"an Oriel don"
Oriel College
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeOriel College - Credit: Nigel Cox

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.


Oriel College was founded in 1324. It is now considered to be the oldest royal foundation in Oxford. It is located in Oriel Square, near Christ Church, Corpus Christi, and Merton.


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.