List of fictional Oxford colleges
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Fictional colleges are perennially popular in modern novels, allowing the author much greater license when describing the more intimate activities of an Oxford college. Such institutions are often home to eccentrics or miscreants, murderers or snobs, and though wistfully romantic in their cloistered courts, host fictional events that could prove libellous were identifiable institutions used.
Below is a list of some of the fictional colleges of the University of Oxford.
His Dark Materials
- Foxe College - (based on Corpus Christi College); Richard Foxe founder of Corpus Christi College.
- Gabriel College - (based on Wadham College)
- Jordan College - (loosely based on Exeter College)
- St Michael's College - (based on Jesus College)
- St Sophia's College - (based on Lady Margaret Hall)
- Wykeham College - (based on New College); William of Wykeham founder of New College.
The Inspector Morse series of book by Colin Dexter is predominantly set within Oxford and environs, including the University. Consequently many fictional colleges are named. The derived television series, Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour, continues the idea:
- Beaufort College - Inspector Morse TV series; Named for Henry Beaufort, a Plantagenet royal and Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1397 to 1399.
- Beaumont College - Inspector Morse novels; Beaumont Street is a long road in central Oxford. One end emerges opposite Balliol's side entrance, and it extends to the front of Worcester College. Beaumont Street was formerly the site of Beaumont Palace, perhaps the "location" of the college.
- Carlyle College - Lewis, episode "The Soul of Genius" (filmed in Exeter College).
- Chaucer College - Lewis (stand-in for Merton College); Named for influential poet Geoffrey Chaucer, "the father of English poetry". His son Thomas Chaucer also managed the affairs of Henry Beaufort, Oxford's Chancellor.
- Courtenay College - Inspector Morse TV series (based on Oriel College); Nuneham Courtenay is a village 5 miles south-east of Oxford; in the 14th century, the village had belonged to the influential Courtenay family, after whom the fictional college might also be "named". Nuneham House was purchased by the University. The Harcourt Arboretum, part of the tree and plant collection of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, occupies part of what were the grounds of Nuneham House.
- Gresham College - Lewis, episode "Dark Matter" (stand-in for Lincoln College); The term "Invisible College" was a group of Oxford scientists (including Boyle, Hooke and Wren) who went onto establish the Royal Society. The group would meet at Gresham College in London.
- Lady Matilda's College - Lewis (based on and filmed in Lady Margaret Hall)
- Lonsdale College - Inspector Morse novels and subsequent Lewis TV series; Lonsdale scenes were filmed at Brasenose College.
- Mayfield College - Lewis episode "Life Born of Fire"; Mayfield Press is based in Cowley Road; the nearest college would be Greyfriars on Iffley Road. However, scenes were filmed in and around Brasenose College.
- St Gerard's Hall - Lewis episode "Wild Justice"; fictional Permanent Private Hall - filmed in St Edmund Hall and Christ Church; exterior of college filmed at the New College Barn entrance in New College Lane
- St Jude's College - Lewis
- St Saviour's College - Inspector Morse, episode "Fat Chance" (filmed in New College)
- Savile College - Lewis (filmed in and around Trinity College)
- Trevelyan College - Lewis
- Wolsey College - Inspector Morse novels and Endeavour (based on Christ Church); Cardinal Wolsey founded Christ Church.
Jude the Obscure
- Biblioll College
- Sepulchre College
- Rubric College
- Oldgate College
- Sarcophagus College
- Cardinal College
- Crozier College
- Tudor College
Loss and Gain
- Saint Saviour's (the college of the main character, Charles Reding.)
- All Saints
- Leicester College
- Nun's Hall
- All Saints College - North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell (veiled stand-in for All Souls College)
- Baillie College - Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, attended by successive Cabinet Secretaries, Sir Arnold Robinson and Sir Humphrey Appleby. A very thinly veiled reference to Balliol; indeed in several episodes Sir Humphrey Appleby is seen wearing a Balliol tie, and in the 2011 stage play version, the fictionalisation has been dropped entirely and Balliol College is overtly mentioned as the alma mater of the character.
- Bartlemas College - Kate Ivory detective novels, Veronica Stallwood; Takes its name from St Bartholomew's Chapel, itself belonging to Oriel College.
