The Queen's College, founded 1341, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Queen's is centrally situated on the High Street, and is renowned for its eighteenth-century architecture. The college had an estimated financial endowment of £131m as of 2006.
The College was founded during the 14th century by the chaplain, Robert de Eglesfield (d'Eglesfield), of Queen Philippa of Hainault, wife of King Edward III of England; hence its name. It should be noted that whilst the name of Queens' College, Cambridge is plural, the Oxford college is singular, and must be written with the definite article. The College's coat of arms is that of the original Chaplain; it differs slightly from his family's coat of arms, which did not include the gold star on the breast of the first eagle. The current coat of arms was adopted by d'Eglesfield because he was unable to use his family's arms, being the younger son. The magnificent frontage was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, part of a substantial rebuilding in the 18th century during which the impressive library was built. The mediaeval foundations, however, remain beneath the current eighteenth-century structure. Queen's is notable for the beautifully clean, classical lines of its buildings, unique among the largely gothic constructions that predominate amongst Oxford colleges.
The College has had a long association with the north of England, in part because of its founder; Eglesfield is a village in Cumberland. This connection was reinforced for many years until relatively recently by the large number of Hastings Scholarships given to men from 20 schools in Yorkshire, Westmorland and Cumberland. Graduate students from the universities of Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, or York are still able to apply for Hastings Senior Scholarships. One of the most famous feasts of the College is the Boar's Head Gaudy, which originally was the Christmas Dinner for members of the College who were unable to return home to the north of England over the Christmas break between terms, but is now a feast for old members of the College on the Saturday before Christmas.
The Queen's College has one of the best-stocked college libraries in Oxford. The current lending library consists of around 50,000 volumes. Extensive provision is made for Final Honour Schools, often through the purchase of multiple copies of titles in high demand. There is also an excellent range of journals and a large and an ever-increasing number of on-line resources.
The Upper Library is considered one of the finest rooms in Oxford and has been a focal point for the College ever since its construction at the end of the seventeenth century. The Upper Library remains as a reading room for students and is virtually unique in this respect in the University.
The College has one of the largest (around 100,000 volumes) and most diverse collections of rare books in Oxford.
The Chapel is one of Oxford's most notable buildings and its fabric has stood virtually unchanged since it was consecrated by the Archbishop of York in 1719.
The Chapel has a significant place in College life. Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday morning and at other times and is open to all communicant members of any Christian church or denomination. The Sunday evening service takes the traditional form of Choral Evensong, which is also held on Wednesday and Friday evenings during term. Morning and evening prayer is said daily, and at other times some like to use the stillness for their own prayer. Baptisms, confirmations, and weddings are also conducted for members or former members of the College. The religious life of the College is both lively and stimulating during term-time.
Queen's is an active community performing strongly in intercollegiate sport competitions, having a variety of societies and, as one of the larger colleges, hosting triennial Commemoration balls. The 2004 ball was notable for the presence of Chesney Hawkes and his rendition of "The One and Only", while the 2007 ball coincided with the 666th anniversary of the college. Queen's is host to a number of dining, drinking and sports societies as well as some which are more academically orientated such as a medical society.
The College's sports facilities are among the best in Oxford. The College playing field, less than a mile from the main buildings, runs down to the banks of the Isis (which is what the Thames is called as it flows through Oxford): It has a football and a hockey pitch, together with hard and grass tennis courts, a netball court and a pavilion. Queen's College shares a rugby pitch nearby with University College. In the summer the goal posts go down and a cricket square appears in the middle.
On the opposite bank of the river is a modern and well-equipped boathouse, which contains a mini-gym for rowers. The College's two squash courts, located at the College's Cardo Building, are amongst the best in Oxford .
The College has a designated table tennis room in College for which a new table has just been purchased. The University clubs, free to all members of Queen's, supports sports from golf, fencing, and boxing, to karate and hillwalking.
Queen's attracts many talented sportsmen and women, some of which are selected to represent the University against Cambridge (thus winning a Blue or Half-Blue). All others can compete at inter-collegiate level in various leagues and cup competitions.
In the summer, cricket is played at the sports ground and attracts a large and varied crowd of onlookers.
A sports day that includes a bouncy castle and barbecue is often held towards the end of summer term, after exams have finished. There is also a joint sports event - 'Us v Them' - with Teddy Hall, neighbours to Queen's. Friendly rivalry is evident, especially in the Tug of War event.
The Queen's College competes strongly in most of the intercollegiate Cuppers (tournament style) and league sports with many first teams placed in the 1st division. In 2005 the 1st XI football team won the league competition and netball has been especially strong .
The College is notable for having one of the oldest boat clubs in the world. In 1837, The Queen's College Boat Club represented Oxford in the third Boat Race against Lady Margaret Boat Club, representing Cambridge, and won. This event, held on the River Thames at Henley-on-Thames, is credited with leading to support from the town for the establishment of the Henley Royal Regatta, one of the most famous rowing events in the world, in 1839 . Rowing is still a major sport in the College, with the men placed 12th in Torpids and 14th in Eights and the women 4th in Torpids and 20th in Eights.
In 2005, in addition to two Blues in women's rowing, 11 other members of the college were awarded a Blue and 11 were awarded Half Blues.
The Queen's College is well known in and beyond Oxford for the quality and quantity of its musical activities. The mixed-voice Chapel Choir is widely regarded as the finest such choir in Oxford. It is condcuted by the Organist and Praelector in Music, Dr. Owen Rees, a noted scholar of Iberian polyphony, and occasional services are conducted by the Organ Scholars, Charlotte Phillips and Benedict Lewis-Smith. The singers include Choral Scholars (up to eighteen at any one time) and volunteers, but rigorous auditions ensure that a strictly high standard is maintained at all times, making the choir equal to those at the all-male Foundations. The Choir sings Evensong three times a week during term, and performs one one major concert each term, often with a noted orchestral ensemble; most recently, the choir performed Bach's B Minor Mass with the London Handel Orchestra, to glowing reviews. The choir also undertakes regular tours and short visits both within this country and abroad. The Eglesfield Musical Society, named after the Founder (and the oldest musical society in Oxford), organizes a substantial series of concerts each year, ranging from chamber music to orchestral works. These concerts provide abundant performing and conducting opportunities for the College's many musicians, as well as featuring visiting artists. There are weekly lunchtime organ recitals in College (the College organ - built by the Danish firm of Frobenius in 1965 - is one of the finest in the country ), including, during 2000, a prestigious series featuring the complete organ works of Bach, to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer's death.
Jazz and popular music also have regular adherents. Facilities for individual and group rehearsal are available in the Music Practice Room. In addition to the organ, the chapel contains a concert grand piano and a fine harpsichord, and is acoustically one of the best chapels in Oxford for musical performance.
Notable former students of the college include: