CLARE COLLEGE (fn. 1)
The site of the existing 17th-century court of Clare, with two houses standing
thereon, was acquired by the University in 1298.
The houses were probably used as a hostel for
graduates until the University obtained a licence in
1326 to establish a new collegium under the title of
University Hall. This licence enabled the members
of the society to be put in corporate possession of the
premises and to be subjected to statutes. As the new
corporation consisted of clerks, it needed a competent
founder, whose patronage should be constantly available. This function was undertaken by Richard de
Badew, who was Chancellor in 1326; and it seems
clear that for several years he supplemented the
scanty endowments of the College from his own
Clare College. Or three chevrons gules (for Clare) impaling or a cross gules (for de Burgh) all within a bordersable with golden drops.
The existence of a society prior to the incorporation in 1326 is proved by the mention in the statutes of
1359 of three early benefactors:
Gilbert de Roubury, a justice
of the King's Bench, John Salomon, Prior of Ely and afterwards
Bishop of Norwich, and Thomas
de Cobham, Bishop of Worcester. Gilbert de Roubury's bequest
made in 1320 consisted of a
'chest', or a fund, which would
normally be used to provide loans
to poor members. John Salomon's bequest of 100 marks in
1325 was probably intended to
further the scheme for founding a college, and may have been
used to purchase a property in
Glomery Lane, which was acquired in 1327 by three
fellows as trustees. It is not known what form was
taken by the bequest of Thomas de Cobham, who
died in 1327, but in 1328, two 'schools' on the corner
of Glomery Lane were bought by certain fellows as
The endowments of University Hall were, however, totally inadequate, a fact which was brought to
the notice of Lady Elizabeth de Clare, widow of
John de Burgh and youngest daughter of Gilbert,
Earl of Clare, Gloucester, and Hertford, and Joan
of Acre, daughter of Edward I. Robert Marschall,
who was certainly in her confidence and was also a
relative of Richard de Badew, was probably the
intermediary. Lady Clare responded by obtaining
a licence, dated 12 March 1336, to transfer the
rectory of Litlington to the Master and Fellows; but
during the period of negotiations necessary to define
the obligations of the College to the parish, the
Bishop of Ely died, and the necessary deed was not
executed until 23 August 1338. Meanwhile on 6 April
in the same year Richard de Badew had surrendered
his rights in the College to Lady Clare, and the
transfer was ratified by the University and College
on 5 April 1340 with the proviso statutis dictae
Owing to the plague, Elizabeth de Clare became
concerned about the supply of clerks in the years to
come. As patroness of University Hall, she wished to
change its character so that it should be the means
not only of keeping teachers in Cambridge, but also
of bringing poor boys of ability to the University.
Owing to the statutis salvis clause, this could only be
arranged with the consent of the University. She
journeyed to Cambridge in February 1346, and
overcame any possible opposition. But it was still
possible that persons claiming an interest in the
advocatio, with or without the old statutes, might
cause tiresome litigation. To guard against this, she
prevailed on de Badew to cover his surrender of the
advocatio by a deed of banns or clamatio, summoning
all persons whatsoever to show reason why she
should not enjoy full immunity from challenge or
suit in respect of her advocatio. The period of publication of this deed being duly over, the king issued
a licence on 15 June for the further endowment of
the College with the rectories of Great Gransden
(Hunts.) and Duxford St. John, to which Wrawby
(Lincs.) was soon added. Without any sharp break
University Hall became Clare Hall.
The evil consequences of the inadequate endowment were not finally dealt with until 1352, when, at
the instance of Lady Clare, the king sent a commission of investigation. Financial difficulties had
led the fellows to adopt dishonest or undesirable
expedients. Robert Spalding had appropriated and
sold a student-hostel of which he was tenant-inchief in trust for the College. Others had obtained
benefices that could be held without leaving Cambridge. Accordingly one provision of Lady Clare's
statutes was that a fellow should vacate his fellowship as soon as his independent income reached
10 marks by inheritance or preferment. These admirable statutes, given to the College in 1359, were
the fruit of twelve years' deliberation and experience.
