Mansfield College, Oxford

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Mansfield College

Mansfield College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. From the colleges that accept both undergraduate and graduate students Mansfield College is the one of the smallest, comprising of approximately 210 undergraduates, 130 graduates, 35 visiting students and 50 academic staff.



The college was originally founded in 1838 as Spring Hill College in Birmingham as a college for Nonconformist students.[1] In the late nineteenth century, although students from all religious denominations were legally entitled to attend universities, they were forbidden by statute from taking degrees unless they conformed to the Church of England.

In 1871, the Universities Tests Act abolished all religious tests for non-theological degrees at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham Universities.[2] For the first time the educational and social opportunities offered by Britain's premier institutions were open to all Nonconformists. The Prime Minister who enacted these reforms, William Ewart Gladstone, encouraged the creation of a Nonconformist college at Oxford.

Spring Hill College moved to Oxford in 1886 and was renamed Mansfield College after its greatest donors, George and Elizabeth Mansfield. It was the first Nonconformist college to open in Oxford. Initially the college accepted male students only, the first woman being admitted in 1913. The magnificent Victorian buildings, designed by Basil Champneys, were completed in 1889. In 1955, the college was granted the status of Permanent Private Hall within the University of Oxford and in 1995 a Royal Charter was awarded giving the institution full college status.

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