A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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THE COLLEGE OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST
Foundation and Early Years.
St. John's College (fn. 1) owes its foundation to the Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII; but with her name must be joined that of John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. (fn. 2) A plan to convert St. John's Hospital in Cambridge (fn. 3) into a college seems to have been in Fisher's mind, and to have been discussed at his instigation by the Lady Margaret's council, as early as 1505. (fn. 4) It also seems to have been Fisher, as the Lady Margaret's chaplain, who persuaded her to embrace the scheme. In the last year or two of her life she talked much about it. About twelve months before she died she summoned the Bishop of Ely to Hatfield to discuss the suppression of the hospital and its conversion into a college, and on 10 March 1509 she entered into a preliminary agreement with him to dissolve the hospital. (fn. 5) She had not, however, at the time of her death on 29 June 1509 made provision in her written testament for carrying out her intentions, a circumstance which gave rise to 'much ground for cavil'. Thenceforward it was due to Fisher that her design was carried through to completion in the face of many difficulties and obstructions. (fn. 6) He procured papal, royal, and episcopal licences for the dissolution of the hospital and the foundation of the College; and on 12 March 1511 the remaining inhabitants of the hospital 'departed from Cambridge towards Ely . . . at iiij of the clokke at afternoone by water'. (fn. 7) A few weeks before, 800,000 bricks had been ordered from Richard Reculver of Greenwich; (fn. 8) and on 9 April 1511 the College's foundation charter was given by the Lady Margaret's executors, naming Robert Shorton as first Master. (fn. 9) Under his direction the building of the College proceeded rapidly; and he was soon giving thought to those who would be its members, sending to Fisher 'the namys of such personis as is thought good, vertuose, and lerned, and men tractabyll'. (fn. 10) On or about 29 July 1516 the College was opened with Alan Percy as its second Master, (fn. 11) though the buildings were not completed until 1520 when Percy had been succeeded in turn by Nicholas Metcalfe, Fisher's chaplain and Archdeacon of Rochester.
The buildings erected during this period occupied the easternmost end of the site of the hospital, with their front on the High Street, now St. John's Street, and were bounded on the north by St. John's Lane (fn. 12) and on the south by the Back or Kitchen Lane. They comprised around one court all that was needed for collegiate life. A gatehouse containing a porter's lodge and treasury faced the High Street, with a library to the south of it. North of the gate, beneath the library and along the south side of the court were living chambers. On the west side of the court were the kitchens, with chambers above; a hall for eating, College exercises, and entertainments; and a combination-room. Most of this remains, though the southern range was heightened and faced with stone in 1772. The north side of the original court, however, was demolished in 1863–9. Here was the old hospital chapel, (fn. 13) repaired and refurbished for collegiate use, and the Master's Lodging; and behind them, along St. John's Lane, the hospital infirmary which was used at first as a stable and storehouse. The marshy ground between the court and the river, over which the College was later to spread, was occupied with gardens and trees and by some remains of the hospital buildings. Beyond the river, across a wooden bridge, lay the hospital fishponds to the north and St. John's meadow to the south, separated by St. John's Ditch which joined the Bin Brook to the river. (fn. 14) The cost of the work which raised a college where the hospital had been seems to have been in the neighbourhood of £5,000, 'a round sum in that age'. (fn. 15)
Financial difficulties, in the meantime, had made this round sum all the harder to raise and had increased the problem of providing the College with adequate endowments—without which, as Fisher said, 'heare wolde have beyne butt a poure college'. (fn. 16) The hospital revenues transferred to the College were small, amounting only to about £50 yearly. (fn. 17) The Lady Margaret's intention seems to have been that her executors should be able to call upon the revenues of her estates in Somerset, Devon, and Northamptonshire, (fn. 18) already put in feoffment for the fulfilment of her will, for the purpose of establishing the College. The fact, however, that the project of founding the College did not find a place in her written testament was the first of the difficulties Fisher encountered. Nevertheless, he secured the proof of the Lady Margaret's expressed intentions in the court of the Archbishop of Canterbury on 22 October 1512 and had them embodied in a codicil added to her will; and he obtained an order from the court of Chancery permitting the executors to receive the revenues from her lands in feoffment so that they might be bestowed upon the building and endowment of the College and its equipment with books and ornaments. Very soon, however, Fisher was being called upon 'to shew cause whi we shulde keape the Kinges inheritance from hym to the valow of CCCC li yerly'. In the end 'we warre more straitlie handelide and so long delaide and weriede and fatigate that we must nedes lett the londe go'. (fn. 19) In other words, King Henry VIII, as the Lady Margaret's heir-at-law, resumed his inheritance—an act which gave rise to a hardy legend in the College that he had robbed it of properties which his grandmother had designed for its endowment. (fn. 20)
In fact, of course, the Lady Margaret had no such intention. The College had a claim only upon the revenues accruing from her lands and then only up to the point when it had been built, endowed, and equipped. Henry VIII, however, seems to have displayed a sense that he had somewhat anticipated this point when he resumed his grandmother's properties. He apparently promised the College a sum of £2,800 to complete its foundation, but only £1,200 of this was actually received. (fn. 21) Fisher was therefore compelled to look elsewhere if he was to assure the College of an adequate endowment. He expended on its behalf money he received from the Lady Margaret and substantial sums from his own resources; and he secured for it in 1516 and 1524 the properties of three small religious houses—the Maison Dieu at Ospringe (Kent) and the nunneries of Lilliechurch in Higham (Kent) and Broomhall (Berks.). Soon, however, 'private founders were crowding in', (fn. 22) and where they gave money this was faithfully invested in real property. The result of this good husbandry can be read in the steady rise of the College's income from £224 in 1518 to £507 in 1534 and £537 in 1543. Even so this was none too ample, a circumstance which probably explains the growth of the legend that Henry VIII had deprived the College of its expectations from the estate of the Lady Margaret. When Elizabeth I visited the College in 1564, she 'was put in mind of her relation to the foundress, and intimation given of the College losses'; but the queen remained unmoved by these promptings. (fn. 23)
Meanwhile the College had grown in numbers until it was the largest in the University, and Fisher had taken care for its government. On 20 March 1516 the other executors of the Lady Margaret had commissioned him to prepare statutes for the College; and he provided it with no fewer than three codes in 1516, 1524, and 1530. (fn. 24) In their final form, these statutes entrusted the government of the College to a Master elected by the fellows, with a president to act as his deputy. In all major matters the Master was to act with the concurrence of the seven senior fellows; and the College was to be subject to visitation by the Bishop of Ely (a power which the Bishops still retain). The basic establishment of the College consisted of 28 Foundress's fellows and 22 Foundress's scholars, at least half of whom were to be drawn from the nine northern counties, and after that from Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Essex, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire, and Kent. This body was increasingly supplemented by fellows and scholars on private foundations, (fn. 25) the selection of whom was likewise normally limited by birth or other qualification. (fn. 26) The fellows were to be at least B.A.s, and were obliged to take orders and to proceed to the B.D. degree within a specified period. (fn. 27) They vacated their fellowships on marriage or on taking ecclesiastical preferment. The scholars were selected from amongst students in residence after examination by one of the seniors in singing and letters. The administration of the College was in the hands of two deans and two bursars; and the teaching staff consisted of a principal and two sublecturers, four mathematical lecturers, and examiners in classics, mathematics, logic, and philosophy, together with a Greek lecturer for the junior members of the College and a Hebrew lecturer for the fellows. Necessities were provided for: the fellows were allowed 1s. a week and the scholars 7d. for commons; (fn. 28) a fellow's stipend was 13s. 4d. yearly, the Master's £6 13s. 4d., the principal lecturer's £2 13s. 4d., and so forth. Standards of comfort were likewise low. We are told that there were to be in each chamber a high bed and a low truckle bed, the one for a fellow and the other for one or even two scholars. (fn. 29) This living together of fellows and pupils went on long after this time. In the 17th century chambers were normally assigned only to fellows: ground-floor rooms to junior fellows, and the 'middle chambers' (with the rooms and garrets above them for the accommodation of a greater number of pupils) to their seniors. (fn. 30) Instruction in those days was an intimate affair.
