Exeter College, Oxford
Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges
Colleges of the University of Oxford
The University of Oxford comprises 38 Colleges and 6 Permanent Private Halls of religious foundation. Colleges and PPHs are autonomous self-governing corporations within the university, and all teaching staff and students studying for a degree of the university must belong to one of the colleges...

 of the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 in England and the fourth oldest college of the University. The main entrance is on the east side of Turl Street
Turl Street
Turl Street is an historic street in central Oxford, England.- Location :The street is located in the city centre, linking Broad Street at the north and High Street at the south. It is colloquially known as The Turl and runs past three of Oxford's historic colleges: Exeter, Jesus and Lincoln...

. As of 2006, the college had an estimated financial endowment
Financial endowment
A financial endowment is a transfer of money or property donated to an institution. The total value of an institution's investments is often referred to as the institution's endowment and is typically organized as a public charity, private foundation, or trust....

 of £47m.


Still situated in its original location in Turl Street, Exeter College was founded in 1314 by Walter de Stapeldon of Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

, Bishop of Exeter
Exeter is a historic city in Devon, England. It lies within the ceremonial county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. Currently the administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district, and is therefore under the administration of the...

 and later treasurer to Edward II
Edward II of England
Edward II , called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed by his wife Isabella in January 1327. He was the sixth Plantagenet king, in a line that began with the reign of Henry II...

, as a school to educate clergy. During its first century, it was known as Stapeldon Hall and was significantly smaller, with just twelve to fourteen students. The college grew significantly from the 15th century onward, and began offering rooms to its students. The College motto is "Floreat Exon", meaning "Let Exeter Flourish".

In the 16th century, donations from Sir William Petre
William Petre
Sir William Petre was a secretary of state to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.Educated as a lawyer at Oxford, he became a public servant, probably through the influence of the Boleyns, one of whom, George, he had tutored at Oxford and another of whom, Anne, was married to the king...

, a former Exeter graduate, helped to expand and transform the college. In a clever move by the bursar to fill the new buildings as they were completed, a significant number of noble Roman Catholic students were invited to enroll and take classes at the enlarged college; however, they were not allowed to matriculate. As a result, over time, Exeter College became one of the leading colleges in the University.

In the 18th century the college experienced declining popularity, as did all of Oxford's other colleges. University reforms in the 1850s helped to end this period of stagnation.

Until 1979 the college did not allow women students, but in 1993 Exeter College became the first of the former all-male colleges to elect a woman, Marilyn Butler
Marilyn Butler
Marilyn Butler is a British literary critic. She was Rector of Exeter College, Oxford from 1993 to 2004, and was King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge, from 1986 to 1993...

, as its Rector
The word rector has a number of different meanings; it is widely used to refer to an academic, religious or political administrator...

. When Butler's tenure expired in October 2004, the college elected another woman – Frances Cairncross
Frances Cairncross
Frances Anne Cairncross CBE is a British economist, journalist and academic.Cairncross read Modern History at St Anne's College, Oxford, graduating in 1965, and holds an MA in Economics from Brown University, Rhode Island....

, former Senior Editor of The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

– as Rector.


Front Quadrangle

The Front Quadrangle sits on roughly the the site of the medieval college, although of the earliest buildings, only Palmer's Tower in the north-eastern corner remains. Constructed in 1432, the tower, which was once the primary entrance to the College, now houses various offices and lodgings for Fellows, and at its base is a memorial to Members who were killed in the Second World War. The Quadrangle is dominated by the chapel, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott
George Gilbert Scott
Sir George Gilbert Scott was an English architect of the Victorian Age, chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches, cathedrals and workhouses...

 and constructed in 1854-60, which was heavily inspired by the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. On the opposite side stands the Hall, constructed in 1618, notable for its vaulted ceilings and numerous fine portraits, underneath which is the College bar. Building work over the following century resulted in the Quadrangle taking on its current appearance in 1710.

The Front Quadrangle also houses the Junior, Middle and Senior Common Rooms, as well as lodgings for Fellows and undergraduates.

