The official origin of the collegiate
body, 'the Scholars of the Bishop of Ely', is to be
found in a royal licence of the year 1280, in which
Edward I, recognizing the importance of wisdom in
Church and State, and desiring that it 'might continually increase by the practice of study', allowed
Hugh de Balsham to introduce a number of scholars
into the Hospital of St. John, where they were to live
according to the rule of the scholars of Merton. The
licence imposed the condition that the poor, for
whom the hospital had been established, should not
be defrauded of anything that was due to them. (fn. 1)
Hugh de Balsham, therefore, gave certain properties
for the maintenance of the scholars; and furthermore, to the scholars and the hospital jointly he
granted the rectory of Thriplow, saving the advowson. Since Thriplow had been the property of the
bishops of Ely, he provided compensation for his
successors in that see.
Peterhouse. Or four pales gules a border gules charged with golden crowns [Granted 1575]
The official origin of Peterhouse is to be found in
the royal charter of 1284, which authorized the removal of the scholars from the hospital and their
transference to two hostels outside Trumpington Gate. The
dissensions between the scholars
of the Bishop of Ely and the
brethren of the Hospital of St.
John had made the original
arrangement unworkable. A
separation of the two parties
and a reallotment of the property seemed desirable to all
concerned; and the adjudication
of the bishop had been demanded. Hugh, by various instruments drawn up in 1284,
assigned to the scholars the two
hostels and the neighbouring church of St. Peter,
with its altar-dues and tithes, which had hitherto
belonged to the hospital; and he now gave the
scholars the rectory of Thriplow which they had
hitherto held jointly with the brethren. To the
hospital, on the other hand, he transferred the properties which he had granted in 1280 for the support
of the scholars. (fn. 2) The hospital, however, and perhaps
not without justice, was dissatisfied with the redistribution that had been imposed. The quarrels between the brethren and the scholars continued for
a generation after the parties had been separated.
The scholars won their case in the Court of Arches
in 1320, but that was not sufficient to give them
the peaceful enjoyment of the tithes of St. Peter's
Church. Further controversy was only ended in
1340 after both parties had agreed to submit to the
arbitration of another Bishop of Ely. The rights of
the College in the church of St. Peter were now
established, though the brethren of the hospital were
still prepared to tease the scholars by combining on
occasion with refractory tithe-payers. At the same
time the Master and Scholars were ordered to pay
20s. a year to the hospital; and this payment, which
is still (1952) made to St. John's College, was enforced by a threat of severe ecclesiastical sanctions. (fn. 3)
It had been Hugh de Balsham's aim to provide for
scholars a place of residence, an endowment, a rule
of common life, and a protected position. The first
Cambridge College was founded at a time when the
students had suffered greatly from the disturbances
and exactions of the townsmen; conflicts of jurisdiction had caused further trouble; the scholars had
even attempted to remove their University to another
place. It is clear, also, that Hugh de Balsham in
founding a College had in mind the example that
Walter de Merton had set in Oxford. Hugh's resources, however, were limited, and this accounts for
the first experiment that he made at the Hospital of
St. John. It accounts also for the initial difficulties
under which the scholars of Peterhouse laboured;
especially as, according to Simon Montacute, Hugh
died too early to achieve what he had in view. He
died two years after the removal to St. Peter's parish,
leaving 300 marks to the College in his will. With
this sum a piece of land was bought and a fine hall
The early history of the College is the story,
still obscure, of the gradual acquisition of the site.
Even the names of early Masters and scholars are
known only from deeds relating to property. The two
hostels in which the College had its origin were close
to the street and between these and the cemetery of
St. Peter's there was a considerable property that
had to be acquired later. To the south were the
Friars of the Sack and it was fortunate for the College that they were dissolved in 1307. Their main
holding and building passed quickly into the hands
of the Master and Scholars, and even before this the
series of transfers had begun which were apparently
intended to bring into College possession the land
known as Wynwick's Croft which forms part of the
present Grove. It is probable that by the middle of
the 14th century Peterhouse had acquired the various
holdings that compose the grounds of the College
today; the principal exception being the region known
as Volney's Croft, the site of the Scholars' Garden
and St. Peter's Terrace, which was obtained in the
reign of Elizabeth I.
Constitution and Statutes.
