St Mary Magdalen. A period such as this must have been in many ways harmful to the university, but it recovered prosperity under the care of Elizabeth and Wolsey. During the civil war, however, Oxford, as a city, suddenly acquired a new prominence as the headquarters of the Royalist party and the meeting-place of Charles I.'s parliament. This importance is not incomparable with that which Oxford possessed in the Mercian period. However the frontier shifted, between the districts held by the king and by the parliament, Oxford was always close to it. It was hither that the king retired after Edgehill, the two battles of Newbury and Naseby; from here Prince Rupert made his dashing raids in 1643. In May 1644 the earl of Essex and Sir William Waller first approached the city from the east and south, but failed to enclose the king, who escaped to Worcester, returning after the engagement at Copredy Bridge. The final investment of the city, when Charles had lost every other stronghold of importance, and had himself escaped in disguise, was in May 1646, and on the 24th of June it surrendered to Fairfax. Throughout the war the secret sympathies of the citizens were Parliamentarian, but there was no conflict within the walls. The disturbances of the war and the divisions of parties, however, had bad effects on the university, being subversive of discipline and inimical to study; nor were these effects wholly removed during the Commonwealth, in spite of the care of Cromwell, who was himself chancellor in 1651-1657. The Restoration led to conflicts between students and citizens. Charles II. held the last Oxford parliament in 1681. James II.'s action in forcing his nominees into certain high offices at last brought the university into temporary opposition to the crown. Later, however, Oxford became strongly Jacobite. In the first year of George I.'s reign there were serious Jacobite riots, but from that time the city becomes Hanoverian in opposition to the university, the feeling coming to a head in 1755 during a county election, which was ultimately the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. But George III., visiting Oxford in 1785, was well received by both parties, and this visit may be taken as the termination of the purely political history of Oxford. Details of the history of the university may be gathered from the following description of the colleges, the names of which are arranged alphabetically.

1 See also Universities.

2 This word, which occurs elsewhere in England, means a place where four roads meet. Its ultimate origin is the Latin quadrifurcus, four-forked. Earlier English forms are carfuks, carrefore. The modern French is carrefour.

3 In the common speech of the university some streets are never spoken of as such, but, e.g., as "the High," "the Corn" (i.e. Cornmarket), "the Broad." St Aldate's is pronounced St Olds, and the Cherwell (pronounced Charwell) is called "the Char."

4 In his essay on " The Early History of Oxford," reprinted from Stray Studies, in Studies in Oxford History, by the Oxford Historical Society (1901).

Table of contents


All Souls College

All Souls College was founded in 1437 by Henry Chicheley, archbishop of Canterbury, for a warden, 40 fellows, 2 chaplains, and clerks. The charter was issued in the name of Henry VI., and it has been held that Chicheley wished, by founding the college, to expiate his own support of the disastrous wars in France during the reign of Henry V. and the ensuing regency. Fifty fellowships in all were provided for by the modern statutes, besides the honorary fellowships to which men of eminence are sometimes elected. Some of the fellowships are held in connexion with university offices; but the majority are awarded on examination, and are among the highest honours in the university offered by this method. The only undergraduate members of the college are four bible-clerks,1 so that the college occupies a peculiar position as a society of graduates. The college has its beautiful original front upon High Street; the first quadrangle, practically unaltered since the foundation, is one of the most characteristic in Oxford. The chapel has a splendid reredos occupying the whole eastern wall, with tiers of figures in niches. After the original figures had been destroyed during the Reformation the reredos was plastered over, but >><< when the plaster was removed, Sir Gilbert Scott found enough remains to render it possible to restore the whole. The second quadrangle is divided from Radcliffe Square by a stone screen and cloister. From the eastern range of buildings twin towers rise in graduated stages. On the north side is the library. The whole is in a style partly Gothic, partly classical, fantastic, but not without dignity. The architect was Sir Christopher Wren's pupil, Nicholas Hawksmoor; the building was spread over the first half of the i 8th century. The fine library originated in a bequest of Sir Christopher Codrington (d. 1710), and bears his name. One of the traditional customs surviving in Oxford is found at All Souls. Legend states that a mallard was discovered in a drain while the foundations were being dug. A song (probably Elizabethan) on this story is still sung at college gaudies, and later it is pretended to hunt the bird. With such a foundation as All Souls, a great number of eminent names are naturally associated (see Montagu Burrows, Worthies of All Souls, 1874).

1 Here and in some other colleges this title is connected with the duties of reading the Bible in chapel and saying grace in hall.

Balliol College

Balliol College is one of the earliest foundations. About 1263 John de Baliol (see Baliol, family) began, as part of a penance, to maintain certain scholars in Oxford. Dervorguila, his wife, developed his work after his death in 1269 by founding the college, whose statutes date from 1282, though not brought into final form (apart from modern revision) until 1504. There are now twelve fellowships and fifteen scholarships on the old foundation. Two fellowships, to be held by members already holding fellowships of the college, were founded by James Hozier, second Lord Newlands, in 1906, in commemoration of Benjamin Jowett, master of the college. The buildings, which front upon Broad Street, Magdalen Street and St Giles Street, are for the most part modern, and mainly by Alfred Waterhouse, Anthony Salvin and William Butterfield. The college has a high reputation for scholarship. Its master and fellows possess the unique right of electing the visitor of the college. In 1887 Balliol College absorbed New Inn Hall, one of the few old halls which had survived till modern times. In the time of the civil wars a royal mint was established in it.

Brasenose College

Brasenose College (commonly written and called B.N.C.) was founded by William Smith, bishop of Lincoln, and Sir Richard Sutton of Prestbury, Cheshire, in 1509. Its name, however, perpetuates the fact that it took the place of a much earlier community in the university. There were several small halls on its site, all dependent on other colleges or religious houses except one - Brasenose Hall. The origin of this hall is not known, but it existed in the middle of the 12th century. In 1334 certain students, wishing for peace from the faction-fights which were then characteristic of their life in Oxford, migrated to Stamford, where a doorway remains of the house then occupied by them as Brasenose Hall. From this an ancient knocker in the form of a nose, which may have belonged to the hall at Oxford, was brought to the college in 1890. It presumably gave name to the hall, though a derivation from brasinium (Latin for a brew-house) was formerly upheld. The original foundation of the college was for a principal and twelve fellows. This number is maintained, but supernumerary fellowships are added. Of a number of scholarships founded by various benefactors several are confined to certain schools, notably Manchester Grammar School. William Hulme (1691) established a foundation which provides for twelve scholars and a varying number of exhibitioners on entrance, and also for eight senior scholarships open under certain conditions to members of the college already in residence. The main front of the college faces Radcliffe Square; the whole of this and the first quadrangle, excepting the upper storey, is of the time of the foundation; and the gateway tower is a specially fine example. The hall and the chapel, with its fine fan-tracery roof, date from 1663 and 1666, and are attributed to Sir Christopher Wren. In both is seen a curious attempt to combine Gothic and Grecian styles. Modern buildings (by T. G. Jackson) have a frontage upon High Street. Robert Burton, author of The Anatomy of Melancholy, became an undergraduate of the college in 1593; Reginald Heber in 1800; Walter Pater became a fellow in 1864.