The skill and tact with which the foundress carried
through for the University the work which it had
itself begun was truly exemplary. The early history
of the College is of particular interest because it was
Lady Clare who first conceived the idea of a College
as a community consisting of undergraduates as well
as a Master, fellows, and graduates. No similar
College existed at Oxford until New College was
founded in 1379. (fn. 2) Moreover, it was her closest friend,
Marie de St. Pol, Countess of Pembroke, who began
the foundation of Pembroke College in 1346.
The present site, an area of about 1¾ acres
on the east bank of the Cam, was, so far as is known,
the original one. In 1638 Charles I wrote to King's
College requesting them to lease Butt Close, now the
garden on the west bank of the river, to Clare. In
1651 Butt Close was leased by King's for 20 years at
an annual rent of £5, and an area of 50 by 70 ft.,
part of the site of Clare adjoining King's Chapel,
was leased to King's at a rent of 1s. The leases were
to be renewed for ever without payment of fines. In
accordance with a private Act of Parliament of 1823 (fn. 3)
Clare exchanged the White Horse Inn and the
before-mentioned piece of land in front of the
College, valued together at £2,500, for Butt Close
and £100 in money. The area of Butt Close is
2¾ acres. The site of the 'White Horse' is now occupied by the detached portion of King's adjoining
In 1804 the College was allotted 11 acres under
the inclosure award of St. Giles's parish on the west
side of Queen's Road. On the portion of this land
fronting on Queen's Road, 5½ acres in area, the
Memorial Building has been erected in memory of
197 members of the College who lost their lives in the
First World War. The land behind the Memorial
Building was sold to the University in 1925 as part
of the site for the new Library.
It has already been stated that
the foundress gave the rectories and advowsons of
Great Gransden, Duxford St. John, Litlington, and
Wrawby to the College. About 1367 Baldwin's manor
in Great Gransden was bequeathed by Richard
Baudewene. Henry VI gave land and houses in
Cambridge and Chesterton in return for property
surrendered for the use of King's College. Unfortunately the king's title to some of the property was
defective, and it had to be given up to Merton College. The manor of Limburies in Ickleton was
bought about 1456. The manor of Lacey's in Duxford was bequeathed in 1517 for a period of 50 years
by Sir William Fynderne of Carlton. The rectory
and advowson of Everton (Beds.) with Tetworth
(Hunts.), formerly the property of St. Neots Priory,
was purchased about 1544. In 1545 the net annual
value of the endowments was £132, of which £54
was derived from the four rectories given by the
About 1562, Edward Leeds, Master of the College,
and of St. John's Hospital, Ely, procured a licence
from Elizabeth I to transfer the property of the
hospital to the College for the maintenance of ten
additional scholars. The property was situated in and
near Ely and Littleport, and included the Littleport
rectorial tithes. The right of presentation to the
living was reserved to the College in old leases of the
tithes. In 1602 Thomas Cave gave half the rectorial
tithes of Warmfield (Yorks.) to maintain two scholars
from Wakefield Grammar School. The tithe carried
with it the right of alternate presentation to the
vicarage. The other half of the tithe was bequeathed
by Barnabas Oley, sometime fellow, for the augmentation of the vicarage, and his right of alternate
presentation to the trustees of the Oley Trust, among
whom are the Master and the eight senior fellows.
The right of presentation is now exercised solely by
In 1612 Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter, and
Dorothy, his wife, gave a rentcharge of £108 yearly
for the maintenance of three fellows and eight
scholars. An Exeter fellow was allowed 5s. 9d. a week
during residence, a Lord Exeter scholar was allowed
2s., and a Lady Exeter scholar 1s. 6d. a week. These
scholarships and fellowships were abolished in 1861,
the allowances having remained unchanged except
that the fellowships had for some time been augmented out of a specific bequest. Robert Johnson,
Archdeacon of Leicester, sometime scholar and
fellow, fellow of Trinity, and founder of Oakham and
Uppingham Schools, gave an annual rentcharge to
provide four exhibitions at each of Clare, St. John's,
Sidney Sussex, and Emmanuel Colleges for boys
educated at the two schools. The rentcharge was
subsequently sold and the proceeds invested in land,
which was itself sold to the great advantage of the
foundation. Two fellowships and ten scholarships
were founded in 1617 out of a bequest by John
Freeman of £2,000, to be invested in land. In 1657
Joseph Diggon devised land at Stepney, Braintree
(Essex), and Liss (Hants). Two fellowships and four
scholarships were founded with this endowment.
