It may only be mine to enjoy for a short while, but so far University College (“Univ” for short) has been a fantastic backdrop to the majority of my trip. As the oldest of the colleges of Oxford (founded 1249), it has a fascinating story to tell. Interestingly enough, the buildings that make up the college are not terribly old, relatively speaking. They were, rather, built to look as though they were. Make no mistake, these buildings are quite old. Most were built in or around the 17th and 18th centuries. But the architecture would imply that there were several centuries older than that.
The ground of the college wind around considerably, requiring one to take a long route to get to many facilities. The library, for example, though it is in its own building, must be accessed through the dining hall. The chapel is interesting only for its windows. They are painted, rather than stained, and collectively are the item of greatest value in the college. The organ, however, is pitiful. The chancel area (loosely defined though it is) has been covered with heavy red curtains, blocking the original walls, and the clutter that now sits in front of them.
All in all, this is a lovely place to call home for a little more than a month! It is relaxing and peaceful most of the time as tourists are only allowed in for two hours a day during the week.
Magdalen College (pronounced MAWD-lin), founded in 1458, sits on the bank of the River Cherwell. It’s great tower is one of the first things visitors see as they approach the old city from London. The college has one of the largest plots of land in the city, encompassing the main quad, cloister, chapel, new building, meadow, deer park, and fellows’ garden. It is by far one of the most beautifully manicured colleges. The chapel gates were closed during my visit, so I could only take photos from the antechapel.