Christ Church

Christ Church, in point of the number of its members the largest collegiate foundation in Oxford, is also eminent owing to its unique constitution, the history of which involves that of the see of Oxford. Mention has been made of the priory of St Frideswide and its very early foundation, also of the later but more magnificent foundation of Osney Abbey. Both of these were involved in the sweeping changes initiated by Wolsey and carried on by Henry, VIII. Wolsey projected the foundation of a college on an even grander scale than that of the present house. In 1524-1525 he obtained authority from Pope Clement VII. to suppress certain religious houses for the purpose of this new foundation. These included St Frideswide's, which occupied part of the site which Wolsey intended to use. The new college, under the name of Cardinal College, was licensed by the king in 1525. Its erection began immediately. The monastic buildings were in great part removed. Statutes were issued and appointments were made to the new offices. But in 1529 Wolsey fell from power. Cardinal College was suppressed, and in 1532 Henry VIII. established in its place another college, on a reduced foundation, called] King Henry VIII.'s College. Oxford had been, and was at this time, in the huge diocese of Lincoln. But in 1542, on the suppression of Osney Abbey, a new see was created, and the abbey church was made its cathedral. This arrangement obtained only until 1545, when both the new cathedral church and the new college which took the place of Wolsey's foundation were surrendered to the king. In 1546 Henry established the composite foundation which now (subject to certain modern alterations) exists. He provided for a dean and eight canons and loo students, to which number one was added in 1664. The church of St Frideswide's foundation became both the cathedral of the diocese and the college chapel. The establishment was thus at once diocesan and collegiate,1 and it remains so, though now the foundation consists of a dean, six canons, and the usual cathedral staff, a reduced number of students (corresponding to the fellows of other colleges) and scholars. Five of the canons are university professors. The disciplinary administration of the collegiate part of the foundation is under the immediate supervision of two students who hold the office of censors. Queen Elizabeth established the connexion with Westminster School by which not more than three scholars are elected thence each year to Christ Church. There is also a large number of valuable exhibitions. The great number of eminent men associated with Christ Church can only be indicated here by the statement that its books have borne the names of several members of the British and other royal families, including that of King Edward VII. as prince of Wales and of Frederick VIII. of Denmark as crown prince; also of ten prime ministers during the 19th century. The stately front of Christ Church is upon St Aldate's Street. The great gateway is surmounted by a tower begun by Wolsey, but only completed in 1682 from designs of Sir Christopher Wren. Though somewhat incongruous in detail, it is of singular rind beautiful form, being octagonal and surmounted by a cupola. It contains the great bell " Tom " (dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury), which, though recast in 1680, formerly belonged to Osney Abbey. A clock strikes the hours on it, and at five minutes past nine o'clock in the evening it is rung 101 times by hand, to indicate the hour of closing college gates, the number being that of the former body of students. The gate, the tower, and the first quadrangle are all commonly named after this bell. Tom Quadrangle is the largest in Oxford, and after various restorations approximates to Wolsey's original design, though the cloisters which he intended were never built. On the south side lies the hall, entered by a staircase under a magnificent fan-tracery roof dating from 1640. The hall itself is one of the finest refectories in England; its roof is of ornate timberwork (1529) and a splendid series of portraits of eminent alumni of the house adorn the walls, together with Holbein's portraits >><< of Henry VIII. and Wolsey. With the hall is connected the great kitchen, the first building undertaken by Wolsey. An entry through the eastern range of Tom Quadrangle forms the west portal of the Cathedral Church of Christ.

The cathedral, of which the nave and choir serve also as the college chapel, is the smallest English cathedral, but is of high architectural interest. The plan is cruciform, with a northward extension from the north choir aisle, comprising the Lady chapel and the Latin chapel. It has been seen that probably in the 8th century St Frideswide founded a religious house. In the east end of the north choir aisle and Lady chapel may be seen two blocked arches, rude, narrow and low. Excavations outside the wall in 1887 revealed the foundations of three apses corresponding with these two arches and another which has been traced between them, and in this wall, therefore, there is clearly a remnant of the small Saxon church, with its eastward triple-apsidal termination. In 1002 there took place the massacre of the Danes on St Brice's day at the order of 'Ethelred II. Some Danes took refuge in the tower of St Frideswide's church, which was fired to ensure their destruction. In 1004 the king undertook the rebuilding of the church. There is full reason to believe that he had assistance from his brother-inlaw, Richard II., duke of Normandy, and that much of his work remains, notably in some of the remarkable capitals in the choir. About 1160, however, there was an extensive Norman restoration. The arcades of the choir and of the nave, which was shortened by Wolsey for the purpose of his collegiate building, have massive pillars and round arches. Within these arches, not, as usual, above them, a blind arcade forms the triforium, and below this a lower set of arches springs from the outer side of the main pillars. The Norman stone-vaulted aisles conform in height with these lower arches. Over all is a clerestory with passage. The east end is a striking Norman restoration by Sir Gilbert Scott, consisting of two windows and a rose window above them, with an intervening arcade. The choir has a Perpendicular fan-tracery roof in stone, one of the finest extant, and the early clerestory is here altered to conform with this style. The nave roof is woodwork of the 16th century, and there is a fine Jacobean pulpit. The lower part of the tower, with internal arcades in the lantern, is Norman; the upper stage is Early English, as is the low spire, possibly the earliest built in England. St Lucy's chapel in the south transept aisle contains a rich flamboyant Decorated window. In the north choir aisle are the fragments which have been discovered and roughly reconstructed of St Frideswide's shrine, of marble, with foliage beautifully carved, representing plants symbolical of the life of the saint. The Latin chapel is of various dates, but mainly of the 14th century. The north windows contain contemporary glass; the east window is a rich early work of Sir E. Burne-Jones, set in stonework of an inharmonious Venetian design. There are other beautiful windows by Burne-Jones at the east ends of the aisles and Lady chapel, and at the west end of the south nave aisle. The corresponding window of the north aisle is a curious work by the Dutch artist Abraham van Ling (1630). There are many fine ancient monuments, notably those of Bishop Robert King (d. 1557), and of Lady Elizabeth Montacute (d. 1355). The so-called watching-chamber for St Frideswide's shrine is a rich structure in stone and wood dating from c. 1500. The peculiar arrangement of the collegiate seats in the cathedral, the nave and choir being occupied by modern carved pews or stalls running east and west, and the position of the organ on a screen at the west end, add to the distinctive interior appearance of the building. Small cloisters adjoin the cathedral on the south, and an ornate Norman doorway gives access from them to the chapter-house, a beautiful Early English room. Above the cloisters on the south rises the " old library," originally the monastic refectory, which has suffered conversion into dwelling and lecture-rooms.

To the north-east of Tom Quadrangle is Peckwater Quadrangle, named from an ancient hall on the site, and built from the design of the versatile Dean Henry Aldrich (1705) with the exception of the library (1716-1761), which forms one side of it. The whole is classical in style. The library contains some fine pictures by Cimabue, Holbein, Van Dyck and others, and sculpture by Rysbrack, Roubillac, Chantrey and others. The small Canterbury Quadrangle, to the east, was built in 1 7731783, and marks the site of Canterbury College or Hall, founded by Archbishop Islip in 1363, and absorbed in Henry VIII.'s foundation. To the south of the hall and old library are the modern Meadow Buildings (1862-1865), overlooking the beautiful Christ Church Meadows, whose avenues lead to the Thames and Cherwell.

1 As a whole it is therefore properly to be spoken of as Christ Church, not Christ Church College. In the common speech of the university it has become known as The House, though all the colleges are technically " houses."

Corpus Christi College

Corpus Christi College (commonly called Corpus) was founded in 1516 by Richard Fox, bishop of Winchester (1500-1528). He at first intended his foundation to be a seminary connected with St Swithin's priory at Winchester, but Hugh Oldham, bishop of Exeter, foresaw the dissolution of the monasteries and advised against this. Fox had especially in view the object of classical education, and his foundation, besides a president, 20 fellows and 20 scholars, included 3 professors - in Greek, Latin and theology - whose lectures should be open to the whole university. This arrangement fell into desuetude, but was revived in 1854, when fellowships of the college were annexed to the professorial chairs of Latin and jurisprudence. The foundation now consists of a president, 16 fellows, 26 scholars and 3 exhibitioners. The college has its front upon Merton Street. The first quadrangle, with its gateway tower, is of the period of the foundation, and the gateway has a vaulted roof with beautiful tracery. In the centre of the quadrangle is a curious cylindrical dial in the form of a column surmounted by a pelican (the college symbol), constructed in 1581 by Charles Turnbull, a mathematician who entered the college in 1573. The hall has a rich late Perpendicular roof of timber; the chapel, dating from 1517, contains an altar-piece ascribed to Rubens, and the small library includes a valuable collection of rare printed books and MSS. The college retains its founder's crozier, and a very fine collection of old plate, for the preservation of which it is probable that Corpus had to pay a considerable sum in aid of the royalist cause. Behind the main quadrangle are the classical Turner buildings, erected during the presidency of Thomas Turner (1706), from a design attributed to Dean Aldrich. The picturesque college garden is bounded by the line of the old city wall. There are modern buildings (1885) by T. G. Jackson on the opposite side of Merton Street from the main buildings. Among the famous names associated with the college may be mentioned those of four eminent theologians - Reginald Pole, afterwards cardinal (nominated fellow in 1523), John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury (fellow 154215J3), Richard Hooker (scholar, 1573) and John Keble (scholar, 1806). Thomas Arnold, the famous headmaster of Rugby school, was a scholar of the college (18 i I).

