A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3, the University of Oxford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954.
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THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
It is no longer necessary in writing the history of the University of Oxford to discuss or even to record the mythical accounts of its origin. There was some excuse for Brian Twyne's attempt to discover an ancestry for Oxford more ancient than that claimed for Cambridge by John Caius, but even in his own time Twyne's opinions on this subject were received with amused tolerance by the better informed of English antiquaries. When Anthony Wood, only too readily accepting the credulities of his master, recorded them in his Historia Universitatis Oxoniensis (1674) a disservice was done to the pursuit of knowledge, which was still further increased when the English edition of the History was published by John Gutch in 1792. It is now generally agreed that the University had no founder, and that its rise was due to causes which in the 12th century were operating in other parts of Europe. The intellectual activity which at length converged in the University of Paris was already being felt in England although in too slight a degree to make itself manifest. It is perhaps more profitable to try to explain why Oxford, rather than some other town, should have become the first home of secular learning in England. The obvious reasons were its central position and easy accessibility, and being on the borders of the diocese of Lincoln it was less liable to constant ecclesiastical interference. Oxford was, moreover, an attractive town, and scholars from classical times to the present day have always tried to choose as places of study localities with pleasant natural surroundings. Wyclif styled Oxford 'locus amenus, fertilis et optimus et habitationi deorum convenientissimus. (fn. 1)'
From early times there were certain religious houses in the neighbourhood of Oxford which were concerned with learning—the Augustinian priory of St. Frideswide's, founded in 1122; (fn. 2) the abbey of Oseney, founded as an Augustinian priory in 1129; (fn. 3) and also the college of the secular canons of the church of St. George in the Castle of Oxford established by Robert d'Oilly and Roger d'Ivri in 1074, which is thought to have some claim to be the most likely source from which the schools immediately sprang. (fn. 4) In the first quarter of the 12th century Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford and Provost of the College, was a man remarkable for his learning and ability, to which both Henry of Huntingdon and Geoffrey of Monmouth bear witness. Geoffrey himself may also have been a canon of the church of St. George in the Castle, and contemporary with him was Robert de Chesney, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, another canon eminent for piety and learning. (fn. 5) As regards Oxford studies in the 12th century only isolated facts can be recorded. About the year 1117 Theobaldus Stampensis, a secular priest and 'Magister Oxenefordie', is stated to have lectured to audiences of clerks ranging in numbers from sixty to a hundred. (fn. 6) In the second quarter of the century Robert Pullen lectured on the Bible at Oxford for five years and preached every Lord's Day to the people. (fn. 7) Another ecclesiastic who may have contributed to the cause of learning was Robert of Cricklade who became prior of St. Frideswide's in 1141 and is said to have been an erudite man to whom Hebrew was not unknown. (fn. 8) There is also good reason to believe that somewhere about the year 1170 Vacarius, a Lombard jurist who had come to England at the invitation of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, visited Oxford, lectured on Roman law, and wrote for poor students a compendium of the Codex and the Digest, a text-book later much studied at Oxford. (fn. 9) It is also probable that, about the time Vacarius began to lecture, Oxford received many students who would normally have proceeded to Paris had not the king, who had quarrelled both with Becket and the Pope, forbidden English clerks to go overseas without royal licence. (fn. 10)
The best evidence that a school flourished at Oxford in the 12th century rests on a statement by Giraldus Cambrensis who says that, having finished his Topographia, he decided to read the work at Oxford 'ubi clerus in Anglia magis vigebat et clericatu praecellebat'. The recitation lasted three days; on the first he received the poor scholars, on the next the doctors of the various faculties with their more distinguished pupils, and on the third day the rest of the scholars together with townsfolk and soldiers. (fn. 11) Very few names of these early Oxford scholars have been preserved. A certain Stephanus studied at Oxford about 1180; (fn. 12) John de Constantiis was there between 1186 and 1190; (fn. 13) Alexander Neckam lectured in theology at Oxford; (fn. 14) Nicholas of Hungary received allowances from the king from 1193 onwards to support him while at the schools; (fn. 15) and, shortly before 1200, Thomas de Marleberge, afterwards Abbot of Evesham, lectured on canon and civil law. (fn. 16)
