Nicholas Wadham died in 1609 leaving his fortune towards the endowment of an Oxford college. The design and implementation of this vague intention fell to his wife Dorothy, a diligent septuagenarian. In a period of only four years, she gained royal and ecclesiastical support for the new college, negotiated the purchase of a site, drew up the college statutes, and appointed the first warden, fellows, scholars, and cook. Although she never visited Oxford, she kept tight control of her new college and its finances until her death in 1618.
Although it is one of the youngest of the historic colleges, Wadham has some of the oldest and best preserved buildings, a result of the rash of rebuilding that occurred throughout Oxford during the 17th century. Wadham's front quad, which served as almost the entire college until the mid-20th century, is the first example of the "Jacobean Gothic" style that was imitated at University and Oriel Colleges. A dramatic expansion since 1952 has made use of a range of 17th and 18th century houses, a converted warehouse originally built to store bibles, and several modern buildings. It also includes the Holywell Music Room, the oldest such building in Europe.
Under the original statutes, women were forbidden from entering the college, with the exception of a laundress who was to be of 'such age, condition, and reputation as to be above suspicion.' These rules were relaxed over the years, and in 1974 they were altered to allow for the admission of women as full members of college at all levels. In fact, Wadham was the first historically all-male college to have a female student. Perhaps related to this fact, the Wadham student body has for the last four decades been a hotbed of radical political activism.
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2 Famous Wardens and Fellows
3 External Link
Famous Former Students
Famous Wardens and Fellows