Magdalene College. Quarterly per pale indented or and azure a bend azure and two eagles or with a fret and two martlets or on the bend.
When Thomas, Lord Audley,
Lord Chancellor of England, founded Magdalene
College (fn. 1) in 1542 he utilized the site and buildings
of an earlier educational establishment. At a general
chapter of the Benedictine Order
held at Northampton in 1426 the
prior of the students of the order
in Cambridge, an office which
went back to 1343, had complained of the harm which arose
from their living in the houses of
laymen in the town. It was therefore decided to make special provision for their residence and on
7 July 1428 Abbot Litlyngton of
Crowland was granted permission by Henry VI to acquire 2
messuages in the parish of St.
Giles. On this land his successor, John de Wisbech, erected in
1476 buildings which form a considerable part of the present First
Court of the College. In the construction of this 'Monks' Hostel' other Benedictine
houses of East Anglia, Ely, Ramsey, and Walden,
took a share, but as late as 1534 the College was still
considered a cell of Crowland. In the meantime two
Dukes of Buckingham, Henry the second and Edward the third duke, had been benefactors to so
great an extent that the College came to bear their
name. Henry was possibly responsible for the building of the chapel and Edward almost certainly built
the hall (1519), while the attribution of their name
to the College goes back as far as 1484, in which year
the Abbot of Crowland paid the Borough of Cambridge 14d. 'high-gable rent' on account of the
'hostel called Buckingham College'. The first University mention is in 1514, when Buckingham College appears in the cycle for the appointment of
It is clear that the College was still in action up to
the Dissolution of the Monasteries; the last Prior
was appointed in 1535 and the Royal Injunctions of
that year included it among the collegiate foundations
which were to maintain one Greek and one Latin
public lecture daily. But it is no less clear that there
was a real crisis in its fortunes a few years later and
that it had practically ceased to exist when, in 1542,
Lord Audley stepped in and refounded it under
its present name. The foundation charter is dated
3 April 1542, but Audley died in 1544 and the statutes
were drawn up ten years later by his executors,
one of whom was Sir Thomas Pope, the founder of
Trinity College, Oxford.
Magdalene was the only College built on the
farther, at this point the northern, side of the river
Cam until quite recent times. The original site was
restricted by having houses both to the south and to
the north. The land lying between the First Court
and the river was purchased in 1792, although the
houses were not completely removed until 80 years
later. The land to the north of the College was
acquired by stages in the 17th century, but the site
of the present Master's Lodge was not bought until
1835 and some houses remained along the north side
of Magdalene Street until the rounding-off of the
Chesterton Road corner in 1911. The farther side of
Magdalene Street was also acquired by degrees, the
most important purchases being those of the Pickerel
Inn in 1879 and of land between the street and
the Bin Brook, completed in 1915. On this site
Mallory Court was erected in 1925 and Benson
Court was begun five years later, at right angles to
the river and immediately overlooking the Brook. (fn. 2)
Magdalene has never been a
richly endowed College and to begin with its revenues
were indeed slender. Immediately after its refoundation it appeared as the poorest of all the Colleges,
with an income of just over £42, but when a royal
commission inquired into finances in 1546 it was
one of the few whose income was greater than its
expenditure. The foundation estate consisted of the
lands and buildings of Buckingham College, the
impropriate parsonage of St. Catharine Cree, and
Lord Audley's 'great garden' in Aldgate. Another
very early benefaction came in 1543 when the heirs
of Hugh Dennis transferred to the College, with
the consent of Parliament, a £20 yearly charge on the
manor of Purleigh (Essex), granted originally to the
Priory of Sheen: of this endowment 20 nobles were
to be for the use of the College and 20 marks for the
establishment of two fellows, to be nominated by the
king and to be called 'King's Fellows'. These were
the first bye-fellowships, and others came from the
benefactions of Sir Christopher Wray (1587 and
1592), John Spendluffe (1594), Dr. Goche (1624),
the Countess of Warwick, daughter of Sir Christopher Wray (1625), John Smith (1638), Drue Drury
(1698), and Dr. Millington (1724). These, including
the four foundation fellowships, made eventually
eighteen in all, but the bye-fellowships were of little
value and changed hands frequently: in 1778 their
dividends were supplemented by a fund bequeathed
by Mistress Elizabeth Dongworth.
