Magdalen College is one of my favourite colleges in Oxford. I pass it on my way to work everyday and always admire the beautiful church tower and the perfectly kept lawn in front of one of the buildings... In the evenings, coming back from work, I regularly hear the rather chaotic bell chimes which seem to be triggered by a crackpot bell chimer who wants to set the new world record in "speed chiming". Well, apart from that I do enjoy the view of the tower also on my way back. (Addition: I have just learned that "speed chiming" is actually called "change-ringing" and quite typical for England. The goal is to ring as many changes as possible in a set time.)
Anyway, you probably are more interested in facts about the college than in my opinions on chimes and the like. Magdalen College was founded in 1458 by William Waynfleet, the Bishop of Winchester. It thereby has just celebrated its 550th birthday. The tower that I like so much is only a little bit younger, dating back to 1505. Magdalen College owns vast grounds (including a deer park) behind the college that are very nice for a walk. Furthermore, the chapel is really interesting (see second tip).
Like every Oxonian College, Magdalen adorns itself with its illustrious graduates and fellows, among them C.S. Lewis ("The Chronicles of Narnia"), Oscar Wilde, King Edward VIII and Lawrence of Arabia.
The college that gives you away as a tourist. It's pronounced 'mawd'lin' not 'mag-da-len'.
Founded in 1458 by the then Bishop of Winchester, William of Waynflete, it is argued that the buildings and grounds are the most impressive and beautiful of all the colleges - which made it doubly frustrating that it was unexpectedly closed the day we were in Oxford recently.
It was ranked 1st of the colleges in the 2010 academic year.
Famous alumni include:
Lawrence of Arabia, C.S.Lewis, King Edward VII, John Paul Getty, Oscar Wilde, Sir John Betjeman, Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Open during long vacation (end of June – beginning of October) daily, 1-6pm
Admission: £4.50/£3.50 concessions
Magdalen College is accessible via High Street, and the first thing you'll see are the gargoyles on the wall. They are typical for Oxford (see e.g this gallery), and of course Magdalen College is no exception. Turning to your right and passing through one of the gloomy passages, you will reach the magnificent Cloister Quadrangle where several nice photo opportunities are waiting. Walk through the cloister and find the majestic Hall on the upper end of a steep staircase. This is where students, lecturers, emerituses and fellows lunch and dine. Another passage will bring you to the vast grounds belonging to Magdalen College where you can spend a long walk philosophising. On your way back, don't forget to enter the chapel (entrance from one of the gloomy passages). While impressive in many ways, the thing I liked best were the chapel's windows. In contrast to other church window panes, they are not colourful but designed in brown and white. The originals were destroyed during the Second World War in an attempt to save them from potential bombing damage as they had become too fragile over the years to be removed from the frames. Later the pictures on them were restored - which must have been a very complicated job given the degree of destruction - and are still visible now. Furthermore, a reconstruction of da Vinci's "The Last Supper" can be found in the chapel.
This beautiful college has one advantage over all the others: it is situated on the bank of the River Cherwell, with punts available for hire by the Magdalen Bridge. Its scenic grounds are a great place for recreation with river walks and a deer park with real deer. Just across the street from the Botanic Garden, it is an ideal place for nature lovers.
Founded in 1458 by Bishop Wayneflete of Winchester, the college boasts some fine buildings, including the famous Gothic Bell Tower, from which the college choir sings a Latin hymn to the sun every May Day at sunrise. This is an old tradition, with the summer-welcoming ceremony attended by many students, locals and tourists. It is also a tradition to spend the night before at parties and balls, awaiting sunrise, and, to prove it, many students arrive at the Tower in evening dress. The only people who enjoy the ceremony a little less are the local police, who have to block access to the Magdalen Bridge: some young people, intoxicated with happiness and still hot from last night's drinks tend to seek refreshment in the waters of the Cherwell, jumping into it from the bridge. As the river is shallow at this place, there have been many dangerous accidents there, a sad ending to the fabulous night.
Magdalen College was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete when he acquired the site of an old hospital. It was initially called Magdalen Hall.
It is one of the most spacious colleges in Oxford, set in over 100 acres of grounds on the banks of the River Cherwell (pronounced Charwell) Some of it's magnificent buildings are spread around an attractive quadrangle, with pretty gardens and lawned areas. The newer, New Building (1733) are set further back and although nowhere near as old as the original architecture, are magnificent in their own right.
Magdalen boasts it's very own 300 year old deer park where feeding the animals is strictly forbidden. On very special occasions, venison does appear on the menu in the Great Hall.
The college has a delightful mile long walk, Addison's, (named after a great essayist) which takes you around the Magdalen meadow and along the river Cherwell. Beautiful when in full bloom.
Anyone who has visited Oxford will know that the most famous landmark is Magdalen Tower, a 17thc. bell tower containing ten bells. It's 144 feet high and boy, are those bells loud, if it was those I heard every hour all night when we stayed with Michael!!
If you are fortunate to be a student here, you have the luxury of being able to stay in college accommodation throughout your undergraduate years. In the holidays, the students rooms are let to various organizations for the duration.
Michael showed us around the college when we returned him recently for his second year. Unfortunately we were too early for the college bar to be open!!! We were amazed and totally in awe of the beautiful buildings. How priveleged we feel he is to belong to this establishment and how proud we are that he "made it." What a way to enter into adulthood.
The spiritual heart of the college and open to all. A wonderful, uplifting experience when we visited. We had been there a few minutes when the organ suddenly came to life and the whole chapel was filled with music. It certainly raised the hairs on my neck!! We just had to sit down and listen. Apparently the organ nowadays is modern baroque. The original was removed by Oliver Cromwell to Hampton Court, during the Protectorate and later was given to Tewksbury Abbey, where it remains today.
The chapel was begun in 1474 and completed in 1480. As with many chapels of this era, there is only a choir and an antechapel.
The light was pretty dim by the time we visited so unhappily our photos didn't all come out and we haven't properly captured the magnificence.
Just when you passed the Magdalen bridge you will see the Magdalen College on your right. The college is situated on a big piece of land. There even is a deer park on the premises. So when you're tired of learning you can go there to feed the deer ;)
Magdalen is my favourite of all the colleges. The college even has its own deer garden!! It's probably the second-most visited college by tourists, and just like Christ Church students, Magdalen has a reputation as a posh place.
This was my favourite college of all the ones we visited. A beautiful courtyard, a little chapel with a famous choir, a deer park and as usual very poor student accommodation ;-)
The choir of Magdalen College sings from the top of the tower every May 1st. Unfortunately I missed this big event by a few days - but luckily I had a chance to hear them still while rehearsing in the college chapel.
Oh, and Oscar Wilde studied here!
I couldn't believe my eyes when Barry showed me the private deer park of Magdalen College. I mean how posh can you get?
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