Oxford Military College
Oxford Military College was an all-male private boarding school and military academy in Cowley, Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, from 1876–1896. The military college opened on 7 September 1876. Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge was a member of the British Royal Family, a male-line grandson of King George III. The Duke was an army officer and served as commander-in-chief of the British Army from 1856 to 1895...

 was the patron of the Oxford Military College.
The military college was declared bankrupt in 1896. The college's 88 acres (35.6 ha) site later housed the Morris Motor Company
Morris Motor Company
The Morris Motor Company was a British car manufacturing company. After the incorporation of the company into larger corporations, the Morris name remained in use as a marque until 1984 when British Leyland's Austin Rover Group decided to concentrate on the more popular Austin marque...

 (1929–32) and the Nuffield Press
Nuffield Press
Nuffield Press is a former part of the UK's automotive manufacturer Nuffield Organisation / BMC The Nuffield Press Limited was placed into Administration on 27 June 2011. The company had been founded in 1925 by William Morris, later Lord Nuffield, as The Morris Oxford Press, at the former military...

. The main college building (manor house) was demolished in 1957. The site was razed and is currently known as the Oxford Business Park
Oxford Business Park
The Oxford Business Park is a business park of at Cowley on the eastern edge of Oxford, England. The park is immediately adjacent to the Oxford Ring Road....



The College provided a four-year college preparatory curriculum: First year (age 13–14); Second year (age 14–15); Third year (age 15–16); Fourth year (age 16–17); Final year (age 17–18). The school drew its cadets from the United Kingdom and the Colonies. Candidates, whether sons of officers or not, were prepared for commissions in the military service, for any profession or business. The senior pupils were enabled to enter the University as unattached students, and to proceed to degrees. It combined classical studies with a military curriculum. The College provided instruction in military riding, infantry drill, lance
A Lance is a pole weapon or spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior. The lance is longer, stout and heavier than an infantry spear, and unsuited for throwing, or for rapid thrusting. Lances did not have tips designed to intentionally break off or bend, unlike many throwing weapons of the...

, sword
A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...

, carbine drill, swimming and gymnastics.


The staff initially consisted of a Head Master, Second Master & Senior Classical Master, 13 Assistant Masters, 2 examiners (classics), a physician & visiting surgeon, organist, an inspector & instructor of gymnastics, and a riding master.

Some of the courses at the College were instructed by current or former officers. Brigade Sergeant-Major Royal Horse Artillery William H. Garlick, for example, was Riding Master at Oxford Military College c. 1883.
In 1894, the staff listed in Whitaker's Almanack consisted of a head master G.B. Grundy, 8 Assistant Masters, and a Secretary to Directors.
William John Locke
William John Locke
William John Locke was a novelist and playwright, born in Cunningsbury St George, Christ Church, Demerara, British Guyana on the 20 March 1863, the elder son of John Locke, Bank Manager, of Barbados, and his first wife, Sarah Elizabeth. His parents were English. In 1864 his family moved to...

, the novelist, was a master at the Oxford Military College
Oxford Military College
Oxford Military College was an all-male private boarding school and military academy in Cowley, Oxford, England, from 1876–1896. The military college opened on 7 September 1876. Prince George, Duke of Cambridge was the patron of the Oxford Military College....

 at Temple Cowley in 1889 and 1890.


The buildings, which had been used previously by the Cowley Middle Class School, were purchased for the College in July 1876. A 16th-century manor house stood on Oxford Road near the corner with Hollow Way. The campus consided of school buildings, playing fields, and a central parade square. The College was extended with the addition of an east wing designed by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson
Thomas Graham Jackson
Sir Thomas Graham Jackson, 1st Baronet RA was one of the most distinguished English architects of his generation...

. John Parker, 1st Earl of Morley
John Parker, 1st Earl of Morley
John Parker, 1st Earl of Morley FRS , known as Lord Boringdon from 1788 to 1815, was a British peer and politician....

 laid the foundation stone on 21 July 1877.
  • College hall, 16th-century former manor house; demolished in 1957
  • Chapel, 1870, Decorated style, from designs by Mr. Edward George Bruton
    Edward George Bruton
    Edward George Bruton was a British Gothic Revival architect who practiced in Oxford. He was made an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1855 and a Fellow of the RIBA in 1861.-Work:...

  • library
  • gymnasium
  • central parade square.


The Oxford Military College Council consisted of: Lord Wolseley, Lord Wantage, Lord Napier
Lord Napier
Lord Napier, of Merchistoun, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1627 for Sir Archibald Napier, 1st Baronet. Earlier that year, he already held the Napier Baronetcy, of Merchistoun in the County of Midlothian, created in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia. The titles remained united...

 (of Magdala), the Marquis of Hertford, the Marquis of Lorne, General Sir Dighton Probyn, General William McMurdo
William McMurdo
Sir William Montagu Scott McMurdo KCB was a British army officer who rose to the rank of general. He saw active service in India, helped to run a military railway in the Crimean War and then managed various groups of volunteers working with the army...

, Colonel Duncan, Sir Charles Tupper
Charles Tupper
Sir Charles Tupper, 1st Baronet, GCMG, CB, PC was a Canadian father of Confederation: as the Premier of Nova Scotia from 1864 to 1867, he led Nova Scotia into Confederation. He later went on to serve as the sixth Prime Minister of Canada, sworn in to office on May 1, 1896, seven days after...

 and Sir Saul Samuel
Saul Samuel
Sir Saul Samuel CMG, KCMG, CB was an Australian colonial merchant, member of parliament, pastoralist, and prominent Jew...

