St Edmund Hall is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Better known within the University by its nickname, "Teddy Hall", the college has a claim to being "the oldest academical society for the education of undergraduates in any university". As of 2007 St Edmund Hall had an estimated financial endowment of £39m.


Like the University of Oxford itself, the precise date of establishment of St Edmund Hall is unknown; it is usually estimated at 1236. The college is named after St Edmund of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, the first known Oxford Master of Arts and the first Oxford-educated Archbishop of Canterbury, who lived and taught on the college site. The name St Edmund Hall (Aula Sancti Edmundi) first appears in a 1317 rental agreement.

St Edmund Hall began life as one of Oxford's ancient Aularian houses, the mediaeval halls that laid the foundation of the University, preceding the creation of the first colleges. As the only surviving mediaeval hall, its members are known as "Aularians". St Edmund Hall took on the status of a college in 1957, though retaining the historical moniker of "Hall".

The college has a history of independent thought, which has brought it into regular conflict with both church and state. During the late 14th century and early 15th century, it was a bastion of the Wycliffe heresy, for which college principal William Taylor was ultimately burnt at the stake, and principal Peter Payne fled the country. In the 17th century, it incurred the wrath of the crown for fostering nonjurors, men who remained loyal to the Scottish House of Stuart and who refused to take the oath to the German House of Hanover, whom they regarded as having usurped the British throne.

College colours

Like most academic institutions, Oxbridge colleges commonly have a colour scheme used for college scarves, ties, sports clothing and so on. There is a great deal of confusion regarding the Hall's official college colours which seems to have arisen due to a discrepancy between "official college wear," often thought to be claret and cream, and sporting wear.

On the college's official website, the "College memorabilia" section quotes maroon and gold as the colours of official college merchandise, such as the college scarves.

In the majority of sporting wear produced, the "claret and cream" are substituted with maroon and gold. This has naturally led to many people assuming that these are the college colours. Confusion may also be caused by the fact that the college's coat of arms has a yellow/gold field.

Coat of arms

The College Coat of Arms depicts a red cross fleury against a yellow/gold field surrounded by four Cornish Choughs and is blazoned "Or, a cross fleury gules between four Cornish choughs perched proper". The choughs are often mistakenly depicted with white wings.

In the image shown to the left, the College coat of arms is found above the following Latin dedication "sanctus edmundus huius aulae lux", or "St Edmund, light of this Hall".

It is a very common practice within the University to use chronograms for dedications - when transcribed into Latin, they are written in such a way that an important date, usually that of a foundation or the dedication itself, is embedded in the text. This is usually achieved by choosing certain letters in the text which correspond to Roman Numerals which when added, often disregarding the usual subtractive notation, amount to the required date. These numerals are then indicated by being rendered in a larger size than that of the surrounding letters.

In the above dedication, the text is rendered as

and, in this case, adding the numerals naively gives:

which is a popular, if conservative, estimate for the establishment of the Hall, but is in fact the date of the canonisation of St Edmund of Abingdon.

Locations and buildings

St Edmund Hall is based on a small central site on the north side of the High Street. The front quadrangle (see picture) is bordered by the porters' lodge, the old dining hall (1659), the college bar and buttery (containing a mid-15th-century fireplace), the chapel with the old library above (late 17th century), and accommodation for students and fellows. In the centre of the quadrangle is a medieval well. Passages from the quadrangle give access to modern accommodation blocks and dining hall to the east, and the college library (the deconsecrated church of St Peter-in-the-East, 12th century; the crypt remains consecrated) and gardens (St Peter's churchyard) to the north. The garden contains a seated bronze figure depicting St Edmund as an impoverished student. The college also owns annexes at Norham Gardens, on Dawson Street, and on Iffley Road. In 2009, the College began an Aularian-supported programme of restoration to the facade of the front quad and Queens Lane frontage.

