Brasenose College

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Brasenose College, officially The King's Hall and College of Brasenose, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. It is located on Radcliffe Square, opposite the Radcliffe Camera and close to the Oxford High Street. Neighbouring colleges include Lincoln College and Hertford College.


The College was founded and incorporated in 1509 by Sir Richard Sutton, a lawyer, and William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln. Initially a poor college, it was deeply in debt by the outbreak of the English Civil War in the 1640s, in which, like the rest of Oxford, it supported the King; the Principal of Brasenose, Samuel Radcliffe, refused to recognise the Parliamentary takeover of the University in 1649 and remained loyal to the King. Despite its previous financial difficulties, by the late eighteenth century it had a reputation as one of the wealthiest and most aristocratic Oxford colleges.[1]

In the nineteenth century the College was a leader in the development of University sport, predominantly rowing and cricket.

Brasenose first admitted women undergraduates in 1974.

Origin of the name

The unusual name of the college is thought to originate from a brazen (bronze) door knocker in the shape of a nose.[2] The door knocker which today hangs over the High Table in Brasenose College is thought to be the original knocker from the medieval Brasenose Hall.

Famous alumni


Colleges of the University of Oxford
All Souls • Balliol • Brasenose • Christ Church • Corpus Christi • Exeter • Green • Harris Manchester • Hertford • Jesus • Keble • Kellogg • Lady Margaret Hall • Linacre • Lincoln • Magdalen • Mansfield • Merton • New College • Nuffield • Oriel • Pembroke • Queen's • St Anne's • St Antony's • St Catherine's • St Cross • St Edmund Hall • St Hilda's • St Hugh's • St John's • St Peter's • Somerville • Templeton • Trinity • University • Wadham • Wolfson • Worcester