|Wadham College was founded by Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham from Somerset. Nicholas Wadham died in 1609 leaving his fortune to endow a college at Oxford so the work fell to his widow who negotiated the purchase of the site and drew up the college statutes. The college is built on the site of old orchards north of the city walls where Parks Road meets Holywell Street.
Previously this was the site of the church of the Austin Friars but this had disappeared in the seventy years between the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the foundation of the college. She chose William Arnold as her architect and the main quadrangle has not changed much from his design. Arnold built in the Gothic style which was traditional for Oxford colleges, but added Renaissance decorative features to it. The design of the Front Quad is almost symmetrical with buildings three storeys high either side of the fan vaulted central gate tower. This tower was originally the warden’s Lodgings. The skyline is made up of gables and tall chimney stacks. The Headington ashlar stonework was renewed between 1957 and 1964, restoring the original freshness of the building.