You are in the oldest part of the College. The College started here and over the years gradually spread westward. This court is mainly given over to accommodation, but also contains the Samuel Butler Room, a common room for graduate students. Alongside the Porters’ Lodge is a room containing pigeonholes where post is delivered. This gate is the main exit for those studying subjects who have lectures in the centre of town and for access to the shops. It is also a good place to bump into people, since every student visits their pigeonhole a couple of times a day.
First Court was built in 1511-20 to the south of the old Hospital of St John the Evangelist, and was designed to contain living quarters, chapel, library, hall and kitchens, a self-contained College community.
Features to notice:
- the stone carved doorway and statue of Lady Margaret in the centre of the west range. The statue was carved by Thomas Burman in 1674.
- the Chapel, forming the north range, built in 1868 to the north of the original Hospital chapel, whose foundations remain visible in the lawn. This alteration made the Court oblong instead of square and damaged its proportions.
- the classical style of the south range which was refaced in 1772-76 as part of an uncompleted scheme to remodel the whole court.
- the pointed windows in the east range, which are those of the first College library.