Simon Montacute, Bishop of Ely, gave the College
a body of statutes which refer to still older ordinances that have not been preserved. (fn. 4) Simon's
statutes are evidently adapted from those given to
Merton College in 1274, though they differ in many
points, and especially in having reference to a smaller
and poorer society. Constant allusion to the scanty
resources of the College is indeed a remarkable
feature of the compilation; and at many points the
purposes of the bishop have to be postponed; injunctions are not to come into operation until the College
is able to afford the charge. In particular, although it
is directed that two or three indigent younger
scholars shall be introduced into the society, it is
stated that this must only take place when the College has grown richer, and furthermore, not until
the number of fellows, now fixed at fourteen, is
'notably augmented'. The Master is appointed by
the bishop from two men who have been nominated
in the first place by the society. A special apology is
made for the remuneration that is offered to him,
40s. a year 'over and above his accounts', which is
'all that the present resources of the house can
afford'. He is essentially the business manager of
the College, and the statutes decree that he shall
have two chambers, a servant, and a horse. The
scholars, or fellows as they would now be called, are
to be elected by the society, and they cannot have
50s. a year like those of Merton. Simon Montacute
asks them patiently to bear a more economical
régime 'until their means, under God's auspices,
shall have received more plentiful increase'. The
duties of two deans, and when this shall be possible,
two bursars, also an almoner (though again it is
admitted that the College is still too poor for any
appreciable almsgiving) and finally a porter, when
one can be afforded, are prescribed in the statutes.
Rules are made for the custody and circulation of
the books of the College, which are to be kept in a
chest with two locks. An attempt of Edward III in
1345 to appoint a candidate of his own as scholar
was defeated by virtue of these statutes; (fn. 5) and the
opportunity was taken at the same time to secure
royal confirmation of them.
Account rolls of 1374, 1388–9, and 1396–7 give a
picture of the College very similar to the one which
emerges from these statutes. Over 100 years after
the foundation the rectory of Thriplow provided
£40 out of a gross income of £91. In 1354–5 William
Moschett set up a trust which by 1391–2 completed
the transference of nearly 70 acres at Fen Ditton
to the College. And in 1401, as a result of the work
of Bishop Fordham, who was seriously concerned
about the poverty of the College, and of John
Newton, Master 1382–97, an influential man who
enjoyed the favour of Archbishop Arundel, Peterhouse secured the advowson and rectory of Hinton,
completing a transaction upon which successive
bishops of Ely had been engaged since 1345. (fn. 6)
The effective building of the Peterhouse that can be recognized today is the work of the
15th century. Only then was the second side of the
Old Court begun and the original wing completed.
In 1388 the existence of the hall, kitchen, buttery,
granary, and bakehouse was recorded. Mention was
also made for the first time of a chapel in which the
Master, scholars, and residents had the bishop's
licence to hold services; a little later it is found to
be attached to the chambers of the Master, and
it apparently projected into the present fellows'
garden. A library, fitted with lecterns, existed somewhere in the early 15th century. In 1418 it possessed
380 books. (fn. 7) It was only after this date, however, that
the grand building operations were undertaken. In
1431 the west side of the Old Court was begun and
here on the first floor a new library was constructed.
Possibly even before this the main section of the
north wing of the court had been erected. Reconstructions and extensions were made in the south
wing also, along the line of the original hall. It would
appear that from St. Peter's Church, which had been
rebuilt in the middle of the 14th century and had
been dedicated to St. Mary, to the site of the Fitzwilliam Museum, the street was lined with houses.
Some of these gave the College a dilapidated appearance in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Until
this time the original hostels were in use. The
entrance to Peterhouse was from the north, for the
College and St. Mary's Church had a common pathway from the street, from which one turned left into
the College and right into the church.
