Oxford’s most beautiful tower came into being, on the site of what had been the ancient Hospital of St. John, in 1509 as part of the college of St. Mary Magdalen.
Magdalen Tower, rising 150 feet in exquisite proportion, and standing just where the Cherwell is spanned by the well-known bridge, is in the opinion of many the fairest sight in Oxford. The way in which it springs from a pile of embattlements, and the grace of its pose and form, claim for it more than a word of admiration for its share in the adornment of Oxford.
The tower contains a peal of ten bells hung for English change ringing. They were cast at a number of different foundries and the heaviest, weighing 17 cwt, was cast in 1623. The bells are rung on many occasions during the year by the Oxford Society of Change Ringers at the invitation of the college. Such occasions include significant royal and college anniversaries, and after some religious ceremonies in the College Chapel.