Oxford 2 – Exeter College

Exeter College founded in 1314 by Walter de Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter, is the fourth oldest of Oxford’s 38 colleges. It was the first of three that we visited during our trip, the others being Christ Church and Magdalen which I’ll post on separately.

The layout of Exeter college is fairly typical of all the others founded in the pre-Victorian era. That is to say that the main buildings (gatehouse, Porter’s Lodge, chapel, hall and residential rooms for both staff and students) are arranged around a quadrangle or “quad”.

Of all these buildings (examples of which are common to virtually all Oxford colleges) my favourite has to be the beautiful present chapel. Designed by the renowned architect George Gilbert Scott in the 1850’s it is a wonderful example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture, with a particularly fine set of stained glass windows.

Exeter has the distinction of being the first Oxford College to elect a female Rector, Professor Marilyn Butler in 1992…..not bad when you consider that women undergraduates were only admitted to Oxford for the first time from 1979!!

Arguably, Exeter’s most famous former student was J.R.R. Tolkein, author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord Of The Rings”, who gained a First in English in 1915.

Copyright: © The Photography of Mark Simms (2012). All rights reserved.


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