Scholarships, like bye-fellowships, go back to 1543,
in which year John Hughes, Chancellor of Bangor,
gave lands and tenements in Carnarvonshire for the
maintenance of a scholar: gifts and legacies from
other benefactors, among whom members of the
Wray family were prominent, brought the total up
to 49 in 1862, when the special foundations were
suppressed and a general fund for open scholarships
was established. Two foundations remained distinct,
that of Thomas Holmes (1656) for boys from Wisbech School, and that of the Rev. Thomas Milner
(1722) for boys educated at the schools of Heversham, Leeds, and Halifax. The Holmes exhibitioners
are not now members of the foundation, and the
Milner scholarships are thrown open if no candidate
from any of the three schools qualifies in the annual
The property thus given for fellowships and
scholarships was largely in the town and county of
Cambridge and in Lincolnshire and Carnarvonshire. Lands in Huntingdonshire, including the
manor of King's Ripton, came from the legacy of
Peter Peckard in 1797, giving property for the
augmentation of the dividends of the Master and
senior fellows, as well as the sum of £400 which was
to accumulate for 112 years; when this sum was
realized in 1923, a fellowship, called the Peckard
Fellowship, was established. The most munificent
benefactor in recent times has been Dr. A. C.
Benson, Master 1915–25. In addition to many
generous gifts made during his lifetime, he bequeathed the sum of over £38,000, out of which a
Benson Fellowship was established in 1927. In 1938
a Kipling Fellowship was established through the
generosity of Mrs. Caroline Kipling, widow of Rudyard Kipling, honorary fellow. In 1953 the Coulthurst
Trustees, having previously established scholarships
in agricultural science, made provision for a fellowship, to be called the Coulthurst Fellowship in memory
of John William Coulthurst, member of the College.
The College advowsons are: St.
Stephen's, Walbrook, in the City of London, alternate
presentation, received in exchange for St. Catharine
Cree, which was bequeathed by the founder and
has now become a 'Guild Church'; Longstanton
St. Michael's, bequeathed in 1583 by Dr. Thomas
Harvey, Master of Trinity Hall, and in 1923 united
with Longstanton All Saints, with the Bishop of
Ely as joint patron; Anderby-cum-Cumberworth
(Lincs.), given by John Spendluffe, 1584; Grainthorpe (Lincs.), given by Sir Christopher Wray,
1587; Steeple Ashton (Wilts.), left by Drue
Drury as endowment for his Norfolk Travelling
Fellowship in 1697; Great Fransham (Norf.), bought
by the College in 1849 and in 1922 united with
Little Fransham, the patronage being shared with
Hertford College, Oxford; Ringstead All Saints
(Suff.), given by the Rev. A. C. Pearson in 1930;
Privett-cum-Froxfield (Hants), given by O. W.
Nicholson in 1914. The sinecure of East Aldrington
(Suss.), bequeathed by John Citizen in 1750, was
sold by the College in 1875. The Master receives the
income derived from the sale of the rectory of
Ellingham (Norf.), given by the first Lord Braybrooke in 1797 and annexed to the Mastership.
The College was financially unlucky in its early
days. It is uncertain to what extent, if at all, the
Duke of Norfolk fulfilled the lavish promises made
on the occasion of the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to
Cambridge in 1564; it is certain that bequests for the
benefit of the College by Martha Barrett (1584) and
Matthew Richardson (1594) failed at an early date,
through carelessness, or worse, on the part of the
trustees; and the annuity for Dr. Goche's fellowships was paid for only one year, after which they
became titular; but they were interesting, as being
open to laymen. The greatest tragedy in the financial
history of the College was the perpetual alienation
of the Aldgate property to the queen in 1574, at a
yearly rent of £15. This was an immediate gain, the
property having been previously let for only £9, but
the ultimate loss was, of course, enormous. The
transaction was almost certainly contrary to the
statutes as well as to an Act of Parliament passed
three years earlier; it led in the next century to a
tedious succession of bills, petitions, and lawsuits
which ended adversely for the College: part of the
annual £15 has since been capitalized and the College
now receives only £2 per annum.