Margary Quadrangle

The Margary Quadrangle was completed in 1964 with the construction of the Thomas Wood building to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the College, although the Quadrangle also incorporates a number of buildings that were constructed prior to this date. The Rector's Lodgings were designed by Gilbert Scott and constructed in 1864, with staircases nine, ten and eleven also being erected during the nineteenth century.

Fellows' Garden

A passageway from the Front Quadrangle leads through to the College's Fellows' Garden, in which stands the library, designed by Gilbert Scott in the 13th century style. The area is also bounded on the left hand side by Convocation House, the Divinity School and the Bodleian Library, and on the right by Brasenose Lane. The Mound, situated at the end of the Garden, offers views over Radcliffe Square, including All Souls College and the Radcliffe Camera.

Walton Street

In 2007-08, the College purchased the main site of Ruskin College on nearby Walton Street
Walton Street
Walton Street is on the eastern edge of the Jericho district of central Oxford, England.- Overview :The street runs north from the western end of Beaumont Street and northern end of Worcester Street by the main entrance of Worcester College. Somerville College, one of the former women's colleges,...

 for £7 million. It will be refurbished as a third city centre quadrangle
Quadrangle (architecture)
In architecture, a quadrangle is a space or courtyard, usually rectangular in plan, the sides of which are entirely or mainly occupied by parts of a large building. The word is probably most closely associated with college or university campus architecture, but quadrangles may be found in other...


Student life

As one of the smaller Oxford Colleges, Exeter has a reputation for having a close-knit student body, and Common Rooms
Common Room (university)
In some universities in the United Kingdom — particularly collegiate universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Durham — students and the academic body are organised into common rooms...

 that are noted for their friendliness and openness to new students. First year undergraduates are housed on-site in the College’s Turl St. site, and there is dedicated Graduate accommodation for the college on Iffley Road.

As the University’s fourth oldest college, a certain emphasis is placed on tradition, especially during special occasions such as the annual ‘Burns’ Night,’ a dinner in honour of the Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

 Robert Burns
Robert Burns
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide...

, when a traditional meal of haggis
Haggis is a dish containing sheep's 'pluck' , minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a casing rather than an actual stomach.Haggis is a kind...

 is always served. The College’s ties with Williams College
Williams College
Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams. Originally a men's college, Williams became co-educational in 1970. Fraternities were also phased out during this...

 in the United States, as well as the generally international composition of the MCR makes the annual Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the...

 dinner a popular occasion as well. The MCR hosts a large number of married students, and non-studying spouses are encouraged to actively participate in the life of college.

The MCR hosts a large number of specialists in Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 and Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 studies, and the JCR has a high concentration of students reading the popular Modern History and PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) degrees
Academic degree
An academic degree is a position and title within a college or university that is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree...

. However, like most other Oxford colleges no single discipline can be said to dominate either common room, and the atmosphere is one of a great deal of interdisciplinary mingling.


Like all Oxford Colleges Exeter prides itself on its athletic achievements as well as its academic: in 2005/2006 Exeter students competed at a University level on the varsity Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

, football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

, golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

, fencing, rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

, powerlifting
Powerlifting is a strength sport. It resembles the sport of Olympic weightlifting, as both disciplines involve lifting weights in three attempts. Powerlifting evolved from a sport known as 'odd lifts' which followed the same three attempt format but used a wide variety of events akin to Strongman...

, gymnastics
Gymnastics is a sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and balance. Internationally, all of the gymnastic sports are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique with each country having its own national governing body...

, darts
Darts is a form of throwing game where darts are thrown at a circular target fixed to a wall. Though various boards and games have been used in the past, the term "darts" usually now refers to a standardised game involving a specific board design and set of rules...

, croquet, basketball, ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 and wine tasting
Wine tasting
Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. While the practice of wine tasting is as ancient as its production, a more formalized methodology has slowly become established from the 14th century onwards...

 teams. It also fields several teams on an intra-university college level, particularly in rowing
Rowing (sport)
Rowing is a sport in which athletes race against each other on rivers, on lakes or on the ocean, depending upon the type of race and the discipline. The boats are propelled by the reaction forces on the oar blades as they are pushed against the water...