In the 12th century Giraldus Cambrensis alone gives any detailed account of an organized body of students at Oxford, but at the end of that century or at the beginning of the next some incidents in the life of Edmund of Abingdon provide a more intimate view. Edmund was born between the years 1170 and 1185, and when about 12 years of age was sent to a grammar school at Oxford. Later he studied Arts and remained at Oxford for about seven years. He then went to Paris and, returning to Oxford, for nearly six years lectured in Arts. Then, perhaps after another period of study at Paris, he returned to lecture on Theology, in which he is the first recorded Oxford scholar to have proceeded to the doctorate (fn. 17)—'cathedram magistralem ascendit'—which in all probability was about the year 1214. It is during the period when Edmund was a regent in Arts that references are found to the magister or rector scolarum, an officer probably appointed by episcopal licence. (fn. 18) John Grim, magister scolarum, occurs in 1201, (fn. 19) and Alardus, almost certainly identical with the subdean of Wells (1213), was rector scolarum in 1210, (fn. 20) but no information as to their functions has been preserved. The organization of the Oxford studium generale prior to 1210 can be briefly stated. It consisted of a free society of scholars presided over by a magister scolarum. Its curriculum was based on that of Paris and embraced the faculties of Theology, Canon and Civil Law, and Arts. The faculty of Arts included the Seven Liberal Arts which were divided into two sections, the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and logic) and the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music): later the three philosophies, Natural, Moral, and Metaphysical, were also studied for the degree of M.A. It was through the faculty of Arts alone that the other faculties could be approached. Those who had proceeded to the degree of master and had received the licentia docendi then spent a certain number of years as regent masters, lecturing to and receiving fees from those seeking degrees. (fn. 21) Edmund of Abingdon is definitely stated to have taught as a regent master and to have received payment from his pupils. (fn. 22)
The recognition of the Oxford studium by the appointment of a special Chancellor was due to a commonplace incident. In 1209 two clerks were hanged by the townsmen in revenge for an alleged murder of a woman. (fn. 23) Doubtless feeling that they would be likely to receive little support from King John, whose country lay under an interdict, the community of Oxford scholars decided to leave the town. Some went to Reading, Maidstone, and Paris; others to Cambridge and thus became the founders of that University. When the king in 1213 made his peace with the Pope, the townsmen had perforce to follow his example, and accordingly submitted themselves to papal authority. (fn. 24) On 25 June 1214 the Pope's legate, Nicholas, Bishop of Tusculum, issued an ordinance which contains a recital of the penalties inflicted on the townsmen and the privileges granted to the scholars. For ten years clerks who rented houses (hospitia) were to have a remission of half of the rent which had been fixed by burgesses and clerks in common before the outbreak; at the end of ten years the houses were to be let at the former rent. Hospitia erected after the secession of the scholars or to be erected in the future were to be assessed by taxors, four being masters and four townsmen. Also a penalty of fifty-two shillings a year was to be devoted to the use of poor scholars and distributed by the Abbot of Oseney and the Prior of St. Frideswide's on the advice of the Bishop of Lincoln, or the Archdeacon or his official, or of the Chancellor whom the Bishop might set over the scholars. The ordinance also commanded the townsmen to feast yearly one hundred poor scholars, and to swear that they would sell to scholars victuals and other necessaries at reasonable prices. Furthermore, clerks arrested by the laity were to be committed to the diocesan authorities above mentioned if their surrender was demanded, and every year fifty influential townsmen were to take an oath to observe the articles of the ordinance. Lastly those who had confessed to the hanging or had been convicted of it were condemned to do penance, and those who had remained in the town and had lectured after the secession incurred suspension from lecturing for three years. (fn. 25)
In this document the Chancellor of the University is first mentioned, not however as an existing officer, but as one to be appointed. The earliest date at which a Chancellor is mentioned as actually existing is 1221, and he was probably Grosseteste. (fn. 26) On the authority of Bishop Sutton in 1295 it is said that his predecessor in the see would not acknowledge Grosseteste as Chancellor, but only as magister scolarum. (fn. 27) From the year 1221 there is an unbroken succession. The chief privilege gained in 1214 was that the townsmen were obliged to hand over to the ecclesiastical authority any clerk arrested by them. This was the first step towards the independence of the University from the town and the foundation of the immunity of members of the University from lay courts, an exemption which has existed in some form or other to the present day. The obligation of money payments and the feeding of poor scholars was undertaken at the request of the town, and no doubt for value received, by the Abbot of Eynsham, a liability which continued until the Reformation when it was transferred to the Crown. (fn. 28) The University still receives yearly from the PaymasterGeneral a sum 'for a poor scholar'. (fn. 29) The ordinance of 1214 supplements our knowledge of the studium by indicating a community of scholars entirely dependent on the town for accommodation, the rents being controlled by a mixed panel of townsmen and masters.