Constitution and Statutes.
noticeable feature of the constitution of the College
has all along been its very close connexion with the
heir and successors of Lord Audley, a connexion
which became especially intimate in the early 20th
century when, for the last two years of his life, the
Master was also Visitor. The executors laid down
from the beginning the principle of the ultimate
authority of the founder's family, and they strengthened the connexion by the great power given to the
Master, who was to be appointed by the Visitor
and not elected by the fellows. These two points
emerge clearly from the history of the statutes;
originally drawn up by Lord Audley's executors in
1554, they were revised by the Duke of Norfolk in
1564, at a time when the statutes of most Colleges
were overhauled by royal commissioners, and the
additions which he made were almost all in the
direction of strengthening the Master's authority.
So much was this so that it was asserted in 1625 that
the duke had made his alterations without consulting the executors, at the prompting of Dr. Kelke, the
then Master. This charge of ill faith on the part of
the duke was indignantly and solemnly repudiated
by the then Visitor in 1631 and again in 1635. But
the extra sentences had certainly been written in
as additions to the various clauses of the existing
statutes, every page of which had been signed in
1554 by the executors; in this way it might appear
that the signatories had all assented also to the 1564
additions, whereas some at any rate of them were
by that time deceased.
But if there was room for question about the form
of the statutes, there was ambiguity also about their
content, in particular their interpretation and the
possibility of subsequent amendment; this concerned especially the right, on the one hand, of the
Master to grant dispensations, as to taking Orders
or holding benefices, and, on the other hand, of
future Visitors to amend or add to the statutes at
As to the statutes themselves, taking the 1554 and
the 1564 clauses together, the opening sentence may
seem unusual for so late a foundation: 'omnibus ac
singulis Matris Ecclesiae filiis presentibus et futuris
salutem'; but it is phrasing appropriate to the reign
of Philip and Mary. Sir Thomas Pope, one of the
chief executors, was an ardent Catholic, and this fact
helps to account for what may be termed the oldfashioned character of many of the statutes. The
study of theology was impressed as an obligation on
the fellows, whereas for civil law a special dispensation from the Master was required. The foundation
fellows were to be by preference 'docti et pauperes'
and were only to hold benefices with leave of the
Master. There were to be eight of them, but because
of the poverty of the endowment the executors cut
down the figure to six and took powers to make
further reductions if necessary. Internally, the
Master had very great authority: he might eject a
fellow without any delay or appeal, whereas no provision was made for his own removal, save by the
Visitor: he could be married or single, as he chose,
nor had he any obligation to reside; he could settle
the dates of fellowship elections at which, as at all
other business, he had two votes, as well as a casting vote.
These extensive powers were not idle forms and
led to a petition (30 December 1595) (fn. 3) by ten fellows
to Lord Thomas Howard, 'that so the long blemish
of our house (by our weak Statutes referring all to
one man's pleasure) may by your Honour be taken
away and your lordship's scholars no longer live as
servants when they should be fellows'. The trouble
had arisen more particularly during the later years
of Kelke's Mastership. In 1572 he had deprived
Elias Newcommen of his fellowship—'by my power
and authority which in that College is considerably
great'—and in the following year had ejected two other
fellows, subsequently reinstated by Burghley, who
had appealed for a regular 'visitation' of the College.