Here may conclude the account of how John Fisher executed the last will and testament of the Lady Margaret. When he was disgraced by Henry VIII, the Master and some of the fellows showed a due sense of their obligation to him by attending several times upon him in his imprisonment. They also wrote to him a letter containing these words: 'Tu nobis pater, doctor, praeceptor, legislator, omnis denique virtutis et sanctitatis exemplar. Tibi victum, tibi doctrinam, tibi quicquid est quod boni vel habemus vel scimus nos debere fatemur.' (fn. 31) Thus fittingly the College said farewell to 'the greatest patron the College ever had to this day'. (fn. 32)
The Reformation to the Civil War.
Nicholas Metcalfe, who must take much of the credit for the practical realization of Fisher's plans, did not long outlast his mentor. Faithful to the old religion, he was jostled into retirement in 1537 'by the young fry of fellows of St. John's', (fn. 33) to be remembered affectionately by Roger Ascham and pithily by Fuller: 'Metcalfe with Themistocles could not fiddle, yet he could make a little College a great one.' (fn. 34) This greatness was not a matter of wealth or numbers, but of men. It was the 'good learning' of scholars like John Cheke, John Redman, and Thomas Smith, and particularly their leadership in the new Greek learning, which led Ascham into 'a sweet remembrance' of his time at the College; and to recall that Metcalfe 'left such a company of fellows and scholars at St. John's College as can scarce be found now in some whole university'. (fn. 35) This flourishing of scholarship was not accompanied, however, by academic calm. For the next century and more the history of the College faithfully reflected the bitter religious controversies of the country at large. Its community was generally divided against itself; its Masters were the nominees of a faction or, more commonly, imposed by the government of the day. It is hardly surprising that their tenures were short, or that the College should have developed some expertise in getting rid of unpopular Masters. (fn. 36) Nor is it surprising that government intervention in its affairs was frequent, particularly in Burghley's day; for Burghley was a Johnian and nourished a real concern for his 'dear College of St. John's'. (fn. 37)
Metcalfe's departure opened the door to the growth of Puritanism in the College. True, the fellows chose a Catholic successor, but he wisely refused acceptance; and Day, the next Master, was first of all a courtier. He was succeeded by Taylor, a Lutheran and one of the compilers of the Book of Common Prayer, (fn. 38) imposed upon the College by royal authority. It was during his tenure that Henry VIII gave new statutes in 1545. These strengthened the hand of the Master in the government of the College, and abolished the majority of northern fellows, still mainly Catholic in sympathy, which Fisher's statutes had prescribed. In future they were to constitute at most half of the total body, not half at least as in the earlier statutes. (fn. 39) This change, no doubt, helped the progress of ultraprotestant tendencies in the College, until, during Thomas Lever's mastership, they became supreme. (fn. 40) In consequence, the Catholic reaction in Queen Mary's reign affected St. John's particularly severely. Lever and at least 14 fellows went into exile, provoking Ascham to observe that 'more perfect scholars were dispersed from there in a month than many years can rear up again'. (fn. 41) Under Elizabeth I, however, the exiles returned, imbued now with the spirit of Calvin. There is evidence enough of this in the acts of the early Elizabethan Masters. In 1563 'Popish trash' was removed from the chapel and sold, and ten Geneva psalters were purchased for the chapel services. (fn. 42) Naturally enough, the ever-watchful Cecil was much perturbed by these ecclesiastical tendencies in his old College, and perturbed still more in 1565 when many of the fellows and scholars appeared in chapel devoid of surplices. (fn. 43) Naturally, too, an opposition party appeared in the College, which bombarded the queen's minister with petitions and remonstrances against their Masters.
Between 1569 and 1586, the tide turned. Not one of the Masters of that period was an outstanding figure; but they had Whitgift and Cecil behind them, and the new statutes of 1580, which governed the College down to the 19th century, strengthened their hold upon the College. (fn. 44) Under Shepherd, the use of Geneva psalters was discontinued; and, though Puritanism revived in Whitaker's time, it seems to have been 'in great measure rooted out' during Clayton's mastership. So complete was the transformation that, by 1633, the College was ruled by a thoroughgoing Laudian in the person of William Beale. Under him, St. John's was the College in which Laud's ecclesiastical precepts were most completely carried out. (fn. 45) Needless to say the College was also royalist; and Robert Waideson, who lost his fellowship for his Puritan sympathies, found it 'so fermented with the old Traditions' that he 'could not digest their sowre belches against the Parliament'. (fn. 46) All the College plate was sent to Charles I in 1642; (fn. 47) and the penalty for this ultra-loyalism had to be paid in 1644 when Beale was deprived and arrested, 29 fellows were ejected, and the First Court was turned into a prison for 'malignants' amongst the University body. (fn. 48) For the next sixteen years a Puritan government gave Puritan Masters to the College; and filled vacant fellowships with men of Puritan sympathies, to whom College offices were more or less restricted, though there remained a fairly strong opposition within the College of Church or Royalist tendency. (fn. 49) Yet even Baker cannot quite condemn the dispensation of the Puritan Masters: 'their government was so good and the discipline under them so strict and regular that learning then flourished, and it was under them that some of those great men had their education that were afterwards the ornaments of the following age'. (fn. 50) Puritan Masters and fellows alike were swept away at the Restoration; but they had bridged the gap far from unworthily between the Anglican College of the earlier and of the later 17th century.
Through all these vicissitudes, the size and reputation of the College had grown. Its membership in 1545 had been 152, but this had risen to 287 in 1565 and reached 373 in 1672. (fn. 51) These numbers embraced, furthermore, a very fair cross-section of the community. In the first place, in the late 16th century, St. John's was one of the colleges which attracted the new men of the Elizabethan age; (fn. 52) for as one letter-writer put it in 1606: 'for my part I hould St. John's Colledge to be omni exceptione majus; not inferior to any Colledge for the bringinge up of yonge gentlemen'. (fn. 53) In the years immediately preceding the Civil War, in fact, about one-third of the undergraduates seem to have been sons of noblemen and landed gentlemen. Some of these, like the Cecils or Howards, Thomas Wentworth or Thomas Fairfax, came as fellow-commoners and might even live in considerable style. Nor were all of them enthusiastic students, as is evident enough from a letter from Robert Cecil's son: 'I never was out of love with my booke, knowinge learninge to be a necessary and an excellent qualyty in any gentleman. For my staying heere it must be as longe as your Lordship thinkes good, but if your lordship do leave it to mine owne choice I coulde be very well content to goe from hense as soon as might be.' (fn. 54) The sons of the well-to-do, however, were a minority in the undergraduate body; a fifth of which was recruited from the sons of clergymen in the decade 1630–40, and a third from boys from relatively poor homes who were brought to the College by scholarships and sizarships. Sizars, indeed, who received the benefit of a University education in return for a certain amount of service upon fellows and fellow-commoners, account for about half the total admissions at this time. (fn. 55) They had already included in their ranks men of such diverse talent as John Williams, who rose to be Lord Keeper, Bishop of Lincoln, and Archbishop of York, (fn. 56) and Thomas Nashe, who could remember the College as 'the sweetest nurse of knowledge in all that University'. (fn. 57)
The growing numbers and reputation of the College posed a problem of accommodation. Already in 1528 Metcalfe had built a small additional court in what is now the south-east corner of Second Court; (fn. 58) but in 1579 Howland was urging Burghley that the number of Foundress's scholars should not be increased 'considering especially that our nombre alreadie is over great for the recept of our howse, and the lyving (for these daies) verie small'. (fn. 59) In 1584–5 the old infirmary was converted into 'three floors of very bad students' rooms', (fn. 60) which were linked in 1636–7 to the first court by a passage constructed round the east end of the chapel. (fn. 61) In 1588–9 additional accommodation was found in a house called the Pensionary on the opposite side of the High Street from the College. (fn. 62) A more satisfactory solution to these difficulties was reached, however, when Mary, Countess of Shrewsbury, promised to finance a second court. Built in 1598–1602, it cost £3,600, of which the countess, owing to her misfortunes, contributed only £2,700. (fn. 63) In essentials it stands today as it was then erected, despite gloomy prognostications as to its durability; (fn. 64) and it contains in the combination-room the finest interior in Cambridge.