There is little further information about the progress of the University until the advent of the Orders of Friars into England, an event which was to have a great influence on the constitution of the University. The year 1221 saw the coming of the Dominicans, who proceeded at once to Oxford. Three years later nine members of the Franciscan Order landed at Dover under Agnellus of Pisa. Two of the party proceeded to Oxford, where they first rented a small house in St. Ebbe's parish. They at once received many recruits, and won so great popularity that within five years they had already twice moved to larger quarters. (fn. 30)
A dispute which arose in Paris in 1229 gave Henry III an opportunity of inviting to England Parisian students to whom he promised welcome, quietness, and liberty. (fn. 31) Although it is not possible to assess the result of this invitation, yet some abnormal accession to the number of students at Oxford may have been responsible for certain royal writs addressed to the sheriff and to the mayor and bailiffs in 1231. (fn. 32) By these the mayor and bailiffs were ordered to place at the disposal of the Chancellor the king's jail for the detention of clerks; to be content with a fair rent of houses occupied by scholars, and to accept the assessments of a joint board of two masters and two burgesses (in the 1214 ordinance the number was doubled); and the sheriff was ordered to take action at the request of the Chancellor against rebellious clerks and malefactors, and to make proclamation that no clerks remain in the town unless under the charge of a master (Magister scolarum). A serious affray broke out in 1236 which demanded royal intervention, (fn. 33) and in 1238 the University found itself seriously compromised by some students who had been provoked to make an attack on the retinue of a papal legate. The riot was so serious that the legate was compelled to take refuge in the tower of Oseney Abbey, whence he was rescued by soldiers sent by the King, who was then at Abingdon. The University was thereupon placed under an interdict by the legate. Some of the culprits were arrested and imprisoned at Oxford, Wallingford, and London: others had already made their escape and had dispersed to various towns. By the united efforts of Grosseteste and other bishops peace was restored. The offenders were pardoned after having done penance, and the interdict on Oxford was removed. Most of the students returned, but some appear to have remained at Northampton and others at Salisbury. (fn. 34)
No better appointment, from the University's point of view, could have been made than Grosseteste's elevation to the bishopric of Lincoln in 1235. (fn. 35) His interest in the University took a very practical turn in 1240. At that time the only fund which the University possessed consisted of the annual sum of fifty-two shillings, paid under the settlement of 1214. As no ordinance had been made for the safe keeping and distribution of the money Grosseteste drew up regulations under three heads. These provided that the money, together with any benefactions which might be received, should be placed in a chest to be kept at St. Frideswide's and to be in the charge of a canon of that house and of two persons elected by the University. Loans under pledge were to be made to such poor scholars as did not hold a benefice worth more than 10 marks: if pledges were not redeemed within a year they might be sold and any surplus handed to the borrower, the Chancellor being sole arbitrator in any disputes. Every year accounts were to be submitted by the custodians to specially appointed auditors. (fn. 36) Three years after this ordinance had been issued the University received its first voluntary benefaction consisting of 8 marks a year from the estate of Alan Basset, paid by Bicester Priory to two scholars at Oxford to be selected by his heirs, who should pray for himself and his wife; it appears that Grosseteste himself was actually responsible for the allocation of the money to scholastic uses. (fn. 37)
In the numerous disputes between the town and the University the former body is almost invariably represented as the aggressor, but a disturbance in 1244 was the result of robberies by scholars from the Jews. The scholars responsible were arrested and imprisoned by the bailiffs, but on the intervention of Grosseteste the king ordered them to be delivered to the Abbot of Oseney, the Prior of St. Frideswide's, and the official of the archdeacon, thus following strictly the terms of the 1214 ordinance. (fn. 38) In May 1248 the king conceded that if any injury were done to a scholar an inquisition should be held by a jury composed partly of townsmen and partly of men from the neighbourhood; that if a scholar were murdered or injured the townsmen should be punished and fined, the bailiffs being also punished if found to have been negligent; that Jews were not to exact for the loan of a pound interest at a higher rate than twopence a week; that when the mayor and bailiffs took the oath to preserve the liberties and customs of the University the Chancellor or his deputy should be invited to attend; that burgesses should be responsible for physical injuries done to clerks by members of their household; and that the Chancellor and proctors should be informed of the taking of the assize of bread and ale so that they might be present if they pleased. (fn. 39) The punishment of clerks by the town authorities was again a vital question in 1251 when the Chancellor, as deputy of the bishop, was given the right of punishing clerks for crimes, except atrocia crimina, the chief of which were manslaughter and murder: these demanded deposition or deprivation, penalties which could be inflicted by the diocesan only. (fn. 40) In 1252 and again in 1254 the king delivered offending clerks of this kind to the judgement of the Chancellor. (fn. 41)