Nevile in 1588 deprived a fellow for not having taken
Orders even after nine years' tenure of his fellowship,
and so late as 1635 and 1736 fellows were deprived
for holding benefices without the special leave of the
Master. But it was the double vote at elections which
caused most discontent. It was petitioned against by
Bulkeley and three other fellows in 1576; it led to
an alleged 'false and juggling trick' to diminish the
Master's authority in 1625, and it nearly lost the
College a legacy in 1635 when John Smith, who held
that the statutes had been largely faked by Kelke and
'made for tyranny', established by his will the office
of bursar on condition that at the election thereto the
Master should have only one vote; the fellows, however, afterwards yielded to the Master's demand
that this condition should be set aside. One hundred
and fifty years later, Dr. Peckard was involved in
another controversy over the Master's powers; in
the course of a long memorandum he explained his
position: 'I greatly dislike the exercise of power, nor
will I ever knowingly transgress any power with
which I have been invested. But when a certain
authority is committed to me in trust for those who
shall come after me, I will not suffer it to be dishonoured or torn from me.' To this note he appended what was obviously the copy of a letter
addressed to a colleague; it began, 'a former resident,
thinking the Master's authority too great, appealed
to the Visitor, who confirmed the Master's authority'.
The Master's double vote was partially removed by
the statutes of 1860 and totally disappeared with
those of 1882.
The Visitor's right to nominate the Master has
never been challenged. But it produced an unsatisfactory situation in 1774, when George Sandby was
called on to resign, in fulfilment of a promise made
by him at his appointment in 1760, in order to make
room for Barton Wallop, whose qualification was
that he was the grandson of the late Lord Portsmouth; his disqualification was his being, according
to a contemporary, 'totally illiterate' and, more
serious from the point of view of the statutes, only
27 years old. This last defect was, however, covered
by the saving clause 'thirty years old or thereabouts',
which also allowed the fellows to accept the two
appointments of the 19th century, both 'Founder's
Kin' and both under 30 years of age. The agequalification has since been made unambiguously
'thirty years'. The Visitor's right of nomination was
preserved in the statutes of 1926 but the Visitorship
was vested not, as before, in the 'possessor of Audley
End' but in the holder for the time being of the
barony of Braybrooke, as representing the founder.
Next to the intimate connexion between the
founder's family and the Mastership, the most
interesting feature of the 19th century was the large
number of bye-fellowships and the small number of
full fellowships. It appeared at the time of the 1850
commission that there were only four foundation
fellowships, fewer than at any other college save one,
whereas there were thirteen bye-fellowships, more
than at any other college save one. The Rev. E.
Warter, President, giving evidence in place of the
Master, who was ill, defended the position, 'for
although two of them are valueless and others very
poor, they are very useful as stepping-stones for
those who may not have an immediate chance of
being elected into something better'. But it was just
this 'stepping-stone' practice which was considered
objectionable by the commission, whereas, in view
of the few full fellowships, 'the incorporation of the
bye-fellows would afford a convenient addition to
the present means of administering the affairs of the
College'. Consequently, in the statutes of 1860 they
disappeared, their revenues being applied to the
scholarships fund, and four additional fellowships
were created, for the moment only on paper, to bear
the names of Wray, Spendluffe, Drury, and Millington; it is curious that the title of 'King's Fellows',
commemorating the earliest benefaction other than
that of the founder, should have been allowed to
disappear. The College undoubtedly gained by the
suppression of the bye-fellowships as they had been
administered in the 19th century: but it looked back
on them with a regret that was more than sentimental and they were called into life again in a
modified form in the statutes of 1926, having existed
less formally for some years previously. The byefellowships do not now, any more than in earlier
times, confer membership of the governing body,
but they 'give a certain status', as Mr. Warter had
pointed out in 1852, and the research students who
hold them gain by their introduction to the life of
the high table and the combination-room.
The statutes of 1926 provide for 7 fellowships; in
1956 the actual number was 18, of whom 12 were
stipendiary and three professorial and two were held
by professors emeriti; there were also in that year
two bye-fellows and 51 scholars and exhibitioners.
