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All Souls College, Oxford

All Souls College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

All Souls is an oddity, in that it has no students, consisting entirely of Fellows, i.e. academics who are full governing members of the College.

Every year, the top finalists of the University are invited to sit the examination for fellowship of the College. About two are elected to fellowship each year. Fellowship of All Souls is thus regarded as one of the highest academic honours in the United Kingdom.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Customs
3 Fellows
4 Official Website


The College of All Souls of the Faithful Departed, of Oxford, was founded by Henry VI of England and Henry Chichele (fellow of New College and Archbishop of Canterbury), in 1438. The Statutes provided for the Warden and forty fellows - all to take Holy Orders; twenty-four to study arts, philosophy and theology; and sixteen to study civil or canon law. Today the College is primarily an academic research institution.


Every hundred years there is a commemorative feast after which the fellows parade around the College with flaming torches, singing the Mallard song1 and led by a "Lord Mallard" who is carried in a chair, in search of a fictional giant mallard that supposedly flew out of the foundations of the college when it was being built. The last mallard ceremony was in 2001 and the next will be held in 2101.

1 Chorus: Hough the bloud of King Edward, By ye bloud of King Edward, It was a swapping, swapping mallard!


Official Website