St Peter's College, Oxford

St Peter's College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford and is located in New Inn Hall Street, Oxford, United Kingdom. It occupies the site of two of the university's medieval halls, dating back to at least the 14th century. The modern college was founded by Francis James Chavasse, former Bishop of Liverpool, opened as St Peter's Hall in 1929, and achieved full collegiate status as St Peter's College in 1961. Founded as a men's college, it has been coeducational since 1979.[2]

St Peter's College
St Peter's College from New Inn Hall Street
Blazon: Per pale vert and argent, to the dexter two keys in saltire or surmounted by a triple towered castle argent masoned sable and on the sinister a cross gules surmounted by a mitre or between four martlets sable, the whole within a bordure or.
LocationNew Inn Hall Street
Coordinates51.752762°N 1.260721°W / 51.752762; -1.260721
Latin nameCollegium Sancti Petri-le-Bailey
Established1929 (attained full college status in 1961)
Named forSaint Peter
Previous namesSt Peter's Hall (1929–1961)
Sister collegeNone
MasterJudith Buchanan
Undergraduates342[1] (2011/2012)
Boat clubBoatclub
Location in Oxford city centre

As of 2018, the college had an estimated financial endowment of £44.6 million.[3]


St Peter's occupies the site of two of the university's medieval halls or hostels for students: Trilleck's Inn, later New Inn Hall, and Rose Hall. Trillecks' Inn was founded in the 14th century by Bishop Trilleck and, as New Inn Hall, merged into Balliol College in 1887. Rose Hall was given to New College by William of Wykeham. New College finally sold the site to the rector of St Peter-le-Bailey in 1859 and 1868 as a site for a new church, now the college chapel.[4]

The history of the college in its present form began in 1923 when Francis James Chavasse, former Bishop of Liverpool, returned to Oxford. He was concerned at the rising cost of education in the older universities in Britain, and projected St Peter's as a college where promising students, who might otherwise be deterred by the costs of college life, could obtain an Oxford education. In 1928 St Peter's Hall opened as a hostel with 13 residents.[5] In 1929 it was recognized by the university as a Permanent Private Hall and in 1947 as a New Foundation.[4]

In 1961, the university approved a statute giving St Peter's Hall full collegiate status. With the granting of its royal charter in the same year, it took the name St Peter's College.

The colours of the college are green and gold.


St Peter's has a varied set of buildings, many of them much older than the college itself. The college has, in effect, adapted existing buildings to provide the collective facilities needed for college life, and built new ones to provide student accommodation.

Older buildings

Linton House, a Georgian rectory dating from 1797, is the entrance to the college and houses the porters' lodge and college library. Canal House, the master's lodge, dates from the early 19th century.

The college chapel was originally the Church of St Peter-le-Bailey, built in 1874, and the third church of that name on or close to the site. The chapel is filled with memorials to members of the Chavasse family, including Captain Noel Chavasse's original grave cross, the Chavasse memorial window and a large bas-relief of Bishop Francis Chavasse at prayer.[6]

The college dining hall, known as Hannington Hall after the Victorian missionary Bishop James Hannington, dates from 1832 and is the only surviving part of New Inn Hall. The Chavasse Building, formerly the Central Girls' School, which adjoins the original site of the college, was acquired more recently and provides living accommodation for students, seminar rooms, a Middle Common Room (MCR) for postgraduates, and a music room.


The college has four quads: Linton Quad (the main quad), Mulberry Quad, Hannington Quad and Chavasse Quad. On site, students are housed in the modern New Block, the Chavasse building, Staircase IV, the Matthews block (this latter building also housing a spacious JCR and student-run bar) and the Morris Building. Fellows and college staff occupy rooms mostly in Staircases I-IV and the Latner building.

In 2018 the new Hubert Perrodo Building was completed offering further on-site accommodation and conference spaces.

St Peter's also has a few off-site accommodation blocks for students, a few minutes away from the main college site. St Thomas' Street and St George's Gate house undergraduates, while Paradise Street (which was officially opened in June 2008) houses postgraduates and fourth-year undergraduates.

Student life

The student-run Junior Common Room organises a wide variety of social events throughout the academic year, ranging from formal events to celebrate such things as Burns Night (complete with haggis and poetry) to creatively themed parties that run into the early hours of the morning. The college is one of the few to feature its own student-edited arts magazine, Misc, which is published termly.


The college has sports teams competing in rowing, cricket, football, table football and rugby. It shares with Exeter and Hertford Colleges a sports field which has two cricket pitches and pavilions, two rugby and football pitches, a hockey pitch, tennis courts and a squash court.[7]

Rowing is a popular sport: the college boat club, St Peter's College Boat Club, competes regularly. The club shares a boathouse with Somerville College Boat Club, University College Boat Club and Wolfson College Boat Club. The club has had a number of successes in recent years.

Railway engine

Taking the original name of the college, GWR 6959 Class steam locomotive no. 7900 was built in 1949 for British Railways and named "Saint Peter's Hall" (no abbreviation). One of the brass nameplates from the now-scrapped locomotive survives in the college.

People associated with the college



Notable alumni


  1. "Undergraduate numbers by college 2011–12". University of Oxford.
  2. "College History |". Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  3. "St Peter's College University of Oxford : Annual Report & Financial Statements : For the year ended 31 July 2018" (PDF). p. 27. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  4. "A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3: The University of Oxford". British History Online. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  5. Chavasse, Christopher (8 November 1930). "St Peter's Hall, Oxford". The Times: 8. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  7. Sports – St Peter's College, University of Oxford Archived 9 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Obituary". The Times. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  9. "Professor Judith Buchanan elected next Master of St Peter's College". St Peter’s College, Oxford. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  10. Profile – Robert Hanson in The Yorkshire Post dated 29 March 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2017
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