In 1680 Thomas Philpot devised property at Eltham
and Sidcup (Kent) for the purpose of maintaining
two fellowships restricted to natives of Kent. The
holders were debarred from election into any other
class of fellowships and from membership of the
governing body. Two fellowships and five scholarships were founded out of the bequest in 1867 of
about £25,000 by Thomas Henry Coles.
The only advowsons held by the
College in 1700 were those already mentioned. In
1713 Dr. Samuel Blythe devised and bequeathed
property, money, and investments for the purpose
of purchasing advowsons to be offered to fellows on
the Clare and Exeter foundations in order that their
acceptance might create vacancies in fellowships.
The following advowsons were acquired: Patrington
(Yorks.), 1716; Orcheston St. Mary (Wilts.), 1719;
Elmsett (Suff.) and Ockley (Surr.), 1724; Datchworth (Herts.), 1725; Rotherhithe (Surr.) and Great
Waldingfield (Suff.), 1729; Brington, Old Weston,
and Bythorn (Hunts.), Hardingham (Norf.), Westley
and Fornham All Saints (Suff.), 1736; Birdbrook
(Essex), 1836; and Guestling (Suss.), 1857.
The advowson of Duxford St. Peter was purchased from Corpus Christi in 1868, and united with
Duxford St. John. The advowson of Hackford
(Norf.) was acquired by gift in 1918, and united
with Deopham in 1920. Hardingham has been exchanged for Ashill (Norf.). The following unions of
benefices have been effected: Litlington with Abington Piggotts; Brington and Old Weston with Molesworth; Orcheston St. Mary with Orcheston St.
Constitution and Statutes.
The corporate name of the college is The Master, Fellows
and Scholars of Clare College in the University of
Cambridge. The governing body is composed of the
Master and the Fellows. The statutes of 1359 prescribed that the number of fellows should be increased to 20 when endowments permitted. The
statutes of 1551 left the position unchanged, except
that they permitted the election of probationary
fellows, without stipend and voting powers, who
were elected into fellowships as vacancies occurred.
There is no evidence that there were ever more than
13 fellows at one time. The number became stabilized at 10 and so remained from about 1600 to 1861.
These were the fellowships on the old foundation.
Other fellowships were founded and maintained out
of specific endowments: 3 by the Earl of Exeter in
1612, 2 by John Freeman in 1617, 2 by Joseph Diggon in 1658, increased later to 4. The named fellowships were abolished by the statutes of 1861, and the
total number was reduced to 17. An additional fellowship was founded out of the bequest of Dr. Coles
in 1870. The statutes of 1882 further reduced the
total to 14. This was increased to 15 in 1883 when
a second fellowship was founded out of Dr. Coles's
benefaction. The statutes of 1926 created five classes
of fellowships, of which the first two only are
stipendiary: research fellowships, official fellowships (restricted to holders of certain College and
University offices), professorial fellowships, supernumerary fellowships, and retired fellows who qualify
for life fellowships.
The two houses which formed the
original buildings of University Hall may have been
occupied as a hostel for some 20 to 30 years before
1326, when they were taken over as collegiate buildings. All the muniments were destroyed by fire in
1521, except one manuscript book containing information about the first 200 years of the life of the
College, (fn. 4) with the result that little is known about
the early buildings apart from the fact that the
library was either built or enlarged about 1425.
In 1521 the Master's Lodge and the treasury were
burnt down, and this seems to have led to the rebuilding of the College. A quadrangle was completed
probably within fifteen years. At the south end of the
west side kitchen and butteries were built in 1523;
next to these the hall in 1524, and the Master's
Lodge adjacent to the hall in 1525. The western part
of the north side was added in 1528, and in 1535 the
eastern part consisting of a chapel with library over.
