This study, which uses some material which was not previously available, covers the history of Balliol College which has existed as a community of scholars on its present site since 1263, making it the oldest college in either Oxford or Cambridge.; In the early 19th century it introduced a competitive entrance examination, the first college to do so, becoming an influence in Victorian and Edwardian times.
Its history is traced from its foundation and particular emphasis is placed on the 19th and early 20th centuries.; Better-known members of the college include poets and writers (Matthew Arnold, Gerard Manley Hopkins, A.H. Clough, Grahame Greene, Anthony Powell and Robert Browning), heads of government (Prime Ministers Asquith, Macmillan and Heath), heads of state (HM King Olav of Norway, Dr Richard von Weizsacker.; Religious leaders are also noted and include Archbishops Tait, Temple and Lang; Cardinals Manning and Heard; Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie; and Shogi Effendi) as well as other distinguished figures.