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Pocket Guide: Oxford City Centre Balliol College Hotels

Oxfordshire is one of England's most attractive counties. Situated in the southeast of the country, it is a varied landscape of green fields and snaking rivers, and its proximity to London has always made it a popular holiday destination. Oxford itself is packed with attractions, not least of which are its ancient colleges, and Balliol is one of the most fascinating of these.

Balliol Women's Rights from Oxfordshire Hotels

Balliol College has the distinction of being one of the first major colleges in the United Kingdom to create opportunities for female students in the academic sphere. In a male-dominated society, women were allowed to come to Balliol and attend classes, the only stipulation being that 'some elder person' came along with them! At the time this was a pretty revolutionary step and helped pave the way for the later general emancipation of women.

Oxfordshire Hotels for Balliol History

Balliol College derives its name from a supporter of Henry III during the Baron's War of the 13th Century. The Bishop of Durham helped John Balliol establish a house for impoverished students in Oxford in 1260, and when he died nine years later his widow established the house as a college named after him. Balliol College started out with just 16 students registered there, each provided with eight pence per week allowance, and for several centuries it remained a small college. It does have several claims to fame during the medieval period, however, such as John Wycliffe the great church reformer being its Master in 1360.

When the English Civil War came along, Balliol College saw reduced enrolment and slid into debt, eventually lending all its valuable silver plate collection to the king in a bid for royal favour, although the loan was never repaid. Its fortunes only turned when property it owned in Northumberland was discovered to be sitting on a rich coal seam just in time for the Industrial Revolution.

When you visit Balliol College from your Oxfordshire hotel, such as the splendid Victoria House Hotel or Malmaison Oxford, be aware that you'll have to pay a small admission charge inside the main gate.