The east side abutted on the street, with the entrance
gate near the north end, and the west side ran
through the middle of the present court, so that the
area of the ground plan was the same as now.
Prideaux's delightful drawing, bound with copies of
the statutes of 1359 and 1551, shows the whole
quadrangle as having the same height, ground floor,
first floor, and gable roof with dormer windows facing
inwards and outwards except in west range, but no
part of these buildings now exists. Early in the 17th
century the quadrangle had fallen into disrepair and
it was decided to rebuild.
Work on the present east range was started in
1638 and finished in 1641. The bridge was also begun in 1638 and completed two years later. It was
probably built first in order to facilitate the conveyance of building material across the river, and to
have ready access to the country in case of plague.
The south range, begun in 1640, was completed in
1642. Work was also begun on the southern half of
the west range, but was discontinued the next year
owing to the Civil War. It was resumed and completed between 1662 and 1679. Between 1683 and
1689 the hall, combination room, and butteries
were built, and immediately after them the kitchen
and the library, completing the north range. The
northern half of the west range, the Master's Lodge,
was only added between 1705 and 1715. In spite of
changes in style and detail introduced after the
Civil War the architectural unity of the whole quadrangular court was successfully maintained. This was
partly due, however, to modifications introduced in
the 18th century and even as late as 1815. The total
cost of the work carried out between 1638 and 1715
was £15,478, towards which £6,654 was received
from benefactors. The chapel had not been included
in the scheme for rebuilding. The present chapel
was built between 1763 and 1769 on the site of the
old one at a cost of £7,327, of which £7,071 was
received in benefactions.
Towards the end of the 19th century the number
of undergraduates had increased to about 180, a
number far in excess of any since the second half of
the 16th century. It became apparent that to have
so large a proportion as two-thirds of the undergraduates living in lodgings was a great handicap to
the corporate life of the College. In 1910 the building of a second court was under serious consideration,
and after the First World War a fund was raised to
commemorate those members of the College who
had fallen. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's plans for the
Memorial Building were approved. This building
provides sets of rooms for 4 fellows and 114 undergraduates. The work was begun in 1922 and completed in 1935 at a cost of £125,361 of which
£33,358 was subscribed.
The new University Library, also to the designs of
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, was built on the same axis as
the Memorial Court to the great advantage of both
buildings. An extension of the Memorial Court by
the same architect, to commemorate the Clare men
who died in the Second World War, was dedicated
in September 1955, and opened by the Master,
Sir Henry Thirkill, in the presence of a large number
of members of the College and their relatives. The
extension contains rooms for 44 undergraduates and
The society of University Hall did not
hold any corporate worship within its walls; its
members continued to attend the parish church and
were, of course, corporately responsible for the commemoration of benefactors. Lady Clare went so far
as to obtain a papal licence to build a chapel of Clare
Hall in 1346. Nevertheless the statutes of 1359, while
providing very fully for the religious obligations of
the College as a body, still attached them all to the
parish church of St. John Zachary. The use of an
oratory intra mansum in 1352 had been only temporary, while this church was under an interdict.
It was not until after the foundress's death in
1360, when the College inherited the rich furnishings of her private chapel, that the decision was
finally reached to build a permanent College chapel.
Papal licence was petitioned for in 1363 and granted.
The resulting chapel seems to have had only one
altar in 1392, and no more would then be needed, as
the society consisted of fewer than 30 persons and
the statutory masses were consecutive. This chapel
evidently stood on the north boundary of the College
site, with its east end close to the buildings on Milne
Street. There is no reason to suppose any building
west of it. At, or soon after, the end of the 14th century there seem to have been north and south chapel
altars, besides the high altar. During the 15th century benefactions greatly increased the society's
numbers, and at the same time its chantry duties.
Since the recitation of offices formed no part of the
corporate obligation, it may be assumed that the
chapel was not a stalled choir, but only a masschapel.
But, rebuilding having begun after the fire of
1521, this first chapel gave place to a new one with
library above. Since the roof-line was the same as
that of the rest of the quadrangle now built, this
chapel was only the height of two stories and had
a flat-beamed ceiling. The width was about 21 ft.,
the length of the chapel 41, and of the ante-chapel 18.