From the beginning of
the 15th century a remarkable series of surviving
account rolls gives us an outline of at least the
business history of the College. For the early part
of the century there are catalogues of plate and of
the books in the library; and it is possible to trace the
succession to vacant fellowships from 1422 in the
Old Register. The names of some perendinants, who
paid for their rooms, are also known, and there are
rare references to younger students such as a bibleclerk for example. During the Mastership of John
Warkworth (1473–1500) the main building operations were completed and there are signs that the
College was becoming more prosperous. Better provision was made for the fellows, and within a few
years they were enjoying more than their share of
the affluence that had come upon the house. At the
beginning of the 15th century Thomas de CastroBernardi had introduced a loan-chest from which
fellows might borrow up to 40s. and the corporate
body up to 10 marks. (fn. 8) There was a house at Cherry
Hinton to which fellows were able to resort in time
of plague. Thomas Lane, Warkworth's predecessor
as Master, bequeathed lands at Cherry Hinton and
in Cambridge to the College, and these supported
a chantry at Little St. Mary's, provided a stipend
for a fellow to serve as chaplain there, and produced
additional revenue for the College. Warkworth himself created another chantry, endowed a further
fellowship, and provided an annual 'livery' for distribution amongst the Master and fellows. Simon
Montacute had fixed 16s. 8d. as the annual 'livery'
of the fellows in certain declarations that he made
upon the statutes. He had also prescribed allowances
for the sick, and made more elaborate regulations
concerning the keeping of accounts. (fn. 9) Another statute
of Warkworth's time prescribed that fellows should
be chosen equally from two regions, representing
roughly the north and south of England. (fn. 10) All these
developments, as well as the building of the Old
Court, show the importance of the 15th century in
the history of Peterhouse and illustrate its increase in
It is only after 1500, when a new era for the University appears to have begun, that flesh can be put
upon this skeleton of the business history of the
College, and a glimpse secured of its internal life and
of the role which it played in the Cambridge story.
Henry Hornby, Master 1500 or 1501–18, brought
the College into connexion with a group of scholars
who have kinship perhaps most of all with Colet,
Erasmus, and More. They represented the Renaissance in Cambridge; on the eve of the Reformation
they brought orthodoxy and piety and the cause of
learning into alliance. And they helped to bring to
Cambridge, and to administer there, the benefactions of Lady Margaret, Countess of Richmond.
Hornby, himself a patron of learning, was dean of
chapel, secretary, and chancellor in the household of
Lady Margaret. After her death he played an active
part in Cambridge as one of the executors and supervisors of her will. A number of Peterhouse men who
reached high place in the University were connected
with him and his group of scholars. William Burgoyne, a close associate of Hornby and the fellow
who succeeded him as Master, held the Lady
Margaret Chair of Divinity immediately before
Erasmus. John Watson, who was elected a fellow
almost at the time of Hornby's appointment as
Master, was a humanist who visited Italy and is
remembered as a friend of Erasmus. He was one of
the Lady Margaret Preachers and in 1517 became
Master of Christ's College. Robert Shorton, the
first Master of St. John's, and a close associate of
Hornby in the foundation and building of that
College, under the direction of John Fisher, was
mentioned as being still at Peterhouse in the first
account roll after Hornby's arrival. All these protégés
of Hornby, as they received advancement in the
University, were brought into connexion with the
benefactions of Lady Margaret; and like Robert
Shorton who became almoner to Katherine of
Aragon and remained faithful to her cause, they
shared the outlook of that humanist circle in which
love of learning was combined with Catholic orthodoxy.
The same group wished to make a larger use of
Cambridge for the teaching of poor scholars and the
training of clergy. Perhaps it is not a coincidence
that the Mastership of Hornby is an important stage
in the remarkable 16th-century development of
Peterhouse as an institution for undergraduates;
although at least while Lady Margaret lived, Hornby
was to an unusual degree an absentee Master. It is
evident that in 1516 it was decided that the fellows
were enjoying more than their share of the goods of
the house; and the Bishop of Ely, whether of his
own motion or not it is difficult to say, reminded the
fellows of the intentions of the founders as expressed
in Simon Montacute's statutes. The bishop ordered
the annual reading of the statutes, (fn. 11) and cut down the
fellows' commons to 4d. a week. A number of
economical ordinances, tending to protect the College against its members and to discipline the
fellows, were issued. (fn. 12) The reasons for these steps
were made clear when immediately afterwards the
election of new fellows brought the number to seventeen for the time being. (fn. 13) At the same time it was
decreed that 'there shall always be in the said College
eight poor scholars'. (fn. 14) Regulations for poor scholars
were drawn up, and Henry Hornby's connexion
with them is shown by the fact that he gave money
for the weekly commons of the scholars. It does not
appear that the poor scholars were always kept to the
number of eight, and the great feature of the 16thcentury history of the College was the remarkable
growth in the number of undergraduate students
who were not poor at all, men for whom the colleges
were not originally intended. Nevertheless this
development during Hornby's Mastership was an
important stage in the history of the College as a
teaching institution. Hornby gave Peterhouse the
manor of Chewells, in Haddenham, and a moiety of
that of Stathern (Leics.) together with the patronage
of Stathern church. He also endowed a chantry in
the church of St. Mary the Less; and this provided
a stipend for another fellow of the College who would
act as chaplain.
