Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy


Lincoln celebrates Ascension Day

26 May 2022

Today, Thursday 26 May, we celebrated Ascension Day at Lincoln for the first time since 2019 and our annual traditions - the beating of the bounds, the ivy beer, the pennies thrown from the tower - returned with gusto.

Ascension Day is an important date in the Christian calendar and commemorates Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven, forty days after Easter. On this day in Oxford, groups from the parishes of St. Michael at the Northgate and St. Mary the Virgin mark the old city boundary stones with chalk and striking them with willow wands. One such boundary is found in Front Quad, next to the door to Hall.

We also have our very own Lincoln tradition that, allegedly, originates from an event in ages past where a Brasenose student, being chased by angry townsfolk, sought refuge in Lincoln. After being denied sanctuary, he came to an unfortunate end. In penance for this failure of hospitality, we invite members of Brasenose into College on Ascension Day, through the special door in the kitchen and give them ivy ale to drink. Apparently the ivy was added to ensure that Brasenose students did not outstay their welcome! What’s more, we also invite children from Combe School into College and members of the JCR and MCR committees throw pennies to them from the tower.

The day will end with a celebration of Ascension Day in Brasenose Chapel at 6pm, featuring joint choirs and a visit from the Bishop of Grantham.

Where next?

  • Ascension Day in lockdownRead more
  • Discover the history of Lincoln with our interactive timelineRead more
  • Read more news from CollegeRead more