Magdalen Hall and MCS

Magdalen College shares historical links with two other institutions: Magdalen Hall and Magdalen College School (MCS).

The original Magdalen Hall was established by our founder, William Waynflete (c. 1398-1486), and was located further up the High Street. Following its suppression in 1458, a second Magdalen Hall developed out of a 16th-century grammar school on a site next door to Magdalen College, on what is now St Swithun’s Quad. In the early 1820s, it moved again to a site on Catte Street, opposite the Bodleian Library, and in 1874 it was refounded as Hertford College, which name it still bears today.

Magdalen College School, Oxford, began life in the 15th century, educating the choristers of Magdalen College, who were members of the College’s foundation. The School is now an entirely separate institution, located just across the river, although it still educates the College’s choristers.

Before you contact Magdalen College Archives with an enquiry, especially about a former undergraduate, please double check first whether your query relates to Magdalen College or instead to Magdalen Hall or Magdalen College School.

Further information, including details as to what records relating to Magdalen Hall and MCS the Magdalen Archives do contain, can be found in the sections below.

Full details about the Magdalen College School (Oxford) archives, including an online catalogue, can be found on the MCS website. The School’s heritage collections include:

  • School copies of core administrative records from the 1960s
  • Student admission registers, form lists and school diaries
  • Photographs from 1860 – formal and candid
  • Programmes from school events, school and student publications
  • Ephemera: letters, reminiscences, oral histories
  • Old Waynfletes’ (alumni) personal papers and effects
  • Antiquarian books
  • Objects: sporting trophies, uniform, school equipment
  • Works of art

For more information or to make an appointment to consult the collections held at MCS, please contact:

Magdalen College Archive also holds various records relating to the three Magdalen College Schools, but particularly Magdalen College School in Oxford, which was based for several centuries on the College’s own site (see below).

To access those papers, please contact Magdalen College Archives:

The first Magdalen Hall was founded by William Waynflete ten years before Magdalen College, and was sited in the High Street. This foundation was suppressed when Magdalen College was founded in 1458. For deeds in the College Archives relating to this institution, see Misc. 372 (1448), Misc. 407/1–2 (1450), Misc. 436 (1454), and Misc. 208 (1455).

A second Magdalen Hall developed out of a grammar school in the 16th century. The buildings occupied part of the College site, forming part of the Grammar Hall complex of buildings. The site was separated from Magdalen College by a wall. This Magdalen Hall was one of the many halls of residence that grew up in Oxford, originally in this case for boarding pupils of the grammar school. The earliest Principals were Fellows of Magdalen, and the Hall was treated as a type of charitable institution, paying a low rent of 40 shillings. The Hall flourished and at one time had 300 members, far more than the College. It was eventually moved to a site on Catte Street, and in 1874 merged with the revived Hart Hall to form Hertford College.

The Archives of Magdalen College do not contain any records of members of Magdalen Hall: these records probably perished in the fire that swept through the Magdalen Hall buildings in 1820. There are, however, a number of documents which record transactions or disputes between the two foundations.

Hertford College holds records of Magdalen Hall from 1847 until the merger of 1874, and the names of earlier members can be obtained from Foster’s Alumni Oxonienses. The Archivist of Hertford College, Dr Lucy Rutherford, can be contacted at

Magdalen College Choir, 1925 (CR/1/5)