A fireside story
As you toast your toes by the fire, you can tell your date a true Oxford love story. A short walk up the road from where you now sit is Balliol College, one of the three oldest in the University. John de Balliol founded the college in 1263, but died five years later. His death left his widow, Lady Dervorguilla, bereft. To immortalise her love for him, she endowed his young college with funds and a set of statutes that still govern it today. She also founded an Abbey in his name, closer to home in Dumfries, Scotland. Today it is known as Sweetheart Abbey. And on the subject of hearts, she had John's heart embalmed and placed in an ivory box, which she carried with her at all times.