Oxford University of Magic
College Reals de l’occulte d’ Oxenforde
The Oxford University of Magic was founded in 1142, making it one of the oldest seats of magical scholarship in the Western World. It’s alleged Royal Charter, and certainly, its vast wealth derives from the treasures given by Empress Matilda in payment for witchards using magic to help her to escape from Oxford castle when besieged there by King Stephen in that same year.
The College remained an institution of magical learning and instruction through to 1542 when the passing of The Witchcraft Act caused it to drop its claims to any royal affiliation, and go underground. From then it continued to teach magic in secret. Classrooms accessed by passing through the gaps in the railings, or the cracks between the paving stones. Hidden beneath Oxford’s gleaming spires, The College prospered and followed its ancient traditions for a further three hundred and thirty-three years. But on May 1st 1875 the entire conflux disappeared. Resisting all attempts to contact or divine its whereabouts, the College, its faculty, and its students were not seen again, a mystery that many sought to unlock, but none succeeded.
But one month ago the College returned. The sudden reappearance caused much excitement across the magical world. This excitement grew, even more, when they announced they had discovered the location of the Grove of The First Spell – one of the fundamental secrets of magic. The faculty of The Oxford University of Magic have invited representatives of the Witchard society – academics first and foremost, but other thinkers as well – to the Conclave of Witchards, Sorcerers and Spellcasters. This was once an annual event, but it has not taken place since the disappearance.
For the faculty and students of OUM hardly any time has passed, it is still 1875 and their knowledge of history, culture, and magic is almost 150 years out of time. Their clothing and manners may be Victorian, but these are still Witchards and their attitudes to race, identity, gender, and sexuality are unaffected by the time shift. Many dress in the fashions of their day, but a few have adopted some choices from the modern world.
What remains most important to OUM though are the traditions of the university, stretching back to the 12th century, from lavish and complicated toasts to clapping the faculty to the high table, these rituals have a magic all of their own and the past must not be lost.
“Each formal dinner begins with the guests and students standing up behind their chairs. When the Mystery, Senior Members of the College, and their esteemed guests enter the room, everyone begins a slow handclap and mark time as the top table make their way of their seats. This is followed by a short ritual, led by the Proctor, which protects all those who feast within the hall from witch hunters, faeries, and the bloody flux. “
The mascot animal for the Oxford University of Magic is the Minotaur. Whilst the city of Oxford takes its name from a point at which cattle were able to cross the River, the magical university claims a connection to more mythological times.