Exeter College

Exeter College was founded, as Stapeldon Hall, by Walter Stapeldon, bishop of Exeter, in 1314, but by the middle of the century it had become known as Exeter Hall. The foundation was extended by Sir William Petre in 1565. Stapeldon's original foundation for 12 scholars provided that 8 of them should be from Devonshire and 4 from Cornwall. There are still 8 "Stapeldon " scholarships confined to persons born or educated within the diocese of Exeter. The foundation consists of a rector, 12 fellowships and 21 scholarships or more. There are also a number of scholarships and exhibitions, on private foundations, several of which are limited in various ways, including 3 confined to persons born in the Channel Islands or educated in Victoria College, Jersey, or Elizabeth College, Guernsey. The college has its front, which is of great length, upon Turl1 Street. It has been extensively restored, and its gateway tower was rebuilt in 1703, while the earliest part of the quadrangle is Jacobean, the hall being an excellent example dating from 1618. The chapel (1857-1858) is an ornate structure by Sir Gilbert Scott; it is in Decorated style, of great height, with an eastern apse, and has some resemblance to the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. The interior contains mosaics by Antonio Salviati and tapestry by Sir E. Burne-Jones and William Morris. Scott's work is also seen in the frontage towards Broad Street, and in the library (1856). The college has a beautiful secluded garden between its own buildings and those of the divinity school or Bodleian library.

1 "The Turl" takes its name from a postern (Turl or Thorold Gate) in the city wall, to which the street led.

Hertford College

Hertford College, in its present form, is a modern foundation. There were formerly several halls on the site, and some time between 1283 and 1300 Elias of Hertford acquired one of them, which became known as Hert or Hart Hall. In 1312 it was sold to Bishop Stapeldon, the founder of Exeter, and was occupied by his scholars for a short time. Again, some of William of Wykeham's scholars were lodged here while New College was building. The dependence of the hall on Exeter College was maintained until the second half of the 16th century. In 1710 >><< Richard Newton, formerly a Westminster student of Christ Church, became principal, and in 1740, in spite of opposition from Exeter, he obtained a charter establishing Hertford as a college. The foundation, however, did not prosper, and by an inquisition of 1816 it was declared to have lapsed in 1805. With part of its property the university was able to endow the Hertford scholarship in 1834. Magdalen Hall, which had become independent of the college of that name in 1602, acquired the site and buildings of the dissolved Hertford College and occupied them, but was itself dissolved in 1874, when its principal and scholars were incorporated as forming the new Hertford College. An endowment was provided by Thomas Charles Baring, then M.P. for South Essex, for 15 fellows and 30 scholars, 7 lecturers and dean and bursar. The foundation now consists of a principal, 17 fellows and 40 scholars. Of the college buildings, which face those of the Bodleian library and border each side of New College Lane, no part is earlier than Newton's time. Modern buildings by T. G. Jackson (1903) incorporate remains of the little early Perpendicular chapel of Our Lady at Smith Gate (incorrectly called St Catherine's), which probably stood on the outer side of the town ditch. There is a striking modern chapel.

Jesus College

Jesus College has always had an intimate association with Wales. Queen Elizabeth figures as its foundress in its charter of 1571, but she was inspired by Hugh ap Rice (Price), a native of Brecon, who endowed the college. The original foundation was for a principal, 8 fellows and 8 scholars. It now consists of a principal and not less than 8 or more than 14 fellows, and there are 24 foundation scholarships, besides other scholarships and exhibitions, mainly on the foundation of Edmund Meyricke,. a native of Merionethshire, who entered the college in 1656 and was a fellow in 1662. Not only his scholarships but others also are restricted (unless in default of suitable candidates) to persons born or educated in Wales, or of Welsh parentage. At Jesus, as at Exeter, there are also some " King Charles I." scholarships for persons born or educated in the Channel Islands. The college buildings face Turl Street; the front is an excellent reconstruction of 1856. The chapel dates from 1621, the hall from about the same time, and the library from 1677, being erected at the expense of the eminent principal (1661-1673) Sir Leoline Jenkins. He and his predecessor, Sir Eubule Thelwall (1621-1630), were prominent in raising the college from an early period of depression.

Keble College

Keble College is modern; it received its charter in 1870. It was erected by subscription as a memorial to John Keble (q.v.). Its stated object was to provide an academical education combined with economical cost in living and a " training based upon the principles of the Church of England." The college is governed by a warden (who has full charge of the internal administration) and a council. There is a staff of tutors, and a number of scholarships and exhibitions on private foundations. The buildings lie somewhat apart from other collegiate buildings towards the north of the city, facing the university parks, which extend from here down to the river Cherwell. They are from the designs of William Butterfield, and are principally in variegated brick. The chapel has an elaborate scheme of decoration in mosaic; and the library contains a great number of books collected by Keble, and Holman Hunt's picture, " The Light of the World."

Lincoln College

Lincoln College was founded in 1427 by Richard Flemyng, bishop of Lincoln. It was an outcome of the reaction against the doctrines of Wycliffe, of which the founder of the college, once their earnest supporter, was now an equally earnest opponent. He died (1431) before his schemes were fully carried out, and the college was struggling for existence when Thomas Rotherham, while bishop of Lincoln and visitor of the college, reconstituted and re-endowed it in 1478. The foundation consists of a rector, i 2 fellows and 14 scholars. The buildings face Turl Street. The hall dates from 1436, but its wainscoting within was added in 1701. The chapel, in the back quadrangle, is an interesting example of Perpendicular work of very late date (1630). The interior is wainscoted in cedar, and the windows are filled with Flemish glass introduced at the time of the building. There is a modern library building in a classic Jacobean style, completed in 1906; the collection of books was originated by Dean John Forest, who also built the hall. Among the eminent associates of this college was John Wesley, fellow 1726-1751.

