University is the oldest in Britain. The university now has 38
colleges (in 2008 Green and Templeton Colleges merged)
(see the list
Nineteen of these 38 colleges were founded in the 19th and 20th centuries,
whilst the other 19 have foundation dates stretching back as early
as 1249, the year the oldest college - University
College - was founded.
Many of the foundation years given for the colleges don't reflect
the fact that they often replaced even more ancient halls of residence,
used by students who studied in Oxford before the college system had
even developed. These institutions often date back into the 11th century
Oxford University - especially its older established colleges - has
seen many of its former students go on to achieve notable things.
But a successful completion of their studies was not always necessary
for former students to achieve success in life. The Poet Laureates
Robert Southey and
John Betjemen, the poet Percy
Shelley and the writers Samuel
all left Oxford without a degree. A degree also eluded Edward
the British Prime Minister Harold
Macmillan, the founder of the US state of Pennsylvania
William Penn and the Elizabethan adventurer
It wasn't until 1879 when Lady
Margaret Hall and Somerville
opened that women were finally admitted to Oxford. Since then graduates
have included the first British woman to win a Nobel Prize, Dorothy
Hodgkin; Britain's three women Prime Ministers: Margaret
the writers Iris Murdoch and Dorothy
L. Sayers; India's first woman Prime Minister, Indira
Gandhi and the Burmese winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, Aung
San Suu Kyi.
The following list shows the 38 colleges, grouped by the century in
which they were founded.
The colleges founded before the 18th century include information on
a selection of famous people who have been connected to the college
and links to the college website and its history webpage.
The colleges founded since 1700 have links to their websites.
selection of famous people who have been connected with the college.
College was founded in 1314 as Stapledon Hall by Walter de Stapledon,
a Devon man who later became Bishop of Exeter.
For the first few centuries of its existence the college took its
students mainly from the counties of south-west England and especially
Cornwall and Devon with the aim of training them for the clergy.
Professor of Music, 1900-08
for Chemistry, 1956
of Chemistry, 1937-64