The university at Oxford grew from a confederation of colleges. The first of the present colleges of the university was founded there in 1249 as University College. Balliol College was established in 1263, followed by Merton in 1264, St Edmund Hall in 1269, Exeter in 1314, Oriel in 1326, Queen's in 1340, and New College in 1379. Many more have been founded since.
Oxford shared the pinnacle of prestige in higher learning with Cambridge University to the exclusion of all others for so long that the combination came to be known as "Oxbridge." It still occupies a high position, but other institutions have been developed in the 20th century.