Strype mentions Peterhouse as one of the colleges
which were represented in the circle of early reformers that met at the 'White Hart'; and George
Joye, one of the fellows, relates how he escaped in
1527 the martyrdom that Arthur and Bilney had to
suffer because he took the hint that Bishop Gardiner
had given him in the hall of Peterhouse, and fled to
the Continent. (fn. 15) John Edmunds, the Master, and
Buckmaster, a fellow of the College, who was then
Vice-Chancellor, were chiefly responsible for the
interesting task of managing the Senate and securing a favourable reply from Cambridge when
Henry VIII sent his question to the University on
the legality of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. (fn. 16)
Edmunds seems to have had the distinction of being
a married clergyman in the reign of Henry VIII. (fn. 17)
His successor, Ralph Aynesworth, lost the mastership when Mary came to the throne because he was
a married man. But it cannot be said that the Reformation produced anything of a religious awakening at Peterhouse. On the contrary, the disturbances
and disorders, the rude changes of régime, the forms
of tyranny that characterized the mid-16th century,
produced unsettled minds, encouraged an unattractive submissiveness to organized power, and resulted,
to judge from reproofs that were sent to the Master,
in neglect of even the customary religious duties.
When John Bradford, on the eve of his martyrdom
under Mary, wrote his touching farewell to Cambridge and said the last things he would ever want
to say to a University that had forsaken and betrayed
the Gospel, he brought his letter to its climax in a
grand apostrophe which opens with the words 'Oh
Perne, repent'. Perne, Master 1554–89, has perhaps
been too harshly judged. Under Edward VI he
joined undoubted Catholics in disputation with
Martin Bucer; (fn. 18) in the first Convocation under Mary
he spoke against transubstantiation; (fn. 19) and in debate
before Elizabeth I he offended the queen by his
insistence upon the Church's power of excommunication. He guarded Whitgift from Cardinal
Pole's visitors in 1557, and as Vice-Chancellor
turned the fury of the persecutors against Bucer and
Fagius, who were dead. He was the friend of Parker,
Whitgift, and Burghley, and the College benefited
from these high connexions. Through his influence
Peterhouse men became masters of colleges. (fn. 20) In a
time of financial stress he found benefactors for the
College. (fn. 21) He resisted, not always entirely in vain,
those royal mandates by which, as later in Stuart
times, fellows were nominated in contravention of
the College statutes and in disregard of the claims
of poor scholars of the house. (fn. 22) Finally he left to the
College the biggest part of a library which was considered unrivalled in its day; provision for four
bible-clerks and two fellows (the latter receiving a
fixed £12 a year soon sank into the position of
bye-fellows); and money for a new library which was
built as an eastern extension of the wing in which the
Master had his chambers.
The College in the 16th century was small, having
been outstripped by later, wealthier foundations. It
probably supplied about 5 per cent. of the men
taking degrees. On the earliest extant Bakehouse
Roll of 1542 there are 26 names. There were 60 in
1564, 78 in 1572, and 154, an extraordinarily high
figure, in 1581. At the inquiry of 1546 the College
properties were said to produce £138 per annum
net, and expenses to exceed revenue by nearly £50.
