Worcester College, Oxford

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Worcester College

Worcester College (pronounced /ˈwʊstər/) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. The college was founded in the eighteenth century, but its predecessor on the same site had been an institution of learning since the late thirteenth century. As of 2006, Worcester had an estimated financial endowment of £32 million.[2]

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Buildings and grounds

The buildings are diverse, especially in the main quadrangle: to the right is an imposing eighteenth century building in the neo-classical style; and to the left a row of mediæval buildings known as "the cottages", which are among the oldest residential buildings in Oxford. These cottages are the most substantial surviving part of Gloucester College, Worcester's predecessor on the same site: this was a college for Benedictine monks, founded in 1283 and dissolved with the Dissolution of the Monasteries in about 1539.

After a lapse of twenty years, the buildings of the old Gloucester College were used in the foundation of Gloucester Hall, in around 1560. In 1714, thanks to a fortunate benefaction from a Worcestershire baronet, Sir Thomas Cookes, Gloucester Hall was transformed into Worcester College. Even then, there were only sufficient funds to rebuild the Chapel, Hall and Library and the north side of the Front Quad, known as the Terrace. The designs were by Dr. George Clarke, who had consulted Nicholas Hawksmoor.

In 1736, Clarke (later Sir George) generously left to the College his great collection of books and manuscripts. These included the papers of his father William Clarke (which are of crucial importance for the history of England during the period of the Commonwealth and Protectorate) and a large proportion of the surviving drawings of Inigo Jones.

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