- Bede College - Operation Pax, Michael Innes (pseudonym of J. I. M. Stewart); Allusion to the Old English polymath Bede, whose histories give us the account of St Hilda, from whom St Hilda's College, Oxford takes its name.
- Brazenface College - Verdant Green, Cuthbert Bede (veiled stand-in for Brasenose College)
- Cardinal College - A Yank at Oxford (based on Christ Church); Christ Church was originally founded by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey as "Cardinal College" in 1525.
- Charsley College - The Casual Ward, A. D. Godley
- Clapperton College - The Oxford Virus, Adam Kolczynski (based on Christ Church)
- Episcopus College - Where the Rivers Meet and Comedies, John Wain.
- Hacker College - The Complete Yes Minister
- Judas College - Zuleika Dobson, Max Beerbohm (based on Merton College)
- The King's College (known as "Dick's" after its founder Richard II) - Colonel Butler's Wolf and Our Man in Camelot, Anthony Price; "The King's College" is another name for Oriel College; Richard II has no historically significant involvement with Oxford University or the town.
- Lancaster College - Incense for the Damned, a Peter Cushing horror film set partially in Oxford, based on Doctors Wear Scarlet by Simon Raven
- Lazarus College - Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope, and several novels by Angela Thirkell, beginning with Summer Half (1937)
- Magog College - A Study in Sorcery, Michael Kurland/Randall Garrett
- Mandeville College - The Crime of the Communist, a Father Brown story by G. K. Chesterton
- Old College - Lot No. 249, Arthur Conan Doyle
- St Ambrose's College - Tom Brown at Oxford, Thomas Hughes (probably based on Oriel); Filmed at Oriel.
- St Bride's College - Michaelmas Term at St Brides, Brunette Coleman (Philip Larkin)
- St Christopher's College - The Case of the Gilded Fly and The Moving Toyshop, Edmund Crispin
- St David's College - A Study in Sorcery, Michael Kurland/Randall Garrett
- St George's College - Yes Minister TV series
- St Jerome's College - Endymion Spring, Matthew Skelton; college on St Giles, with echos of Somerville.
- St Joseph's College - Rumpole series
- St Jude's College - Formosa, Dion Boucicault; August Folly, Angela Thirkell (also in Lewis; see above)
- St Matthew's College - The Dimension Riders, Daniel Blythe
- St Margaret's College - Fire and Hemlock, Diana Wynne Jones (probably based on Lady Margaret Hall)
- St Mark's College - The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford; Patrick Grant crime novels, Margaret Yorke; The Stars' Tennis Balls, Stephen Fry
- St Mary's College - Sinister Street, Compton Mackenzie (based closely on Magdalen, MacKenzie's old college); and The Poison Tree, Tony Strong (based on St Peter's)
- St Paul's College - Ravenshoe, Henry Kingsley; August Folly, Angela Thirkell
- St Severin's College – The Late Scholar, Jill Paton Walsh using Dorothy L. Sayers' characters.
- St Sexburga's College - Horace Sippog and the siren's song, Su Walton
- St Thomas' College - An Oxford Tragedy and The Case of the Four Friends, John Cecil Masterman; St Thomas the Martyr's Church is located near Osney, and belongs to Christ Church.
- Scone College - Decline and Fall, Evelyn Waugh; Something Nasty in the Woodshed and The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery by Kyril Bonfiglioli, in whose novels Scone College represents Balliol; King John de Balliol was crowned king at Scone in 1292.
- Shrewsbury College - Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers (women's college, probably based on Somerville)
- Simon Magus College - Let Dons Delight, Ronald Knox
- Tresingham College - The Oxford Virus, Adam Kolczynski (based on Keble College)
- Warlock College - Landscape with Dead Dons, Robert Robinson
- An unnamed college in A Staircase in Surrey, a quintet of novels by J. I. M. Stewart, based on Christ Church, but never named. Surrey is the name of a quadrangle within the college.
- Colleges of the University of Oxford
- List of fictional Cambridge colleges
- List of fictional Oxbridge colleges
- School and university in literature
- St Hilda's College History, st-hildas.ox.ac.uk