Magdalen College (
"mawdlin") is one of the constituent colleges of
the University of
Oxford in England.
of 2006 the college had an estimated financial endowment
College was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of
The founder's statutes included provision
for a choral foundation of men and boys (a tradition that has
continued to the present day) and made reference to the
pronunciation of the name of the College in English. Another unrelated
college named Magdalen Hall adjacent to Magdalen College eventually
became part of Hertford College.
by some as one of the most beautiful of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges, Magdalen is also one of the most
visited. It stands next to the River Cherwell and has within its grounds a deer park and Addison's Walk. Magdalen College School also lies nearby. The large, square
Tower is a famous Oxford landmark, and it is a tradition
since the days of Henry VII
that the college choir sings from the top of it at 6 a.m. on
May Morning. The college's current
president, Professor David Clary
FRS, was earlier a
Fellow and Senior Tutor at Magdalene
The College's students recently voted to change the name of the
Junior Common Room (JCR) to 'Gryffindor' after the house featured
in the Harry Potter
The college has large grounds, close to the city centre.
stretch north and east from the college, and are most of the area
bounded by Longwall
Street, the High Street (where the porter's
lodge is located), and St Clement's.
The deer in the Grove
The Grove (Deer Park)
This large meadow occupies most of the north west of the college's
grounds, from the New Buildings and the Grove Quad up to Holywell
Ford. During the winter and spring, it is the home of a herd of
. It is possible to view the meadow (and
also the deer) from the path between New Buildings and Grove Quad,
and also from the archway in New Buildings.
In the 16th century, long before the introduction of the deer, the
grove consisted of gardens, orchards, and bowling greens
. During the Civil War
, it was used to house a regiment
of soldiers. At one point in the C19th it was home to three
traction engines belonging to the works department of the
The Meadow (bounded by Addison's Walk)
triangular meadow lies to the east of the college, bounded on all
sides by the River
Addison's Walk in Autumn
the spring, it is filled with the flower Fritillaria Meleagris
(commonly known as Snakeshead
), which gives it an attractive green-purple colour.
These flowers grow in very few places, and have been recorded
growing in the meadow since around 1785. Once the flowering has
finished, the deer are moved in for the Summer and Autumn. In wet
winters, some or all of the meadow may flood, as the meadow is
lower lying than the surrounding path. All around the edge of the
meadow is a tree-lined path, Addison's Walk. It is a beautiful and
tranquil walk, favoured by students, dons, and visitors alike. It
also links the college with Holywell Ford, and the Fellows'
The Fellows' Garden
The Fellows' Garden
Located to the north east of the Meadow, directly behind the new
building of the Oxford
Centre for Islamic Studies
. This long and (fairly) narrow garden follows
the Cherwell to the edge of the University Parks .
In spring, the ground is covered with
flowers. In summer, there are some flowers, many different shrubs,
and the varied trees provide dappled cover from the sun. It is
linked to Addison's Walk by a bridge.
The Great Tower was built between 1492 and 1509, and is an imposing
landmark on the eastern approaches to the city centre. The hall and
chapel were built at similar times, though both have undergone some
changes in the intervening years.
The cloister and the New
The Cloister or Great Quad was built in 1474-80 and has been
altered several times since then. In 1822, the north side was in
bad shape, and was knocked down while most of the fellows were away
from college (only a small group of fellows were in favour of
demolishing it). It was rebuilt shortly afterwards. In the early
1900s, renovations were performed, and it was returned to a more
mediaeval character. Student rooms were installed in the (very
large) roof space in the 1980s.
