Saturday, July 2, 2016

OXFORD IN FICTION: Top Six Fictional Colleges (Updated Feb. 15, 2017)

Morse, Lewis, Endeavour...
Which Oxford colleges are most often models for fictional colleges?

Two ground rules: 

First, exclude colleges used as sets for stories about schools (e.g., Hogwart's) or estates (e.g., Downton Abbey).

Second, exclude real colleges referred to in fiction, as when Jay Gatsby claimed that he went to Trinity College after the Great War. (His character's attendance was fictional, his purported alma mater is not.)

Based on these rules, my nominees for the top six real colleges used as models for fictional Oxford colleges are...:
Christ Church - 7
Oriel - 4
Balliol - 3
Brasenose - 3
LMH - 3
New - 3
The tabulation is below. Let me know of sites that might qualify and have been left out and I will reconsider and if necessary re-compute with credit to you if you want it.

College (or Hall) Fictional College
All Souls All Saints College - North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Balliol (3) Baillie College - Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, attended by two consecutive cabinet secretaries.
Scone College - Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh; Something Nasty in the Woodshed and The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery by Kyril Bonfiglioli. (King John de Balliol was crowned King of Scotland at Scone in 1292)
Biblioll College Jude the Obscure
Brasenose (3) Brazenface College - Verdant Green by Cuthbert Bede.

Lonsdale College - Inspector Morse novels and subsequent Lewis TV series filmed there.

Mayfield College - Lewis episode "Life Born of Fire”. Filmed there. Could also be Greyfriars, nearest to Mayfield Press.
Christ Church (7) Anonymous college in A Staircase in Surrey, a series of five novels by J. I. M. Stewart.


Cardinal College - A Yank at Oxford. Original name of Christ Church in 1525.
Cardinal's College - Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials 
Clapperton College - The Oxford Virus by Adam Kolczynski.

St Thomas's College - An Oxford Tragedy and The Case of the Four Friends by John Cecil Masterman. St Thomas the Martyr's Church is located near Osney. Christ Church owns the church.


Cardinal College Jude the Obscure
Wolsey College - Inspector Morse novels and Endeavour. Cardinal Wolsey founded Christ Church.
Corpus Christi  Foxe College - Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Corpus was founded by Richard Foxe. 
Exeter (3) Carlyle College - Lewis, episode "The Soul of Genius" filmed there.


Jordan College - Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials 
Plymouth College - North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Jesus St Michael's College -  Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials 
Keble (2) Baidley College - Endeavour TV series; "Home", the last episode of the first season filmed there.

Tresingham College - The Oxford Virus by Adam Kolczynski.
Lincoln Gresham College - Lewis, episode "Dark Matter". The "Invisible College", a group of Oxford scientists (including Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren) that went on to establish the Royal Society. met at Gresham College in London.
LMH (3)

Lady Matilda's College - Lewis. Based on and filmed in Lady Margaret Hall.
St Margaret's College - Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. Probably based on Lady Margaret Hall.
St Sophia's College - Based on Lady Margaret Hall. PP
Magdalen St Mary's College - Sinister Street by Compton Mackenzie. (He attended Magdalen.)
Merton (2)

Chaucer College - Lewis. Named after Geoffrey Chaucer.
Judas College - Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm.
New College (3) St Saviour's College - Inspector Morse, episode "Fat Chance" filmed there.

Wykeham College - Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Founded by William of Wykeham.

St Gerard's Hall - Lewis episode "Wild Justice"; fictional Permanent Private Hall. Filmed here, and also at SEH and Christ Church.
Oriel (4) Bartlemas College - Kate Ivory detective novels by Veronica Stallwood. Oriel's property includes St Bartholomew's Chapel.

Courtenay College - Inspector Morse TV series. Nuneham Courtenay is a village 5 miles south-east of Oxford. Nuneham House now belongs to the University.

St Ambrose's College - Tom Brown at Oxford by Thomas Hughes. Both film location and probable location of the college.

The King's College (known as "Dick's" after alleged founder Richard II) - Colonel Butler's Wolf and Our Man in Camelot by Anthony Price.
Queen’s  Queen Philippa's College - Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Queen's College was founded in honor of Queen Philippa of Hainault. 
Somerville (2)

St Jerome's College - Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton. The Reluctant Cannibals by Ian Flitcroft.
Shrewsbury College - Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night.
St Benet’s Hall

------------------------------St Catherine's
St Scholastica's College - Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials. Scholastica was the sister of St Benedict (Benet).
-------------------------------------
St Katherine's - Virginia Woolf, The Pargiters
St Peter’s 
St Mary’s College - Tony Strong, The Poison Tree.
St. Hilda’s 
Bede College - Operation Pax by Michael Innes, nom-de-plume of J. I. M. Stewart. (Bede wrote about St Hilda.)
Trinity 
Savile College - Lewis.  Under current computation rules, Gatsby doesn't count.
Wadham
Gabriel College - Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials.

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