, Rugby, Hockey, Netball and Cricket.

In December 2010 Exeter College Hockey Team, under the leadership of James Hunter, won the men's intra-university premier division and will compete on 8 March 2011 in the College Varsity Match against St Catharine's College, Cambridge at Southgate HC, London.

Careers Office

The college also places an emphasis on preparing students for their future careers once they leave the university. Unusually for an Oxford college, Exeter boasts a dedicated Careers Office and internship programme, with links to a wide range of companies around the globe. The college’s Development Office works not only to help fund the college but also to provide networking
Social network
A social network is a social structure made up of individuals called "nodes", which are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.Social...

 opportunities for students through its alumni contacts, and through its annual ‘City Drinks.’

Notable former students

Prominent academics/tutors

  • Christine Cheng - Politics and International Relations
  • Frank Close
    Frank Close
    Francis Edwin Close OBE is a noted particle physicist who is currently Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.-Early life:...

  • Shamita Das
  • Raymond Dwek
    Raymond Dwek
    Professor Raymond Allen Dwek BSc DPhil DSc FRS is a scientist at the University of Oxford and founded its spin-off biotechnology company, Oxford GlycoSciences Ltd. ....

  • Tyler Fisher
  • Sandra Fredman
    Sandra Fredman
    Sandra Fredman FBA, is a Professor of Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.-Early life and education:...

  • William Gould
  • Michael Hart
    Michael Hart (Oxford)
    Michael Hart has been Fellow in Politics at Exeter College, Oxford since 1982.His research interests include British Politics since 1880 and Modern Southern Africa. He lectures on British Politics and Government since 1900....

  • Jonathan Herring
  • Jane Hiddleston
  • Elizabeth Jeffreys
    Elizabeth Jeffreys
    Elizabeth Jeffreys is the former Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek Literature at the University of Oxford. She was a Professorial Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford from 1996 to 2006, and a Professor Emerita from 2006 to present....

  • Eric Waldram Kemp
    Eric Waldram Kemp
    Eric Waldram Kemp was a Church of England bishop. He was the Bishop of Chichester from 1974–2001 and one of the leading Anglo-Catholics of his generation and one of the most influential figures in the Church of England in the last quarter of the twentieth century.-Education:Kemp was educated at...

     — Fellow, Tutor, and Chaplain 1946-69, later bishop of Chichester
  • Jacob Klein
    Jacob Klein
    Professor Jacob Klein , former holder of the Herman Mark Chair of Polymer Physics in the Materials and Interfaces Department at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel and Dr Lee's Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, is a internationally-renowned soft condensed matter, polymer and...

  • George Alfred Kolkhorst
    George Alfred Kolkhorst
    George Alfred Kolkhorst was an Oxford don.Kolkhorst was a member of Exeter College, Oxford. He was appointed University Lecturer in Spanish in 1921 and Reader in Spanish in 1931, holding office until his death in 1958...

     — Reader in Spanish 1931-58
  • John Maddicott
    John Maddicott
    Dr John Maddicott has published works on the political and social history of England in the 13th and 14th centuries, and has also written a number of leading articles on the Anglo-Saxon economy, his second area of interest. Born in Exeter, Devon, he was educated at Worcester College, Oxford...

     — History
    History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

  • Ben Morgan
    Ben Morgan
    Benjamin John Morgan is an English-born rugby union footballer currently playing at number eight for Llanelli RFC and the Scarlets.He is tall and weighs ....

     - English
  • George Rawlinson
    George Rawlinson
    Canon George Rawlinson was a 19th century English scholar, historian, and Christian theologian. He was born at Chadlington, Oxfordshire, and was the younger brother of Sir Henry Rawlinson....

