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New College is one of the constituent colleges of the
University of Oxford The University of Oxford is a collegiate university, collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the List of oldest universit ...
in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1379 by
William of Wykeham William of Wykeham (; 1320 or 1324 – 27 September 1404) was Bishop of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat (''cathedra'') is at Winchester Cat ...
in conjunction with
Winchester College Winchester College is a public school (fee-charging independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsy ...
as its feeder school, New College is one of the oldest colleges at the university and was the first to admit undergraduate students. New College also has a reputation for the exceptional academic performance of its students. In 2020, the college ranked first in the Norrington Table, a table assessing the relative performance of Oxford's undergraduates in final examinations. It has the 2nd-highest average Norrington Table ranking over the previous decade. The college is located in the centre of Oxford, between Holywell Street and New College Lane (known for Oxford's Bridge of Sighs), next to All Souls College, Harris Manchester College,
Hertford College Hertford College ( ), previously known as Magdalen Hall, is a colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. It is located on Catte Street in the centre of Oxford, directly opposite the main ga ...
, The Queen's College and St Edmund Hall. The college's sister college is
King's College, Cambridge King's College is a List of colleges of the University of Cambridge, constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Formally The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge, the college lies beside the River Cam and faces ...
. The college choir is one of the leading choirs of the world, and has recorded over one hundred albums; it has been awarded two Gramophone Awards.


History

Despite its name, New College is one of the oldest of the Oxford colleges; it was founded in 1379 by
William of Wykeham William of Wykeham (; 1320 or 1324 – 27 September 1404) was Bishop of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat (''cathedra'') is at Winchester Cat ...
,
Bishop of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat (''cathedra'') is at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire. The Bishop of Winchester has always held ''ex officio'' (except dur ...
, as "Saint Mary College of Winchester in Oxenford", the second college in Oxford to be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary after
Oriel College Oriel College () is Colleges of the University of Oxford, a constituent college of the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. Located in Oriel Square, the college has the distinction of being the oldest royal foundation in Oxford (a title forme ...
.


Foundation

In 1379 William of Wykeham had purchased land in Oxford and applied to King Richard II for a charter to allow the foundation of a college '' de novo''. In his own charter of foundation, William of Wykeham declared the college to consist of a warden and seventy scholars. The site was acquired from several sources, including the City of Oxford,
Merton College Merton College (in full: The House or College of Scholars of Merton in the University of Oxford) is one of the Colleges of Oxford University, constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its foundation can be traced back to the ...
and Queen's College. This land had been the City Ditch, a haunt of thieves, and had been used for burials during the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague pandemic occurring in Western Eurasia and North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portio ...
. The college was founded in 1379 in conjunction with a feeder school,
Winchester College Winchester College is a public school (fee-charging independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsy ...
(founded 1382, opened 1394). The two institutions have striking architectural similarities: both were the work of master mason
William Wynford William Wynford or William of Wynford (flourished 1360–1405) was one of the most successful English master masons of the 14th century, using the new Perpendicular Gothic style. Life and career He is first mentioned in 1360 when at work at Winds ...
. On 5 March 1380, the first stone of New College was laid. By 14 April 1386, the college had taken formal possession of the buildings. William of Wykeham then drew up the statutes of the college. The coat of arms of the college is William of Wykeham's. It features two black chevrons, one said to have been added when he became a bishop and the other representing his skill with architecture (the chevron was a device used by masons). Winchester College uses the same arms. The college's
motto A motto (derived from the Latin language, Latin , 'mutter', by way of Italian language, Italian , 'word' or 'sentence') is a Sentence (linguistics), sentence or phrase expressing a belief or purpose, or the general motivation or intention of a ...
, created by
William of Wykeham William of Wykeham (; 1320 or 1324 – 27 September 1404) was Bishop of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat (''cathedra'') is at Winchester Cat ...
, is "Manners Makyth Man". Both Winchester College and New College were established for the education of priests, there being a shortage of properly educated clergy after the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague pandemic occurring in Western Eurasia and North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portio ...
. William of Wykeham ordained that there were to be ten chaplains, three clerks and 16 choristers on the foundation of the college. The choristers were originally accommodated within the walls of the college, under one schoolmaster. Since then the school has expanded; in 1903 the choristers moved to New College School in Savile Road. As well as being the first Oxford college for undergraduates, and the first to have senior members of the college give tutorials, New College was the first in Oxford to be deliberately designed around a main quadrangle. Students at New College were until 1834 exempt from taking the university's examinations for the BA and (in earlier times) the MA degrees, and were also ineligible for honours, though they still had to take the college's own tests. This contributed to the college's old reputation for "Golden scholars, silver bachelors, leaden masters and wooden doctors." More recently, like many of Oxford's colleges, New College admitted its first mixed-sex cohort in 1979, after six centuries as an institution for men only.