The building of the Second Court was followed close by the beginnings of a third. In 1623 an anonymous benefactor, who later proved to be the Lord Keeper Williams, enabled the College to erect a building running down to the river, with chambers on the ground floor and a library above. The cost was in the region of £3,000, of which Williams provided about two-thirds. (fn. 65) Long since the library has spread down to the ground floor; (fn. 66) but the upper library remains much as it was when Williams, in 1628, came down from his palace at Buckden to inspect the results of his generosity. Its contents, of course, have been enriched by the gifts of many benefactors. (fn. 67) One great collection which might have been there the College never received; for Fisher had given his library to St. John's, but it was dispersed by Cromwell after his arrest. (fn. 68) Of many others which did come, two or three deserve mention. Between 1626 and 1635 the College received from Henry, Earl of Southampton, the library he had purchased from William Crashaw, including the main bulk of its manuscript collection. Then, in 1740, the death of Thomas Baker brought his library of well over 1,000 volumes; and Dr. Newcome, in 1765, left some 60 volumes, mainly early editions of the classics, purchased from the Harleian collection. There have been many others who have helped to build up an assembly of some 70,000 volumes.
The Anglican and Tory college.
Such was the College when Charles II came home again. In the 65 years which followed, in sharp contrast with the period which had gone before, there were but four Masters, all of whom displayed a striking unanimity in matters of doctrine and politics. (fn. 69) Gunning had been expelled from Cambridge in 1644 for preaching against the Covenant; Turner was the son of Laud's chaplain, while Gower lived down his Puritan past; and Jenkin followed close in the tradition which they established. These were the men who made St. John's 'the home of high-bred Anglican doctrine and sentiment'. (fn. 70) This Anglicanism, it is true, could be tried too sorely. Thomas Smoult, (fn. 71) prominent in rebutting the claims of James II upon the University, had been a member of the College; and so were three of the seven bishops who petitioned the Crown in 1688 against the Declaration of Indulgence. (fn. 72) With William of Orange upon the throne, however, the High Anglican temper of the College became manifest. St. John's 'sent forth a number of Non-jurors equal to that produced by all the colleges of Oxford and the rest of those of Cambridge combined'. (fn. 73) In 1693 a mandamus was issued by the King's Bench for the exclusion of 20 of the fellows on this ground. Its execution was prevented at that time on technical grounds (fn. 74) and delayed until 1717, by which time only 6 of the 20 remained fellows, though this remnant had then been joined by 4 others from amongst the junior fellows. One of the 6 was Thomas Baker, the historian of the College; but, though he subscribed himself 'socius ejectus' from that time forward, he was allowed to retain his rooms for 23 years more until his death. His gratitude is still evident upon the shelves of the College library.
Despite this departure of the rump of the Nonjurors, St. John's remained the home of Anglican Toryism in a Whig University, (fn. 75) though this sentiment moderated with the passage of time and commanded less unanimous adherence. Newcome, indeed, may have become Master in 1735 as the nominee of a Whig party which had grown up in the College. If that be so, this group was not strong enough in 1765 to prevent the election of Powell 'with old Newcastle at his back' and probably the Townshends too, (fn. 76) and the restoration of the High Church and Tory tradition. Through all this period of apparent calm, meantime, the physical growth of the College had gone on. The third court was begun in Gunning's time and completed in 1674 at a cost of £5,256, raised apparently by public subscription. (fn. 77) This was linked with the grounds beyond the river in 1697 by a stone bridge, based upon a design furnished by Christopher Wren. (fn. 78) The grounds themselves had been much extended about a century earlier by the acquisition of the land which now forms the fellows' garden from the Borough and Corpus Christi College; and much was done in laying them out in 1602–3 and again in 1688. In the 18th 'century there was little change, save that, in all probability, the College acted on the advice of 'Capability' Brown in turning the fellows' garden from a formal into a natural garden. (fn. 79)
These changes may have implied, perhaps, a somewhat more spacious style of living than in earlier days. The steady increase in numbers, however, was not maintained; for, though still the largest College in the University for much of the 18th century, St. John's had been overhauled by Trinity before the end of it. (fn. 80) Average yearly entries, indeed, fell fairly steadily from 65 between 1661 and 1680 to 35 a century later. In consequence, the undergraduate body had declined, by the end of the 18th century, to somewhere in the region of 120. (fn. 81) It may still have been true that no College did more for the poor man, but the admission registers of the 18th century suggest that the proportion of such entrants was declining. It is significant of this tendency that sizars, who had accounted for half the admissions in 1630–9, were less than one-fifth of the entrants to the College in 1792–1802; that the last menial duties of the sizars were abolished in 1786; (fn. 82) and that this award had come to resemble an entrance scholarship more than anything else. (fn. 83) The sizars' position by this time, indeed, must have been very similar to that described by J. W. Colenso in 1832. His privileges 'indeed are not very great at present—as they only provide for certainty your dinners gratis; but you have a great chance of being allowed somewhat on the rent of your rooms. . . . We get our meat from the Fellows' table, and though their joints are not very hot when they reach us, yet we manage to make very capital dinners, for they take care to get the best of meat etc.' (fn. 84) Another feature of the period was some alleviation of the cramped circumstances in which the members of the College had lived in earlier days. At the beginning of the 18th century we still hear of two and even three 'chums' sharing a chamber. (fn. 85) Wordsworth, on the other hand, though admitted a sizar, had his own rooms over the kitchen; and even James Wood, the son of a poor weaver, had a garret called the Tub in Second Court, to which the only access was a trapdoor in the floor. (fn. 86) That was exiguous enough, but in general the 'small living' of 16th-century St. John's had given place to more room.
Easier circumstances, however, did not necessarily mean greater application. The conditions of entry do not seem to have been severe. Abraham de la Pryme tells us that, arriving in Cambridge on 1 May 1690, 'I was admitted a member of St. John's College the day following. First I was examined by my tutor, then by the senior dean, then by the junior dean and then by the Master, who all made me but construe a verse or two apiece in the Greek Testament, except the Master, who ask'd me both in that and in Plautus and Horace too.' (fn. 87) Nor do the demands made upon the student appear to have been particularly great, either in Pryme's time or in Wordsworth's a century later. The man of curiosity might indeed follow his bent with profit, as Pryme did in the study of science and magic or Wordsworth in the study of classical and contemporary European literature. (fn. 88) A considerable number of men, however, went down without a degree, and only about a third of Wordsworth's contemporaries completed an honours course. It was perhaps only to be expected that some fellow-commoners, like Castlereagh, should find little satisfaction in being 'immured in Cambridge and plodding for fame'; (fn. 89) but others, like William Wilberforce, found that even those who should have been their mentors conspired to encourage idleness. 'I was a good classic,' he tells us, 'and acquitted myself well in the College examinations; but mathematics, which my mind greatly needed, I almost entirely neglected, and was told that I was too clever to require them.' (fn. 90) Mathematics, however, might be a stumbling block to others for different reasons. George Tennyson, father of the Poet Laureate, found this subject little to his taste; for to excel therein, he told his father, 'would require such continual application and exertion, as would neither suit my health, time, nor inclination. The anxiety I should suffer and the deprivation of better knowledge, could only be compensated by the hope of an uncertain and at best a transitory honour.' (fn. 91) None the less, the steady growth of mathematical studies in the College is a feature of the times, evidenced by the long list of Johnian successes in the newly established Mathematical Tripos, and by the establishment of an observatory on the west tower of the Second Court in 1765–7. It was perhaps not inappropriate that, in 1789, St. John's came under the rule of a Master who had been a wrangler.