Magdalen College

Magdalen College (pronounced Maudlen; in full, St Mary Magdalen) was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, bishop of Winchester and lord chancellor of England. In 1448 he had obtained the patent authorizing the foundation of Magdalen Hall. In the college he provided for a president, 40 fellows, 30 demies,1 and, for the chapel, chaplains, clerks and choristers. To the college he attached a grammar-school with a master and usher. The foundation now consists of a president, from 30 to 40 fellowships, of which 5 are attached to the Waynflete professorships in the university,2 senior demies up to 8 and junior demies up to 35 in number. The choir, &c., are maintained, and the choral singing is celebrated. In order to found his college, Waynflete acquired the site and buildings of the hospital of St John the Baptist, a foundation or refoundation of Henry III. for a master and brethren, with sisters also, for " the relief of poor scholars and other miserable persons." The Magdalen buildings, which are among the most beautiful in Oxford, have a long frontage on High Street, while one side rises close to or directly above a branch of the river Cherwell. The chief feature of the front is the be11-tower, a structure which for grace and beauty of proportion is hardly surpassed by any other of the Perpendicular period. It was begun in 1492, and completed in about thirteen years. From its summit a Latin hymn is sung at five o'clock on May-day morning annually. Various suggestions have been made as to the origin of this custom; it may have been connected with the inauguration of the tower, but nothing is certainly known. The college is entered by a modern gateway, giving access to a small quadrangle, at one corner of which is an open pulpit of stone. This was connected with the chapel of St John's Hospital, which was incorporated in the front range of buildings. Adjoining this is the west front of the college chapel.3 This chapel was begun in 1474, but has been much altered, and the internal fittings are in the main excellent modern work (1833 seq.). At the north-west corner of the entrance quadrangle is a picturesque remnant of the later buildings of Magdalen Hall. To the west is the modern St Swithun's quadrangle, the buildings of which were designed by G. F. Bodley and T. Garner, and begun in 1880, and to the west again a Perpendicular building erected for Magdalen College school in 1849. To the east lies the main quadrangle, called the cloister quadrangle, from the cloisters which surround it. These have been in great part reconstructed, but in accordance with the plan of the time of the foundation. Above the west walk rises the beautiful " founder's " tower, low and broad. On this side also is the valuable library. The south walk is bounded by the chapel and the hall, which lie in line, adjoining each other. The hall is a beautiful room, improved in 1906 by the substitution of an open timber roof for one of plaster erected in the 18th century. The panelling dates mainly from 1541; there is a tradition that the part at the west end came from the dissolved Reading Abbey. A curious series of figures which surmount the buttresses on three sides of the cloisters date from 1508-1509. Some are apparently symbolical, others scriptural, others again heraldic. To the north of the cloister quadrangle (a garden with broad lawns intervening) stand the so-called New Buildings, a massive classical range (1733). To the north and west of these extends the Grove or deer park, where the first deer were established probably c. 1720; to the east, across a branch of the Cherwell, is the meadow surrounded by Magdalen Walks, part of which is called Addison's Walk after Joseph Addison (demy and fellow). Perhaps the most notable period in the history of the college is that of 1687-1688, when the fellows resisted James II.'s attempt to force a president upon them, in place of their own choice, John Hough (1651-1743), successively bishop of Oxford, >><< Lichfield, and Worcester. Cardinal Wolsey was a fellow of the college about the time when the bell-tower was building, but the attribution of the design to him, or even of any active part in the erection, is not borne out by evidence. Among alumni of the college were William Camden, Sir Thomas Bodley, John Hampden, at the time of whose matriculation (161o) Magdalen was strongly Puritan, Joseph Addison, Dr Sacheverell, and for a short period Gibbon the historian. Mention should be made of the eminent president, Martin Joseph Routh, who was elected to the office in 1791, and held it till his death in his tooth year in 1854. Magdalen College school had new buildings opened for it in 1894.

1 Singular demy, the last syllable accented. They correspond to the scholars of other colleges. The name is derived from the fact that their allowance was originally half (demi-) that of fellows.

2 Waynflete himself had founded three readerships, in natural and moral philosophy and in theology.

3 It actually faces about N.W.; the same deviation applies to other buildings described.

Merton College

Merton College is of peculiar interest as regards its foundation, which is generally cited as the first on the present collegiate model. At some time before 1264 Walter de Merton,1 a native of Merton, Surrey, devoted estates in that county to the maintenance of scholars in Oxford. Thus far he followed an established practice. In 1264 he founded at Malden a " house of scholars of Merton " for those who controlled the estates in the interest of the scholars, who should study preferably at Oxford, though any centre of learning was open to them. By 1268 the Oxford community had acquired the present site of the college; in 1270 new statutes laid down rules of living and study, and in 1274 the whole foundation was established under a final set of statutes at Oxford - i.e. the society ceased to be administered from the house in Surrey. The society was under a warden, and certain other officers were established, but no limit was set on the number of scholars. The foundation now consists of a warden, from 19 to 26 fellows, and 20 or more postmasterships. The postmasters of Merton correspond to the scholars of other colleges; they had their origin in the portionistae (i.e. foundationers who had a smaller portion or emolument than fellows), instituted in 1380 on the foundation of John Wyllyot (fellow 1 334, chancellor 1349). The college is adjacent to Corpus, with its front upon Merton Street, and some of its buildings are of the highest interest, notably the chapel and library. The chapel consists of a choir and transepts with a tower at the crossing; but a nave, though intended, was never built. The choir is of the purest Decorated workmanship (dating probably from the last decade of the 13th century), with beautiful windows exhibiting most delicate tracery. The transepts show the appearance of Perpendicular work, but there is also work of the earlier style in them; the massive tower is wholly of the later period (c. 1450). The library, which lies on two sides of the so-called " mob " quadrangle, dates from 1377-1378, and was mainly the gift of William Rede, bishop of Chichester (1369-1386). It occupies two beautiful rooms and is of great interest from its early foundation and the preservation of its ancient character. The treasury is a small room coeval with the foundation, with a curious highpitched ashlar roof. The other buildings, which are of various dates, are mainly disposed about four quadrangles, including that of St Alban's Hall, which, possibly dating from the early part of the 15th century, was incorporated with Merton College in 1882. The college hall retains an original door with fine ironwork, but the building is in great part modernized. A beautiful garden lies east of the buildings, being separated from the meadows to the south by part of the old city wall. Modern buildings (1907) have a frontage upon Merton Street; others (1864) overlook the meadows. Traditionally the names of Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus and Wycliffe have been associated with this college. Anthony Wood (1632-1695), the antiquary and historian of the university, was a postmaster of the college.

1 He was chancellor of the kingdom in 1261-1263, and again in 1272-1274, justiciar in 1271 and bishop of Rochester in 1274. He died in 1277.

New College

New College was founded by William of Wykeham in 1379. The founder's name for it, which it still bears in its corporate title, is the College of St Mary of Winchester. But there was already a St Mary's College (Oriel). Wykeham's house thus soon became known as the New College, and the substantive is still retained in the ordinary speech of the university, whereas in mentioning the titles of other colleges it is generally omitted. Wykeham designed an exclusive connexion between his Oxford college and his school at Winchester. This connexion is maintained in a modified form. Wykeham's foundation was for warden, and 70 fellows and scholars, with chaplains and a choir. The present foundation consists of a warden, and not more than 36 fellows, while to the scholarships 6 elections are made annually from Winchester and 4 from elsewhere. The choir is maintained, as at Magdalen. Five of the fellowships were attached to university professorships, of which three (logic, ancient history and physics) are called Wykeham professorships. The buildings of New College remain in great measure as designed by the founder, and illustrate the magnificence of his scheme. The main gateway tower fronts New College Lane. The chapel and hall stand in line (as at Magdalen), on the north side of the front quadrangle. The period of building was that of the development of the Perpendicular style. In shape the chapel was the prototype of a form common in Oxford, consisting of a choir, with transepts forming an antechapel, but with no nave. The remarkable west window in monochrome was erected, c. 1783, from a design by Sir Joshua Reynolds. The reredos, with its tiers of figures in niches, had a history similar to that at All Souls, being plastered over in 1567. In the same way, too, it was restored c. 1890; but previously James Wyatt had discovered traces of the original, and had unsuccessfully attempted the restoration of the niches in plaster, carrying out also, as elsewhere in Oxford, other extensive alterations of which the obliteration was demanded by later taste. Portions of the old woodwork were incorporated in the excellent new work of 1879 (Sir Gilbert Scott). In the chapel is preserved the beautiful pastoral staff of the founder, and there is a fine series of memorial brasses, mainly of the 15th century, in the antechapel. To the west of the chapel are the cloisters, consecrated in 1400, and the detached tower, a tall massive building on the line of the city wall. As already mentioned, a fine remnant of this wall adds to the picturesqueness of the college garden. The hall was completed in 1368, and has a Tudor screen and wainscoting. The garden quadrangle, the east side of which is open to the gardens, dates from 1682-1708. On the north side of the college precincts, facing Holywell Street, are extensive modern buildings by Sir G. G. Scott and B. Champneys. In 1642, when Oxford was playing its prominent part in the Civil War, the tower and cloisters of New College became a royalist magazine.

