A permanent private hall (PPH) in the University of Oxford is an educational institution within the university. There are four permanent private halls at Oxford, three of which admit undergraduates.[1] They were founded by different Christian denominations. PPHs principally differ from colleges in the sense that the latter are governed by the fellows of the college, whereas the governance of a PPH fully or partially rests with the corresponding Christian denomination.

Students at PPHs are members of the University of Oxford and have full access to the university's facilities and activities.


Regent's Park College is the largest PPH, and admits men and women of any age. Blackfriars, and Wycliffe Hall were all male-only institutions historically, but both are now co-educational, training ordinands for their respective denominations, and also admitting students for a range of other courses of study. Campion Hall admits graduate students in Humanities and Social Science subjects, and occasionally in other disciplines.


Private halls

Main article: Private halls of the University of Oxford

The Oxford University Act 1854 and the university statute De aulis privatis (On private Halls) of 1855, allowed any Master of Arts aged at least 28 years to open a private hall after obtaining a licence to do so.[2] The longest lived of the thirteen private halls was Charsley's Hall (1862–1891).[3] Notable masters of private halls included William Edward Addis[4] and George Butler.[5]

The Universities Tests Act 1871 opened all university degrees and positions to men who were not members of the Church of England (subject to safeguards for religious instruction and worship), which made it possible for Roman Catholics and Nonconformists to open private halls. These non-Anglican private halls included Clarke's Hall (now Campion Hall), opened by the Jesuit Order in 1896, and Hunter Blair's Hall (later St Benet's Hall) opened by the Benedictine Order in 1899.[6][7]

Permanent private halls

In 1918 the university passed a statute to allow private halls which were not run for profit to become permanent private halls and the two halls took new names.[6]

In some cases, a PPH can be granted full collegiate status; recent examples include Mansfield College (became a full college in 1995) and Harris Manchester College (became a full college in 1996).

Greyfriars (1224; refounded 1910), closed in 2008.[8] St Benet's Hall started admitting women as graduates in 2014 and as undergraduates in 2016, but then closed in 2022. St Stephen's ceased to be a permanent private hall in September 2023, but continued to be an Anglican theological college.[9]

List of permanent private halls

Name Founded PPH status since Affiliation Undergraduates Graduates Visiting students Total students Undergraduate degree subjects
1221; refounded 1921 1994 Roman Catholic (Dominican) 4 39 9 52 PPE, Philosophy and Theology, Theology
Campion Hall
1896 1918 Roman Catholic (Jesuit) 0 9 0 9 -
Regent's Park College
1810 1957 Baptist Union of Great Britain 115 70 16 201 Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Classics, Classics and English, English, Geography, History, History and Politics, Law, Philosophy and Theology, PPE, Theology
Wycliffe Hall
1877 1996 Church of England (Evangelical) 77 27 55 159 Philosophy and Theology, Theology

Former permanent private halls

Name Founded PPH status from Affiliation Current status
St Peter's Hall 1929 1929 Church of England Became a new foundation 1947, full college 1961
Mansfield College 1886 1955 Nonconformist (Congregational/United Reformed Church) Became a full college 1995
Manchester College 1889 1990 Nonconformist (Unitarian) Became a full college 1996
Greyfriars 1224; refounded 1910 1957 Roman Catholic (Franciscan) Closed 2008
St Benet's Hall 1897 1918 Roman Catholic (Benedictine) Closed 2022
St Stephen's House 1876 2003 Church of England (Anglo-Catholic) Remains a theological college from 2023


  1. ^ "Permanent Private Halls". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  2. ^ Statuta Universitatis Oxoniensis [Oxford University Statutes] (in Latin). University of Oxford. 1876. pp. 275–279. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  3. ^ Christopher Hibbert (ed.), "Private halls" in The Encyclopaedia of Oxford (London: Macmillan, 1988), p. 337
  4. ^ Storey, Graham (2014). A Preface to Hopkins. Routledge. p. 194. ISBN 9781317896036. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  5. ^ Aldrich, Richard; Gordon, Peter (2016). "Butler, George (1819–1890)". Dictionary of British Educationists. Routledge. ISBN 9781317949312. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Victoria County History". british-history.ac.uk. pp. 339–340. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Victoria County History". british-history.ac.uk. pp. 340–341. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  8. ^ Macleod, Donald (24 October 2007). "Oxford religious hall closes down". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  9. ^ "St Stephen's House". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 7 June 2023. Retrieved 26 December 2022.