Founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, Magdalen is arguably the most beautiful of Oxford's many colleges. In order to trick unsuspecting Oxford novices into making fools of themselves, Magdalen is pronounced "maudlin". (You may also like to know that there is a Magdalen Street in Oxford. Morrissey could easily be singing about it in Late night, Maudlin Street!)

Famous alumnii include Oscar Wilde, Dudley Moore, William Hague, and John Betjeman. Both Wilde and Betjeman have written about their time in the college (see Magdalen Walks). The film Shadowlands was filmed at Magdalen. At least one episode of Inspector Morse has also been filmed in the college.

Magdalen's Great Tower is one of Oxford's most famous landmarks. At 6am on May Morning, the College choir sings from the top of the tower, to party animals who've not been to bed and early birds alike. Another well-known feature of the college is its deer park, called "The Grove". There is one deer for each fellow of the college.

Last year I was lucky enough to have a room with a view of the Grove. The darling deer would wake me up in the middle of the night with their rustling of leaves and grass. Only once did I see a collection of men in College sweatshirts attempting to herd deer. This puts paid to the popular myth that all the dead deer in the covered market come from Magdalen grounds.

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