College Grace

Listen to the College Grace recited by Lord Butler of Brockwell (Master 1998-2008) and George Cawkwell (Fellow in Ancient History 1949-87).

Univ has what must be the longest grace of any Oxford or Cambridge College which is in regular use. Every time dinner is held in the College’s Hall, it is recited by one of the College’s Scholars in dialogue with the Master or senior Fellow present.

We do not yet know when this Grace was first used in College. All we know for sure is that, by the 1860s it was normally spoken after dinner. In October 1868, however, it was decided that this Grace would now be said before dinner, and the tradition has been maintained to this day.

Scholars were originally expected to say their part of the Grace from memory, but in 1958 the Fellows relented and allowed them to read it instead.

Queen’s College has a very similar Grace to ours, but that has long been reserved only for special occasions, and Balliol College once also had a long Grace, but this was abolished in the 19th century.