New College Oxford is a constituent college of the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham, the Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England. The college’s official name is The College of St Mary, but it is more commonly known as New College to distinguish it from the older, similarly-named colleges of the university.
New College is located in the heart of Oxford, near the city centre and just a short walk from other colleges and university buildings. The college grounds are spacious and beautiful, featuring historic buildings and gardens that are open to the public. The college is surrounded by walls and has several gates, including the famous Robinson Tower, which is one of the iconic landmarks of Oxford.
New College has a long and distinguished history, with a strong tradition in the humanities, particularly in classics, history, and English literature. It has produced numerous famous alumni, including actor Hugh Grant and historian and television presenter Lucy Worsley. The college has also been the site of many important events throughout history, such as the signing of the Treaty of Oxford in 1258, which helped establish the first English parliament.
Today, New College is home to around 430 undergraduate and 360 graduate students and a large community of fellows and staff. The college has a reputation for academic excellence and is consistently ranked as one of the top colleges at Oxford. In addition to its strengths in the humanities, the college has also developed strengths in science and engineering in recent years.
New College Oxford is a prestigious and highly-regarded institution known for its academic excellence, historic buildings, and vibrant community. It continues to attract some of the brightest and most talented students from around the world, who are drawn to the college’s rich history and tradition of academic achievement.
One of the most notable features of New College is its world-renowned choir, which has been in existence since the 14th century. The choir performs regularly in the college chapel and around the world and has recorded numerous albums and won many awards. The college chapel itself is also a stunning example of Gothic architecture, with beautiful stained glass windows and intricate stonework.
The Front Quad
The college was designed as an integrated complex with the Chapel, Hall, Muniment Tower, Library and a range for tutors and students to live and work in, all built around a quadrangle.
The Garden Quadrangle
In the 17th century, a new quadrangle, the Garden Quadrangle, was constructed, leading to the gardens, with their famous ornamental mound.
The 13th-century City Walls enclose the garden and are in immaculate condition. Wykeham’s original deal for the land with the City of Oxford has obliged the college to maintain them ever since, and the walls are subject to a regular inspection by the Lord Mayor and Councillors.
The Holywell Quadrangle
In the 19th century, a significant development programme created a large set of buildings along Holywell Street dominated by Champney’s Robinson Tower (named after a great 19th century Bursar), which is now the main entrance to the college housing the Porters’ Lodge.
Named after Chris Gradel, an Old Member, Gradel Quadrangles (currently under construction) will provide 99 student rooms (and another for a Junior Dean), as well as a flexible learning hub and a performance hall.
If you are visiting the college as a tourist, please use the entrance on New College Lane. This is the original entrance to the college, dating from the foundation of the college in the 14th century.
The gatehouse at the original entrance carries the statues of the Virgin Mary, to whom the college is dedicated, flanked by the statues of the Archangel Gabriel and the founder. Above are the Warden’s Lodgings, still today in their original position.
See the college’s website for opening hours and prices.