Buildings. (fn. 4)
The First Court was constructed
piecemeal owing to the unusual circumstances of the
foundation. Only the chapel, hall, and kitchens were
erected corporately, so to speak, and under the direction of the Provincial Order of St. Benedict. The
staircases were built, to varying designs, by the
Benedictine houses which sent students to the College and the modern coats of arms indicate what is
conjectured, though without real evidence, to have
been the contribution of each. Two staircases on the
north and three on the south side belong to the 15th
century, but the court was not completed until the
end of the 16th century, and then largely through
the generosity of Sir Christopher Wray, who made
substantial additions in 1587. (fn. 5)
The building of the Second Court, or Pepysian
Building as it is now usually called, was under
consideration in 1640 but it was not begun until
some time after the Restoration, probably from
designs by Robert Hooke in 1677, and not completed until Quadring's Mastership (1690–1713).
No further addition to the College buildings was
made until 1835, when the present Master's Lodge
was built; that portion of the Old Lodge which
occupied the north side of the First Court was then
turned partly into the library and partly into College
rooms. The part on the street, to the north, was made
into a small separate house, the connecting gallery
being destroyed in order to make the drive up to the
new lodge. This building, with additions taken in
when the houses at the corner of Chesterton Road
were demolished, was converted into College rooms
in 1926, and the spacious hall, which Dr. Benson
had added in 1912, was fitted up as a room for concerts and the meetings of College clubs.
The 20th century has so far seen five additional
blocks of buildings. In 1909 Aston Webb designed
new kitchen premises, and two staircases, called
Bright's Building, to commemorate the generosity
of Mynors Bright. The lecture room on the ground
floor of this building was enlarged and turned into
a second dining-hall in 1949, the panelling being a
memorial to the 130 Magdalene men who fell in the
Second World War. In 1926 Mr. H. Redfern completed plans prepared by Dr. Benson for a block on
the farther side of Magdalene Street, called Mallory
Court in memory of George Mallory, one of the
heroes of Everest. In 1930 Benson Court, architect
Sir Edwyn Lutyens, was begun, also on the farther
side of Magdalene Street, the building commemorating the quincentenary of Monks' Hostel and the
name bearing witness to the affection with which
the College treasured the memory of Dr. Benson.
Between 1952 and 1956 various workshops and
garages were converted into undergraduate sets and
the upper floors of the old buildings in Magdalene
Street, from the river to the entrance to Mallory
Court, were made into sets of College rooms with
direct access to Benson Court, under the direction of
Mr. D. Wyn Roberts. Mr. Wyn Roberts also designed
two new buildings, containing between them twentyeight sets, opposite Benson Court. In 1953 a full survey by Mr. S. E. Dykes Bower disclosed that the
roof, the battlements, the Roman cement facing, and
the stonework of the windows in the First Court
were all defective. In 1954 work began on stripping
the Roman cement, restoring the court to its original
brickwork, and replacing the slate roof, after the
battlements had been removed, with tiles.
The fine, but plain, oak roof of the chapel
is all that now remains of the 15th-century building,
which suffered, with the loss of 'about forty superstitious pictures', at the hands of the notorious
Dowsing in 1643, was 'classicized' in 1754, a plaster
ceiling having been inserted more than half a century
earlier, and re-Gothicized in 1847. An organ was
given by Dr. Duport in 1677, but the post of organist,
held by the butler of Jesus College, was suppressed
for reasons of economy in 1693, and the organ
disappeared soon afterwards. No fresh organ was
erected, an offer from the then Master being declined
by the fellows in 1880, until Dr. Benson gave a
small one in 1904; the present organ was the gift of
F. McD. C. Turner in 1927 and enlarged by him in
1951. In that year the College started on a comprehensive scheme for the improvement and redecoration of the interior under the guidance of Mr. S. E.
The hall dates from 1519 but was greatly
altered in 1714, when the walls were rewainscotted
and the original timber roof concealed by a plaster
ceiling; the gallery, with its double staircase, was
constructed, incorporating a good deal of earlier
woodwork, and over the dais was painted a remarkable group of heraldic 'achievements' which, having
become almost invisible, were brought vividly to life
again by a very careful process of cleaning in 1949.
