Trinity College, Oxford

Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford

Trinity College

Trinity college by longlong.jpg
College name The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in the University of Oxford, of the foundation of Sir Thomas Pope (Knight)
Named after The Holy Trinity
Established 1555
Sister college Churchill College, Cambridge
President Sir Ivor Roberts KCMG MA
Undergraduates 302
Graduates 125
Boat Club
Trinity College, Oxford.svg

The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in the University of Oxford, of the foundation of Sir Thomas Pope (Knight),[1] or Trinity College for short, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It stands on Broad Street, next door to Balliol College and Blackwells bookshop, and opposite Turl Street. It is enclosed by an iron palisade, rather than a wall, giving the college a more open and accessible appearance than many others in Oxford. The college has four major quadrangles, as well as a large lawn and gardens, which include a small area of woodland. Despite its size, the college is relatively small in terms of student numbers, with about 400 students. As of 2010, Trinity had an estimated financial endowment of £81 million.[2]


Durham College

The site where Trinity College now stands was originally occupied by Durham College. This college had been founded in 1286, at around the same time as the oldest colleges that survive until today. Durham College was built for Benedictine monks from Durham Cathedral, and was built around a single quadrangle, now known as the Durham Quadrangle. The only major surviving building from the Durham College foundation is the east range of Durham Quad, containing the Old Library, which dates from 1421, although elements of the pre-Reformation fabric also survive on the opposite side of the quad, at either end of the 17th-century hall. Durham College was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, St Cuthbert, and the Trinity, and it is thought that Trinity College took its name from the last element of this dedication.


Trinity College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, on land bought following the abolition of Durham College during the period of Protestant Reformation, whose buildings housed the original foundation. Pope was a Catholic who had no surviving children, and he hoped that by founding a college he would be remembered in the prayers of its students. His remains are still encased beside the chapel altar. The original foundation provided for a president, 12 fellows, and 12 scholars, and for up to 20 undergraduates. The fellows were required to take Holy Orders and to remain unmarried.

The College remained a largely all-male institution until 1979, when (in common with a number of other Oxford colleges) it admitted its first women undergraduates. It is now fully co-educational and co-residential.

Sir Ivor Roberts, formerly HM Ambassador to Italy, succeeded The Hon. Michael Beloff QC as President on 26 September 2006. Peter Brown, Tutor in Classics, assumed the position of Pro-President during the interregnum, as he had during Hilary Term 2006 when the ex-president was on sabbatical.


On the top of the West Tower sit four female statues, which represent Astronomy, Geometry, Medicine, and Theology (however, in the Humanist Quadrivium they are Astronomy, Mathematics, Geometry and Music (Bätschmann, 184). The chapel, though relatively modest in size compared to some of its Oxford counterparts, was the first college chapel to be designed entirely in the neoclassical style.[citation needed] It was designed by Henry Aldrich, with advice from Christopher Wren, and was consecrated in 1694.[3]

Chapel Choir

The Trinity College Chapel Choir consists of up to eight choral scholars and over thirty voluntary singers. The College has one of the largest chapel choirs in the university with the majority of members from within the college. The choir sing a weekly Evensong on a Sunday with occasional weekly services to mark college events. Trinity College has no music director, and responsibility falls to the organ scholars and is overseen by the chaplain. The choir goes on annual tours, recent tours include Dublin in 2008, where they sang concerts and a Sung Eucharist in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Rome in Summer 2009, Paris in 2010 and Barcelona in 2011. In 2009, the choir released a new CD, called 'A Voice from Afar'.


Notable former students

See also Former students of Trinity College.

Literary Trinity

Fictional former students include Jay Gatsby and Tiger Tanaka. Recent books in which Trinity features prominently are:

  • Cartwright, Justin (2008). This Secret Garden. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-0-7475-7961-8. 
  • Hopkins, Clare (2005). Trinity. 450 Years of an Oxford College Community. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-951896-8. 
  • von Siemens, Carl (2010). Kleine Herren. Ein Deutscher in Oxford. Frankfurt am Main: Scherz. ISBN 978-3-502-15159-3. 

Notable fellows and Presidents

See also Presidents of Trinity College; Fellows of Trinity College.


  1. ^ Clare Hopkins, Trinity : 450 years of an Oxford college community (Oxford, 2005). ISBN 978-0-19-951896-8.
  2. ^ [1] Financial Statements of the Oxford Colleges (2009-10) (Retrieved September 2011)
  3. ^ "Trinity College Chapel". College website. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 

Hans Holbein. Oskar Bätschmann. Reaktion (2008).

External links

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