Civil war

In August 1651, New College was fortified by the Parliamentarian forces and the cloisters and Bell Tower were used for musketry training and munitions storage. In 1685, Monmouth's rebellion involved Robert Sewster, a fellow of the college, who commanded a company of university volunteers. These volunteers were mostly of New College and exercised in the Bowling Green.


College links

King Henry VI is said to have established his own new colleges,
King's College, Cambridge King's College is a List of colleges of the University of Cambridge, constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Formally The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge, the college lies beside the River Cam and faces ...
, and
Eton College Eton College () is a Public school (United Kingdom), public school in Eton, Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by Henry VI of England, Henry VI under the name ''Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore'',Nevill, p. 3 ff. i ...
, in admiration of William of Wykeham's twinned institutions of New College and
Winchester College Winchester College is a public school (fee-charging independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsy ...
.
New College has an informal link with Winchester College, Eton College, and King's College, Cambridge, dating back to 1444, a four-way relationship known as the ''Amicabilis Concordia''.


Buildings and gardens

At the time of its foundation, the college was a grand example of the "perpendicular style". and was larger than all of the (six) existing Oxford colleges combined. With the evolution of the college over the centuries, it has regularly added to its original quadrangle. The upper storey of the quad was added in the sixteenth century as attics which, in 1674, were replaced by a third storey proper as seen today. The oval turf at the centre of the quad is an eighteenth-century addition. Many of its buildings are listed as being of special architectural or historical importance and, today, the college is one of Oxford's most widely visited. The three-sided Garden Quadrangle, open at one end and said to be modelled on the Palace of Versailles, was built in the 17th century, and further college expansion led to the formation of Holywell Quad in the 19th century, with a range known as ‘New Buildings’ built along Holywell Street. New College is currently building a new development on its Savile Road site, next to New College School. The Gradel Quadrangles were designed by David Kohn Architects and received planning permission in June 2018. They will provide an additional 99 student rooms, additional dining and kitchen space, a flexible learning hub and a performance venue. File:New College garden front Oxford England.jpg, Photo-chrome of Garden Quad File:New College Oxford 20040124.jpg, Holywell Street: Scott Buildings and Robinson Tower File:Newcollege wall-hall-chapel.jpg, The Chapel and old city wall from Holywell Quad File:New College, Oxford (Pic 1).jpg, Front Quad


Hall

The hall is the dining room of the college and its dimensions are eighty feet by forty feet (24 m × 12 m). In his charter, Wykeham forbade wrestling, dancing and all noisy games in the hall due to the close proximity of the college chapel, and prescribed the use of Latin in conversation. The panelling was added when Archbishop Warham was bursar of the college. The marble flooring replaced the original flooring in 1722. The open oak roof had been replaced by a ceiling at the end of the 18th century, and little is known of it. It was not until the Junior Common Room offered £1000 to restore the hall roof that work began on the roof seen today; this was in 1865 under the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The windows were replaced at the time with painted glass and the portraits moved to a higher level. The hall underwent a major restoration project and reopened in January 2015. File:New College, Oxford (3915166725).jpg, Hall


