the Virtual Tour of Brasenose College

Inside the gateway lies the Old Quad (1509 - 18), begun simultaneously with the establishment of the College, which is commemorated in the S.W. corner by a replica of the original foundation stone. The quad is a fine example of early Tudor domestic architecture, substantially unaltered, built in local Headington stone, and displaying some typical fenestration of the period: small windows for bedrooms, larger ones for adjoining studies. The upper storey, with its distinctive dormers, was added early in the seventeenth century when student numbers increased. The raising of the roof-level, and the later construction of the Radcliffe Camera behind, have reduced the prominence of the gate-tower when viewed from within the College, but it remains impressive. Its upper rooms served first as lodging for the Principal, and one is richly panelled. They now house muniments. The antique door just S. of the tower probably once acted as the main entrance to the medieval Hall.

The Old Quad served all the needs of the early College. On the N. side, beyond the sundial Of 1719, there was a library, now made into rooms; opposite, in the S. range, a small chapel, subsequently panelled and converted into a Senior Common Room. The Hall alone, which occupies the S.E. portion of the Quad, was built on a more substantial scale, and externally it has survived unchanged. Note the large bay-window and the two weatherbeaten seventeenth-century busts of the College's founders. The interior, however, reached through a porch beneath two further quaint and indecipherable heads, has undergone considerable modification.

© Copyright 2001
University of Oxford


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