One other change in the organization of the College belied the appearance of stagnation in the 18th century. With little basis in the statutes or in College orders, the office of tutor had acquired something of its modern character by Wordsworth's time. (fn. 92) The title was known from the beginning, (fn. 93) and the Elizabethan statutes had laid down that every undergraduate must have a tutor who would be responsible for the discharge of his obligations to the College. (fn. 94) The tutor's responsibilities in the early 17th century were comprehensive. A correspondent asked Dr. Gwynne in 1615 to appoint a tutor for a young man 'who will strictly hould him in obedience, diligently reade unto him, and keepe him in contineuall exercise'; and in another case the Master was desired 'to chardge his Tutor to have a speciall care of hym, as well for his conversacon as his learninge, especially that he avoyde the company of Tobacco takers, Drinkers and Swaggereres'. (fn. 95) Thus a tutor was responsible both for a man's conduct and for his studies; and Ambrose Bonwicke a century later pays a glowing tribute to his tutor's performance of these duties. (fn. 96) Only slowly, however, did the tutorship become an office. In early times all fellows might stand as tutors to a few pupils. Gradually, the number of fellows performing this office contracted until, in the later 17th century, it is clear that three tutors, Watson, Roper, and Orchard, had charge of a large proportion of the undergraduates in the College. In the 18th century there seem normally to have been only two or three tutors, who looked after both the welfare of their pupils and the direction of their studies. They arranged for assistants to do much of the actual work of teaching, and collected fees from their pupils from which the stipends of most of the College teachers were defrayed. (fn. 97) Despite the silence of the statutes, the tutors became in this way amongst the most important of College officers.
Even in the 18th century, therefore, at a time which Henry Gunning described as the very worst part of the University's history, (fn. 98) change was not entirely absent. Thenceforward change was to become more rapid and more farreaching. Much of the impulse came from outside: from the University or from the government. But such external influences did not stand alone; and the watershed may even lie in the 18th century, during Powell's Mastership. In two directions he persuaded the College to undertake important reforms. He overhauled the methods of accounting for the College revenues, (fn. 99) and instituted in 1765 twice-yearly examinations in which he took himself a notable part. (fn. 100) The result may not have been striking, but at least the College had shown some capacity to deal with the torpor of the times. Not long afterwards, during Wood's Mastership, another important change took place. Though Wood is reckoned to have been old-fashioned in his views (not least on the ground that, as Vice-Chancellor, he suspended the Union Society for presuming to discuss political questions), (fn. 101) it was under him that the first tentative revision was made in the Elizabethan statutes which had governed the College for so long. Under these statutes and under the terms of most private foundations, the great majority of fellowships were limited to candidates born in the counties to which each fellowship was specifically attached. The disadvantages of these restrictions had long been recognized. Richard Bentley, who was to be Master of Trinity, never secured a fellowship at St. John's because when he took his degree the Yorkshire fellowships were all full; (fn. 102) and much earlier, in 1588, the College itself had pointed out that 'the seniors are many tymes dryven to this inconvenyence, namely, to refuse a most mete scholler very well qualifyed in every respect, and to admitt another farre more insufficyent every way'. (fn. 103) Yet nothing was done to remedy this situation; though the Platt fellowships (fn. 104) and, in the 17th century, the royal dispensing power (fn. 105) did something to mitigate the worst consequences of the statutes. In 1815, however, the College sought counsel's opinion on the possibility of changing them; and, despite some discouragement from that quarter, secured an amendment to them in 1820 removing all restrictions upon the choice of Foundress's fellows. Private foundations were not touched, but it was made possible to transfer Foundress's fellows to vacant private fellowships, thus leaving a fellowship vacant which could be freely filled. (fn. 106)
Under Wood's rule, meanwhile, other large enterprises were undertaken. The inclosure of St. Giles parish and an exchange with Merton College in 1805 made possible the laying out of the grounds in 1822– 3 in something like their present form. It remained only to take in the College playing fields beyond Queen's Road in 1858, and to extend them southwards to the boundary of Trinity fellows' garden in 1933. Since then the main event of note has been the replanning and replanting of the whole of the grounds under the direction of Dr. Thomas Sharp in 1950–2. (fn. 107) Meantime, the College itself had spread across the river with the erection of the New Court in 1827–31, a 'perpendicular Gothic' building designed by Rickman and Hutchinson and built at a cost of £78,000. (fn. 108) It was connected with the older courts by an 'ingeniously contrived bridge', commonly called 'the Bridge of Sighs'. (fn. 109) Wood looked still further ahead: money he left to the College provided the nucleus of a building fund which was somewhat unhappily expended in the years 1861–9. The old hospital infirmary and chapel were demolished, and the harmony of the First Court was destroyed. A new 'early decorated' chapel, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, was built along the north side of the court and was somewhat austerely adjudged by Professor T. G. Bonney to be from first to last a failure. (fn. 110) At the same time, the hall was extended some 40 feet northwards, the old Master's Lodge was destroyed, and a new lodge was built running parallel to the line of Bridge Street. (fn. 111) The College's present accommodation was completed by the construction of the western range of Chapel Court after a design by Penrose in 1885–6; and by the completion of that court and the building of North Court, involving the demolition of part of Bridge Street, to Sir Edward Maufe's design in 1940. (fn. 112)
The changes of the period were far from restricted to the outward appearance of the College. Government intervention in its affairs was becoming more normal than had been usual since Tudor and Stuart times; but the College itself showed much more signs of welcoming, and even taking the lead in, the new liberal tendencies of the times. A great part in this was probably played by Bateson, senior bursar 1846–57 and Master 1857–81, who took an important share in the work of the commissions which were appointed to consider the state of the University in 1850 and 1881. The College, at any rate, took the initiative in the matter of reform. In 1848 it petitioned the queen to sanction revised statutes, since those in force appeared to 'require to be modified and amended in order that they may be made more conformable to the present state of learning and science, better suited to modern practice, usages and manners, and more in unison with the course of study now pursued in the University'. (fn. 113) The new statutes, however, were hardly radical: they were still in Latin, (fn. 114) and reproduced much of the Elizabethan statutes verbatim. They did, however, give more explicit recognition to the office of tutor; and they included the abolition of county restrictions for the Foundress's fellowships which the College had secured in 1820.
The report of the Royal Commission on the University in 1852 necessitated more far-reaching changes. At once, in 1853, four new College lecturerships were established, including lecturerships in moral and natural sciences; and a chemical laboratory was built behind the New Court for G. D. Liveing. (fn. 115) The importance of this last step was best summed up by Liveing himself nearly 70 years later. (fn. 116)
The College built me the chemical laboratory, which was the first seed sown towards the growth of a large chemical school. When I vacated my fellowship by marrying, I vacated, of course, my lecturership as well, and the charge of the Chemical Laboratory. The College, however, created a new post for me: it made me the Director of the Laboratory and, what is more, helped me materially by paying me a salary. . . . When I became professor [of chemistry in 1861] the College again helped me—they continued me in my last post because there was no other laboratory in which I could give instruction in practical work.
Thus the natural sciences found a home in the College side by side with the older subjects—classics, mathematics, and theology; and from this time the steady increase in the number of College lecturerships began. In 1871 there were lecturers in Hebrew, moral science, natural science, law, and modern history; (fn. 117) today there is one or more lecturer engaged in College instruction for most of the increasingly numerous branches of study for which the University provides facilities. The Report of 1852, furthermore, compelled the College to draw up new statutes, which were sanctioned during the years 1857–61. (fn. 118) For the first time they were in English; they abolished all county or other preferences attached to scholarships and fellowships; they permitted the election of professors and University lecturers into fellowships without the obligation of taking orders, an obligation which had forced J. C. Adams, the discoverer of the planet Neptune, to abandon his fellowship in 1852; most of the College officers were likewise freed from this obligation, while in the case of University officers marriage was no longer a bar to tenure of their fellowships. (fn. 119) In a small way, too, entrance scholarships, four in number, were inaugurated in addition to the 60 foundation scholarships awarded to men already in residence. The foundation scholars, together with the Master, 56 fellows, and 9 sizars, constituted the minimum establishment of the College.
