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Oxford is fairly brimming over with historic cities and villages, cultural treasures and some of the best theme parks and stately homes in the country. The great colleges of Oxford University are particularly interesting, and when you come to Oxford and stay at one of the city's numerous hotels or guesthouses you'll be within easy walking distance of these often-ancient seats of learning. Brasenose College is a fine example of one of these distinguished old buildings.
Brasenose College was founded in 1509 by the Bishop of Lincoln on the site of an older hall. The college's unusual name probably derives from a lion-faced brass knocker of the 12th Century that was affixed to the old hall. This original 'brazen nose' was basically stolen from the hall by a group of students and dons in 1333 and removed to Stamford, where their idea was to found another rival university. Remarkably, it was recovered centuries later in 1890, when Brasenose College purchased the building which had acquired it.
The attractive Old Quadrangle in the centre of Brasenose was built in 1509, with the outer battlements and gables added later. During the 1650s Interregnum a library and chapel were added, and a New Quadrangle constructed in the late 1880s.
Brasenose College has a cosy and even intimate atmosphere, which you'll certainly feel when you pay a visit from a local Oxfordshire hotel such as the Old Bank Hotel or The Buttery. The entrance is on Radcliffe Square, and to get in to the main part of the college you pass through a strong gate tower which takes you directly into the Old Quadrangle. The big sundial on the north wall is of particular interest, and over the high table in the main hall you can see the original 12th century Brazen Nose itself.
Other attractions which you can view on a visit to Brasenose from your Oxfordshire hotel include the magnificent stained glass in the chapel's west window, and the 15th century chapel roof, which conceals a plaster fan vault.