Chapel

The cloisters and the chapel retain their medieval appearance. Much of the medieval stained glass in the ante-chapel was restored in a 20-year project which was commended in the 2007 Oxford Preservation Trust Environmental Awards. Renowned for its grand interior, the chapel contains works by Sir Jacob Epstein and
El Greco Domḗnikos Theotokópoulos ( el, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος ; 1 October 1541 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco ("The Greek"), was a Greek painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El G ...
. Some of the stained glass windows, including the Great West Window, were designed by the 18th-century portraitist
Sir Joshua Reynolds Sir Joshua Reynolds (16 July 1723 – 23 February 1792) was an English painter, specialising in portrait A portrait is a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called ...
. File:New College Chapel Reredos.jpg, Chapel
reredos A reredos ( , , ) is a large altarpiece, a screen, or decoration placed behind the altar in a Church (building), church. It often includes religious images. The term ''reredos'' may also be used for similar structures, if elaborate, in secular a ...
File:New-college-chapel.jpg, The Chapel, looking towards the altar
The choir stalls contain 62 14th-century misericords which are of outstanding beauty — several of New College's misericords were copied during the Victorian era, for use at
Canterbury Cathedral Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. It forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Justin Welby, leader of the ...
. The niches of the
reredos A reredos ( , , ) is a large altarpiece, a screen, or decoration placed behind the altar in a Church (building), church. It often includes religious images. The term ''reredos'' may also be used for similar structures, if elaborate, in secular a ...
were provided by Sir Gilbert Scott and were fitted with statues in the 19th century. Near the east end of the chapel is the Founder's Crosier, a relic overlaid with silver gilt and enamel that resembles a pastoral staff. This was exhibited at South Kensington in 1862. The cloisters, containing a large holm oak tree, sit by the western wall of the Chapel, and were made famous by ''
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'' is a fantasy novel written by British author J. K. Rowling and the fourth novel in the ''Harry Potter'' series. It follows Harry Potter (character), Harry Potter, a wizard in his fourth year at Hogwarts ...
'' – featuring in a memorable scene in which Draco Malfoy is turned into a white ferret.The bell tower contains one of the oldest rings of ten bells. Michael Darbie recast the original five bells into eight in 1655, creating the first set of eight to be cast simultaneously. In 1712, two more bells were added, supposedly to outmatch Magdalen College's new ring of eight bells created in that year. The bells are rung by the
Oxford Society of Change Ringers Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2020, its population was estimated at 151,584. It is north-west of London, south-east of Birmingham and north-east of Bristol. The city is home to the Un ...
. File:New College, Oxford (Pic 2).jpg, Cloisters File:Oxford men and their colleges - The Cloister, New College.png, Drawing of the Cloisters and Chapel


Gardens and city wall

The Middle Gateway opens to the Garden Quadrangle, said to be modelled on the
Palace of Versailles The Palace of Versailles ( ; french: Château de Versailles ) is a former royal residence built by King Louis XIV located in Versailles, Yvelines, Versailles, about west of Paris, France. The palace is owned by the French Republic and since 19 ...
. The gardens include a mound that was arranged in the sixteenth century (which originally had steps, but is now smooth with one set of stairs). In a 1761 edition of ''Pocket Companion for Oxford'' the mound is described: : "In the middle of the Garden is a beautiful Mount with an easy ascent to the top of it, and the Walks around it, as well as the Summit of it, guarded with Yew Hedges. The Area before the Mount being divided into four Quarters, .the King's Arms, .opposite to it the Founder's; in the third a Sun Dial; and the Fourth, a Garden-Knot, all planted in Box, and neatly cut." When
William of Wykeham William of Wykeham (; 1320 or 1324 – 27 September 1404) was Bishop of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat (''cathedra'') is at Winchester Cat ...
acquired the land on which to build the college, he agreed to maintain the city wall. Every three years the Lord Mayor and Corporation of the City of Oxford take a walk along the wall to make sure that the obligation is being fulfilled, a tradition dating back to the college's foundation in 1379. The largest herbaceous border in England runs alongside the medieval City Wall. File:Newcollege gate to gardens.jpg, The Gate in Garden Quad File:Oxford - New College.jpg, Old city wall in the College gardens File:New College, Oxford mound.jpg, The Garden Mound