It was lit, north and south, by three gothic windows
of three lights, each light having an apostle or church
father, with heraldic glass below. In 1534, a year
before it was completed, the University publicly
renounced the Pope's authority. But times changed
again, and in 1557 the College underwent a visitation
from Niccolo Ormaneto. Swynburne, the Master,
having to explain why there was no pyx with the
Reserved Sacrament hanging over the altar, pleaded
that the chapel had not been consecrated. This is
corroborated by the strange fact that there is no
record of any burial in it. Its use without consecration would indeed be covered by the bishop's licence
for an oratory. Since the demolition of St. John
Zachary, probably about the end of the 15th century,
the College had burial rights of some kind in a south
aisle added to St. Edward's Church. In 1551 a Common Prayer obligation had been substituted for the
Mass obligation and no doubt then, or soon after,
stalls were added.
During the time of Nicholas Ferrar the sacramental provision was again improved and enriched.
Dr. William Butler presented a sumptuous altarcloth and his will provided for the gold chalice and
paten which are still in use. In 1641 the sanctuary
was paved, the east end panelled and a cross placed
over the altar. Two years later Dowsing ordered the
removal of the cross and the levelling of the floor
to the height of the altar steps. But the society persisted in its former mind, and in 1644 a Parliamentary
commission, learning that the Puritan enactments
against certain ritual practices were being defied,
ordered the society to feast on Fridays, and fish was
not to be one of the courses. At the Restoration
the old 'high church' life was immediately revived;
the altar was again raised and, notwithstanding the
heavy expenditure on rebuilding the College, the
furnishings of the chapel were enriched. Nevertheless there was a growing desire to replace the chapel
with a new one in the Renaissance style.
At length in 1763, sufficient funds being available,
the gothic chapel was demolished; a crypt was constructed and the present chapel begun. The architects were Sir James Burrough, Master of Caius,
who died the next year, and James Essex, on whom
all the detailed work consequently devolved. This
new chapel was ready for occupation in 1769. It
clearly expresses the 'high church' feelings, and nowhere more than in the altar-piece depicting the
Annunciation; for the foundress had herself, in her
statutes, ordered the society to keep the octave of
the Annunciation as the annual solemn festival.
Nothing more was done to the chapel until 1857,
when it was redecorated. In 1866 an organ was
added. In 1868 the south-east window representing
the foundress was put in. The coloured glass which
was put into the remaining windows in the next two
years has been removed, and in the westernmost
pair dignified designs by Mr. Hugh Easton were
put in 1935. The present fine organ was installed in
1910. The theory that this chapel is extradiocesan
is disproved by the fact that when Richard Terrick,
Bishop of London, consecrated it in 1769, he was
first handed the Bishop of Ely's commission and was
accompanied in the ceremony by the deputy chancellor of the diocese.
A library room was enlarged or built
about 1425. William Wymbyll, who became Master
in 1421, gave £3 to glaze the south side of the
library. It was usual to build libraries running north
and south and lit on both sides. There is no evidence
of extensive chaining of books, while loans to fellows
and others appear to have been of long duration.
William Wilfleet, Master 1448–55, was still collecting money ad edificium librarie but the building was
perhaps already completed.
The chief evidence upon this 15th-century library
is in the limp-covered notebook known as the
Master's Old Book, the only college document to
survive a fire in the Master's chambers in 1521. It
appears that this book began with an inventory of
the college library made about 1440, no doubt in
connexion with the collection of the books into their
new home. Unfortunately some 4 to 8 leaves, containing the list of books on theology and philosophy,
that is a majority of the books, have disappeared.
