List of fictional Oxford colleges

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Not to be confused with Oxbridge colleges.

Fictional colleges are found in many modern novels, films, and other works of fiction, probably because they allow the author greater licence for invention and a reduced risk of being accused of libel or slander, as might happen if the author depicted unsavory events as occurring at a real-life institution. Below is a list of some of the fictional colleges of the University of Oxford.

His Dark Materials[edit]

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novels feature a number of fictional Oxford colleges:

  • Cardinal's College
  • Foxe College
  • Gabriel College
  • Jordan College
  • Queen Philippa's College
  • St Michael's College -
  • St Scholastica's College
  • St Sophia's College
  • Wordsworth College
  • Wykeham College

Inspector Morse[edit]

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, continue the idea.

  • Alfreda's College - Endeavour TV series; "Fugue." Filmed in Trinity College.
  • Arnold College - Inspector Morse TV series
  • Baidley College - Endeavour TV series; "Home", the last episode of the first season, was filmed in Keble College.
  • Beaufort College - Inspector Morse TV series. Named after 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 short street 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.
  • Benison College - Lewis, episode "Intelligent Design" Series 7 episodes 5/6.
  • Carlyle College - Lewis, episode "The Soul of Genius" (filmed in Exeter College).
  • Chaucer College - Lewis, based on Merton College). Named after influential poet Geoffrey Chaucer, whose 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 belonged to the influential Courtenay family. Nuneham House now belongs to the University.
  • Gresham College - Lewis, episode "Dark Matter". Stand-in for Lincoln College. The "Invisible College" was a group of Oxford scientists (including Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren) who went on to establish the Royal Society. The group would meet at Gresham College in London.
  • Lady Matilda's College - Lewis. Filmed in Lady Margaret Hall, an amalgamation of Lady Margaret Hall and St Hilda's.
  • 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.
  • Penville - Lewis episode Old School Ties. The leader of the Oxford Union says she usually lives here; this is presumably a reference to her fictional 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 New College, with a 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[edit]

Thomas Hardy's novel Jude the Obscure features a number of fictional 'Christminster' colleges, a thinly fictionalized version of Oxford:

  • Biblioll College
  • Cardinal College
  • Crozier College
  • Oldgate College
  • Rubric College
  • Sarcophagus College
  • Sepulchre College
  • Tudor College

Loss and Gain[edit]

Loss and Gain by Blessed John Henry Newman tells the story of the conversion of Charles Reding, an Oxford student, to Catholicism. In the novel, Newman creates the following colleges:

  • Saint Saviour's (the college of the main character, Charles Reding)
  • All Saints
  • Leicester College
  • Nun's Hall

Other works[edit]

Fictional Library[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ St Hilda's College History,