All Souls College
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University Church of St Mary the Virgin
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St Mary’s Passage
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Vaults & Garden
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High St · interesting places nearby
All Souls College information
One of the wealthiest and most peaceful Oxford colleges, All Souls was founded in 1438 as a centre of prayer and learning. It's one of several graduate colleges, though it doesn't accept just any old Oxford graduate. Each year, the university's top finalists sit a fellowship exam, with an average of only two achieving the grade. It's said to be the hardest entrance exam in the world, and fellowship of the college is one of the country's highest academic honours.
Much of the college facade dates from the 1440s and, unlike at other older colleges, the smaller Front Quad is largely unchanged in five centuries. Most eye-catching are the twin mock-Gothic towers on the North Quad. Designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1710, they were lambasted for ruining the Oxford skyline when first built. The North Quad also contains a beautiful 17th-century sundial designed by Christopher Wren. Access is from High St.