Oriel College

Oriel College was founded by Edward II. in 1326. The originator of the scheme and the prime mover in it was Adam de Brome, the king's almoner, who in 1324 had obtained royal licence to found a college; but in 1326 he surrendered his rights to the king, who issued charter and statutes, and created Brome the first provost. This foundation was for a provost and 10 fellows, but a number of bequests extending over nearly a century from 1445 enabled additional fellowships to be established. The foundation, however, now consists of the provost, 12 fellows and 2 professorial fellows, with at least 12 scholars and a number of exhibitioners. St Mary Hall, which had been the manse of St Mary's church, was given with the church to the college by the founder, and was opened as a hall with a principal of its own. It was, however, incorporated with the college in 1902. Oriel College was dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, and the name by which it is now known appears first in 1349. It was derived from a tenement called La Oriole (but the origin of this name is unknown), which had occupied part of the college site, had belonged to Eleanor of Provence, wife of Edward I., and had been given by her to her chaplain, James of Spain (Jacobus de Ispania). The buildings of Oriel, which face Oriel Street, are not coeval with the foundation. The first quadrangle, with its elaborate battlements, dates from 1620-1637. The inner quadrangle has buildings of 1719, 1729 and later dates. The modern extension on Cecil Rhodes's foundation faces High Street. Early in the 19th century a number of eminent men associated with Oriel gave the college its wellknown connexion with the " Oxford Movement." Edward Copleston, elected fellow in 1795, became provost in 1814. In 1811 John Keble and Richard Whately were elected fellows, >><< the one from Corpus; the other had been at Oriel. Again in 1815 Thomas Arnold, afterwards headmaster of Rugby, was elected from Corpus, with Renn Dickson Hampden of Oriel. Later fellows were John Henry Newman (1822) and Edward Pusey (1823). James Anthony Froude entered the college in 1835; Matthew Arnold became a fellow in 1845. Cecil John Rhodes matriculated in 1873, and, besides his foundation of Rhodes scholarships, made a large bequest to the college.

Pembroke College

Pembroke College was founded in 1624. Thomas Tesdale (1547-1609) of Glympton, Oxfordshire, left money for the support of scholars in Oxford, indicating Balliol College as his preference, but not insisting on this. Richard Wightwick (d. 1630), rector of East Ilsley, Berkshire, added to Tesdale's bequest, and though Balliol College desired to benefit by it, James preferred to figure as the founder of a new college with these moneys. Pembroke, which was named after William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, then chancellor of the university, was thus developed out of Broadgates Hall, which had long been eminent as the residence of students in law. The original college foundation was for a master, io fellows and io scholars, but a number of scholarships and exhibitions has been added by benefactors. Of the scholarships some are awarded by preference to candidates possessing certain qualifications, notably that of education at Abingdon school, which Tesdale intended to benefit by his bequest. The buildings of Pembroke lie south and west of St Aldate's Church, opposite Christ Church; they surround two picturesque quadrangles, but are in great part modern. The college preserves some relics of Samuel Johnson, who entered it in 1728.

Queen's College

Queen's College was founded in1340-1341by Robert de Eglesfield, chaplain of Philippa, queen-consort of Edward and was named in her honour. Her son, Edward the Black Prince, was entered on the books of the college, and Henry V. received education here. Several queens were among the benefactors of the college - Henrietta Maria, Caroline, Charlotte. The queen-consort is always the patroness of the college. The foundation consists of a provost, from 14 to 16 fellows, and about 25 scholars. There was formerly an intimate connexion between this college and the north of England. Five scholarships, called Eglesfield scholarships, are now given by preference to natives of Cumberland or Westmorland, and the Hastings exhibitions founded by Lady Elizabeth Hastings (1682-1739) are open only to candidates from various schools in these counties and in Yorkshire. This connexion dates from the foundation. Eglesfield (d. 1349) was probably a native of Eaglesfield in Cumberland, and provided that the 12 fellows or scholars of his foundation were preferably to be natives of this county or Westmorland. During the time of Wycliffe, who while rector of Lutterworth resided for two years in the college, the foundation was by a ruling of the visitor (the archbishop of York) actually confined to the two counties mentioned, and so remained until 1854. The buildings date mainly from the close of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th. They front High Street with a massive classical screen, flanked by the ends of the east and west ranges of buildings of the front quadrangle, and surmounted in the centre by a statue of Queen Caroline under a cupola. The buildings are the work of Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. The library contains a valuable collection, especially of historical works, and is fitted with wood-carving by Grinling Gibbons. There is also here an interesting contemporary statue in wood of Queen Philippa. The chapel retains several medieval windows from the former Gothic chapel, and some stained glass painted by Abraham van Ling (1635). The college preserves two early customs - on Christmas day a dinner is held at which a boar's head is carried in state into the hall, and an appropriate ancient carol is sung; and on New Year's day a threaded needle, with the motto " Take this and be thrifty," is presented to members in the college hall. The origin of this custom is traced to a rebus on the founder's name - aiguille et fil (needle and thread).

St John's College

St John's College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas White, Kt., alderman of London (1492-1567). It occupied the site of a house for Cistercian students in the university, founded by Archbishop Chicheley in 1437 and dedicated to St Bernard of Clairvaux. White's foundation was originally for a president, so fellows and scholars, and a chaplain, choir, &c., for the chapel. White established the intimate connexion which still exists between his college and the Merchant Taylors' school in London, in the foundation of which, as a prominent officer in the Merchant Taylors' Company, he had a share. The college foundation now consists of a president, from 14 to 18 fellowships, not less than 28 scholarships, of which 15 are appropriated to Merchant Taylors' school, and 4 senior scholarships, similarly appropriated. The buildings incorporate some of Chicheley's work, as in the front upon St Giles's Street, with its fine gateway. Similarly, in the front quadrangle, the hall and chapel belonged to the house of St Bernard, though subsequently much altered. A passage with a rich fan-traceried roof gives access from the front to the back quadrangle, on the south and east sides of which is the library. The south wing dates from 1596, the east from 1631. The latter is of the greater interest; it was built at the charge of William Laud, and the designs have been commonly attributed to Inigo Jones. The north and west sides of the quadrangle, of the same period, have cloisters. The union of the classical style, which predominates here, with the characteristic late Perpendicular of the period, makes this quadrangle architecturally one of the most interesting in Oxford, as the college gardens, which its east front overlooks, are among the most picturesque. The most notable period of the history of the college is associated with Laud, who entered the college in 1589, was elected a fellow in 1593, became president in 1611 and chancellor of the university in 1629. Relics of him are preserved in the library, and he is buried in the chapel, together with White, the founder, and William Juxon, president 1621-1633, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury.

Trinity College

Trinity College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, Kt. (d. 1 559), of Tittenhanger, Hertfordshire. He acquired and used for his college the ground and buildings of Durham College, the Oxford house of Durham Abbey, originally founded in the 13th century (see Durham, city). Trinity is therefore one of the instances of collegiate foundation forming a sequel to the dissolution of the monasteries, for Durham had been surrendered in 1540. Pope's foundation provided for a president, 12 fellows and 12 scholars. There are now 16 scholarships and a number of exhibitions. There are also some scholarships in natural science, on the foundation (1873) of Thomas Millard, whose bequest also provides for a lecturer and laboratory. The front quadrangle of Trinity lies open to Broad Street; on its east side are modern buildings (by T. G. Jackson, 1887), on the north, the president's house and the chapel in a classic style, dating from 1694. It contains a rich alabaster tomb of Pope, the founder, and his third wife, and has a fine carved screen and altar-piece by Grinling Gibbons. The remainder of the buildings, forming two small quadrangles north of the chapel, includes parts of the old Durham college, but these have been much altered. Gardens extend to the east. John Henry Newman was a commoner of this college; Edward Augustus Freeman, the historian, and William Stubbs, bishop of Oxford, were among its fellows.

