Hertford College

Hertford College is the successor of two medieval halls of the University of Oxford - Hart Hall and Magdalen Hall (not to be confused with Magdalen College), and a previous ‘Hertford College’ which existed from 1740-1818. Hart Hall was originally established around the 1280s as an academic hall for students studying at the University. It carried on in this form until 1740 when Principal Richard Newton re-formed Hart Hall as an independent College. This first Hertford College was not successful and closed in 1818. In 1822 Magdalen Hall, another independent academic hall, moved to the site of the old college. Magdalen Hall remained until 1874 until reconstituted by Act of Parliament as Hertford College.

The new college occupied the site of its medieval predecessor, Hart Hall. By the 1920s the College had substantially remodelled and expanded its buildings under the guidance of architect Sir Thomas Jackson, who designed the famous bridge over New College Lane which connects the Old and New Quads. Notable alumni include William Tyndale and John Donne who were members of Hart Hall, Thomas Hobbes who was at Magdalen Hall and Evelyn Waugh who matriculated at Hertford College in 1922.

The College archives have no records prior to the 17th century. The collection consists of:

  • Records of Hart Hall 1716-1820: Governance records and statutes, library catalogues
  • Records of Magdalen Hall 1661-1874: Governance records, Admissions registers (1849-1874), library catalogues,  Buttery Books (1661-1874)
  • Records of Hertford College 1874 onwards: administrative, financial & fabric records of Hertford College from 1874 onwards, personal papers of former Hertford College staff and students, records of student life and societies, prints, engravings & photographs

The Library which formerly belonged to Magdalen Hall is still kept at Hertford College. Please note that whilst we can supply details of former students’ academic histories, the archives contain very little further biographical information about individuals.


Archivist: Dr Lucy Rutherford

Opening Hours: Mondays to Thursday, 9am-1pm (by prior appointment only)

Address: Hertford College, Catte St, Oxford, OX1 3BW

Phone: 01865 279409

E-mail: archives@hertford.ox.ac.uk

Web: https://www.hertford.ox.ac.uk/hertford-college-archives

Further Reading:

Andrew Goudie (Ed), Seven Hundred Years of an Oxford College (Hertford College, 1284-1984), (Hertford College, Oxford, 1992)

The Victoria County History, Oxfordshire, Vol III, pp 309-319 [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol3/pp309-319]

Adrian Hyland Lawes, Report on the Muniments of Hertford College, Oxford, 18th-20th Century (Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1985)