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High St · interesting places nearby
Magdalen College information
Set amid 40 hectares of private lawns, woodlands, river walks and deer park, Magdalen (mawd -lin), founded in 1458, is one of the wealthiest and most beautiful of Oxford’s colleges. It has a reputation as an artistic college. Some of its notable students have included writers Julian Barnes, Alan Hollinghurst, CS Lewis, John Betjeman, Seamus Heaney and Oscar Wilde, not to mention Edward VIII, TE Lawrence ‘of Arabia’, Dudley Moore and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.
Beyond the elegant Victorian gateway, you’ll find the medieval chapel (with its glorious 15th-century tower). From here, move on to the remarkable, now-restored 15th-century cloisters, some of Oxford’s finest and with strange animals perched on the buttresses. The fantastic gargoyles and grotesques along the frontage here are thought to have inspired CS Lewis’ stone statues in The Chronicles of Narnia . Behind the cloisters, lovely Addison's Walk leads through the grounds and along the banks of the River Cherwell for just under a mile. In the mid-1870s, you might have encountered Oscar Wilde taking his pet lobster for a stroll.
The college also has a fine choir that sings Hymnus Eucharisticus at 6am on May Day (1 May) from the top of the 44m bell tower.