University College

University College (commonly abbreviated Univ.) has claimed to find its origin in a period far earlier than that to which the earliest historical notice of the university itself can be assigned. In a petition to Richard II., respecting a dispute as to property the members of the " mickel universitie hall in Oxford " quote King Alfred as the founder of the house, for 26 divines. The date of 872 was claimed, and in 1872 a millenary celebration was held by the college. Moreover, in 1727 a dispute as to the mastership of the college led to an appeal to the Court of King's Bench to determine the right of visitation, and it was found that this right rested with the crown (as it now does) on the ground of the foundation by Alfred. Leaving tradition, however, it is found that William of Durham, archdeacon of Durham, dying in 1249, bequeathed money to the university to support masters at Oxford. In 1253 the university acquired its first >><< tenement on this bequest; further acquisitions followed; and in 1280 an inquiry was held as to the disposition of the bequest, and statutes were issued to the society on Durham's foundation, the university finding it necessary to make provision for its individual governance. This intimate connexion between the university and the early development of a college has no parallel, and to it the college owes its name. The college, as it may now be called, developed slowly, further statutes being found necessary in 1292 and 1311; unlike other foundations which were established, with a definite code of statutes from the outset, by individual founders. It is possible, however, to maintain that the founders of Merton and Balliol were influenced in their work by that of William of Durham. The foundation consists of a master, 13 fellows and 16 scholars, and there are a large number of exhibitions. The buildings have a long frontage upon High Street. The oldest part of the buildings was begun in 1634. The chapel, built not long after, was altered in Decorated style by Sir Gilbert Scott, but contains fine woodwork of 1694, and windows by Abraham van Ling (1641). The old library dates from 1668-1670, but a new library was built by Scott, in Decorated style, and contains great statues of Lord Eldon and Lord Stowell, members of the college, the design of which was by Sir Francis Chantrey. The hall dates from 1657, but has been greatly altered. The extension of the college has necessitated that of its buildings in modern times. A chamber built for the purpose contains a statue, by Onslow Ford, of Percy Bysshe Shelley, presenting him lying drowned. The poet entered the college in 1810.

Wadham College

Wadham College was founded in 16121 by Nicholas Wadham (d. 1609) of Merifield, near Ilminster, Somersetshire, and Dorothy his wife, who as his executrix carried out his plans. The original foundation consisted of a warden, 15 fellows, 15 scholars, with 2 chaplains and 2 clerks. It now consists of a warden, 8 to to fellows and 18 scholars. The college, which has its frontage upon Parks Road, occupies the site of the house of the Austin Friars. No part of their buildings is retained. The erection of the college occupied the years 1610-1613, and while the buildings are in the main an excellent example of their period, the chapel (as distinct from the antechapel) is of peculiar interest. This appears and was long held to be pure Perpendicular work of the 15th century, but the record of its building in 1611 is preserved, and as the majority of the builders seem to have been natives of Somersetshire it is supposed that in the chapel they closely imitated the style which is so finely developed in that county. The buildings of Wadham have remained practically unchanged since the foundation, either by alteration of the existing fabric or by addition. Beautiful gardens lie to the east and north of them; the warden's garden is especially fine. In the quadrangle is a clock designed by Christopher Wren, who entered the college in 1649. It was in this year that John Wilkins, warden (1648-1659), initiated a weekly philosophical club, out of the meetings of which grew the Royal Society, which received its charter in 1662.

1 The year in which the statutes were issued; Dorothy Wadham had received the royal charter in 1610.

Worcester College

Worcester College was founded in its present form in 1714, out of a bequest by Sir Thomas Cookes, Bart. (d. 1701) of Bentley Pauncefoot, Worcestershire. On part of the site, in 1283, Gloucester Hall had been founded for Benedictine novices from Gloucester. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the buildings were used by Robert King, first bishop of Oxford, as a palace (1542); later it was acquired by Sir Thomas White, founder of St John's College, and again became a hall. This fell into difficulties, and was in great poverty when the present foundation superseded it. Cookes's foundation provided for a provost, 6 fellows and 6 scholars; there are now from 6 to 10 fellows, and from 10 to 18 scholars. Four of the scholarships are appropriated to Bromsgrove school, of which Cookes was a benefactor. The frontage of the buildings, in Worcester Street, is in a classical style, but the quadrangle retains some of the old buildings of Gloucester Hall. The gardens, with their lake, are fine.

Halls, etc.

The academical halls, which were of very early origin, were originally in the nature of lodging-houses, in which students lived under a principal chosen by themselves. But they were gradually absorbed by the colleges as these became firmly established. The only remaining academical hall is that of St Edmund, which is said to have been founded in 1226, and to derive its name from Edmund Rich, archbishop of Canterbury, who is known to have taught at Oxford, and was canonized in 1248. The hall came into the possession of Queen's College in 1557, and the principal is nominated by that society. The buildings, which form a small quadrangle east of Queen's College, date mainly from the middle of the ,8th century. There are three private halls in Oxford, established under a university statute of 1882, which provides for such establishment by any member of convocation under certain conditions and under licence from the vicechancellor. Non-collegiate students,2 i.e. members of the university, possessing all its privileges without being members of any college, were first admitted in 1868. As a body they are under the care of a delegacy and the supervision of a censor. Women are admitted to lectures and university examinations but not to its degrees; they have four colleges or halls - Somerville College (1879), Lady Margaret Hall (1879), St Hugh's Hall (1886) and St Hilda's Hall (1893). Among foundations independent of university jurisdiction and intended primarily for the teaching of theology are the Pusey House (1884, founded in memory of Edward Bouverie Pusey), St Stephen's House (1876) and Wycliffe Hall (1878), both theological colleges; Mansfield College (Congregational, founded to take the place of Spring Hill College, Birmingham, in 1889) and Manchester College (1893), also a nonconformist institution. The buildings of Mansfield, especially the chapel, should be noticed as of very good design in Decorated and Perpendicular styles. None of these houses is a residence for undergraduates. There is a theological college at Cuddesdon, near Oxford, where also is the bishop of Oxford's palace.

2 This title was given by a statute of 1884.

University buildings and institutions.

A notable group of buildings connected with the university stands between Broad Street and High Street, and between Exeter and Brasenose and All Souls colleges. Among these the principal are the old schools buildings, which form a fine quadrangle, and are now mainly occupied by the Bodleian Library, more extensive accommodation for the schools (examinations, &c.) being provided in the modern range of buildings facing High Street and King Street, completed in 1882 from the designs of T. G. Jackson. The erection of the old schools quadrangle was begun in 1613, and the architecture combines late Gothic with classical details. On the inner face of the gateway towers are seen the five Roman orders, in tiers, one above another. The windows, parapet and rich pinnacles, however, are Gothic. The quadrangle was founded by Sir Thomas Bodley, who conceived the addition of schools to the celebrated library which bears his name. The main chamber of the Bodleian Library is entered from the quadrangle. The library (see Libraries) was opened in 1602. The central part of the room dates from 1480, when it was completed to contain the library given to the university by Humphrey, duke of Gloucester (d. 1447). This library was destroyed in the time of Edward VI. Bodley added the east wing, the west wing followed in 1634-1640, being built to house the collection of John Selden, one of the principal of many benefactors of the library. The whole forms a most beautiful room, enhanced by the finely painted ceiling and the excellent design of the fittings. In the storey above the library is the picture-gallery, containing portraits of chancellors, founders and benefactors of the university. The basement of the central part of the library is formed by the Divinity School, a splendid chamber (1480), in which the most notable feature is the groined roof, divided into compartments by widely splayed arches, and adorned with rich tracery and carved pendants. The Convocation House, below the west wing of the library, and entered from the west end of the school, has a roof with fan tracery. To the north of these buildings, flanking Broad Street, are the Sheldonian Theatre, the old building of the Clarendon Press and the Old Ashmolean building. " The Sheldonian " was built in1664-1669at the charge of Gilbert Sheldon (1598-1677), chancellor of the university and archbishop of Canterbury, from the design of Sir Christopher Wren. The principal public ceremonies of the university, including the " Encaenia," the annual commemoration of benefactors, accompanied by the conferring of honorary degrees and the recitation of prize compositions, are generally held in this building, which is particularly well adapted for its purpose. The university printing press was >><< early established in its upper part. This institution bears the name of the Clarendon Press from the fact that it was founded partly from the proceeds of the sale of the earl of Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, the copyright of which was given to the university by his son Henry, the second earl. In 1713 it occupied the building erected for it close to the theatre; in 1830 it was moved to the larger buildings it now occupies in Walton Street. Printing in Oxford dates from the seventh or eighth decade of the 15th century, but was only carried on spasmodically until 1585, when the first university printer was Joseph Barnes. All the subsidiary processes of typefounding, stereotyping, &c., are carried on in the buildings of the press, and paper is supplied from the university mill at Wolvercote. The press is to a large extent a commercial firm, in which the university has a preponderating influence, governing it through a delegacy. The Broad Street building is used for other purposes of the university, as is the adjacent Old Ashmolean building, which originally (1683) contained the Ashmolean Museum, described hereafter, and now affords rooms for the School of Geography (1899). To the south of the old schools, between Brasenose and All Souls colleges, is the fine classical rotunda known as the Radcliffe Library or camera, founded in 1737 by the eminent physician John Radcliffe (1650-1714). The architect was James Gibbs. In 1861 the building was devoted to the purpose it now serves, that of a reading room to the Bodleian Library, the collection of medieval and scientific works it contained being removed to the University Museum. The exterior gallery round the dome is celebrated as a view-point.

