St Mary Hall, Oxford

Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford
St Mary Hall
College name St Mary Hall
Named after Church of St Mary the Virgin
Established 1326 (as part of Oriel College)
1545 (as an independent hall)
Closed 1902 (incorporated into Oriel College)
Principals see below
Location High Street

Location of St Mary Hall within central OxfordCoordinates: 51°45′08″N 1°15′13″W / 51.7522°N 1.2536°W / 51.7522; -1.2536

St Mary Hall was an academic hall of the University of Oxford associated with Oriel College since 1326, but which functioned independently from 1545 to 1902.


In 1320, Adam de Brome was appointed rector of the Church of St Mary the Virgin. Along with the appointment, he was given the rectory house, St Mary Hall, on the High Street. [1] St Mary Hall was acquired by Oriel College in 1326. Bedel Hall, adjoining 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 St Dudley and Dudley exhibitioners were lodged in St Mary Hall and Bedel Hall, and around this time the two halls were united. St Mary Hall steadily 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 up. The Hall took on its own lecturers, and for a time, the numbers of St Mary's exceeded those of Oriel.

In 1552, there were 18 members excluding the principal. The Principals of St Mary Hall continued to be Fellows of Oriel until 1656. By 1875 its undergraduate body had risen to 60, a large number at that time.[2]

The Hall was effectively the property of its Principal, who was also Vicar of St Mary's Church, and the last Principal, Drummond Percy Chase, who had been appointed in 1857, agreed with Oriel that on his death the Hall would revert to Oriel. It was not until his death in 1902 that the Hall was incorporated into Oriel College.[3] Some remnants of the relationship still exist, in that the benefice of the Vicar of St Mary's Church carries dining rights at Oriel.

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


Notable former students


  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Barbara Harlow, Mia Carter, Archives of Empire: Volume 2. The Scramble for Africa, p. 545
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.)
  6. Robert Latham & William Matthews, eds., The Diary of Samuel Pepys: A New and Complete Transcription (2001), p. 83
  7. Anthony à Wood, Philip Bliss, Athenae Oxonienses, Volume 4, col. 457
  8. 1 2 3 The Oxford University and City Guide, on a New Plan (new edition, 1839), p. 159
  9. 'Dr John Dean, D.D.' In The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 153 (1833), pp. 468-469
  10. M. G. Brock, M. C. Curthoys, The History of the University of Oxford: Nineteenth-Century Oxford, p. 738
  11. Alan Bell, ‘Bliss, Philip (1787–1857)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), online text (subscription site)
  12. Brock & Curthoys, p. 329
  13. Brajendra at Who's Who: Famous Personalities

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