Brasenose College

Brasenose College

Radcliffe Square 01865 277830
Members of the public can usually visit the College in the afternoons, except at the weekends, when public access is normally permitted from 9.30am - 10.30am. There is an entrance charge of £2.00. Visitors should report to the Lodge at the main gate where they will receive a map and information about the College. For exact opening times and further information contact the Lodge at 01865 277830.

The college, which dates from the 16th century, gets its name from the unusual bronze door knocker which is shaped like an animal's snout, which now hangs above the high table in the dining hall.

Famous Attendees:
William Golding - author of Lord of the Flies
John Buchan - author of The Thirty-Nine Steps
Michael Palin - Monty Python
Jeffrey Archer - author
David Cameron - Prime Minister
Henry Addington - Prime Minister
Robert Runcie - Archbishop of Canterbury

Notable Facts:

  • The original door knocker dates back to the 11th century, and was stolen by students from Lincolnshire in 1334. It was only returned to Brasenose in 1890 when the college bought the whole of the thieving school just to reacquire the door knocker.

  • One of the college principals' claim to fame was 'inventing' bottled beer. Alexander Nowell would bottle his beer for fishing trips, and once buried a bottle to keep it cool - which was fizzy when he dug it up.

Brasenose Doorknocker

Fictional Brasenose:

  • Brasenose College is featured as Lonsdale College in the Inspector Morse novels and television adaptations. It appears both as Brazenface College and under its own name in Cuthbert Bede's 19th century comic novel Verdant Green, an Oxford Freshman.

  • In The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch by Terry Pratchett a reference is made to "those bastards over at Braseneck College", probably a parody of Brasenose.

  • Thomas Love Peacock in his novel 'Crotchet Castle' (1831) has one of his characters say: 'the Friar is gone, and his learning with him. Nothing of him is left but the immortal nose, which, when his brazen head had tumbled to pieces, crying "Time's Past," was the only palpable fragment among its minutely pulverised atoms, and which is still resplendent over the portals of its cognominal college. That nose, sir, is the only thing to which I shall take off my hat, in all this Babylon of buried literature.'

  • Parts of Doomsday Book (novel) by Connie Willis take place in a not-too-distant Brasenose College.