Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Magdalen College (Oxford)

Magdalen College is one of the best known of the many colleges that make up the University at Oxford. It is pronounced "Maudlin".

It stands at the end of The High, just before Magdalen Bridge crosses the River Cherwell.

The college was founded in 1458 by William Waynflete, the Lord Chancellor and Bishop of Winchester, on the site of the 13th century Hospital of St. John, and outside the old City Walls.

It has the most extensive grounds of any of the Oxford colleges, with cloisters, lawns, three quadrangles, a riverside walk and even its own deer park.

Magdalen Tower, actually a bell tower completed in 1509, is one of the city's best known landmarks and the setting for perhaps its most famous custom. On May Day morning, at 6am, the college choristers sing carols and madrigals from the top of the tower, including the Hymn of Thanksgiving, written about 1600 and sung in Latin.

Among the eminent men who attended Magdalen were Joseph Addison; John Betjeman; Edward VIII; John Foxe; Edward Gibbon; R. S. Hawker; T. E. Lawrence; C. S. Lewis; Compton Mackenzie; Dudley Moore; and Oscar Wilde.

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