Magdalen College, Oxford

Magdalen College, Oxford (must see)

The most beautiful of all Oxford University’s colleges is undeniably Magdalen College. Founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, the Bishop of Winchester, it stands next to the River Cherwell and the Oxford botanic garden, surrounded by picturesque grounds, such as the Meadow, Fellows Garden and the Grove where deer graze during winter and spring. The famous Addison’s Walk links the Meadow to Fellows Garden, which in turn is linked to the college by a bridge.

The college is built on the site of St John the Baptist Hospital, which was dissolved in 1457. Some of the hospital buildings were reused by the college, and the kitchens survive today as the college bar, the Old Kitchen Bar. New construction began in 1470 with the erection of a wall around the site by mason William Orchard. He also worked on the Chapel, the Hall, and the Cloister, including the Muniment and Founder's Towers, with work completed around 1480.

Magdalen Tower is a well-known landmark; since the reign of King Henry VII, the college choir sings at the top of the tower at 6am every May Day. The Great Quad was built in 1474, but the north side is relatively new, having been rebuilt in 1822. The New Building dates back to 1733. The newest part of the college, the Grove Buildings were put up in 1990.

Today, Magdalen is one of Oxford's wealthiest colleges and one of the strongest academically. The college has taught members of several royal families, including King Edward VIII of England, in 1912–1914; Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, in 2000; and Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, first in line to the throne of Brunei, in 1995. More recent Magdalen alumni included Malcolm Fraser, the former Prime Minister of Australia, and John Turner, the former Prime Minister of Canada.

The 19th century poet and playwright Oscar Wilde read "Greats" (undergraduate course in literature) at Magdalen, from 1874 to 1878, and graduated with a double first. C. S. Lewis, writer and alumnus of University College, was a Fellow and English tutor at Magdalen for 29 years, from 1925 to 1954. He was one of the Inklings, an informal writing society that also included J. R. R. Tolkien and would meet in Lewis' rooms at Magdalen.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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Magdalen College on Map

Sight Name: Magdalen College
Sight Location: Oxford, England (See walking tours in Oxford)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Oxford, England

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