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What is a “Quad”?

4th February 2015

What is a “Quad”? Whenever people talk about Oxford or Cambridge colleges, they always seem to mention “quads”.  While many American universities also have quads, they tend to be wide open spaces with trees and widely spread buildings. At Oxford and Cambridge, where the cities developed around the medieval universities, buildings tended to be smaller – colleges were privately owned and governed, and many grew from very humble beginnings.  A quad at Oxford or Cambridge is a green square or rectangular space enclosed by two or sometimes three storey college buildings, with perhaps the college chapel or dining hall on one side.  The oldest quad at Oxford is supposed to be the Mob Quad at Merton College (Corpus Christi in Cambridge disputes this, claiming that its Old Court, started in the 1350’s is older) Image with thanks to Wikipedia.

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