The remaining leaves bear a list of books on physics,
logic, mathematics, history, and law, and of chapel
service-books, to a total of 111. Some of the items
on the lost leaves are given on a separate sheet in the
form of a record of benefactors to the library and
their gifts. But the gifts, which date from the first
days of the College, only account for a minority of
the books, so that there must have been steady
acquisition by purchase all through the first century
of the College history. In 1496 a register of 'unbound' books was written into the Master's Old
Book. No doubt this meant books bound in vellum
only and not in boards. Finally Leland and Bale gave
lists of books seen by them in this library. (fn. 5) The sum
of information is that the library was adequate, but
restricted to books useful in lecturing and disputing
in the schools. The 1496 list ends with a notice of
four unredeemed cautiones in the chest in the vestry,
consisting of books to be sold for the benefit of the
chest. The College had a cista redituum and a cista
communis for current income and expenditure, and
reserve funds deposited in a cista stauri kept in the
chapel. But this cista in vestiario served a different
purpose. It was an eleemosynary chest, from which
members of the society could borrow on pledge. In
1455 the College itself became so pressed for cash
that it borrowed from the cista in vestiario, putting
into the chest as pledge a missal from the chapel.
The 1440 inventory identifies each volume by the
author and title of the first or principal work in it
and by the opening words of the second and last
leaves. It helped the 15th-century librarian to keep
track of his books and it makes it possible to say that
every volume has since disappeared from the College. In 1535 the second chapel was completed with
the new library room above it. The College still has
early printed books acquired at that time but they
can have filled but a tiny fraction of the space. The
easy assumption that the 15th-century library was
destroyed by the fire of 1521 is disproved by the fact
that a manuscript in the Bodleian Library (fn. 6) can be
safely identified as a volume seen by Leland and
Bale in the Clare library. It is inscribed as a gift of
John Ingham, an early-15th-century fellow. More
probably, therefore, the 15th-century books went up
to fill the new room over the chapel. Their dispersal
may have come a little later, when their room was
grudged, and the printed books of the new learning
and the new theology were pouring in. There is
ground for hope that further volumes from the old
library may be identified with existing manuscripts
in other libraries, and may contribute to the history
of the dispersal.
The second library room, built between 1528 and
1535 over the chapel, continued in use until about
1760, when the old chapel was pulled down. This
room was furnished in 1627 with bookcases similar
to those provided about the same time for the library
of St. John's. The present library room was built in
1693 and used concurrently with the old room, which
was replaced by a room over the hall in 1763. The
library has now been converted into a 17th-century
room, and the bookcases of 1627 have been removed
to a room specially prepared for use as a students'
library, with the windows interspaced between the
bookcases. This is a reversion to the conditions
existing when the old library room over the chapel
was used concurrently with the present room adjoining the combination room.
One of the most notable collections of books was
given in 1620 by George Ruggle, the author of
Ignoramus. He presented 284 books, including many
very scarce French, Spanish, and Italian plays.
About 1724 Dr. Humphrey Prideaux, through his
son Edmund, a member of the College, gave a
valuable collection of over 300 Oriental books. In
1915 a collection of liturgical books was given by
Dr. Edward Atkinson, Master, and increased to a
total of 300 by the gift of Dr. C. L. Feltoe. The
Library also houses Cecil Sharp's manuscript collection of folk tunes, folk words, and folk dance notes
with an index in 40 volumes.
The library possesses 35 books printed before
1500, of which 17 are Italian. Among the examples
of early bindings are two by Siberch and four by
Speryng or Spierinck. There are six volumes which
formerly belonged to Ben Jonson, of which one is a
Basle Sallust of 1564. There are also 31 manuscripts. (fn. 7)
Little is known about
the life of the society until the Reformation. In
1524–5 Hugh Latimer, while still a fellow, began his
vigorous championing of the reformed doctrines in
Cambridge. Latimer's fame as one of the chief of the
reformers stood the College in good stead when a
royal commission was appointed in 1548 to dissolve
Clare Hall and Trinity Hall and to found in their
place a college for the exclusive study of civil law.
The Master and Fellows opposed the scheme and
received support from Bishop Ridley, one of the
commissioners. In anticipation of dissolution the
Master and Fellows divided up the plate amongst
During the reigns of James I and Charles I much
attention was drawn to the College by a group of
remarkable fellows. William Butler was physician to
James I and undoubtedly ranked as the foremost
physician of his day. George Ruggle was a French,
Spanish, and Italian scholar and had a great reputation as a writer of comedies. One entitled Ignoramus
was twice performed in 1615 in the hall of the College
before James I. But it was perhaps the striking personality and gifts of Nicholas Ferrar, combining
saintliness with charm and intellectual alertness, that
did as much as anything to attract attention to the
society at this time. He was admitted in 1606 when
only thirteen and elected fellow immediately after
taking the B.A. degree. After a period of foreign
travel he proved his ability in practical affairs in the
service of the Virginia Company and in Parliament.
