In 2021 Jesus College celebrates its 450th anniversary. This section provides information on all our upcoming events and activities throughout the year and will be updated regularly. Scroll down for our potted College History, which highlights some of the key moments in the rich life of the College over the past four-and-a-half centuries.

Timeline graphic


The College was founded in 1571 under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, making it the only Elizabethan College within the University of Oxford. It is officially known as 'Jesus College in the University of Oxford of Queen Elizabeth's Foundation', although its first benefactor was Hugh Aprice (or Price), a Welsh clergyman who had previously been educated at the University.  You can read a partial translation of the College's Foundation Charter here.

1571   Foundation of the College.

1621   Our Chapel is consecrated.

1622   The College's First Statutes are issued, 50 years after our foundation.

1648   Following the English Civil War, the College Principal and several Fellows were expelled for staying loyal to Charles I.

1661   Leoline Jenkins, arguably our greatest benefactor, is elected Principal.

1679   Completion of the Fellows' Library, still a rare and wonderful example of an almost intact 17th century library.

1691   Richard 'Beau' Nash, Master of Ceremonies at Bath, who helped turn Bath into a great centre of fashion, comes up to Jesus.

1701  Thomas Wilkins, son of an Old Member of Jesus, gives the College the Red Book of Hergest, a great repository of medieval Welsh literature which is perhaps our most precious manuscript.

1713   Completion of the Second Quad - 74 years after work had first begun on it!

1732   Sir Watkin Williamns Wynn gives the College a magnificent silver punchbowl - our grandest piece of silverware. 

1815   Jesus competes against Brasenose in the earliest recorded inter-Collegiate boat race at Oxford. We lost.

1854   The Turl Street frontage of College achieves its current appearance when its tower is added.

1855   J.R.Green, eminent historian and intellectual, comes up to Oxford.

1906   Pixley ka Isaka Seme, founder of the ANC, comes up to Oxford.

1907   T.E Lawrence comes up to Jesus. 

1908   The Leoline Jenkins Laboratories open.

1920   A sign of post-war recovery: Jesus wins Rugby Cuppers.

1934   Harold Wilson comes up to Jesus.

1940   Jesus students take to the roof of the College to keep watch for German bombers during WW2.

1970   Retirement of Fred Reeley, College servant for 70 years and Head Porter for most of that time.

1971   As part of our 400th anniversary celebrations, the Old Members Building is opened by Prince Charles.

1974   The arrival of the first women to College, as part of what was known as the 'Jesus Experiment'.

1980   The Jesus Women's First Eight goes Head of the River at Torpids -the first time any college eight has achieved this.

1998   The College goes head of the Norrington Table for the first time.

2015   Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt is appointed Principal. 

2018   Professor Patricia Daley becomes our first black female Vice Principal.

2021   We celebrate our 450th anniversary with the opening of the new Northgate building.