These statutes were hardly in time to keep pace with changing times; and already in 1882 a new set became necessary. They provided for the complete abolition of the obligation upon fellows to take orders and of all restrictions upon matrimony. The government of the College was vested in the Master and a Council of twelve members elected by the fellows, which replaced the old Seniority. (fn. 120) The tenure of fellowships was restricted to a period of six years save where its holder also held a qualifying College office (tutorship, lecturership, and so on). (fn. 121) The statutes of 1882, in turn, were the basis for those of 1926, which govern the College today and which followed upon the Report of the Royal Commission upon Oxford and Cambridge Universities in 1922. The present statutes no longer specify a minimum number of fellows or scholars; and they place the government of the College in the hands of a Governing Body consisting of the Master and all the fellows (though as before administrative authority is vested in a Council elected by the Governing Body). The fellows are divided into five classes, the two most numerous of which are fellows under Title A (with limited tenure and a prime obligation of research) and fellows under Title B (whose tenure is associated with a qualifying College or University office). These statutes, of course, also bear the mark of the general change made in 1926 which transferred the control of public teaching to the University; and transformed the duty of the College lecturer into one of conducting individual and class teaching within the College in the form of 'supervision'.
In the last hundred years, therefore, the College has been radically transformed. Its government has been remodelled. The body of fellows has been metamorphosed from a group of celibate clergy, most of whom would depart sooner or later to matrimony and a College living, into a mainly lay group of men engaged in the teaching activities of the College and University as a lifelong career. Their numbers have grown somewhat, particularly in very recent years, from 56 in 1860 to about 70 at the present time. The undergraduate body has grown more rapidly still. If it had fallen to small proportions at the beginning of the 19th century, there was a fairly steady rise in the number of men entering the College each year between 1800 and 1850. In 1851 there were 371 men in residence, of whom 133 had already spread outside the College walls to lodgings in the town. (fn. 122) At that date about 90 freshmen were coming up each year, a figure which rose to 104 by 1880. Thereafter annual entries declined to about 65 in 1906, but recovery had already begun before 1914. After 1918 the rate of increase was very rapid. The numbers of men entering the College were about 140 in 1920 and 1930, and 156 in 1938. (fn. 123) This expansion reached its height in the years immediately after the Second World War, when there were almost 700 men in residence and the 'doubling up' of men in sets once again became necessary.
Other changes are much less easy to define. When Samuel Butler came into residence in 1854 or W. E. Heitland in 1867, the vestiges of the 18th-century College were still evident. Butler belonged to one of the last generations of students which took part in the traditional Latin disputations in the college chapel. Social distinctions were still far more noticeable than they have come to be in more recent times, despite Bateson's efforts as an undergraduate, for example, to prevent sizars being excluded from the College boat and cricket clubs. (fn. 124) There were still fellowcommoners, and still sizars dining at a separate table. There was still a pretty clear distinction between those who were, and those who were not, 'reading men'; though Butler did not find 'reading' incompatible with watching cricket by way of recreation or with membership of the Lady Margaret Boat Club. (fn. 125) By the 20th century, however, these vestiges had all but disappeared. The undergraduate body has once again become much more representative of all sections of the community than it had been in the 18th century. In that sense, there has been something of a return to the past; and to those principles which Fisher laid down for the selection of scholars: 'Proviso semper quod doctiores indoctioribus ceteris paribus praeferantur, inter quos et inopes praeponi volumus, modo fuerint in ceteris condicionibus pares.'
Endowments. (fn. 126)
During the greater part of the College's history, it has depended for the income to maintain its fabric and to provide for the Master, fellows, and scholars who lived within its walls, upon an endowment consisting of real property and of agricultural land in particular. For generations no other sort of investment was thought to assure the regular return indispensable to the College as a community, a corporation which did not die. In the main, therefore, the history of the endowments of the College is the history of the accumulation and management of its agricultural estates.
The initial endowment was transferred from the old Hospital of St. John the Evangelist. It consisted of house property in Cambridge and Newnham, and lands in Babraham, sold 1878, Coton, augmented by purchase in 1652, Horningsea, and Toft, with outlying plots in Comberton and Hardwick, all sold 1945, in Cambridgeshire; land at Ashwell (Herts.), where the manor was purchased later in the century and the property sold in 1945, Clavering and Langley (Essex), sold in 1944, and Great Bradley (Suff.), augmented by purchase a few years later, and part sold 1945; and the patronage of Horningsea vicarage.
How the inadequacy of this endowment led to efforts on Fisher's part to supplement it has been discussed in connexion with the general history of the College. Bassingbourne manor in Fordham came from the Lady Margaret's estate, and money she bequeathed to the College was used to purchase additional property at Great Bradley (Suff.) and the manor of Great Stukeley (Hunts.) in 1517–18 (part of this property was sold in 1944 together with a farm acquired there in 1894). Fisher himself, moreover, made substantial benefactions to the College between 1518 and 1530, including properties in Holbeach, Moulton, and Whaplode (Lincs.), Ridgewell manor and a moiety of Rawreth Hall manor (Essex; the other moiety was purchased by the College in 1684; most of this property was sold in 1954), the manors of Blunham (Beds.) and Ramerick (Herts.), and land at Weston Colville, sold in 1945. Finally, he secured for the College the properties of the Maison Dieu at Ospringe in 1516, and the nunneries of Higham (Kent) and Broomhall (Berks.) in 1524. From Ospringe came Headcorn manor (augmented by two farms bought in 1719 and 1817, but sold in 1945–6; and by Moat Farm bought by Dr. Wood for the College in 1823); Triamstone manor in Burmarsh; Down manor in Ash, Steeple, Wingham, &c. (augmented by purchases in 1863 and 1871); Elverland manor in Ospringe (the greater part sold 1954); and the vicarage of Ospringe —all in Kent. The Higham properties were the manors of Higham and Lilliechurch and Higham vicarage (Kent); while from Broomhall came the manors of Windlesham (Surr.) and of Broomhall and Chawridge (Berks.); considerable portions of these estates were sold off in the 1860's, together with the vicarages of Aldworth and Sunninghill (Berks.) and of North Stoke and Ipsden (Oxon.).
Meanwhile, 'private founders were crowding in. . . . Lands were given by these founders or purchases were faithfully made with their moneys.' (fn. 127) Dr. Dowman, for example, in 1525 gave land at Kennythorpe (Yorks., sold 1899) and Staveley (Derb., gradually sold for development in recent years); and Sir Marmaduke Constable in 1520 the manor of Millington (Yorks., the greater part sold 1951–4). Other acquisitions at this time were lands in Cambridgeshire at Cottenham, Fen Drayton (1525, augmented by purchase in 1729 and sold 1944), Long Stowe (augmented by purchase 1711– 12 and sold 1940), Meldreth (1513), Melbourn (1519), Steeple Morden, and a moiety of the Barrington manor in Thriplow (1525: the other moiety was bequeathed to the College by Humphrey Gower in 1711, and the whole sold in 1914); the manor and rectory of Thorrington (Essex, 1530); in Huntingdonshire the manor of Little Paxton (c. 1527, sold 1919) and land at Great Gransden (sold 1848) and Hilton (1530); land at Cranwell (Lincs., c. 1530, sold 1919–21); in Nottinghamshire the manor of West Markham and land at Tuxford (sold 1943); and in Yorkshire lands at Atwick (1530), Danthorpe (sold 1920), Marfleet (1530, much sold in recent years for development), Paull, Preston, and Skeffling.