In 1625 he withdrew to Little Gidding (Hunts.) and
there founded a religious community which soon
became celebrated. Barnabas Oley, elected fellow in
1623, is remembered for the wisdom and zeal with
which he organized the rebuilding in 1638–42.
Humphrey Henchman, after graduating M.A. at
Christ's, was a fellow of Clare for a few years before
1620. His devotion to Charles II after the battle of
Worcester was remembered at the Restoration, and
he became successively Bishop of Salisbury and of
London, a privy councillor, and Lord Almoner. Peter
Gunning, elected a fellow in 1635, also an ardent
Royalist, was ejected with other fellows by the Earl
of Manchester in 1644. Reinstated in 1660, he became Master of Corpus a few months later. The next
year he was appointed successively Lady Margaret
Professor of Divinity, Regius Professor of Divinity,
and Master of St. John's. Both he and Henchman
were considered to have been outstanding for their
wise insight at the Savoy conference. He was appointed Bishop of Chichester in 1669 and translated
to Ely in 1675.
It is somewhat surprising that the society, which
was predominantly Royalist in sympathy, should
have come through the years of the Civil War comparatively unscathed. It would seem that there were
level heads to whom this was partly due. John
Tillotson, elected a fellow in 1651, was a supporter
of the Parliament and was able to get the ear of
Cromwell and obtain restitution for building
materials valued at £500 which had been seized
about 1642 for use in fortifying the castle. After the
Restoration he was ordained, became a celebrated
preacher, and eventually Dean and Archbishop of
It was the practice for undergraduates to be shared
amongst the Master and fellows as pupils, but in the
time of Samuel Blythe more and more were admitted as his pupils until he had a virtual monopoly.
The accounts of his pupils, 1658–1704, in four
volumes have been preserved. This was the beginning of the tutorial system, one, two, or three fellows
acting as tutors. During the early years of the 18th
century, thanks to Richard Laughton, who was tutor
and had the reputation of being the best in the University at that time, many noblemen were admitted to
the College, including several members of the Pelham family. One of them was Thomas PelhamHolles, afterwards Marquess of Clare and Duke of
Newcastle, First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the University. Among the last of the series
of men from noble families were Charles Townshend,
Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose policy finally
alienated the American colonies, and Charles Marquess Cornwallis, twice Governor-General of India,
and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland when the Act of
Union was passed, who had surrendered with his
army at Yorktown in 1781. On the other side in the
struggles for independence were Charles Carroll, the
Maryland lawyer who proposed the burning of the
Peggy Stewart's cargo of tea, and the great American
lawyer, Daniel Dulany.
For more than a century Clare Hall remained one
of the smaller colleges with little to distinguish it
except its architectural charm. The name was
changed to Clare College in 1856, but it was not
until the last quarter of the 19th century that, under
the able tutorship of William Loudon Mollison,
afterwards Master, there began to be new stirrings
of life and a gradual increase in the undergraduate
There are only five pieces of pre-Civil War
plate, much having been given for the Royalist
cause. These pieces were all given by Dr. William
Butler and kept in safe custody until the Restoration
by Barnabas Oley, who had himself conveyed the
Clare plate to Charles I. The old pieces are the
Falcon Cup, Flemish, c. 1560, the Poison Cup,
German, c. 1560, the Serpentine Cup, English, c.
1580, and a gold chalice and paten, c. 1618. The
chalice weighs 64 oz. 6 dwt. and the paten 21 oz. 4 dwt.