  • Lucy Sackville - History
  • Andrew Steane
    Andrew Steane
    Andrew Martin Steane is Professor of physics at the University of Oxford. He is also a fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.He was a student at St Edmund Hall, Oxford where he obtained his MA and DPhil....

  • Magdi Wahba
    Magdi Wahba
    Magdi Wahba was an Egyptian university professor, Johnsonian scholar, and lexicographer.He was born in Alexandria in 1925 the son of a high court judge and later cabinet minister. His mother had been educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College and Oxford University...

     - Egyptian academic and lexicographer
  • Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly
    Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly
    Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly is the Fellow and Tutor in German at Exeter College, Oxford, and Professor of German Literature at Oxford University. She specialises in the early modern period, and is a distinguished scholar in this field, and in the field of German literature as a whole...

     — Official Fellow and Tutor in German
    German literature
    German literature comprises those literary texts written in the German language. This includes literature written in Germany, Austria, the German part of Switzerland, and to a lesser extent works of the German diaspora. German literature of the modern period is mostly in Standard German, but there...

  • Edwin Williamson

In fiction

Exeter College is the real-life basis for the fictional Jordan College in Philip Pullman's
Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman CBE, FRSL is an English writer from Norwich. He is the best-selling author of several books, most notably his trilogy of fantasy novels, His Dark Materials, and his fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ...

 novel trilogy His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials is a trilogy of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman comprising Northern Lights , The Subtle Knife , and The Amber Spyglass...

. The 2007 film version of the first novel, The Golden Compass (originally Northern Lights
Northern Lights (novel)
Northern Lights, known as The Golden Compass in North America, is the first novel in English novelist Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy...

), used the college for location filming.

In the 1997 novel Great Apes by Will Self
Will Self
William Woodard "Will" Self is an English novelist and short story writer. His fictional style is known for being satirical, grotesque, and fantastical. He is a prolific commentator on contemporary British life, with regular appearances on Newsnight and Question Time...

, an old Exonian, the author imagines an Earth where chimpanzees have evolved as the dominant, sentient species. One scene is set in Exeter College Hall, where the chimpanzee dons rampage around the High Table, showing in their conversation the very high intelligence to be expected of Oxford academics, but all the while exhibiting in their behaviour the manners and habits of chimpanzees.

In the final Morse episode, "The Remorseful Day", Inspector Morse
Inspector Morse (TV series)
Inspector Morse is a detective drama based on Colin Dexter's series of Chief Inspector Morse novels. The series starred John Thaw as Chief Inspector Morse and Kevin Whately as Sergeant Lewis. Dexter makes a cameo appearance in all but three of the episodes....

 collapses from a heart attack in the front quadrangle as Fauré's
Gabriel Fauré
Gabriel Urbain Fauré was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th century composers...

 In Paradisum
Requiem (Fauré)
Gabriel Fauré composed his Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 between 1887 and 1890. This choral–orchestral setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead is the best known of his large works. The most famous movement is the soprano aria Pie Jesu...

is being sung in chapel.

Williams College

Exeter College has a close relationship with Williams College
Williams College
Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams. Originally a men's college, Williams became co-educational in 1970. Fraternities were also phased out during this...

, a top-ranked U.S.-based liberal arts
Liberal arts
The term liberal arts refers to those subjects which in classical antiquity were considered essential for a free citizen to study. Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic were the core liberal arts. In medieval times these subjects were extended to include mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy...

 college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts
Williamstown, Massachusetts
Williamstown is a town in Berkshire County, in the northwest corner of Massachusetts. It shares a border with Vermont to the north and New York to the west. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,754 at the 2010 census...

. In the early 1980s, Williams purchased a group of houses, today known as the Ephraim Williams House, on Banbury Road and Lathbury Road, in North Oxford
North Oxford
North Oxford is a suburban part of the city of Oxford in England. It was owned for many centuries largely by St John's College, Oxford and many of the area's Victorian houses were initially sold on leasehold by the College....

. The Williams-Exeter Programme was founded in 1985. Since that time, twenty six undergraduate students from Williams spend their junior year at Exeter each year as full members of the college.

External links

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