Thenceforward, the rate at which the College estates grew slackened somewhat, bursars being preoccupied, not only with the acquisition of property, but also with the problems of its management during a period of violent inflation. Practically all the College estates were leased out at rates which the rise in prices soon rendered highly beneficial to the lessee. The revenues of the College were safeguarded, however, partly by a statute (fn. 128) providing for onethird of rents to be paid in corn, which appreciated with rising grain prices, (fn. 129) and partly by scaling up fines for new leases, renewals, and reversions. Thus it was possible both to augment fellows' stipends by payment of a 'dividend' (i.e. a share in revenues surplus each year to necessary expenditure) and to purchase property out of income as well as benefactions. The main acquisitions, apart from those listed above in connexion with estates acquired earlier, between the mid-16th and the mid-18th century are as follows: land at Muggington (Derb.), 1590, sold 1866; Radwinter (Essex), 1690–10, sold 1920; Steeple and Southminster (Essex), 1623, sold 1918; Little Stonham (Suff.), 1634, sold 1920; Leighfield (Rut.), 1640; Birchington (Kent), 1642; Little Raveley (Hunts.), 1650, exchanged for property in Great Stukeley, 1894; Addingham (Cumb.), 1681–2; the manor of Wootton Rivers (Wilts.) and land at March (Cambs.) from Sarah, Duchess of Somerset (1682–6); land in Marton-cum-Grafton (Yorks.), 1684; Kentish Town (London), c. 1684, by bequest of William Platt, which formed the endowment of the Platt fellowships; (fn. 130) Deeping St. James (Lincs.), 1692, sold 1847–56; Thorley and Sawbridgeworth (Herts.), 1699, sold 1899; Hothersall (Lancs.), 1712, sold 1870; Woodchurch (Kent), 1725, sold 1952; Somersham (Hunts.), 1726, sold 1944; and Granham's manor in Great Shelford (Cambs.), 1714.
In the meantime the College was rapidly accumulating ecclesiastical benefices, with the very practical purpose of providing openings for fellows who wished to retire from their fellowships upon marriage or for other reasons. Down to about 1885 notices of vacancies in these livings were read out in hall by the College butler, and an opportunity to apply for them was given to fellows in strict order of seniority. (fn. 131) A chronological list will illustrate the building up of this form of endowment. Bainton rectory (Yorks.) was given by Sir William Gee in 1612 (since lost); Cherry Marham vicarage (Norf.) by Sir Ralph Hare in 1623; the rectories of Aberdaron (Carnarvon, given up 1911), St. Florence (Pembroke, given up 1914), Souldern (Oxon.), and Freshwater (I.W.) by Archbishop Williams in 1624. The vicarage of Holme on Spalding Moor (Yorks.) was bequeathed by Richard Whittington (1628) and soon afterwards the College purchased the rectory. Snoring rectory (Norf.) was purchased in 1690; Brinkley and Fulbourn St. Vigor rectories (Cambs.) were given by Bishop Thomas Watson of St. David's in 1691-5; and the College acquired the right of alternate presentation to the rectory of Wootton Rivers (Wilts.) from the Duchess of Somerset in 1692. Pierce Brackenbury gave the vicarage of Martoncum-Grafton (Yorks.) 1692, and John Boughton the rectory of Barrow (Suff.) 1693; while about this time the College purchased Ufford-cum-Bainton rectory (Northants.) 1692–3, Moreton rectory (Essex) 1693, Cockfield rectory (Suff.) 1694, Medbourne-cumHolt rectory (Leics.) 1706, and Staplehurst rectory (Kent) 1707. Other 18th-century acquisitions were Mountsorrel St. Peter and Quorndon St. Bartholomew (Leics.) 1708, exchanged 1867–9 for the vicarage of Fulbourn All Saints (Cambs.), Barrow on Soar vicarage (Leics.) 1708, Lilley rectory (Herts.) 1711, Brandesburton rectory (Yorks.) 1711, Lawford rectory (Essex) 1714, Marwood rectory (Devon) 1715–25, Great Warley (Essex) 1718, sold 1906, Hormead Parva rectory (Herts.) 1722, Layham rectory (Suff.) 1725, Houghton Conquest rectory (Beds.) 1726, Oakley Magna and Frating rectories (Essex) 1736, Marston Moretaine and Meppershall rectories (Beds.) 1736, and Minting vicarage (Lincs.) 1736. In addition, in 1717, Richard Hill obliged his heirs to present fellows of the College to five Norfolk livings in their gift, failure to do so involving the reversion of the livings to the College. In this way the College acquired the rectories of Alburgh (1871), Forncett St. Peter-cum-St. Mary (1909), and South with North Lopham (1904). Other late acquisitions were the vicarage of Hormead Magna (Herts.) 1813, a moiety of Morton rectory (Derb.) 1817, Holt rectory (Norf.) 1817, Murston rectory (Kent) 1826, Rampisham-cum-Wraxall rectory (Dors.) 1845, Black Notley rectory (Essex) 1847, Stoke Row vicarage (Oxon.), endowed by the College, 1849, Aldridge (Staffs.) 1860, sold 1928, and Dengie rectory (Essex) 1913.
Although the College mainly relied upon agricultural property for its maintenance, this reliance was ceasing to be quite exclusive by the middle of the 18th century. In 1749 the College began to invest in securities, though long after that date such investments were regarded as temporary expedients, a method of holding balances until they were spent or more safely invested. There were, however, relatively few acquisitions of agricultural property between the early part of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th; and such as there were have generally been noted above. The most important feature of the financial history of the College was rather an improvement in the management of the estates, and in particular the gradual supersession of beneficial leases by rack-rents as the normal condition of tenure. The change-over naturally took time, and was only completed in the period of Bateson's bursarship and mastership (1846–81). Nor does this exhaust the importance of Bateson's direction of affairs. A good deal of development took place in the Kentish Town estate; advantage was taken of boom conditions in agriculture to raise rents; for the first time in the College's history certain estates were sold off, particularly to public bodies and railway companies. At the same time, these sales did not mark an end of the primary dependence of the College upon the land; for they were balanced by substantial acquisitions. Apart from those noticed above, farms were purchased at Girton (Cambs.) 1845, St. Nicholas at Wade (Kent) 1860–70, High Halstow (Kent) 1872, Margate (Kent) 1875, and West Wratting and Balsham (Cambs.) 1876, sold 1946.
The dangers inherent in this policy of dependence upon agriculture were brought home by the agricultural depression of the 1880's. Arrears of rent accumulated, rents had to be reduced, and the College found itself from time to time with farms upon its hands. So serious did the situation become that the fellows' dividend, which had stood at £300 a year in 1872–8, was reduced progressively to £80 in 1894. In the end a complete reorientation of financial policy was necessary and has gradually been worked out in the last 50 or 60 years. The agricultural depression had made clear that 'the almost exclusive dependence of the College on the prosperity of a single industry is financially unsound'. (fn. 132) In consequence, there have been considerable sales of the smaller, more scattered and less productive properties, particularly in the years since 1918 (mostly noted above). On the other hand, with agricultural recovery after 1900 and especially since the early 1930's, a good deal of high quality agricultural land has been bought, most particularly in Lincolnshire (at Fleet, Holbeach, Crowland, Frampton, Postland, Wingland, and Spalding), Leicestershire (at Drayton, Great Easton, Medbourne, Hungerton, Hallaton, Ingarsby, and Illston-on-theHill), and Kent (in Romney Marsh). Other acquisitions during the same period have been at Reedness, Paull, and Airmyn (Yorks.), Fordham (Cambs.), Marston Trussell (Northants.), Fordham (Norf.), and Addingham (Cumb.).
This redistribution of agricultural investment, in the interests both of yield and management, is only one aspect of recent financial policy. Another feature had its origins before the agricultural depression. The Universities and College Estates Act of 1858 empowered Colleges to grant building leases, and the development of the Kentish Town estate by this method began soon afterwards. (fn. 133) Since about 1900 similar development has taken place in Cambridge and Sunningdale, mainly the Broomhall property. The ground rents accruing from this development form today an important element in the College's income. In addition, a good deal of land has been sold for development, both in the areas mentioned and at Marfleet and Staveley. Secondly, there have been substantial investments in securities: the income from this source rose from about £2,000 a year in the late 19th century to over £11,000 in 1922. Finally, in very recent years, there have been substantial investments in commercial and industrial properties in Luton, Tottenham, Watford, Leicester, and Bedford.