The College library, formerly described as the Foundation Library, is on the ground
floor of the north side of the First Court; it consists
of two rooms divided by folding doors, in which the
manuscripts and older books are kept, and an inner
reference library. The chief private donors were
Thomas Nevile and Barnaby Goche, while many
books were bequeathed by Peter Peckard, through
whom also the interesting Ferrar papers came into
the possession of the College. Among the manuscripts are a fine illuminated Apocalypse, a 'Wycliffite' New Testament, and a curious collection of
private devotions (1518); and among the printed
books a copy of each of the two First Editions of
Paradise Lost. There is also a small book of manuscript lecture notes, compiled by Thomas Applegarth, an undergraduate of the College, in 1672.
Thomas Hardy, honorary fellow of the College,
bequeathed the manuscript of his Moments of Vision,
and the manuscript of his last published poem,
Christmas in the Elgin Room, hangs on one of the
walls. In 1937 Mrs. Rudyard Kipling gave the
College, in memory of her husband, a scrap-book of
manuscripts of his poems.
The Pepysian Library was left to Magdalene by a
codicil to Pepys's will dated 12 May 1713. (fn. 6) The
College entered into possession of this most valuable
and interesting collection, which contains the manuscript of the Diary and the original 'presses', on the
death of Pepys's nephew, John Jackson, in 1724. The
donor had undoubtedly hoped that the library would
occupy all the central part of the new Second Court,
but although the whole building now bears his name
the library itself occupies only one room in it, having
been moved there in 1853.
The most interesting
alumni of Buckingham College were Robert Rede,
the founder of the University lecture which bears
his name, and Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of
Canterbury, who, however, migrated almost immediately to Christ's College and, later, to Pembroke.
Cranmer was a lecturer at the College for a year,
after he had forfeited his fellowship at Jesus through
marriage. It is uncertain whether Sir Christopher
Wray, the famous Lord Chief Justice, belonged to
the final days of Buckingham College or to the early
days of Magdalene.
With its inadequate endowments, unfinished buildings, and internal troubles, Magdalene was at first
a struggling and not very happy community. In
Roger Kelke's time 'by evil dissensions the College
was in such estate as those that served it with victuals
would not longer contynue in so doing by reason the
Master refused to be answerable for the money'! (fn. 7)
The fifth Master, Degory Nicholls, caused still further dissensions; 'at his first coming it was reported he should say he wolde roote out all the
Welshmen in the Colledge'. He was as good as his
word, for he not only drove out the College butler
because of his Celtic origin but for the same reason
ousted Mr. Johns, the Greek lecturer. The fellows
complained that 'as for the perfectinge of the
scholars it seemeth his least care but rather regardeth the feeding of his Keyne which commonlie
lie in the Court and often are mylked before the
Hall door, his wife standing by'. 'These Keyne',
they went on, 'bewraye the Hall and Chappel and
now and then at mealltymes come and stand in the
Hall.' They also complained of his wife's chiding
tongue. (fn. 8)
Barnaby Goche, Master in 1604, was another
curious character. He was, somewhat dubiously,
a Member of Parliament in 1614 but spent most of
the two following years in prison because of the part
he played over the Aldgate lawsuit. As M.P., he
petitioned for the College in 1621, but any gratitude
Magdalene might feel for him over this, and his
imprisonment on their behalf, must be slightly discounted by the lack of foresight he showed in refusing an offer of £10,000; at this time, however, the
College case seemed strong enough to make a compromise undesirable.
Nor did the College escape the religious and
political troubles of the 17th century. Nine fellows
were ejected for refusing to swear to the Solemn
League and Covenant; the Master, Rainbow, was
evicted in 1650 but had his own restoration in 1660
at the expense of his successor, Sadler. The Act of
Uniformity (1662) was responsible for the ejection
of one fellow, or possibly two, and at the very end
of the century yet another fellow lost his position
because he was a non-juror. But national and College
history most coincided when James II expelled the
Master, John Peachell ('my old acquaintance, Mr.
