St John's College

The College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas White, Alderman and one time Lord Mayor of London. As a member of the Merchant Taylor’s Company he made a link between the College and the Merchant Taylor’s School and most of the College’s Fellows were students of that school. In 1573 the College bought St. Giles Field, and in the 1860s started to develop it. Over the next fifty years it grew into the suburb now called North Oxford. Famous members of the College have included Edmund Campion, William Laud, Robert Graves, Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis, and Tony Blair.

The archive only holds records created by, or illustrative of, the College. Any personal papers of College members held by the College are in the College Library. There is a great deal of records relating to the College estates, including North Oxford, some dating back before the College was founded in 1555.

The Reading Room is open to the public (usually Wednesdays and Thursdays) by appointment with the Archivist. Please give as much notice as possible as space is limited and not all times or days are possible. The Archivist aims to reply to all enquiries (preferably by letter or e-mail) as soon as possible, but it can take up to two weeks, depending on the complexity of the enquiry. The College charges no fees for access.


Archivist: Michael Riordan

Opening hours: By appointment only.

Address: St John's College, Oxford, OX1 3JP

Phone: 01865 611794



Further Reading:

WH Stevenson & HE Salter, The Early History of St. John’s College Oxford (1939)

WC Costin, The History of St. John’s College Oxford, 1598-1860 (1958)

T Hinchcliffe, North Oxford (1992)