In these ways, the College has sought to adjust itself to modern circumstances. The revenue derived from good agricultural land perhaps still represents the element of stability in the College's income. But the need to avoid too exclusive a dependence upon this single industry, the desirability of some safeguard against agricultural crisis, and the wisdom of taking advantage of investments which have a high yield, though not necessarily a long life, are all considerations which have influenced the College to seek a wider spread in its investments and a greater diversity in its endowments than was the case in the 19th century and in earlier times. At the same time, the mere redistribution of investment has not stood alone. Bequests and gifts during the donor's lifetime have continued, as in the past, to add substantially to the College's endowment; and have never been more frequent than in recent times. Such accretions have been mainly in money, though they have included accessions of real property like the Chesterton Hall estate in Cambridge about 1920, now mainly sold for development. These recent benefactions are some indication of the attraction which the College has for those desiring to promote education and for its own members, from whom most of these gifts and bequests have come.
Pictures. (fn. 134)
The earliest portrait of the Lady Margaret owned by the College is probably that now in the combination-room, showing her at halflength in black and with a white coif, and holding an open book in her hands. It is one of many versions of the same picture (others are in the Old Schools and Christ's College in Cambridge, and at Hatfield House, Welbeck Abbey, and elsewhere), and may date from about 1530. (fn. 135) Perhaps deriving from one of these is the full-length picture, representing the foundress kneeling under a golden canopy at a desk with an open book upon it. This painting was discovered in the College and restored in 1874, and now hangs in the Master's Lodge; it may date from about the middle of the 16th century. A copy, painted by Rowland Lockey (fn. 136) at the expense of Juliana Clippesbie of Clippesby (Norf.) about 1597, (fn. 137) hangs in the hall; and another version of the full-length picture, probably dating from the 18th century, is in the Master's Lodge. These were certainly all painted after the Lady Margaret's death. (fn. 138)
A rather crude likeness of Fisher, with a crucifix at one side and a small skeleton in the foreground, was perhaps clandestinely painted after his execution, and seems to derive from the Holbein drawing in Windsor Castle Library; it hangs in the hall. Another painting, at Longleat (Wilts.) until 1709 and now in the Master's Lodge, was considered by Thomas Baker, to whom the 1st Viscount Weymouth gave it and who bequeathed it to the College, to be a Holbein portrait of Fisher. It is no longer ascribed to Holbein, however, and the picture represents a layman, aged 74 according to the inscription, in the costume of c. 1545. (fn. 139)
A portrait of an unknown lady, of which the date of acquisition by the College cannot be established, is now ascribed to Hans Eworth. It is dated 1565 and the sitter's age is given as 20; it hangs in the Master's Lodge. William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, is shown in two contemporary half-length portraits.
Royal favour in James I's reign no doubt accounts for the series of royal portraits in the Master's Lodge, including Elizabeth I, Anne of Denmark, James I, after Van Somer, Henry Prince of Wales, Charles I in youth, as Prince of Wales, and as king, the last after Vandyke, and Henrietta Maria, also after Vandyke. (fn. 140) Also dating from the same period are portraits of the Spanish ambassador, Count Gondomar, and of the Infanta Maria Anna whose marriage to Charles I Gondomar tried to negotiate.
Portraits of members and benefactors of the College also became more numerous about this period. They include the following of which the date of acquisition can be established: Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, after Miereveldt (1624); John Williams, Lord Keeper, Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of York, by Gilbert Jackson (1628); Sir Ralph Hare, K.B., by Marcus Ghaeraerts the younger (1632); Thomas Morton, Bishop of Chester, of Lichfield and of Durham, perhaps by Simon Littlehouse (1638); (fn. 141) and Mary Cavendish, Countess of Shrewsbury (between 1612 and 1631). (fn. 142) The dates of acquisition of the following contemporary portraits cannot be determined: Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury (1563–1612); Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland (1610?–1643); Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley (1540?– 1617); Sir Robert Heath, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas (1575–1649); William Maynard, 1st Baron Maynard of Wicklow (1586?–1640); William Platt (d. 1637); Thomas Playfere, fellow and Lady Margaret's Professor (1562–1609); George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592–1628); and William Whitaker, Master 1548–95. A portrait of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593–1641), a version of the Vandyke at Wentworth Woodhouse (Yorks.), was given about 1714 by his collateral descendant, Thomas Watson-Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham, together with his own portrait by Jonathan Richardson. The picture of Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Baron Fairfax of Cameron (1612–71), a 17th-century painting which came in 1791, was perhaps once the property of the Rev. C. J. Fairfax; (fn. 143) and that of William Bendlowes (1516–84) was given by Edward Benlowes (1603?–76), the poet, whose portrait is also in the College's possession. (fn. 144)
After the Restoration, the series continues. The College has paintings of all its Masters since 1661 except Lambert, Powell, and Tatham. A pair of John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset (1627 ?–75), and Sarah his wife (d. 1692) came in 1700. Matthew Prior's portrait as ambassador to France painted by Alexis Simon Belle about 1713 was bequeathed by him to the College in his will, together with that of Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey (1656–1711), after Hyacinthe Rigaud, painted in 1699. (fn. 145) A portrait of Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester (1635–99), by Mary Beale was acquired in 1737; and that of Richard Bentley (1662–1742), a copy of the head from the painting by Sir James Thornhill in Trinity College, perhaps about the same time. There are three paintings of Thomas Baker (1656– 1740), all derived from an original by Charles Brydges in the Bodleian Library, Oxford; and one of his contemporary, Richard Hill (1655–1727), the diplomat, by Mary Beale. Thomas Edwards, governor of Wisbech castle (1633 ?–1725 ?), was painted by Thomas Murray in 1712; Zachary Brooke, fellow and Lady Margaret's Professor, by Thomas Hudson about 1754; William Heberden, the physician (1710– 1801) by Sir William Beechey (there is another version in the Royal College of Physicians, London); Sir Isaac Pennington, fellow and Regius Professor of Physic (1745–1817), perhaps by Sir Joshua Reynolds and also by an unknown artist; Samuel Parr, 'the Whig Dr. Johnson' (1747–1825), by George Dawe; and Sir Noah Thomas, physician (1720–92), by Romney in 1781.
There is a long list of more recent portraits, which includes those of Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and 2nd Marquess of Londonderry (17691822), a copy by E. M. Bennett after Sir Thomas Lawrence; Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland (1785–1847), by Thomas Phillips; Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865), of whom there are three; William Wilberforce (1759– 1833) by George Richmond after Sir Thomas Lawrence; Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846) by Henry Room; William Wordsworth, painted for the College by H. W. Pickersgill about 1833, the study for the head of which the College also owns; (fn. 146) John Charles Villiers, 3rd Earl of Clarendon, painted for the College in 1824; Sir John Frederick William Herschel, the astronomer, by H. W. Pickersgill c. 1833; Walter Francis Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch (1806–84); and George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand, by George Richmond, c. 1854. Of later portraits the most important are those of John Couch Adams, the astronomer and discoverer of the planet Neptune, by T. Mogford, 1846; Samuel Butler, painted by himself 1878, of whose landscapes and other paintings the College owns a large collection given by H. Festing Jones; Benjamin Hall Kennedy, fellow and Professor of Greek, by W. W. Ouless, 1885; George Downing Liveing, fellow and Professor of Chemistry, by Sir George Reid, 1901; Alfred Marshall, fellow and Professor of Political Economy, by Sir William Rothenstein, 1908; John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor, fellow and Professor of Latin, by Sir Hubert von Herkomer, 1891; and of the following fellows— Joseph Bickersteth Mayor (by Sir William Orpen, 1907), William Halse Rivers Rivers (by W. Shields), and Sir John Edwin Sandys (Public Orator), by H. M. Brock. There are also portrait drawings of recent members of the College by Professor Randolph Schwabe and Mr. Henry Lamb.
The College owns a collection of over 420 engravings, of all dates from the 17th century to the present day, of members of the College, as well as a large collection of drawings and engravings illustrating the history of its buildings.
In all there are about 140 oil portraits. There is also a number of other paintings, including some of the 17th century given by Edward Benlowes, probably Flemish; a curious drawing of a Lord Chancellor (perhaps the 1st Earl of Hardwicke) in his robes, lying on a sofa in the style of Kent, in gouache; and, also in gouache, 4 drawings of Roman ruins by one of the Pannini family, which formerly belonged to James Wood, Master.
