"It rolled past the portals of Balliol and of Trinity, past the Ashmolean. "
Balliol College
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBalliol College - Credit: Peter Trimming

Balliol College, founded in 1263, is one of the oldest colleges in the University of Oxford, but in recent years, it is one of the few colleges to have abandoned the custom of formal hall. It was founded by Scottish academics, and the college holds the record among Oxford colleges for producing the most British Prime Ministers.


Trinity College, established in 1555, is next door to Balliol, and the two colleges have long had a famed rivalry. Like Balliol, Trinity also holds a connection to Scotland due to Trinity’s commitment to the Stuart line of succession. Legend holds that one college gate at Trinity is to remain permanently locked until the British throne is returned to the Stuarts; but the gate was seen to be opened in 2006 during preparations for the college ball.


Trinity College High Table
Creative Commons AttributionTrinity College High Table - Credit: Winky
However, Trinity’s connection to the Stuarts is probably less to do with their Scottish blood and more to do with their religion. Trinity was founded by Sir Thomas Pope (c.1507-1559). Pope was a Roman Catholic, and Trinity was founded in the same year as the execution of the Oxford Martyrs. The college stands near to the spot of the actual executions.


The Ashmolean Museum was once located on Broad Street, but it is now on Beaumont Street. The museum was the world’s first university museum. It was founded in the late 1600s to house the curiosities given to the university by Elias Ashmole (1617-1692), and now holds a collection of caricatures by Max Beerbohm.