In the 17th century Peterhouse was involved in
the movements and controversies of the time, and
acquired the special distinction and charm that can
come to a small College in its historic moment. An
early symptom of the connexion of the College with
the new religious movement was the departure of
Peter Baro from the College and from Cambridge
after he had offended the Calvinists in 1596. A sign
of royalism was the part it played in 1626 in making
the Duke of Buckingham Chancellor of the University. In 1623 the Master, Leonard Mawe, who
had already been advanced in his career by a succession of royal mandates, accompanied Matthew Wren,
a Pembroke man, as chaplain to Prince Charles on
the famous expedition to Madrid in quest of a royal
bride. Charles, on his accession, promoted Mawe to
the mastership of Trinity and made Wren his successor at Peterhouse; and, although the fellows resented this contravention of their statutes, (fn. 23) the
appointment proved of inestimable advantage to
the College. Wren 'reduced all the Fellows to one
sacred Bond of Unity and Concord and excited the
Scholars to Constancy and Diligence in their studies
. . . rescued their writings and ancient records from
dust and worms and by indefatigable industry
digested them into good method and order'. By his
high connexions he secured, where the College had
failed, the modification of the Warkworth statute. (fn. 24)
That statute, imposed by northerners, had divided
the country unfairly so that the 13 northern counties
had an equal share of fellowships with the 28
southern counties and the whole of Wales. As the
College claimed that ten times more students were
admitted from the south than from the north the
matter had become a great grievance. It was further
alleged to be the reason why very few members of
the College had risen to high preferment in the
Church for a long period. (fn. 25) Wren, furthermore, not
only built the College chapel, but entirely transformed the appearance of Peterhouse from the street.
In 1632 it was decided that the 'ancient and ruinous
chambers' that extended along the street front and
then at right-angles to the street against the churchyard of Little St. Mary's should be pulled down.
The Perne Library was extended to the street, and
the fine woodwork which it now possesses must be
attributed approximately to this time. Between the
chapel and St. Mary's churchyard new chambers
were erected, and a wall was made across the street
front. Cosin, who became Master in 1635, carried on
the work of Wren, and improved and ornamented
the chapel. In spite of substantial subscription-lists
the College finances were excessively strained, and
poems of Crashaw bear witness to the financial difficulty and to building schemes that had to be left uncompleted. (fn. 26) Above all Wren and Cosin established
the Laudian discipline in the College, and challenged
the hostility of the Puritans by the bowing and the
incense and the idolatrous ornaments in their chapel.
At the same time they showed concern for learning
and gave great encouragement in matters aesthetic.
Peterhouse, for example, gained some distinction in
music, while the part-books from the new chapel
now form one of the rarest treasures in the library.
A Presbyterian writer tells how:
Instead of Aristotle's Organon
Anthems and organs I did study on . . .
I cousen'd Dr. Cosin and ere long
A Fellowship obtained for a song. (fn. 27)
Richard Crashaw, Isaac Barrow, and Joseph Beaumont all belonged to this royalist Peterhouse.
The reaction was disastrous. College plate and
College money were sent to the king in 1642. The
following years saw the ejection of Cosin, the Master,
and all but one of the fellows; the visit of William
Dowsing who 'pulled down two mighty great Angells
with wings' in the chapel 'and about a hundred
cherubims and Angels'; also the imposition upon
the College of soldiery who felled twenty great elms
in Little St. Mary's churchyard. The new Master,
Lazarus Seaman, was often an absentee and the
Puritan régime at Peterhouse was troubled and unhappy. Seaman was high-handed and quarrelled
with the fellows, one of whom printed a petition
to the House of Commons in which he asked for
republicanism in the College as well as in the state,
and showed the reasonableness of a Peterhouse ruled
by fellows without any Master at all. (fn. 28) Finally in
1658 Seaman disregarded the elections that had been
made by the society and brought his relations with
the College to a crisis by installing his son as a fellow.
It is not surprising, therefore, that records after
1660 give evidence of a conscious effort to restore
order after a period of chaos. One fellow, Francius,
survived from the years previous to the ejection, and
in the reconstitution of the ordered life of the College
he proved a valuable repository of tradition. There
were few ejections in 1660. Cosin became Master
again for a moment, but was early removed to the
bishopric of Durham. He gave 1,000 books to the
library, endowed a librarianship, and left £200 for
the improvement of the chapel. His successor,
Bernard Hale, bequeathed to the College lands
valued at more than £7,000 including the rectory of
Glaston (Rut.) which was earmarked for the Master.
After this Matthew Wren, now Bishop of Ely,
ignoring the nominations made by the fellows, admitted Joseph Beaumont as Master. The appointment, though high-handed, was a good one, for
Beaumont was efficient and energetic and had been
a fellow in the time of Cosin. He left in the College,
amongst many other papers, a diary which throws
great light on the day-to-day life of Peterhouse. It
would seem, however, that both in numbers and in
quality the College had entered into a period of
decline in the latter half of the 17th century.
