Monday 29 October 2018

Exploring Oxford: Jesus & Queen's

I think it's high time I shared some more snaps of lovely Oxford!

First up: Jesus, aka Jesus College in the University of Oxford of Queen Elizabeth's Foundation, was founded in 1571 and is the only Elizabethan College in Oxford.


I visited Jesus for free during the annual Oxford Open Doors festival (as you may have gathered from my Oxford posts, I'm a big fan of Oxford Open Doors), but you normally have to pay to visit.


Founded to educate future clergymen, and has a great history of being attended and run by Welshmen - though apparently there are no records of how much Welsh was spoken in college: "Official college records were mainly written in Latin; while the College statutes, effective from 1622, forbade public conversation, in class, hall and even the quadrangles, in any language but Latin, Greek or Hebrew."


I most associate Jesus College with the novel Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers - in which there's a subplot where a young man from Jesus becomes smitten with the main character, Harriet Vane. His name is not Jones, but another character refers to him as "Mr Jones of Jesus" which makes so much more sense now oh my goodness ("Who are you calling a bloody Welshman", snarled the young man, much exasperated "My name's Pomfret")

The college still has strong connections to Wales, and lots of Welsh students. You can find lots more info about the history of the College here, and take a virtual tour here.

Queen's, aka The Queen's College is a few centuries older than Jesus. You might think from the name that it had been renamed after Queen Elizabeth I during her reign, but in fact it was founded as Queen's in 1341, in honour of Queen Philippa (wife of King Edward III).


All the medieval buildings at Queen's were replaced in the 1700s, so the whole college is now Baroque in style and extremely grand. Just as Jesus was filled with Welsh students, so Queen's was filled with students from the North-West of England.


Apparently it's the fifth-wealthiest college in the University! Queen's is free to visit, but usually only by appointment as part of a tour group, so I was really glad to get a chance to look round during Oxford Open Doors.


You can learn more about the history of Queen's College and its architecture here, or take a virtual tour here (the tour even includes a typical student bedroom... though sadly an unoccupied one!).

Want to explore some more of Oxford's beautiful buildings? Click here to read all my posts about the city, or click here to browse my entire travel archive.