Student life

The student body has long been known for prowess in sport, especially rugby, with a significant collection of cuppers successes. More recently, in 2008 the college made it to the finals of both the football and rugby cuppers competitions, winning in the rugby final against Keble college, the Hall's traditional sporting rival, with the final in both sports reached again in 2009. Rowing has also traditionally been a strong sport at the Hall, with the men attaining Headship in the Summer Eights of 1959, 1960, 1961, 1964 and 1965, and the Women achieving the same feat in 2006, a title retained through 2007, 2008 and 2009. Other recent successes include first place in the 2008 Oxford Slalom Championships on the annual Varsity Trip. Sporting success aside, the Hall has also demonstrated strengths in journalism, drama, mathematics and student politics, fulfilling a reputation for a high level of extra-curricular involvement with the wider University. In 2007 the college also fielded a team in University Challenge scoring one of the three highest scores in the first round, and has a team entered for 2010. The annual College Ball, organised primarily by the JCR, has a longstanding reputation for both the quality of the event itself but also the prominence of its headline acts: in 2010, this was the drum and bass artist Pendulum.

College graces

The usual college grace given before Formal Hall is Benedictus, Benedicat per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum (Blessed is He and may he bless through Jesus Christ Our Lord) to which the assembly responds Amen. More extended forms of the grace are sometimes given but this is very rare.

People associated with the college
Notable alumni
  • Dan Abnett, author, comic book writer
  • Samira Ahmed, newsreader/presenter
  • Professor Reginald Alton, Academic, Hand Writing Expert
  • Dr Ronald Avery, economic journalist and Naval historian
  • Lionel Barber, journalist and Editor of the Financial Times.
  • Stuart Barnes, former England and British Lions rugby player, commentator for Sky Sports
  • Bidisha, writer and commentator on cultural and social affairs
  • Steve Blinkhorn, psychologist, psychometrician
  • Anna Botting, newsreader
  • Douglas Botting, explorer and author
  • Emma Brockes, journalist
  • Stanley Burnton, Lord Justice of Appeal 2008 -
  • Sir David Cooksey, GBE, businessman, venture capitalist and politician
  • Jeremy Davies, Catholic priest and exorcist
  • Robin Day, broadcaster
  • Peter Day, broadcaster
  • Paul Farrelly MP Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme (2001–present)
  • Arihiro Fukuda late associate professor of the University of Tokyo
  • Patrick Garland, (also Honorary Fellow)
  • Amitav Ghosh, writer
  • Mark Field MP (represents the City of Westminster)
  • Timothy Gorringe, professor of theology
  • Alice Hart-Davis, journalist
  • Thomas Hearne, antiquarian and diarist
  • Oronhyatekha, Mohawk physician and scholar
  • Terry Jones, comedian and writer
  • Gabriel Josipovici, novelist and playwright
  • Emma Kennedy, comedian and writer
  • Salman Khurshid, Former Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India
  • Stewart Lee, comedian and writer
  • Sir Ken Macdonald, former Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Hugo MacNeill, former Ireland and British Lions rugby player
  • Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Philippine Politician (Senator, Former Congressman, and Former Governor), son of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos
  • John McManners, ecclesiastical historian
  • Hugh McManners, author and journalist
  • Derek Morris, economist, Provost of Oriel College, Oxford
  • Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Opinions Editor, The Telegraph, Calcutta
  • Al Murray, comedian
  • Richard Onslow, 1st Baron Onslow
  • Andrew Peach, BBC broadcaster
  • Sir Nicholas Pumfrey (Lord Justice Pumfrey), Court of Appeal Judge
  • Sophy Ridge, journalist, Sky News
  • Charles Ritcheson, historian, diplomat, and university administrator
  • Michael Scott Rohan, writer
  • Myron Rolle, NFL Player for the Tennessee Titans
  • General Sir (Hugh) Michael Rose, KCB, CBE, DSO, QGM
  • M. J. K. Smith, cricketer
  • Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Graham Steele, Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, Minister of Finance of Nova Scotia
  • Gerald Thompson, OBE, Wildlife Film Maker, Founding Member of Oxford Scientific Films
  • John Wells, comedian and translator
  • Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta
  • Sir Richard Gozney, KCMG, CVO, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda
  • Sir Richard Gillingwater, Dean of Cass Business School, former Chief Executive and Chairman of the UK Shareholder Executive, former Chief Executive of European Investment Banking at Credit Suisse First Boston
  • Larry Pressler, Former U.S. Senator from South Dakota and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
Other notable figures
  • St Edmund of Abingdon
  • G.B. Allan, Principal (1920–1928)
  • George B. Cronshaw, Principal (1928)
  • A.B. Emden, Principal (1929–1951)
  • Rev. J.N.D. Kelly D.D., Principal (1951–1979)
  • Leonard Hodgson, Vice-Principal (1914–1918)

Building Activity

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