Fuller, writing before 1655, gave special commendation to a peculiar tradition of the College; (fn. 29)
and there is evidence that the tradition was wellestablished even in the 16th century. It was the
practice to secure portraits, on boards roughly uniform in size, of benefactors, and later of Masters,
and to fit these into the panels of the wainscoted
stone-parlour, appending a Latin distich 'on a
separate long panel under each, much ornamented
with painting'. In the 18th century, however, the
stone-parlour fell out of use; the Master now lived
in the Lodge across the road, and the fellows began to
use what had been the Master's chambers above the
parlour. The panels were taken down and moved for
a time to the room upstairs, and Cole in the middle
of the 18th century became anxious for their fate.
'I was very desirous of preserving this laudable and
very curious, and almost singular piece of antiquity
in our University', he says; and he took copies of the
distich under each of the paintings so that a record
of them should remain. (fn. 30) His anxiety was not unreasonable; by 1814 Dyer had to record the loss of
one of the boards that held a painting of the two old
hostels. And although most of the portraits remain,
some of them show signs of having been repainted
at an early date and the panel that held the distich
has in every case disappeared.
In the 18th century considerable changes took
place in the College buildings. The Master's Lodge
was acquired in 1727 under the will of Charles
Beaumont, son of the former Master. He also left
money for the purchase of advowsons. That of
Newton (Suff.) was acquired in 1731; Exford (Som.)
and Witnesham (Suff.) in 1736. In 1732 it was
decided to pull down the building which stood
between the chapel and the churchyard, and a new
building, faced with Ketton stone, was completed in
1741. The building was set back into Little St.
Mary's churchyard and entailed the closing of the
old entrance to that church, but an entrance to the
College on that side seems to have remained, for in
1750 it was ordered that a porter's lodge should be
made 'in the passage from the Cloisters to the
Church'. A plan for a new building to the south of
the chapel, entailing the destruction of the Perne
Library, was not carried out. In 1751 new gates were
made towards the street and in 1754 the Old Court
was faced with Ketton stone and oblong sash
windows were introduced. (fn. 31)
Edmund Keene who became Master when he was
34 years of age, in 1748, was concerned in these later
projects. He was an autocrat, and has been accused
of a predilection for fellow-commoners, wealthy
young men whose mode of life was not beneficial
to the cause of learning. In his day the Duke of
Grafton, Lord John Cavendish, Sir James Lowther,
and Thomas Gray were fellow-commoners. His
successor, Edmund Law (1754–87), also impressed
his personality upon the College, and the names of
John Jebb, Samuel Jebb, and John Disney illustrate
the manner in which Peterhouse became affected by
the deistical thought of the time. In 1787 the fellows
came into conflict with the Bishop of Ely over the
choice of a new Master. They prevented him from
appointing his own client, and when they sent him
two names from which he had the right to select,
they nominated their favourite candidate along with
another person utterly unfitted for the post, Francis
Barnes. They imagined that the bishop would not
dare to choose Barnes, (fn. 32) but after endeavouring
to appoint a third candidate, he did so, and Barnes
remained Master for 50 years. It was said that he was
little qualified 'for the discharge of any duty which
required the exercise of high notions of morality and
a careful regard to what is just, decent and venerable'. Financially the College remained prosperous,
however, and not until the close of his period of office
was there a decline in the number of students. A gift
of £20,000 from Francis Gisborne in 1817 resulted
in the building of Gisborne Court (1825–6).
In 1860 new statutes reduced the society to its
earlier form, with a Master and fourteen fellows,
while the bye-fellowships were abolished, their
revenue being transferred to an open scholarship
fund. In the years 1866–70 the original stone
parlour was considerably enlarged to form the present combination room, and the hall was largely
reconstructed, although part of the ancient walls
still remain. The architect was Sir Gilbert Scott,
but in both cases, as also in the rooms above the
stone parlour where the Master had once had his
lodgings, William Morris, Burne Jones, and Ford
Madox Brown were associated with the work of
decoration. In the latter half of the 19th century the
names of Lord Kelvin, and for a moment of Clerk
Maxwell, as well as of P. G. Tait, E. J. Routh, and
Sir James Dewar, signalize a period in which
mathematics and science had considerable importance in the College. On 29 October 1872 Kelvin,
then Sir William Thomson, became a fellow, after
the governing body had ruled that a widower was
qualified for election. In 1878 the College showed
considerable eagerness to abolish the requirement
that three of its fellows should be in holy orders;
although it does not appear to have made prolonged
or consistent use of its freedom in this matter. In
1882 new statutes put an end to the prohibition on
married fellows, and to the requirement that the
Master and fellows should be members of the Church
of England. The tenure of fellowships was limited
to six years, the life fellowship being abolished save
as a reward for prolonged service. In 1883–4 Kelvin
celebrated the 600th year of the College by providing
electric light in the hall and combination room,
before it had been installed elsewhere in the University.
