Oxford Royale Summer Schools’s Centres Through the Ages

Image shows St Catherine's College, with a sculpture in the foreground.

Oxford Royale Academy’s centres have a history that spans centuries. Enjoy this timeline of the most notable events.

1263: John I de Balliol founds Balliol College

Alongside University College and Merton, Balliol College has a claim to being the oldest Oxford college. John I de Balliol’s wife, the Scottish princess Dervorguilla of Galloway, sees to it after his death that the temporary institution he had founded becomes permanent.

Image shows Balliol College.

1360: John Wycliffe is Master of Balliol

Wycliffe is an influential and controversial religious reformer, the head of the Lollard movement, and the co-author of a translation of the Bible into English. He is declared a heretic in 1415, after his death, though many of his ideas help spur on the English Reformation a century later.

Image shows Balliol College dining hall.

1611: Yarnton Manor is built

The aristocratic Spencer family build the grand manor house in a visual demonstration of their growing political influence. Though the manor has been altered and restored in a variety of ways, the building today still looks remarkably like it would have done when the Spencers built it. Their coat of arms can still be seen over the fireplace in the Long Gallery.

Image shows Yarnton Manor.

1642: The English Civil War breaks out

King Charles I’s court is expelled from London by parliamentary forces and settles at the Royalist stronghold of Oxford. Balliol is nearly bankrupted by the conflict, as it is called upon to make a significant loan to Charles I – which, to this day, has never been repaid. Yarnton Manor is used as a hospital for Royalist troops. The Spencers suffer under the Commonwealth when the Royalist side loses, but when the monarchy is restored with Charles II, so too are their fortunes.

Image shows Yarnton Manor.

1871: The University Tests Act is passed

One of Balliol’s most important and influential Masters, Benjamin Jowett, finally achieves his aim: that access to university not be restricted on the basis of religion, when the University Tests Act is passed. The Balliol Annexe, Jowett Walk, is named after him. He is also honoured somewhat more irreverently in this well-known Balliol rhyme:
Here come I, my name is Jowett.
All there is to know I know it.
I am Master of this College,
What I don’t know isn’t knowledge!

Image shows Balliol College.

1878: Lady Margaret Hall is founded

Lady Margaret Hall is the very first women’s college in the otherwise all-male university, though women would not be permitted to receive degrees until 1920. It is named after Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s mother, who had founded Christ’s College and St John’s College in Cambridge.

Image shows Lady Margaret Hall with daffodils in the foreground.

1886: St Hugh’s College is founded

St Hugh’s adds to the growing number of Colleges and Halls that admit women in Oxford. It is founded by Elizabeth Wordsworth – the great-niece of the poet William Wordsworth – in order to provide an Oxford education to women who might find the other existing colleges too expensive to afford, thereby contributing to a growing movement to make Oxford accessible to anyone with sufficient academic ability.

Image shows St Hugh's College.

1929: St Peter’s College is founded, as St Peter’s Hall

St Peter’s is on the site of two of the University’s oldest Inns, dating back to the 13th century, and so has a connection to the very earliest appearance of university education in Oxford. Many of its buildings are much older than its foundation. It, too, is founded with the intent of making an Oxford education affordable to all. It gains full college status in 1961.

Image shows St Peter's College.

1962: St Catherine’s College is founded by the historian Alan Bullock

Its buildings, designed by architect Arne Jacobsen, follow the usual Oxford layout around a quadrangle, but are built in striking glass and concrete. In 1974, St Catherine’s College becomes one of the first male colleges to admit female students.

Image shows St Catherine's College, with a sculpture in the foreground.

1996: Jowett Walk is built

Named after one of Balliol’s best-known Masters, Jowett Walk helps accommodate the College’s growing student population.

Image shows Jowett Walk.

2004: Oxford Royale Summer Schools is founded

Operating out of a number of Oxford colleges, it helps give students aged 13-18 from all around the world a taste of Oxford student life and gives them a head-start in their future studies.

Image shows an ORA flag in the grounds of Balliol College.

2014: Yarnton Manor is acquired by Oxford Royale Summer Schools

On our 10th anniversary, we can offer the students the chance to live and work in Yarnton Manor, a fascinating and beautiful building with a rich and varied history.

Image shows ORA students and staff at Yarnton Manor.
These historic buildings will be the campuses of Oxford Royale’s Summer School 2015 — browse the course options and secure your place today ➙
Image credits: Balliol 1; Balliol 2; Balliol 3; LMH; St Catz.