To the south of the Radcliffe Library, bordering High Street, is the church of St Mary the Virgin, commonly called the University church, on a site which is traditionally said to have been occupied by a church even from King Alfred's time. Its principal feature is a fine Decorated tower and spire, dating from the early part of the 13th century. The body of the church, however, is mainly an excellent example of Perpendicular work. The main entrance from High Street is beneath a classical porch erected in 1637 by Morgan Owen, a chaplain of Archbishop Laud; the statue of the Virgin and Child above it was alluded to in the impeachment of the archbishop. On the north side of the chancel is a building of earlier date than the present church; it is Decorated, of two storeys, and has served various purposes connected with the university, including that of housing a library before the foundation by Humphrey, duke of Gloucester. The university sermons are preached in St Mary's church.

A massive pile of classical buildings (1845) at the corner of Beaumont and St Giles's Streets is devoted to the Taylor Institution, the University Galleries and the Ashmolean Museum. Sir Robert Taylor, architect (1714-1788), left a bequest to establish the teaching of modern European languages in Oxford, and to provide a building for the purpose, and the eastern wing is devoted to this purpose, containing a library. In the University Galleries the most notable features are the celebrated Arundel marbles, a large series of drawings for pictures by Raphael and Michelangelo, and models for busts and statues by Sir Francis Chantrey. The new building for the Ashmolean Museum was added in 1893; and in connexion both with the building and with subsequent additions to the collections the benefactions of Charles Drury Edward Fortnum (1820-1899) should be remembered. The nucleus of this collection was formed by John Tradescant, a traveller and botanist (1608-1662), who left it to Elias Ashmole, who added books, paintings and other objects, and presented the whole to the university in 1679. When the museum was moved from the Old Ashmolean building, the collection was in great part distributed; thus, books were sent to the Bodleian Library, and natural history objects to the University Museum. The Ashmolean Museum now contains excellent collections of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and British antiquities, and many other objects, among which perhaps the most widely famous is the Alfred Jewel, an ornament of crystal, enamel and gold, bearing King Alfred's name, and found at Athelney. The University Museum is an extensive building close to the parks, opposite Keble College. Its foundation was the outcome of the necessity of keeping pace in the university with the extended range of modern scientific study. It was built in 1856 seq., and contains the following departments: - medicine and public health, comparative anatomy, physiology, human anatomy, zoology, experimental philosophy, physics, chemistry, geology, mineralogy and pathology. There is also here the Pitt-Rivers ethnographical museum, which had its origin in the collection of Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers, presented to the university in 1883. Additional buildings contain the Radcliffe Library and various laboratories. The university observatory is in the parks, not far from the museum, but an older observatory is that called the Radcliffe (1772-1795), built by the trustees of the Radcliffe bequest, as was the Radcliffe Infirmary (1770) standing near the observatory, in Woodstock Road. Opposite Magdalen College, by the banks of the Cherwell, is the beautiful botanic garden founded by Henry Danvers, earl of Danby, in 1622, with which are connected a library, herbarium and museum. The Indian Institute (1882), in Broad Street, was founded as a centre for the study of Indian subjects, and for the use of native students in the university and prospective Indian civil servants. The Oxford Union Society, the principal university club, founded in 1825, has its rooms, with library and debating hall, near Cornmarket Street.

City buildings.

Ancient buildings in Oxford, apart from collegiate and university buildings, are mainly ecclesiastical, but there are a few notable exceptions. The castle, which, as already indicated, was erected by Robert d'Oili at the west of the ancient city, retains its massive tower, standing picturesquely by the river, and a mound within which is a curious chamber containing a well. There is also a Norman crypt-chapel, but the county court and gaol buildings adjacent are modern. Among old houses, of which not a few survive in Holywell Street and elsewhere, Bishop King's palace in St Aldate's Street may be mentioned; it has been in great part defaced by modern alterations, while the remaining front is a beautiful half-timbered and gabled example dated 1628; but ornate ceilings preserved in some of the rooms date from the erection in the time of Edward VI. Kettell Hall in Broad Street is another fine house, now used as a private residence, but formerly put to collegiate use, having been built by Ralph Kettell, president of Trinity (1599-1643). Among ancient churches in Oxford, after the cathedral and St Mary's, the chief in interest is St Peter's-in-theEast, which has a fine Norman chancel, crypt and south doorway, with additions of Early English and later date. St Michael's church, the body of which as now existing is of little interest, has a very early tower (11th century) of massive construction, which probably served as a defence for the north gate of the city. St Giles's church has Norman remains, but is chiefly notable for the excellent character of its Early English portions and for a beautiful font of that period. Holywell church retains a fine Norman chancel arch; and the churches of St Mary Magdalen, St Aldate's, St Ebbe's and St Thomas. the Martyr are all of some antiquarian interest in spite of extensive modern alteration. Only the 14th century tower remains of St Martin's church at Carfax, the body of the church, which was a complete reconstruction of 1820, being removed at the close of the century, in the course of street-widening. Some of the modern churches are on sites of early dedication. The church of All Saints in High Street was rebuilt in1706-1708from the design of Dean Aldrich, and is a good classical example. Beneath several buildings in this part of the city the crypts of earlier halls or other buildings. remain. In the suburb of Cowley are remains, including the chapel, of the hospital of St Bartholomew, originally a foundation for lepers (1126). The village church at Iffley, not far beyond the eastern outskirts of the city, with its ornate west end, tower and chancel, is one of the most notable small Norman churches in England. Of modern city buildings, the only one of special note is the town hall (1893-1897), which has a striking frontage upon St Aldate's Street.

University constitution and administration.