Treasures

The college owns a large collection of silver (including the medieval silver gilt Founder's
crosier A crosier or crozier (also known as a paterissa, pastoral staff, or bishop's staff) is a stylized staff that is a symbol of the governing office of a bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episc ...
, housed in a display case in the chapel), the Oxford Chest, currently in the
Ashmolean Museum The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology () on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is Britain's first public museum. Its first building was erected in 1678–1683 to house the cabinet of curiosities that Elias Ashmole gave to the University of O ...
, and two "
unicorn The unicorn is a legendary creature that has been described since Classical antiquity, antiquity as a beast with a single large, pointed, spiraling horn (anatomy), horn projecting from its forehead. In European literature and art, the unicor ...
horns" (
narwhal The narwhal, also known as a narwhale (''Monodon monoceros''), is a medium-sized toothed whale that possesses a large "tusk" from a protruding canine tooth. It lives year-round in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada and Russia. It is o ...
tusks). According to A. J. Prickard (writing in 1909), the library once contained a copy of the first printed edition of Aristotle.


Choir

As part of the original college statutes, William of Wykeham provided for a choral foundation of lay and academical clerks, with boy choristers to sing mass and the daily offices. It is a tradition that continues today with the choral services of
evensong Evensong is a church service A church service (or a service of worship) is a formalized period of Christian communal Christian worship, worship, often held in a church building. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in ...
and
Eucharist The Eucharist (; from Greek , , ), also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is a Christianity, Christian Rite (Christianity), rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an Ordinance (Christianity), ordinance in ot ...
during term. The Choir has a reputation as one of the finest
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, ...
choirs in the world, and is known particularly for its performances of
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
and
Baroque music Baroque music ( or ) refers to the period or dominant style of Western classical music composed from about 1600 to 1750. The Baroque style followed the Renaissance period, and was followed in turn by the Classical period after a short transi ...
. Some seventy recordings of the choir are still in the catalogue and as well as appearing a number of times at the BBC Proms, the choir make numerous concert tours. In 1997, the choir won a Gramophone Award in the best-selling disc category for their album ''Agnus Dei'', and in 2008, they won a Gramophone Award in the early music category for their recording of Nicholas Ludford's ''Missa Benedicta''. Edward Higginbottom, organist and tutor in music at New College until 2014, became Oxford University's first choral professor. On Thursday 21 May 2009, for the first time in 400 years, the choir processed to Bartlemas Chapel for a ceremony and then on to the location of an ancient spring. On 29 June 2015 and 2016, at the invitation of the Holy See and the Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina, the choir sang at the Papal
Pallium The pallium (derived from the Roman ''pallium'' or ''palla'', a woolen cloak; : ''pallia'') is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the pope, but for many centuries bestowed by the Holy See upon metropolita ...
mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Basilica.


Organ

The original organ was given by William Porte (1420–14233). An organ was removed in 1547 under
Edward VI Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death in 1553. He was crowned on 20 February 1547 at the age of nine. Edward was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour ...
, and likewise in 1572. A Willis organ installed in 1874 contained parts from organs by Samuel Green in 1776, James Chapman Bishop, and Dallam in 1663. The present instrument was constructed by Grant, Degens and Bradbeer in 1969. Tuning is regulated by Bishop and Son of London and Ipswich. In the summer of 2014 the organ was restored, with the key actions and other mechanisms being completely renewed by Goetze and Gwynn, and minor registration changes also made, including the 32 ft Fagot receiving a full-length bass (previously half-length). File:New College Chapel Interior I.jpg, The organ, between the chapel and the ante-chapel


Organists and directors of music


Student life


Middle Common Room

The Middle Common Room (MCR, the graduate member of the college) is very active. The common room itself and the MCR bar are in the Weston Buildings by the New College sports grounds and some of the graduate accommodation. Alongside a variety of social events, the MCR also holds graduate colloquia and produces its own journal (the ''New Collection'') to share the wide range of research of its members.