Plate. (fn. 147)
None of the early plate of the College survives. Only inventories, dating from soon after the foundation, tell of silver given by the foundress, 'redeemed' by her after being pledged by the hospital, or given by Fisher, Ashton, and other early benefactors. Much of it was ecclesiastical, and it included 'images' which may well have disappeared at the Reformation.
In 1569 the Master and Seniors decreed that every fellow-commoner should give, on admission, 'a silver potte or goblette . . . in weight X ownces' (which might be engraved with his name and arms); and in 1576 imposed a payment of 33s. 4d. 'to buy plate or bookes' within a month of admission. This, no doubt, marks the beginning of a custom of giving plate which lasted until fellow-commoners disappeared in the 19th century. In 1638 the decree of 1569 was repeated, except that 'in valew worth foure pounds' was substituted for the weight.
Little benefit accrued from this raising of the standard, however, save that in 1635 the College could afford to sell 22 pieces to pay for the redecoration of the chapel. For in 1642, 2,065¾ ounces 'grocer's weight' were sent to Charles I. The list (fn. 148) includes 'the Fowndresse's bowle parcell guilt with cover', a 'bason in ewre' weighing 108¼ ounces, 41 other 'standing pieces', and 22 'potts with two ears'. In 1649, when the Plate Book (fn. 149) was started, the College owned 34 tankards, pots, and cans, I great bowl, 2 little bowls, 2 flagons, and 21 spoons. Of these, the flagons given in 1634 by Charles, Viscount Cranborne, and his brother Robert survive; and the great bowl may be that given by John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, which was melted down in 1774. (fn. 150) A silver-gilt standing cup and cover, without inscription but traditionally known as the Booth cup, is the oldest piece of plate now in the College's possession; it may have been bought with the legacy of Robert Booth (fellow 1573), who died about 1616–17.
After the Restoration gifts from fellow-commoners were resumed and much plate survives from that date onwards. In general, there seems to have been a fashion in the objects given. Tankards were most common before 1700, the earliest which survives was made in 1677/8, followed by another given by Mark Milbanke in 1679/80; punchbowls and cups from 1700 until about 1750; and cups, candlesticks, soup-tureens, and table plate after that date.
The rosewater-dish given by William Heveningham (1665–6) lost its ewer in 1770, when it was sent to be melted. (fn. 151) On the other hand, both dishes and ewers survive of the gifts of Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey, in 1671, and of Thomas Watson Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham, in 1717– 18. In 1939 the College had a dish made in memory of L. J. White-Thomson, Bishop of Ely.
Of post-Restoration cups, the earliest and most notable is that, engraved with chinoiseries, given by James Cecil, 4th Earl of Salisbury (1683–4). Others that are worthy of mention were the gifts of Soame Jenyns (1725–6); Nicholas Leeke (1733–4); Peter Burrell, 1st Baron Gwydir (1776–7); Sir John Chetwode (1784–5: this 'Adam cup' has an unusual stand, like a salver); John, 3rd Baron Henniker, and his son John, 1st Baron Hartismere (a pair, 1821–3); and Sir Percival Horton-Smith-Hartley (1936–7).
The chapel plate, apart from the flagons already mentioned, consists of 2 chalices and 1 paten (? c. 1670–5), and a fine service, consisting of 4 chalices, 4 patens, 2 flagons, and a large alms-dish given by Brownlow Cecil, 8th Earl of Exeter (1728– 9). There are also a handsome pair of candlesticks given by Lord George Augustus Cavendish (1748– 9), and a large Gothic cross given by Mrs. S. Parkinson (1892–3).
The earliest punch-bowl was given by William, 3rd Baron Craven (1717–18). A similar bowl (1722–3) was given by George, 1st Marquis Townshend. An unusual bowl, with a ladle, lid, and handles, and standing on four feet (1728–9), was given by Sir Rowland Hill.
In addition, the College owns a great quantity of domestic plate, mostly 18th-century. It includes some fine soup-tureens and coffee pots, 12 unusual flat round sauce boats, a long series of mugs and beakers, beer-jugs, salvers, inkstands, candelabra, wall sconces, and nearly 100 pairs of candlesticks. Worthy of mention among these smaller pieces are: a caudle-cup or porringer (1683–4) given by Brathwait Otway; an oval tobacco-box (1699–1700) given by Christopher Blakiston; two castors of about the same date given by Francis Davis; and an inkstand (1753–4) given by John Green, Bishop of Lincoln, and William Heberden, M.D.
The College seal is of silver, (fn. 152) mounted on a block of boxwood, and is 2 5/16 in. in diameter. It was ordered by the Foundress's executors in 1511, and cost 40s. 10d. (14s. 2d. for 4 oz. of silver and 26s. 8d. for the engraving). (fn. 153) The design consists of a seated figure of St. John the Evangelist under a canopy, with various armorial devices referring to the Lady Margaret around it. The seemingly ungrammatical legend reads: s collegii sa iohanis evangeliste et margaretam richmot.
There is also a smaller double-ended seal, of silver, known as 'the Master's seal'. It was probably made in 1650 'to be used in sealing letters and testimonialls sent from the Colledge' at a cost of £2 5s. (fn. 154) In form it is a shaped and faceted bar of metal 2½ in. long, which spreads to engraved ends 1¼ and 1 in. in diameter. The larger end is cut with a simplified version of the College seal, the smaller with the Beaufort badge, a portcullis.
Masters of St. John's College
Robert Shorton: 9 Apr. 1511, to July 1516. (fn. 155)
Alan Percy: July 1516, to Nov. 1518.
Nicholas Metcalfe: 3 (?) Dec. 1518, to 4 July 1537.
George Day: 27 July 1537, to 6 (?) June 1538.
John Taylor: 4 July 1538, to 10 Mar. (?) 1546.
William Bill: 10 Mar. 1546, to 10 Dec. 1551.
Thomas Lever: 10 Dec. 1551, to 28 Sept. (?) 1553.
Thomas Watson: 28 Sept. 1553, to 12 May (?) 1554.
George Bullock: 12 May 1554, to 20 July 1559.
James Pilkington: 20 July 1559, to 19 Oct. (?) 1561.
Leonard Pilkington: 19 Oct. 1561, to 11 May (?) 1564.
Richard Longworth: 11 May 1564, to 17 Dec. (?) 1569.
Nicholas Shepherd: 17 Dec. 1569, to 21 July (?) 1574.
John Still: 21 July 1574, to 1577.
Richard Howland: 21 July 1577, to 25 Feb. (?) 1587.
William Whitaker: 25 Feb. 1587, to 4 Dec. 1595.
Richard Clayton: 22 Dec. 1595, to 2 May 1612.
Owen Gwyn: 16 May 1612, to 1634.
William Beale: 20 Feb. 1634, to 1644.
John Arrowsmith: 11 Apr. 1644, to May 1653.
Anthony Tuckney: 3 June 1653, to 25 June (?) 1661.
Peter Gunning: 25 June 1661, to 6 Mar. 1670.
Francis Turner: 11 Apr. 1670, to 3 Dec. (?) 1679.
Humphrey Gower: 3 Dec. 1679, to 27 Mar. 1711.
Robert Jenkin: 13 Apr. 1711, to 7 Apr. 1727.
Robert Lambert: 21 Apr. 1727, to 24 Jan. 1735.
John Newcome: 6 Feb. 1735, to 10 Jan. 1765.
William Samuel Powell: 25 Jan. 1765, to 19 Jan. 1775.
John Chevallier: 1 Feb. 1775, to 14 Mar. 1789.
William Craven: 29 Mar. 1789, to 28 Jan. 1815.
James Wood: 11 Feb. 1815, to 23 Apr. 1839.
Ralph Tatham: 7 May 1839, to 19 Jan. 1857.
William Henry Bateson: 2 Feb. 1857, to 27 Mar. 1881.
Charles Taylor: 12 Apr. 1881, to 12 Aug. 1908.
Sir Robert Forsyth Scott: 21 Aug. 1908, to 18 Nov. 1933.
Ernest Alfred Benians: 7 Dec. 1933, to 13 Feb. 1952.
James Mann Wordie: 13 Dec. 1952.