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New College, Oxford University

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New College, University of Oxford

Holywell Street, Oxford

Founded by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, 1379
New College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The full name of the college is The Warden and Scholars of St Mary's College of Winchester in Oxford. The College's official name, College of St Mary, is the same as that of the older Oriel College; hence, it has been referred to as the "New College of St Mary" and is now almost always called "New College". New College was founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham.

The College currently ranks fourth in the Norrington Table, a table assessing the relative performance of Oxford's undergraduates by their performance in final examinations. Having been ranked third in the 2011-12 tables, maintaining its place from 2010 to 2011,[2] New College jumped to 1st after the 2012-13 academic year.[3] The College stands along Holywell Street and New College Lane (known for Oxford's Bridge of Sighs), next to All Souls College, Harris Manchester College, Hertford College, The Queen's College and St Edmund Hall. The College's sister college is King's College, Cambridge.

The College is one of the main choral foundations of the University of Oxford, regarded as one of the leading choirs of the world. The College Choir has recorded over one hundred albums,[4] and has been awarded two Gramophone Awards.

In 2012 the College had an estimated financial endowment of £144m.[5] In 2006 the College sold an area of land in Buckinghamshire that had previously been given to the college for £55m, and the subsequent extra endowment income was put towards academic development, salaries, and repair to buildings.[6]

Despite its name, New College is one of the oldest of the Oxford colleges: it was founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, as "The College of St Mary of Winchester in Oxford", the second college in Oxford to be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Founding In 1379 William of Wykeham had purchased land in Oxford and was able to apply to King Richard II for a Charter to allow the foundation of a College de novo.[7] In his own Charter of foundation, Wykeham declared the college to consist of a Warden and seventy scholars. The site on which the college would be built was acquired from several sources, including the City of Oxford, Merton College and Queens' College. This land had been the City Ditch, a haunt of thieves and had been used for the burial of dead during the Black Death.[8]

New College was founded in conjunction with Winchester College (opened 1394), which was envisaged as a feeder to the Oxford college, and the two institutions have striking architectural similarities: both were the work of master mason William Wynford. On 5 March 1380 the first stone, of what would become New College, was laid and by 14 April 1386 the College entered formal possession of the buildings. Wykeham set to drawing up the statutes of the college, with a first draft presented in 1390. The statutes were not completed until the year before Wykeham died (1404).

The Coat of Arms of the College is one adopted by William Wykeham. It features two black chevrons, one said to have been added when he became a bishop and the other representing his skill with architecture (the chevron was a device used by masons). Winchester College uses the same arms.[9]

The grand collection of buildings is a testament to William's experience in administering both ecclesiastical and civil institutions as the Bishop of Winchester and High Chancellor of England.

Both Winchester College and New College were originally established for the education of priests, there being a shortage of properly educated clergy after the Black Death. William of Wykeham ordained that there were to be ten chaplains, three clerks and 16 choristers on the foundation of the college.[10] The original choristers were accommodated within the walls of the college under one schoolmaster. Since then the school has expanded and in 1903 moved to New College School in Savile Road.[11]

As well as being the first Oxford college for undergraduates and the first to have senior members of the college give tutorials,[12] New College was the first college in Oxford to be deliberately designed around a main quadrangle.[13]