St Mary Hall, Oxford

Coordinates: 51°45′08″N 1°15′13″W / 51.7522°N 1.2536°W / 51.7522; -1.2536
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St Mary Hall
University of Oxford
1675 Copper engraving of St Mary Hall
LocationHigh Street
Coordinates51°45′08″N 1°15′13″W / 51.7522°N 1.2536°W / 51.7522; -1.2536
Latin nameAula Beatae Mariae Virginis[1]
Established1326 (as part of Oriel College)
1545 (as an independent hall)
Closed1902 (incorporated into Oriel College)
Named forChurch of St Mary the Virgin
Principalsee below
St Mary Hall, Oxford is located in Oxford city centre
St Mary Hall, Oxford
Location in Oxford city centre

St Mary Hall was a medieval academic hall of the University of Oxford. It was associated with Oriel College from 1326 to 1545, but functioned independently from 1545 until it was re-incorporated into Oriel College in 1902.


"The dolls house", a surviving 1743 building of St Mary's Hall, abutting the 1640 chapel and hall on the right

In 1320, when he was appointed rector of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Adam de Brome was given the rectory house, St. Mary Hall, on the High Street. [2] St. Mary Hall was acquired by Oriel College in 1326: Bedel Hall, which adjoins St. Mary's to the south, was given by Bishop Carpenter of Worcester in 1455. These two halls, along with St. Martin's Hall, served as annexes for Oriel College.

In the early 16th century, the college's St. Antony's and Dudley exhibitioners were lodged in St Mary Hall and Bedel Hall, and around this time the two halls were united. St. Mary Hall subsequently developed into an independent entity, and in 1545, on the order the Visitor, Bishop Longland of Lincoln, the door between St Mary Hall and Oriel was blocked. The Hall subsequently employed its own lecturers, and the intake of St Mary's was periodically more than that of Oriel.

1826 Gothic Revival building on the west side of St Mary's Hall, incorporating the old gate

In 1552, there were 18 members of St. Mary Hall, excluding the Principal. The Principals of St Mary Hall continued to be fellows of Oriel until 1656. By 1875, the size of St.Mary Hall's undergraduate body had risen to 60, a large number for one of the University's colleges at that time.[3]

The Hall was effectively the property of its Principal, who was also Vicar of St Mary's Church. The last Principal, Drummond Percy Chase, who had been appointed in 1857, created an agreement with Oriel as a consequence of which the Hall became the property of Oriel on his death, which subsequently occurred in 1902, when according to the agreement, the Hall was incorporated into Oriel College.[4] Some agreements created when St. Mary Hall were a separate organisation continue to exist: for example, the benefice of the Vicar of St Mary's Church includes dining rights at Oriel.

The present St. Mary's Quad, or 'third quadrangle', of Oriel occupies three ranges of the former buildings of the St. Mary Hall. The Principal's house was demolished for the construction of the Rhodes Building, which was designed by Basil Champneys, and which was completed in 1911.


Notable former students[edit]

Thomas Jackson Rev 1812- 1886 graduated BA 1834 and MA 1837


  1. ^ William Upcott, A Bibliographical Account of the Principal Works Relating to English Topography, Vol. 3 (London: Richard and Arthur Taylor, 1818), p. 1109
  2. ^ Crossley, Alan (editor), "Churches", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 4: The City of Oxford (1979) pp. 369–412, Oxford University Press VCH series British History Online ISBN 0-19-722714-7
  3. ^ Salter H. E. and Lobel, M. D. (editors), "St Mary Hall", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3: The University of Oxford (1954) pp. 129–131, Oxford University Press VCH series, ISBN 0-7129-1064-6
  4. ^ Barbara Harlow, Mia Carter, Archives of Empire: Volume 2. The Scramble for Africa, p. 545
  5. ^ Rees, D. Ben. "Phillips, Morgan". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22117. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Wright, Stephen. "Cole, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/5857. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ Robert Latham & William Matthews, eds., The Diary of Samuel Pepys: A New and Complete Transcription (2001), p. 83
  8. ^ Anthony à Wood, Philip Bliss, Athenae Oxonienses, Volume 4, col. 457
  9. ^ a b c The Oxford University and City Guide, on a New Plan (new edition, 1839), p. 159
  10. ^ 'Dr John Dean, D.D.' In The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 153 (1833), pp. 468-469
  11. ^ M. G. Brock, M. C. Curthoys, The History of the University of Oxford: Nineteenth-Century Oxford, p. 738
  12. ^ Alan Bell, ‘Bliss, Philip (1787–1857)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), online text (subscription site)
  13. ^ Brock & Curthoys, p. 329
  14. ^ Brajendra at Who's Who: Famous Personalities
  15. ^ "Entry for Moody, James Leith, in Dictionary of Falklands Biography".
  16. ^ Hughes-Hughes, W. O. (1893). Entry for Moody, James Leith, in The Register of Tonbridge School from 1820 to 1893. Richard Bentley and Son, London. p. 30.
  17. ^ Knowles, James. "Marston, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18164. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

External links[edit]