The second benefaction which the University received was from the executors of William of Durham, who died in 1249 and gave the sum of 310 marks for the support of about twelve masters who were to study Theology. A portion of this money was invested in tenements and the remainder lent to scholars upon security. At this period of its development the University had neither the experience nor the organization to deal with such benefactions. Much of the money had been lost by 1280 partly owing to loans not having been repaid and partly to the University having itself borrowed money. Certain sums had also been used for political purposes. It was then resolved that from the proceeds of the remaining property four masters, who were Masters of Arts, should receive grants to enable them to proceed to the doctorate of Divinity, and that a Hall should be provided in which they might live. (fn. 42) In 1292 and in 1311 the University drew up statutes for the masters, and the community developed on collegiate lines until it gradually became a self-governing body having no dependence on the University. (fn. 43)
It has already been mentioned that the organization of the University of Oxford was based on that of Paris, the mother of European universities. Nowhere is this better shown than in the division of students into 'nations'. At Paris there were four; (fn. 44) at Oxford there were only two, the Northern (Boreales) and the Southern (Australes), the former being the English north of the Trent and the Scots; the latter the English south of the Trent, the Welsh, and Irish. (fn. 45) The 'nations' at Oxford first came into prominence in 1252 when after a serious fight between the Northerners and Irish a treaty of peace was arranged by the representatives of the two parties. (fn. 46) The oath taken by the signatories on this occasion remained the standard oath pro pace conservanda until the year 1864. On the occasion of another outbreak in 1267 it was ordered that in future representatives of both parties should be elected as arbitrators and the parties bound in a sum of £30 to keep the peace. (fn. 47) Seven years later there was a serious fight in which no fewer than fifty men were charged with homicide. Mediators and arbitrators were appointed, and it was agreed that if any one was suspected of disturbing the peace he should find sureties, and that a general oath to keep the peace should be taken both by senior and junior members of the University. The terms of peace ended with the command that no faction should be formed or named in the University which henceforth should be unum collegium et unum corpus, (fn. 48) a counsel of perfection in a society which was composed of men brought together from more than one country, who, although professing one faith, had their own racial prejudices.
The terms of peace drawn up in 1252 were promulgated in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in full Congregation (in plena congregatione) and that of 1274 'de pleno consensu omnium magistrorum regencium et non regencium, dominorum et bachelariorum, maiorum et minorum Universitatis'. The former is the earliest reference to the Great Congregation, or, as it was called later, Convocation, the chief legislative body of the University. In its first years the University had no code of statutes. Its procedure was based on custom which could only have had its origin in the University of Paris. Grosseteste insisted, for instance, on the necessity of conforming to the regulations of the regent theologists at Paris, (fn. 49) and in 1246 received from the Pope a verdict that no one should teach in any faculty unless he had been examined secundum morem Parisiensem either by himself or his deputy. (fn. 50) The statutes which are earliest in date are really proclamations issued in the name of the Chancellor, and references to customs precede those to statutes. (fn. 51) There is some reason to believe that as late as 1253 there was no written code of statutes to which appeal might be made. (fn. 52) When statutes were first promulgated there is no doubt that they were put forward by the whole body of masters, regents and non-regents. The regents were those masters and doctors, Masters of Arts being largely predominant, who were engaged in teaching. Some of them were 'necessary regents' who were required to give lectures for two years after their degrees; but the majority were regents ad voluntatem, who as Principals of Halls made a living by teaching. The non-regents were those who were proceeding to a higher degree or had retired from active teaching. The regents formed a separate body called the Congregatio regentium.
