"its many spires"

Oxford is sometimes referred to as the “city of dreaming spires.” This phrase, referring to the many architectural spires that fill the city’s skyline, was penned by Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), a poet and former student of Balliol College.


Arnold, who later became a fellow of Oriel College, was the son of Thomas Arnold (1795-1842), the famed headmaster of Rugby School, fictionalized in the classic novel, Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857) by Thomas Hughes (1822-1896).


Interestingly, Hughes, who studied at Rugby School and Oriel College, Oxford, followed that novel with the less well known Tom Brown at Oxford (1861).