Despite its name, the history of New College goes back 620 years. Founded as “The College of St Mary”, it became known as “The New College of St Mary”, as it was built some 40 years later than it namesake St Mary's College (now known as Oriel College).
Its founder, William of Wykeham (ca 1320-1404) was Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, a government position equivalent to the current Prime Minister. Among his achievements were the building of St George's Chapel and much of Windsor Castle, and the financing of continuous war with France. New College was his solution to the problem of finding talented young men of humble origins and good education to serve both church and state as he had.
Today New College is known not only for its academic achievements (previous fellows include GH Hardy and Isaiah Berlin), but most certainly for its beautiful quads and gardens, its magnificent chapel and a choir of international reputation.