, Sir Walter Buller
Walter Buller
Walter Lawry Buller KCMG was a New Zealand lawyer, naturalist and ornithologist.Buller was the author of A History of the Birds of New Zealand , with illustrations by John Gerrard Keulemans. In 1882 he produced the Manual of the Birds of New Zealand as a cheaper, popular alternative...

, Sir James Francis Garrick
James Francis Garrick
Sir James Francis Garrick CMG KCMG QC , was a politician and agent-general from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. In his later years, he lived in London.-Early years:...

, and Sir Arthur Blyth
Arthur Blyth
Sir Arthur Blyth KCMG was premier of South Australia three times; 1864–1865, 1871–1872 and 1873-1875....



Candidates for military commissions were not to enter not later than the age of 13 in the UK, or 14 in the colonies. The 13 week training duration consisted of three terms and vacations over a three to four year duration.

Colonian scholarships

During an address in 1886 to the students of the Oxford Military College, Lord Wolseley expressed regret that there were no students from the Colonies since youth from the Colonies would well together the empire.
Six colonial scholarships were offered subsequently annually, two scholarships in each of the principal colonies. The scholarships of £50 and £25 were awarded for three years depending on residency and satisfactory conduct. To qualify for entry via scholarship, the headmaster of the College set a paper, which was decided by the examiners for general proficiency or excellence in one or more subjects. The scholarships were awarded to boys of good character between 14–16 years of age, whose parents or guardians lived in the Colonies. Owners who held over 20 shares of the College could nominate a student at a lower rate than others.


Annual prizes were awarded for French, dictation, mathematics, religious instruction (given by Bishop of Oxford
Bishop of Oxford
The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury; his seat is at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford...

 John Fielder Mackarness
John Fielder Mackarness
John Fielder Mackarness was a Church of England bishop.Mackarness was appointed Vicar of Tardebigge , Rector of Honiton and finally Bishop of Oxford...

); history (given by Sir Edmund Lechmere, 3rd Baronet
Sir Edmund Lechmere, 3rd Baronet
Sir Edmund Anthony Harley Lechmere, 3rd Baronet was a British Conservative Party politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1866 and 1895. He was a pioneer of the Red Cross....

 M.P.), German (given by Colonel Moncrieff).

List of Commandants

  • Lieut.-Colonel Arthur Sutherland Macartney, R.A., retired, Commandant (1880–93).
  • G.B. Grundy, Head Master 1894-96

Notable former pupils

Alumni includes military, civic and business leaders.
  • Captain (temporary Major) Charles Annesley Acton was educated at the Oxford Military College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. After serving in Malta, Crete, Egypt, India and China, Maj Acton was killed in action on 25 September 1915.
  • Lt.-Col. William Maxwell Acton D.S.O.
    Distinguished Service Order
    The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

     (1878–1939) was educated at the Oxford Military College. After serving in the Boer War (1900–1902), the Great War (1914–1916), LCol Acton retired from the military in 1922.
  • His Excellency Sir William Lamond Allardyce
    William Lamond Allardyce
    Sir William Lamond Allardyce KCMG was a career British civil servant in the Colonial Office who served as governor of Fiji , the Falkland Islands , Bahamas , Tasmania , and Newfoundland .Allardyce was born near Bombay, India, the son of Georgina Dickson Abbott and Colonel James Allardyce...

     Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George, Knight of Grace of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Governor and Commander in Chief of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Captain and honorary Major Thomas [V] Frewen of Brickwall (1874–1938) was educated at Oxford Military College and served in the 6th Battalion of the Royal Fusilliers
  • Col. John Knox McClintock C.B.E., D.L. (1864–1936) was educated at Oxford Military College and commanded the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
    Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
    The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was a Irish infantry regiment of the British Army formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 27th Regiment of Foot and the 108th Regiment of Foot...

     in Londonderry during the Great War and served as a politician in Ulster.
  • Sir Eric Campbell Geddes
    Eric Campbell Geddes
    Sir Eric Campbell-Geddes GCB, GBE, PC was a British businessman and Conservative politician. He served as First Lord of the Admiralty between 1917 and 1919 and as the first Minister of Transport between 1919 and 1921....

     GCB , GBE , PC (1875–1937), businessman and politician, was educated at Oxford Military College, where he played rugby.
  • Captain Archibald Alastair McLeod was educated at the Oxford Military College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and was commissioned in 1900. After serving in the Boer War (Mounted Infantry), and in Nigeria 1906-08 (West African Frontier Force), Captain Archibald Alastair McLeod was killed in action 2 November 1914 - 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment .
  • Major John Hulke Plumbe was educated at the Oxford Military College. After serving in Egypt in 1882, he was killed in action 25 November 1899 at Graspan, South Africa during the Boer War (Light Infantry)
  • Francis Vane
    Francis Vane
    For the murder exposed by Major Sir Francis Fletcher Vane, see Francis Sheehy-SkeffingtonSir Francis Patrick Fletcher-Vane, 5th Baronet was an early aide of Lord Baden-Powell's and a Scout Commissioner of London before Baden-Powell ousted him from the Scout Association...

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