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Oriel College, Oxford

Oriel College, Oxford


Oriel College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in Oxford, England.

Located in Oriel Square, the college has the distinction of being the oldest royal foundation in Oxford.

In recognition of this royal connection, the college has also been known as King's College and King's Hall.

The reigning monarch of the United Kingdom (since 1952, Elizabeth II) is the official Visitor of the college.

The original medieval foundation set up by Adam de Brome, under the patronage of Edward II, was called the House or Hall of the Blessed Mary at Oxford.

The first design allowed for a provost and ten fellows, called 'scholars', and the college remained a small body of graduate fellows until the 16th century, when it started to admit undergraduates.

During the English Civil War, Oriel played host to high-ranking members of the King's Oxford Parliament.

The main site of the college incorporates four medieval halls: Bedel Hall, St Mary Hall, St Martin Hall and Tackley's Inn, the last being the earliest property acquired by the college and the oldest standing medieval hall in Oxford.

The college has nearly 40 fellows, about 300 undergraduates and some 250 graduates. Oriel was the last of Oxford's men's colleges to admit women in 1985, after more than six centuries as an all-male institution. Today, however, the student body has almost equal numbers of men and women.

Oriel's notable alumni include two Nobel laureates; prominent fellows have included founders of the Oxford Movement.

Among Oriel's more notable possessions are a painting by Bernard van Orley and three pieces of medieval silver plate.

As of 2018, the college's estimated financial endowment was £81 million.

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