The first recorded statute is one promulgated in 1253 requiring that those who wished to take the degree of Doctor of Divinity must first have taken the Arts course and obtained the degree of Master of Arts. (fn. 53) At Oxford the approach to the higher degrees was through the Liberal Arts. The religious orders were, however, debarred by their regulations from following secular studies. The statute had its origin in a petition presented to the University requesting that a friar, Thomas of York, should be allowed to incept as a D.D. although he had not 'ruled' in Arts. A commission of seven was appointed and recommended that Thomas be allowed to incept, but that henceforth no one should incept in Theology who had not previously incepted in Arts, lectured on a book of the Bible or on the Sentences, and publicly preached in the University; the right of granting dispensations being reserved to the Chancellor and masters. The decision of the commission was given the force of a statute. (fn. 54)
The accession of Henry of Lexington as diocesan in 1254 was marked by a significant grant of privileges by Innocent IV, who, in 1254, took the masters and scholars with their property under his protection; confirmed their liberties, customs, and constitutions; and also granted that for five years they should not be summoned outside Oxford by papal and legatine letters for contracts undertaken within the town. The Bishops of London and Salisbury were appointed conservators of the rights, liberties, and immunities of the University. (fn. 55) In March 1257 a deputation was sent to the king to lodge a complaint against the bishop who was attempting, against the ancient and approved statutes of the University, to subvert the liberties of the scholars, but the nature of the dispute is nowhere recorded. The point at issue seems to have been the right of the Chancellor to assent to statutes without reference to the bishop whose representative he was. The only action taken by Henry of Lexington was to enter his protest through the Archdeacon of Derby. (fn. 56)
Peace, one of the chief essentials of the early University, was strengthened in June 1255 when the king increased the number of the town officials concerned with that matter. Four aldermen and eight influential burgesses were to take oath of fealty to the king and to assist the mayor and bailiffs in the keeping of the peace and of the assize. In every parish there were to be two persons chosen to inquire every fortnight about suspicious characters frequenting the town; retailers were ordered not to buy victuals in the market before 9 a.m., a regulation designed to give scholars an opportunity of buying first; a layman seriously in juring a scholar was to be imprisoned in the Castle until he had given satisfaction according to the judgement of the Chancellor and the University; and a scholar doing similar injury to a layman was likewise to be imprisoned in the Castle until the Chancellor demanded him. Regulations against dishonest bakers and brewers were strengthened, and it was ordained that the assize of bread and ale should be held twice a year, and that the Chancellor or his deputies should be present. (fn. 57)
During the first fifty years of the University's corporate existence the scholars had no visible bond of union in the way of buildings. Academic exercises took place in schools (i.e. lecture rooms) (fn. 58) which for the most part were religious property, and the more solemn functions in the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin. The scholars, all potentially migratory and many actually so, found accommodation in hospitia belonging to townsmen and the religious houses. It appears that, even before the legatine ordinance of 1214, the rents to be charged were controlled by taxors (i.e. assessors) appointed for a stated period. Generally speaking these hospitia were rented by masters who provided teaching and shelter for their lodgers; they also provided a dining-room and a kitchen, but the students made their own arrangements with the manciple about their food. These principals of halls were gradually brought under University control and were held responsible for the conduct of scholars in their charge. One matter which proved a source of trouble was that of assessment. For its better regulation a royal writ issued in May 1231 reduced the number of the taxors from eight to four, (fn. 59) and in 1256 another writ reduced the intervals between reassessment from ten to five years. (fn. 60) A further stage was reached in 1269, when not only houses occupied by scholars but rooms were brought under the same regulations. (fn. 61)