In 1894 the College, which already awarded
entrance scholarships for chemistry and physics,
added history for the first time to the list of possible
scholarship subjects. When A. W. Ward became
Master in 1900 the decade was opening which was to
see great advances in historical study in many Cambridge colleges; and Ward's influence, combined
with that of H. W. V. Temperley, whose appointment as college lecturer he brought about in 1904,
gave history a predominant position in Peterhouse
for a number of decades, while the natural sciences,
during part of this period, fell into neglect. In
1925–6 a new building, now called the Hostel, was
erected across the road, at the side of the Master's
Lodge; in 1929 a new lecture-room was constructed
and in 1940 another small building, the present Fen
Court, was built at the extreme west of the College
where the stables had once stood. Between 1918 and
1939 the undergraduate membership was restricted
to about 150, but in 1954 it stood at nearly 200,
while the number of fellowships had risen to nearly
20, including 7 professorial fellows. Bye-fellowships
had been revived for 20 years. Like other colleges
Peterhouse came under revised statutes in 1926.
Walter Curle (1575–
1647), Bishop of Winchester, fellow, painter unknown; Bernard Hale, Master 1660–3, painter unknown; Edmund Law, Bishop of Carlisle, Master
1754–88, by Romney, 1786, his third and last portrait
of Law; George Borlase (1744–1809), Professor of
Moral Philosophy, fellow, by Romney; William
Smyth (1765–1849), Regius Professor of Modern
History, fellow, painter probably a member of the
Kitcat Club; H. Wilkinson Cookson, Master 1847–
76, by Lowes Dickinson; William Thomson, Baron
Kelvin (1824–1907), fellow, by Lowes Dickinson;
Peter Guthrie Tait (1831–1901), fellow, by Sir
George Reid; Sir James Dewar (1842–1923), Jacksonian Professor, fellow, by Orchardson, 1895; Sir
Adolphus W. Ward, Master 1900–24, by Rivière;
Field-Marshal Sir William Birdwood, Baron Birdwood of Anzac, Master 1931–8, by Dodd.
Sir John Lee's Dish, Strasburg, 16th cent.
Flagon 1625/6, W. C. Jackson. Chalice and paten,
c. 1632. Cosin's Two-handled Cup, 1657/8, marked
A[nthony] F[icketts] [?]. Alms-Dish, c. 1660, mark
a Dolphin's Head [?]. Chapel Candlestick, c. 1670 [?].
Hodges Two-handled Cup, 1708/9, marked N. E. A.
Nelme. Mellish Punch Bowl, 1710–11, maker
Thomas Farren. Merton Porringer, Exeter 1712.
Wren's Ewer and Basin, basin 1719/20 by J. Elston,
ewer 1725/6 by S. D. Dr. Porter's Ewer, c. 1725,
Reval [?]. Half-pint mug or size, 1742/3, maker John
Barnard. Sir John Robinson's Tankard, 1743/4.
Arthur Onslow's Inkpot, used when he was Speaker
1728–61, given by his son, George. Lewkener &
Hotham's Stoup, 1749/40 [? 50], maker Thomas
Whipham. George Onslow's Salver, 1748/9. Punch
The Old Seal seems to have been used
consistently down to the year 1800, save in the period
1644–60 when Lazarus Seaman was the Master imposed by the Parliamentary party. It was last used in
1808. Description: A pointed oval 2 5/16 in. long.
Matrix brass. Subject: In the centre the founderbishop in alb, amice, dalmatic, fanon and chasuble,
low mitre, and holding his staff in his left hand, the
right hand being raised in benediction. On either
side of him stand two tonsured scholars in longsleeved gowns with hoods or falling collars. One
scholar holds a book. Beneath the bishop's feet is
a shield charged with three crowns, two and one,
and above his head is a trefoil arch supporting a halflength figure of St. Peter holding two huge keys in
his right and a book in his left hand. On his left is
a six-rayed star. The saint has a nimbus bearing a
cross. Legend: s. comune scolarium domini episcopi eliensis.