"The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford" form a corporate body, within which the colleges are so many individual corporations. The university was governed by statutes of its own making, which were codified and brought out of the confusion into which they had fallen in the course of centuries in 1636, during Laud's chancellorship. A commission was appointed to inquire fully into the condition of the university in 1850; it reported in 1852, and in 1854 the constitution was amended by the Oxford University Act. In 1876 another commission was appointed, and in 1877 the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act was passed. This act provided for the appointment of commissioners who (1882) made statutes for each college, excepting Hertford, Keble and Lincoln, the first and second of which are modern foundations, while the third is governed under statutes of 1855. The highest officer of the university is the chancellor, who is elected by the members of convocation, holds office for life, and is generally a distinguished member of the university. He does not take an active part in the details of administration, delegating this to the vice-chancellor, who is, therefore, practically the head. He is nominated annually by the chancellor, and must be the head of a college. He appoints four pro-vice-chancellors, also heads of colleges, to exercise his authority in case of necessity. The high steward is appointed for life, with the duty of trying grave criminal cases when the accused is a resident member of the university. Two proctors are appointed annually by two of the colleges in rotation; their special duty is a disciplinary surveillance over members of the university in statu pupillari when these are not within the jurisdiction of their colleges. They are assisted by four pro-proctors. The principal duty of the public orator is that of presenting those who are to receive an honorary master's degree, and of making speeches in the name of the university on ceremonial occasions. The registrar acts as the recorder of the various administrative bodies of the university, and the secretary to the Board of Faculties has similar duties with regard to these boards, his work being closely associated with that of the registrar. The chancellor's court exercises civil jurisdiction in cases in which one of the parties is a resident member of the university. The university returns two members (burgesses) to parliament, the privilege dating from 1604.

The Hebdomadal1 Council consists of the chancellor, vicechancellor, immediate ex-vice-chancellor and proctors as official members, and of eighteen other members (heads of houses, professors, &c.) elected for terms of six years by the congregation of the university. The council takes the initiative in promulgating, >><< discussing and submitting to Convocation all the legislation of the university. The Ancient House of Congregation consists of "regents," i.e. doctors and masters of arts for two years after the term in which they take their degrees, professors, heads of colleges and other resident officers, &c. The house thus includes all those who are concerned with education and discipline in the university, but it now has practically no functions beyond the granting of degrees. It lost its wider powers under the act of 1854, when the Congregation of the university was created. This body, which includes besides certain officials all members of Convocation who have resided for a fixed period within one mile and a half of Carfax, approves or amends legislation submitted by the Hebdomadal Council previously to its submission to Convocation; it also has considerable powers in the election of the various administrative boards. The House of Convocation consists of all masters of arts and doctors of the higher faculties who have their names on the university books, and has the final control over all acts and business of the university. There are boards of curators for the Bodleian Library, the university chest and other institutions, delegates of the common university fund, the museum and the press, for extension teaching, local examinations and other similar purposes, visitors for the Ashmolean Museum and university galleries, and many other administrative bodies. There are boards for the following faculties: theology, law, medicine, natural science and arts (including literae humaniores, oriental languages and modern history). Among the numerous professorships and readerships in the various subjects of study, the oldest foundation is the Margaret professorship of divinity, founded in 1502 by Margaret, countess of Richmond and mother of Henry VII. This was followed by the five Regius professorships of divinity, civil law, medicine, Hebrew and Greek, founded by Henry VIII. in 1546.

The colleges, as already seen, consist of a head, whose title varies in different colleges, fellows (who form the governing body) and scholars. To these are to be added the commoners, who are not " on the foundation," i.e. those who either receive no emoluments, or hold exhibitions which do not (generally) entitle them to rank with the scholars. The college officer who is immediately concerned with the disciplinary surveillance of members of the college in statu pupillari is the dean (except at Christ Church). Each undergraduate (this term covering all who have not yet proceeded to a degree) is, as regards his studies, under the immediate supervision of one of the fellows as tutor. The university terms are four - Michaelmas (which begins the academic year, and is therefore the term in which the majority of undergraduates begin residence), Hilary or Lent, Easter and Trinity. The last two run consecutively without interval, and for certain purposes count as one; they are kept by three weeks' residence in each, while the two first are kept by six weeks' residence in each, though the terms properly speaking are longer. The examinations required to be passed in order to obtain the first or bachelor's degree may be summarized thus: - (a) Responsions, usually taken very early in the course of study. Exemption is in many cases granted when a candidate has passed a certificate examination held by university examiners at the school where he has been educated. (b) First public examination or School of Moderations, usually taken after four or six terms. (c) Second public examination or final school (this in the case of literae humaniores is commonly called " Greats ") usually takes place at the end of the fourth year of residence. " Pass " schools and " honour " schools are distinguished; in the latter candidates are grouped in classes according to merit. No further examination or other exercise is required for the degree of master of arts. Among the numerous scholarships and prizes offered by the university (as distinct from the colleges) a few of the most noted may be mentioned - the Craven and the Ireland classical scholarships on the foundation respectively of John, Lord Craven (d. 1648), who also founded the travelling fellowships which bear his name for the study of antiquities, and of John Ireland, dean of Westminster (1825); the scholarship commemorating Edward, earl of Derby (chancellor 1852-1869); the law scholarship commemorating John, first earl of Eldon; the chancellor's prizes in Latin verse and English prose (initiated by the earl of Lichfield, chancellor 1762-1772) and in Latin prose (by Lord Grenville, 1809); the Newdigate prize for English verse, founded by Sir Roger Newdigate (1806); the Gaisford prizes in Greek verse and prose (1856), commemorating Thomas Gaisford, dean of Christ Church; the Arnold historical essay (1850), commemorating Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby school; and the theological foundations of Edward Bouverie Pusey and Edward Ellerton, fellow of Magdalen. University scholarships, such as those mentioned, are awarded to persons who are already members of the university (who must in some cases already have taken a degree); they thus differ from college scholarships, which are generally open to persons who have not yet matriculated. The Rhodes scholarships (see Rhodes, Cecil) stand alone. They are an adaptation of the college scholarship to a special purpose, but are not in the award of any one college. Arrangements exist whereby members of the universities of Cambridge or Dublin may be " incorporated " as members of Oxford University; and whereby the period of necessary academical residence at Oxford University is reduced in the case of students from " affiliated " colleges within the United Kingdom. Special provisions are also made in the case of students from any foreign university and from certain colonial and Indian universities. The number of persons who matriculate at Oxford University is about 850 annually.

The principal social functions in the university take place in " Eights' Week," when, during the summer term (Easter and Trinity), the college eight-oared bumping races are held, and also, more especially, in " Commemoration Week," at the close of the same term, when the university ceremonies;connected with the commemoration of benefactors, the conferring of degrees honoris causa, &c., are held, and balls are given in some of the colleges.

The city of Oxford (as distinct from the university) returns one member to parliament, having lost its second member under the Redistribution Act of 1885, before which date it had been entirely disfranchised for a year owing to bribery at the election of 1881. The municipal government is in the hands of a mayor, 15 aldermen (including 3 from the university) and 45 councillors (9 from the university). Area, 4676 acres.

1 From Greek 060,ucis, the number seven; the Hebdomadal Board instituted in 1631 was appointed to hold a weekly meeting.


See the Oxford University Calendar (annually) and the Oxford Historical Register, Oxford. The Oxford Historical Society has issued various works dealing with the history. In the " College History " series, London, the story of each college forms a volume by a member of the foundation. The principal earlier authority is Anthony a Wood (q.v.). See also James Ingram (president of Trinity, 1824-1850), Memorials of Oxford (Oxford, 18 37); A. Lang, Oxford (London, 1885); H. C. Maxwell Lyte, History of the University of Oxford to 1530 (London, 1886); Hon. G. C. Brodrick, History of the University of Oxford in " Epochs of Church History" series (London, 1886); C. W. Boase, Oxford, in " Historic Towns " series (London, 1887); Oxford and Oxford Life, ed. J. Wells (London, 1892). (0. J. R. H.)

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Oxenaforda (oxen ford)

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Wikipedia has an article on:


  1. A city in England famous for its university.
  2. Oxford University.
  3. A variety of shoe, typically made of heavy leather; also known as a balmoral.
  4. (by ellipsis) An Oxford Dictionary.

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Simple English

Oxford is a city in England on the River Thames. It is a very old city - some of its buildings were built before the 12th century. It is famous for its university, which is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Almost 165,000 people live in Oxford. Two rivers run through the city, the Cherwell and the Thames. These two rivers meet south of the city centre.

Besides its university, there is a number of buildings famous for their architecture (the style in which they were built), like the Radcliffe Camera. There are also lots of museums and other places to visit for tourists.

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