Wednesday 18 April 2018

Exploring Oxford: Exeter College

Time to explore another bit of beautiful Oxford...

I've already shown you two of the University's Colleges (Magdalen and Oriel), but if you've ever been to the city you'll know there's plenty still to go!

Today I'm sharing some photos of Exeter, whose former students include J. R. R. Tolkien, Philip Pullman and William Morris. Apparently William Morris hated the college and his course but he fell in love with the architecture and history of Oxford's many medieval buildings, and Exeter was also where he met his great friend and creative collaborator Edward Burne-Jones.

Exeter is Oxford's fourth-oldest college. It was founded in 1314 by a Bishop who wanted to educate clergy for his diocese (no prizes for guessing what city he was Bishop of!). Little of the medieval college remains, however, as the small college expanded in the 16- and 1700s, and a new chapel was built in the 1850s.

I loved this stained glass (which I think was in the dining hall?)...


... and the chapel's little spire.


There are beautiful details everywhere you look in the chapel, from the ornate entrance...

... to the carving on the walls...

... to the colourful stained glass.

Isn't it a gorgeous space?

Outside I was enchanted by all the greenery climbing its way up the buildings of the college.

This window was particularly delightful - though I guess you might not think so if this was your room!

The year I visited Exeter they'd opened up the Fellows' Garden for Oxford Open Doors, an annual festival which gives you free access to lots of the historic buildings in Oxford and a peek at lots of places that aren't normally open to the public.

It's always a treat to get to explore a space you wouldn't normally have access to, but especially when it's one as lovely as this. 

The main attraction in the Fellows' Garden isn't the garden itself, though, it's the view! From the far corner of the garden you get a truly fabulous view of Oxford's famous Radcliffe Square and the Radcliffe Camera.

Whenever I return to Oxford now and walk through Radcliffe Square, I can't help looking up at the wall of Exeter's Fellows' Garden and remembering my visit.

Exeter College is free to visit on most afternoons - click here for a full list of the Colleges and their visitor info.

Want to explore more of Oxford? Click here to read all my posts!