New College entrance (between former Nos. 86 and 87)

New College tower

Part of a Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1300697. (The tower is jointly listed with Scott’s block to the west and Basil Champneys’ block to the east.)

The 1772 Survey of Oxford lists a gateway measuring in width 4 yards 1 ft 3 in between the houses numbered 86 and 87 Holywell Street. This was the back entrance to the college, which then lay in its entirety to the south of the city wall.

In 1896–7 Champneys built the Robinson Tower in Clipsham Stone over this Holywell entrance, and fitted in an extra two staircases on the right to join up with Scott’s new buildings to the west. The tower was named in memory of Alfred Robinson, Bursar of New College, who had died in 1895.

Inscription on Robinson's Tower

Above: The inscription over the entrance inside Robinson's Tower reads: “Ad diuturnam memoriam Alfredi Robinson AM huius Collegii Columinis haec Turris aedificata est AD MDXCCXCVIII” (To the lasting memory of Alfred Robinson, MA, Pillar of this College, this Tower was built in AD 1898”).

Below: Robinson's Tower from inside New College:

Robinson Tower from New College

Holywell home

© Stephanie Jenkins

Oxford History home