Peachell,' says Pepys, 'whose red nose makes me
ashamed to be seen with him'). Peachell was ViceChancellor and refused to admit to a degree, at the
royal command and without the taking of the proper
oath, Albin Francis, a Benedictine monk. For this
refusal, Peachell was deprived of the Vice-Chancellorship and suspended from the Mastership.
Among the alumni of the 16th and 17th centuries
were Henry Dunster, first President of Harvard;
Archbishop Ussher, one of the first students of
Trinity College, Dublin; Samuel Pepys; Bishop
Cumberland, one of the earliest English students of
the Coptic language, and Waterland, the theologian.
Magdalene has never been a big college; in the
first 350 years of its existence the greatest number of
freshmen was 35, in 1623, and at the beginning of the
18th century only 5 or 6 entered yearly. But in the
first 50 years of the Mathematical Tripos the College
had 31 wranglers, with senior wranglers in 1752,
1757, and 1778; William Bell, 8th wrangler in 1753,
was the founder of the University Bell scholarships.
Under Peckard (1781) and Farish the character of
the College underwent a great change, for the Master
tolerantly accepted and the Tutor actively encouraged the Evangelical movement of which Magdalene
became a great centre. To it, and to Queens' College,
the Elland Society sent its protégés to be prepared for
ordination, and the Norrisian Divinity Prize went
to the College fifteen times in the first 25 years of
its foundation. Gretton, Peckard's successor in the
mastership, complained that, though he drew his
fellows from every College in the University, they all
became 'Methodists' after a short time at Magdalene! Gunning comments on the tea-drinking habits
of Magdalene men, with an amusing story of the
frugal way in which they lived, and the first boat put
on the river (1828) won the nickname of 'the Teakettle'. It may have been because of this Evangelical
trend that the College took to adding a final e to its
name, not merely in order to distinguish it from the
Oxford Magdalen but also, perhaps, so as to bring
the spelling into line with Biblical usage. But no
record survives of any definite resolution and the
exact date of the change is uncertain: it was probably
some time between 1816 and 1820, since in each of
these years the University Almanack contained an
engraving of the College, the earlier inscribed Magdalen, the later, Magdalene. But for some little time
the two styles seem to have existed concurrently;
thus, so late as 1836 a sermon delivered on the occasion of the death of Charles Simeon describes the
preacher as fellow and tutor of Magdalen College.
A further change took place during the 19th
century. The Evangelical trend did not entirely disappear—Charles Kingsley graduated in 1842—but it
was overlaid by a mixture of the scholarly and the
aristocratic. Dons as well as undergraduates were
affected and the Rev. E. Warter, tutor from 1842 to
1851, may perhaps stand for the type at its best; he
is described by one of his pupils as 'most kind and
painstaking, and a good rider to hounds'; but he had
been 4th classic in 1834 and was an inspiring teacher.
F. Gunton was another hunting don; he was 16th
classic in 1867, having won Sir Thomas Browne's
Medal two years earlier. Even in its most sporting
and aristocratic phase the College continued to turn
out good scholars, A. G. Peskett (Senior Classic
1875) being the most outstanding. To the earlier
19th century belong C. J. E. Acton, Cardinal Acton;
the two Grants, Charles, Lord Glenelg, the Colonial
Secretary, and Robert, Governor of Bombay and
author of a well-known hymn (fn. 9) ; F. C. Penrose, the
architect, and Mynors Bright, editor of what was
for many years the authoritative edition of Pepys's
Diary. In the second half of the century there were
Arthur Cohen, for many years University Counsel;
Alfred Newton, the ornithologist; J. R. Lumby,
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and founder of
the Early English Text Society; and C. S. Parnell,
the true story of whose 'rustication' was told by
A. S. Ramsey in the Magdalene Magazine of 1936.
In the middle of the 19th century Magdalene was
still small, with an entry varying from 10 to 25, but
there were four or five colleges which were smaller.
The South African War had the effect of reducing
the numbers considerably, but with the appointment
of S. A. Donaldson as Master in 1904 they rose again
and Magdalene, without losing that individuality
which is the pride of every college, became a normal
college of the smaller kind. By the inflated standards
of two post-war periods of expansion the numbers,
271 in 1956, are still moderate.
