Balliol College

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Balliol College is one of Oxford University’s 32 colleges. It is the college with traditionally high number of students who want to study here, both British and international. It is the school for both undergraduates and graduates.

There is no exact date of the establishment of the Balliol College. Some time about 1260 John of Balliol, one of King Henry III of England's most loyal Lords, under the guidance from the Bishop of Durham, decided to do some act of charity. (It is said, that the two of them became involved in a serious dispute over the ownership of land. When Balliol assaulted the bishop he was publicly whipped and ordered to perform a charitable act.) So he rented his house in the suburbs of Oxford to 16 poor scholars. The foundation of the College that grew from this is reckoned as 1263. The College definitely existed in June 1266. It is then the oldest of all Colleges in Oxford. But it was not until 1282 that his widow, a Scottish Princess Dervorguilla of Galloway, provided the College with endowments and statuses. She also gave the College its first seal which it still has.

Students of Balliol College have many facilities provided by College available. They have accommodation, the great hall (refectory), a library, two bars, and separate common rooms for the fellows, the graduates and undergraduates. Sports can be dome on a nearby sportground. There is also a boat-house and garden quadrangles.

St Catherine of Alexandria is the patron saint of the College. On her feast day (25 November), a formal dinner is held for all final year students within Balliol. On the third March Friday Snell Dinner is usually held (John Snell’s benefaction established exhibitions for students from the University of Glasgow to study at Balliol). And the most eccentric feast is The Nepotists carol-singing event on the last Friday of Michaelmas term each year. Balliol students congregate in the college hall to enjoy mulled wine and the singing of hymns. The evening ends with a rendition of "The Gordouli" on Broad Street, outside the gates of Trinity College.

Balliol College has produced several notable people. To mention just some from many: Nobel Prize winners: Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood (Chemistry), Sir John Hicks (Economics), Baruch S. Blumberg (Medicine), and Anthony J. Leggett (Physics), three British Prime Ministers (Edward Heath, H. H. Asquith, and Harold Macmillan), several Archbishops of Canterbury, two kings (Olav V and Harald V of Norway), evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and some literary figures as Matthew Arnold, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Arthur Hugh Clough,Graham Greene, Anthony Powell and Aldous Huxley.
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