The pieces of plate acquired since the Restoration
are numerous. The following are earlier than 1760:
10 tankards, including Sir Andrew Henley's, 1675–6,
and George Cooke's, 1676–7; 8 cups, including the
Tipping Cup, 1681–2; 26 pairs of candlesticks, including a pair given by Sir Edward Betenson, 1686–
7; 6 salvers; almsdish, 1671–2; rosewater ewer,
1723–4; rosewater ewer and dish, 1739–40; 4 large
salts, c. 1708, and 6 other salts. There are also 42
other pieces, in addition to spoons, forks, and ladles.
Numerous pieces of plate, such as battered tankards,
have at various times been handed to a silversmith
for conversion into new plate inscribed with the
names of the original donors.
Three pieces of modern plate have a special
interest connected with the First World War. A
silver-gilt cup was presented by the officers of the
1st Battalion of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry, and a statuette representing an officer (a
member of the college) of the Prince of Wales's
Leinster Regiment was presented by the officers of
the 2nd Battalion to commemorate the hospitality
shown by the College, whilst these two battalions
were waiting orders in Cambridge in September 1914
to proceed on active service. The third piece, a cup,
was presented in June 1919 by ten members of the
United States army who spent the time between the
armistice and their return to America as undergraduates at Clare.
The original seal of Clare Hall, the silver
matrix of which is still in perfect condition, belongs
to the year 1359, when Elizabeth of Clare gave
statutes to her new foundation. It is of the usual
vesica shape, 2½ by 13/8 in., showing the foundress
standing in a triple-canopied niche, holding in her
left hand a book of the statutes and giving with her
right the charter of foundation to the Master and
Scholars, nine of the company being represented by
kneeling figures and the remainder by largish dots
filling the background. In the three niches of the
canopy are demi-figures of Our Lady with the Child,
between St. John Baptist holding agnus dei on the
left and St. John the Divine with his emblems of the
eagle and a palm branch on the right. On the left of
the tabernacle work of the central niche hangs a
shield of the arms of Edward I; on the right are those
of Queen Eleanor, the quartered arms of Castile and
Leon. Below the niche is the shield which was
adopted as her own by the Lady of Clare in 1353.
The legend in fine gothic letters reads aula' clare
pia' rege semper virgo maria.
The 18th-century seal now in use is oval in shape
and embodies the same details as the original seal.
Masters of Clare College
Walter de Thaxted. (fn. 8)
Ralph Kerdington: 1342. (fn. 9)
Nicholas de Brunne: 1359.
John de Donwich: 1371.
John de Chateresse: 1392.
William Radwinter: 1400.
William Wymbyll: 1421.
William Gull: 1445.
William Wilfleet: before 1 May 1448.
John Millington: 11, or 13, Aug. 1455.
Thomas Stoyle: 3 May 1466.
Richard Stubbs: 1470.
Gabriel Silvester: 12 June 1496.
William Woderove: 16 Aug. 1506.
Edmund Natures: 20 Oct. 1514.
John Crayford: 6 July 1530.
Rowland Swynburne: 23 Sept. 1539, expelled
17 June 1549, reinstated 26 Oct. 1553.
John Madew: soon after 17 June 1549. (fn. 10)
Thomas Bayly: 20 Sept. 1557.
Edward Leeds: between 14 May and 12 Oct. 1560.
Thomas Byng: 1571, died Dec. 1599.
William Smith: 24 Mar. 1601.
Robert Scott: 1612.
Thomas Paske: 31 Dec. 1620, ejected 1645, reinstated after 2 Aug. 1660.
Ralph Cudworth: Dec. 1650. (fn. 11)
Theophilus Dillingham: 13 Nov. 1654, ejected
1660, re-elected Mar. 1661.
Samuel Blythe: Nov. 1678.
William Grigg: 16 May 1713.
Charles Morgan: 18 Apr. 1726.
John Wilcox: 9 May 1736.
Peter Stephen Goddard: 25 Sept. 1762.
John Torkington: 1 Nov. 1781.
William Webb: 20 July 1815.
Edward Atkinson: 14 Jan. 1856.
William Loudon Mollison: 31 Mar. 1915.
Godfrey Harold Alfred Wilson: 10 Apr.
Henry Thirkill: 1 Oct. 1939. (fn. 12)
Sir Eric Ashby: 1 Oct. 1958.