Junior Common Room

The Junior Common Room (JCR) is the body of undergraduates at the college. It has a committee of elected and appointed members. Between the years 2017 and 2019, 45.2% of UK undergraduates admitted to New College were women and 19.3% identified themselves as BAME (Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic).


Outreach

New College has been running outreach initiatives for years, seeking to help and attract students from under-represented groups to apply to the University of Oxford. In 2017, it launched Step Up, a sustained contact outreach initiative which seeks to inspire students from partner schools in England and Wales to apply to Oxford and supports them to make a competitive application. In 2020, the college founded the Oxford for Wales consortium, Oxford Cymru, along with Jesus College and St Catherine’s College, offering support to students from state schools in Wales.


Rowing

New College is one of only a few Oxford or
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a College town, university city and the county town in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the River Cam approximately north of London. As of the 2021 United Kingdom census, the population of Cambridge was 145,700. Cam ...
colleges to have won an Olympic medal; the New College Boat Club represented
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island and the List of is ...
at the Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1912, and earned a
silver medal A silver medal in sports and other similar areas involving competition is a medal made of, or silver plating, plated with, silver awarded to the second-place finisher, or runner-up, of contests or competitions such as the Olympic Games, Commonwe ...
. New College Boat Club is one of the few Oxford boat clubs to have held both headships at
Summer Eights Eights Week, also known as Summer Eights, is a four-day regatta of bumps races which constitutes the University of Oxford's main Colleges of the University of Oxford, intercollegiate Sport rowing, rowing event of the year. The regatta takes p ...
(though not in the same year), and one of only 11 Oxford or Cambridge colleges to have won the Grand Challenge Cup at
Henley Royal Regatta Henley Royal Regatta (or Henley Regatta, its original name pre-dating Royal patronage) is a Rowing (sport), rowing event held annually on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames, England. It was established on 26 March 1839. It differ ...
, having also won the Visitor Challenge Cup twice, the Ladies Challenge Plate twice, and the Stewards' Challenge Cup twice.


People


Alumni and fellows

New College has a legacy of notable individuals who have studied or worked at the college. The Simonyi Professorship of the Public Understanding of Science was held by
Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins (born 26 March 1941) is a British evolutionary biology, evolutionary biologist and author. He is an Oxford fellow, emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford and was Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Prof ...
and is now held by Marcus du Sautoy, both fellows of New College.


Wardens

The warden is the college's principal, responsible for its academic leadership, chairing its governing body and representing the college internationally.'New College', in ''A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3: The University of Oxford'' (1954)
pp. 144-162
online at british-history.ac.uk, accessed 26 August 2008.


Notes


References


Sources

* Buxton, John, and Penry Williams (1979). ''New College, Oxford, 1379–1979''. Oxford: Warden and Fellows of New College. . * Halford Smith, Alic (1952). ''New College, Oxford, and its Buildings''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Jenkinson, Matthew (2013). '' New College School, Oxford: A History''. Oxford: Shire. . * * Tyerman, Christopher (2010). ''New College''. London: Third Millennium. .


External links


New College JCR, Oxford

New College MCR, Oxford

College choir

New College School
{{Authority control 1379 establishments in England Educational institutions established in the 14th century Colleges of the University of Oxford Grade I listed buildings in Oxford Grade I listed educational buildings Organisations based in Oxford with royal patronage Buildings and structures of the University of Oxford