About Brasenose College, University of Oxford

Monday, August 31, 2015

The University of Oxford is made up of a handful of colleges -- actually, maybe two handfuls.  That is to say, a grand total of 44 colleges comprise the university as a whole.  Our college is Brasenose, which means Joe's classes are at Brasenose, we live at Brasenose, we eat at Brasenose, etc.  Brasenose is very beautiful, but then again so are all of Oxford's colleges.  

Brasenose was founded by a lawyer, so maybe that's why we're here?  Who knows.  I do know that at one point, the college had the reputation of being the wealthiest Oxford college and I can say with certainty that that is not why we are here.  There is also a legend about the devil coming to Brasenose to claim souls, so hopefully that is not why we are here, either.  And there's also a well-known story about a young woman being brutally murdered at Brasenose in the 1800s, but I'm not going to get into that.... instead, I will talk about how fun, magical, and safe this place is!  Because it is all of those things.

Oh, but before I get into that, I will mention two noteworthy items about the college's name: (1) I cannot, for the life of me, pronounce it correctly.  I pronounce it like it's a German word.  And it is not a German word.  I have asked Joe 100 times, "How do you pronounce the name of this place?"   and yet, for the life of me, I only see/hear/say it in German.  In any case, the correct pronunciation (I just double-checked with Joe) is Braze-nose.  Braze-nose.  Got it.  (2) The story behind the name is interesting; it's said to have derived from the words "brass" and "nose."  The story that often accompanies this explanation is also interesting; in the 1330s, a group of rebellious Oxford students left Oxford and made it to Stamford in Lincolnshire before the king ordered them to return.  500 years later, a house in Stamford went up for sale -- a house with an ancient door knocker (an animal with a brass nose) that was believed to have been installed in the 1300s.  Convinced that the rebellious young men had stolen the door knocker from Brasenose College in 1330, the college bought the house in Stamford for the sole purpose of removing the door knocker and returning it to its 'rightful owner' (believed to be the college itself).  It has hung in the dining hall above the High Table ever since (where we eat our breakfast and dinners -- I"ll try to remember to get a picture of it).  And now, 'noses' are symbolic to Brasenose students for that very reason.

Now I'm too tired to talk about how fun, magical, and safe this place is, so I will just let these photos speak for themselves.

P.S. I drank yet another cup of coffee today.  What is happening to me??!  Jet lag, that's what.  Although does it count if it's just a chai latte?  (I know nothing.)
Janie said...

But a chai latte is not coffee! Unless maybe was it a dirty chai? (A chai with an espresso shot? AKA my favorite guilty pleasure drink in Alaska) I bet you had such a wonderful time living there. There are so many times I've said "I wish it was like this in the U.S." since moving here. And one of the main reasons I say that is bc of how safe it is. Or at least how safe everyone keeps telling me it is. (I also love the recycling situation in Germany. People have hardly any trash once everything is composted/recycled!)

Jan said...

Cool story about the brass nose!! Love the pics.

Jenni Austria Germany said...


To me, all caffeinated beverages are coffee. Is Coke coffee??

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