Oriel College was established under the patronage of the later deposed Plantagenet ruler, King Edward II (1284-c.1327). The king had established a college in Cambridge in 1317. He was the first monarch to establish colleges in Cambridge and Oxford, and his example was to be followed by a number of his successors.
For a period in recent years, Oriel College gained the nickname of “Toriel” among undergraduates, due to its many students involved in Conservative or Tory politics. The college also has a strong rowing tradition.
“Don,” a traditional title for university fellows or tutors, originates from a similar term used for Catholic priests, who were the first teachers at the University.