The College was founded in 1341 by Robert De Eglesfield of Cumbria. At one time students from the North West of England dominated the student community here; although today it attracts students from all background. The founder is still commemorated every year in a feast called The Needle and Thread Gaudy, in which new college members are given a needle and thread and told to be ‘thrifty’. In French, ‘needle’ is augille, and ‘thread’ is fil. Put together, these words sound like ‘Eglesfield’ – and that odd pun is the reason for the tradition!
The College is also famous for its Boar’s Head Gaudy near Christmas, when a decorated boar’s head is carried into the dining hall to commemorate a Queen’s student who once killed a wild boar with a Greek text book!
Robert De Eglesfield was chaplain to Queen Philippa, who donated money to his college – she was the ‘Queen’ it commemorates. However, the Queen whose figure stands in a stone cupola on the High Street-facing side of the college is Queen Caroline of Brunswick, wife of King George I. The exterior of the building was transformed by Baroque architect Nicholas Hawksmoor in the 18th century. Since that time the college has been renowned for its public recitals and concerts.
Address: High Street, Oxford OX1 4AW
Tel: 01865 279120