Balliol College has existed as a community of scholars on its present site without interruption since about 1263. By this token it is the oldest College in Oxford or Cambridge. Balliol men were prominent in the collection of humanist literature in the fifteenth century, and the College was notorious in the century after that for adherence to Rome. Even the relative obscurity of the next two hundred years was occasionally illuminated by famous members such as John Evelyn the diarist (1620-1706) and James Stirling the mathematician (1692-1770). Balliol blazed the trail in the early nineteenth century by introducing a competitive entrance examination, becoming a dominant influence throughout the British Empire in Victorian and Edwardian times. The College's sometime members include many poets and men of letters, heads of government, heads of state, and religious leaders. The first edition (1988) which used much fresh material and was revisionist in its conclusions, ended with the outbreak of war in 1939. The second edition included new detail throughout, a greatly increased number of illustrations, and it brought coverage up to 1996 in an extended Epilogue.
The revised second edition has been brought up to 2004 in the extended Epilogue.
John Jones was admitted to Balliol as a Commoner in 1961. He was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship in Biological Science in 1966 and has been Official Fellow and Tutor in Organic Chemistry, and Archivist since 1968 and 1981 respectively. Dean 1972-2002, he has been Vice-Master since 2002. His other publications include The Chemical Synthesis of Peptides (OUP, 1991).
1. The Foundation of the College ; 2. Constitutional Change and Expansion in the Fourteenth Century ; 3. The Early Members ; 4. The Fifteenth Century ; 5. Bishop Fox's Statutes ; 6. The Second Chapel and the Reformation ; 7. Elizabethan Balliol: College Life and Administration ; 8. 'Suspicion of Papistrie' ; 9. The Early Seventeenth Century ; 10. The Civil War and Interregnum ; 11. Penury and Recovery 1660-1720 ; 12. People, Life, and Times 1675-1725 ; 13. The Mastership of Theophilus Leigh ; 14. From Obscurity to Pre-eminence 1785-1854 ; 15. On the Crest of a Wave: Jowett's Balliol ; 16. Effortless Superiority 1893-1914 ; 17. The Great War ; 18. Balliol between the Wars ; Epilogue ; Appendices ; Plans of the College Sites and Buildings ; Index