The New Seal was used 1644–60 and apparently
not afterwards until 1800. Since 1808 it has been
used exclusively. Description: A pointed oval 3 in.
long. Matrix brass. Device: A shield surrounded by
arabesque scroll work, bearing three pallets within
a bordure charged with ten crowns. Above the shield
two keys in saltire. This seal may be the result of the
radical policies and anti-ecclesiastical prejudices of
Masters of Peterhouse
Gerard de Hoo: occurs 1290, after 21 June.
Robert de Winwick: occurs 1333.
Robert de Mildenhall: occurs 12 May 1338.
Roger de la Goter of St. Botolph: occurs 1338–9
Ralph de Holbeche: occurs Apr. 1344, resigned
William de Whittlesea: 10 Sept. 1349, resigned
1351, died 5 June 1374.
Richard de Wisbeche: 1351 to c. 1374.
Thomas de Wormenhall: c. 1364, died 1381–2.
John de Newton: 3 Mar. 1382, resigned 1397,
William Cavendish: 11 Apr. 1397, resigned 1397.
John de Bottlesham: 27 Aug. 1397, resigned 1400,
died 17 Apr. 1404.
Thomas de Castro-Bernardi: 14 June 1400, occurs
1417–18, died 1420–1.
John Holbroke: occurs before 1421, possibly from
1418, probably died 1436.
Thomas Lane: perhaps 1436, occurs 1438, died
John Warkworth: 6 Nov. 1473, died Oct. 1500.
Thomas Denman: 19 Nov. 1500, died 1500–1.
Henry Hornby: 1500–1, died 1517–18.
William Burgoyne: 18 or 19 Feb. 1518, died
before 30 Jan. 1523.
John Edmunds: occurs from Michaelmas 1523,
died Nov. 1544.
Ralph Aynsworth: 1544, ejected 1553, died 1554.
Andrew Perne: 4 Feb. 1554, died 26 Apr. 1589.
Robert Some: 11 May 1589, died 1608–9.
John Richardson: 30 Jan. 1609, resigned 27 May
1615, died 20 Apr. 1625.
Thomas Turner: 15 June 1615, died Oct. 1617.
Leonard Mawe: 16 Nov. 1617, resigned 1625–6,
died 3 Sept. 1629.
Matthew Wren: 1625–6, resigned 22 Jan. 1635,
died 24 Apr. 1667.
John Cosin: 8 Feb. 1635, ejected 13 Mar. 1644,
restored 3 Aug. 1660, resigned 18 Oct. 1660.
Lazarus Seaman: 11 Apr. 1644, ejected 1660.
Bernard Hale: 5 Nov. 1660, died 29 Mar. 1663.
Joseph Beaumont: 24 Apr. 1663, died 24 Nov.
Thomas Richardson: 9 Dec. 1699, died 30 July
John Whalley: 21 Aug. 1733, probably died 1748.
Edmund Keene: 29 Dec. 1748, resigned 25 Oct.
1754, died 6 July 1781.
Edmund Law: 12 Nov. 1754, died 14 Aug. 1787.
Francis Barnes: 3 May 1788, (fn. 34) died before 2 May
William Hodgson: 16 May 1838, died 16 Oct.
Henry Wilkinson Cookson: 3 or 4 Nov. 1847, died
30 Sept. 1876.
James Porter: 28 Oct. 1876, died 2 Oct. 1900.
Adolphus William Ward: 29 Oct. 1900, died
19 June 1924.
Robert, Baron Chalmers: 5 July 1924, resigned
1931, died 17 Nov. 1938.
Sir William Birdwood: 20 Apr. 1931, resigned
1938, died 17 May 1951.
Harold Temperley: 1 July 1938, died 11 July 1939.
Paul Cairn Vellacott: 29 July 1939, died 15 Nov.
Herbert Butterfield: 17 Jan. 1955.