Among distinguished Magdalene men still living
are Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder,
who entered the College as an undergraduate in
1909 and was, in 1950, elected Chancellor of the
University; Prof. P. M. S. Blackett, F.R.S., a Nobel
Prizewinner; Viscount de L'Isle, V.C., Secretary of
State for Air (1951–5); The Right Hon. J. S. B.
Lloyd, Foreign Secretary, 1955–; and the Most
Rev. A. M. Ramsey, Archbishop of York, 1956– .
The more important pictures are: In
the hall, copies of portraits of Lord Audley; Edward,
Duke of Buckingham; Sir Christopher Wray; Bishop
Rainbow; Bishop Cumberland; Peter Peckard and
Mrs. Peckard, both by Ralph; Samuel Pepys, by
Lely; Latimer Neville, 6th Lord Braybrooke, and
Charles Kingsley, both by Lowes Dickinson; Rudyard Kipling; Thomas Hardy, sketch-portrait by
Fuller Maitland; Lord Tedder, by Henry Carr;
T. S. Eliot, by Wyndham Lewis.
In the large combination-room: Hezekiah Burton,
by Mary Beale; Cardinal C. J. E. Acton; Thomas
Kerrich, by J. R. Briggs; A. C. Benson and A. G.
Peskett, both by Fuller Maitland; A. B. Ramsay, by
James Gunn; Alfred Newton, by Lowes Dickinson;
A. S. Ramsey and V. S. Vernon-Jones, both by
In the small combination-room, Thomas Howard,
4th Duke of Norfolk.
In the Pepysian Library, Samuel Pepys, by
In the Master's Lodge, Nicholas Ferrar, Mrs.
Ferrar, and Nicholas Ferrar, jun., all by Jansen; the
Countess of Portsmouth, by Jervais.
A considerable portion of the College
plate was sent to Charles I, but seized on the way
by the parliamentary forces. The surviving preRestoration plate consists of four early silver stoups,
one of 1567, and the communion plate, a silver-gilt
chalice and cover, 1586–7, two silver flagons, 1624,
and a small silver paten, c. 1600. The rest of the plate
includes a silver two-handled bowl with cover, surmounted by a bird, 1669–70, a silver ewer and rosewater dish, with palindrome, 1679–80, a cylindrical
silver beaker, 1744, and four George II silver candlesticks, c. 1755.
(1) Silver, the gift of Benedict Spinola,
c. 1575. Figure of St. Mary Magdalene, with, below,
a wyvern (the crest of the Audley family). Inscription: SIGILLU COLLEGII S MARIE MAGDALENE IN ALMA
(2) Silver, the College arms, the seal in official use.
Robert Evans: 1542. (fn. 11)
Richard Carr: 1546.
Roger Kelke: 1559.
Richard Howland: 1576.
Henry Copinger: 1577.
Degory Nicholls: 16 Aug. 1577.
Thomas Nevile: 1582.
Richard Clayton: 1593.
John Palmer: 6 Feb. 1595.
Barnaby Goche: 1604.
Henry Smyth: 1626.
Edward Rainbow: 1642, deprived 1650, restored
John Sadler: 17 Oct. 1650.
John Howorth: 1664.
James Duport: 1668.
John Peachell: 1679.
Gabriel Quadring: 13 Feb. 1690.
Daniel Waterland: 7 Jan. 1713.
Edward Abbot: 1740.
Thomas Chapman: 9 Jan. 1746.
George Sandby: July (?) 1760.
Barton Wallop: 10 May 1774.
Peter Peckard: 4 Oct. 1781.
Thomas Gretton: 20 Dec. 1797.
George Neville-Grenville: 18 Oct. 1813.
Latimer Neville: 29 Dec. 1853.
Stuart Alexander Donaldson: 9 June 1904.
Arthur Christopher Benson: 9 Dec. 1915.
Allen Beville Ramsay: 14 Dec. 1925.
Henry Urmston Willink: 18 Jan. 1948.