The New Building was built across a large lawn to the north of the
Great Quad in 1733. Its spacious setting is due to the builders'
intentions to create an entirely new quad, but only one side was
completed. C. S. Lewis
rooms in this building, and as there are very few student rooms
(many being occupied by tutors), they are highly sought
The college has four other quads. The irregularly shaped St John's
Quad is the first on entering the college, and includes the Outdoor
Pulpit and old Grammar Hall. It connects to the Great Quad via the
Perpendicular Gothic Founder's Tower, which is richly decorated
with carvings and pinnacles and has carved bosses in its
The Chaplain's Quad runs along the side of the Chapel and Hall, to
the foot of the Great Tower
Swithun's Quad and Longwall Quad (which contains the Library) date
from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and make up the
southwest corner of the college. The Grove Buildings are the
newest, built in the 1990s in a traditional style.
The chapel is a place of worship for members of the college and
others in the university community and beyond. Its tradition is
influenced by the Catholic Revival
in the Church of England. Said and sung services are held daily
during term. The choir sings Choral Evensong
every day except Tuesday.
On Sundays, Sung Mass is offered in the morning and Compline
(Night Prayer) and Benediction
congregationally to plainsong
o'clock. Mass is also sung on major holy days.
is one of the three Choral Foundations in Oxford, meaning that the
formation of the choir was part of the statutes of the college, the
other two choral foundations being New College and Christ Church.
consists of twelve Academical Clerks who are students at the
College, and sixteen boys aged seven to fourteen, all of whom have
scholarships at Magdalen College School.
The school was originally founded for this
express purpose but has long since become an independent public
The choristers' day begins at 7:30, with an early morning practice
before school. There is further practice immediately after school,
followed by Choral Evensong six nights a week, in term; the Monday
service is sung by the boys only, and the Friday service only by
the Academical Clerks. On Saturdays there is an afternoon practice,
while on Sundays there is a practice at 09:30 followed by
Eucharist, then a further afternoon practice followed by Evensong
which ends at 7pm. Most of the boys thus have a longer working day,
and a busier weekend, than their parents.
The Choir has numerous College duties as well as a recording and
touring schedule. Traditionally the Choir sings at College Gaudies
and at other special events throughout the year, as well as
performing on social occasions such as Carols by Candlelight before
Christmas and the famous May Morning
this occasion the Choir sings madrigals at 6am from the top of the
college bell-tower to the assembled mass of students and townsfolk
celebrating in the streets below.
In its long history the choir has had many well known organists,
such as Daniel Purcell
, Sir John Stainer
and Bernard Rose
, while past Organ
Scholars include Dudley Moore
, and past
Academical Clerks include Harry
(founder and director of The Sixteen) and Robin Blaze
The choir records regularly and In 2005 was nominated for a
prestigious Grammy Award
, With a Merrie Noyse
music by Orlando Gibbons
recent works include the BBC's Blue
and Paul McCartney's classical piece Ecce Cor Meum
The former Informator Choristarum (the master and conductor of the
choir) was the composer Dr Bill Ives
possibly better known as a former King's Singer. A disc of his
music, Listen Sweet Dove
, is amongst the choir's latest
releases. The College has recently appointed organist Daniel Hyde
as Informator Choristarum.
List of organ scholars
Centre for the History of Childhood
Centre for the History of Childhood, situated at Magdalen College,
is the first institution within the United Kingdom that focuses on
studying every interdisciplinary aspect of the history of children
from the Greeks and Romans to the present day.
Magdalen held 'Head of the River
between 2004 and 2007. This means it won the Summer Eights
competition in each of these
years. Summer Eights
is the most
prestigious university regatta held in Oxford. The Men's 1st Torpid
became Head of the River in the 2008 Torpids
; in 2009 they dropped two places.
Magdalen has drama, organized by the Magdalen Players
(P. G. Wodehouse
attributes a Magdalen undergraduateship to his fictional literary
character Bertie Wooster
; Tibby, in
Forster's Howard's End, is also a Magdalen undergraduate.)
Old members who are current Members of Parliament
Currently (and since February 2009) the posts of Shadow Chancellor
of the Exchequer and Shadow Foreign Secretary are all held by
alumni of the College.
- Oxford College Endowment Incomes, 1973-2006 (updated