The foundation which has some claim to be considered the first Oxford college dates its inception from about 1260, when Sir John de Balliol undertook to maintain a certain number of scholars at Oxford in perpetuity. When he died in 1269 the charge was undertaken by his widow, Dervorguilla, who, in 1282, provided endowment and gave the scholars corporate status. The Society was developed as a community of young students proceeding to the degree of M.A., working under the direction of a principal elected by themselves, and governed by two external proctors. (fn. 62)
Between Oct. 1262 and Sept. 1264 Walterde Merton, Chancellor of England, made over his estate at Maldon, Surrey, to a community of scholars. In a brief code of statutes drawn up in 1264 provision was made for twenty scholars residing 'in scolis Oxon. vel alibi ubi studium vigere contigerit'. By 1270 the community was definitely settled at Oxford and in 1274 a final code of statutes was promulgated. (fn. 63)
The geographical position of Oxford which made it so convenient a place of assembly had occasional disadvantages. During the troubled reign of Henry III the scholars experienced some of the inconvenience arising from political activities. In 1261 the king had permitted schools to be founded at Northampton and sent a writ to the mayor and bailiff of that town bidding them receive scholars hospitably. (fn. 64) Although several Cambridge students accepted the invitation it is unlikely that many went from Oxford. Shortly afterwards the invitation proved opportune. The passage of Prince Edward near Oxford in 1264 had led to a serious affray between citizens and scholars. (fn. 65) This event and an order to the scholars in 1263 to retire from Oxford, as the king proposed to assemble there his armed forces, (fn. 66) led to a general secession with the result that when the king besieged Northampton he found the Barons' party usefully reinforced by a band of young Oxford scholars who fought very gallantly with slings and arrows. The king's first intention was to hang them all, but on its being represented to him that many of the scholars were the sons of nobles he decided to forgo vengeance. (fn. 67) When peace was concluded with the Barons the Oxonians were ordered to return. (fn. 68)
The authority of the Chancellor of the University was materially strengthened in 1260 by the confirmation of his jurisdiction over Jews, who at Oxford formed a powerful community accountable to no authority save that of the king whose chattels they were. As the Jews were the principal money-lenders many disputes with scholars about the rate of interest and contracts must have come before the Chancellor for settlement. The Chancellor's right to exercise jurisdiction in this connexion was questioned by the Constable of the Castle. A commission appointed to inquire into the matter reported that all jurisdiction concerning disputes and contracts between scholars and Jews pertained to the Chancellor without prejudice to the royal prerogative, as the Chancellor derived no pecuniary benefit from a jurisdiction which he exercised solely in the cause of peace. (fn. 69) The Jews nevertheless still enjoyed royal favour which was sufficient eight years later to protect them from vengeance when a member of that race insulted the cross which was being carried in a solemn procession of scholars, priests, and citizens. The only penalty imposed on the Jews by the king was the building of a marble cross and the provision of a processional one. (fn. 70)
It was not until 1277 that the University was subjected to ecclesiastical visitation. In that year Robert Kilwardby, Archbishop of Canterbury, visited the University and made inquiry about certain errors in grammar, logic, and natural philosophy which were held by the Oxford Dominicans. These were condemned by the archbishop with the consent of the regents and non-regents. Masters who continued to teach and maintain them were to suffer deposition, and bachelors were to be expelled from the University. (fn. 71) The condemnation had special significance as Kilwardby had once been provincial prior of the Dominicans, and it received further authority when Archbishop Peckham, who was a Franciscan, confirmed it in 1284. (fn. 72) Peckham also confirmed the privileges of the University in 1279 and granted that the sentence of excommunication issued by the Chancellor, his deputies, or by the Chancellor and the University (either the regents alone or the regents and non regents) should be effective throughout the southern province and also that the benefices of clerks convicted of disturbing the peace should be sequestered for three years; unbeneficed clergy were liable to be deemed incapable of institution for five years. (fn. 73) Oliver Sutton, who was appointed to the see of Lincoln in 1280, proved himself a sharp critic of University procedure and aspirations. He called in question the University's right to certain customs (consuetudines) which it alleged had been enjoyed a tempore quo non extat memoria. The customs in dispute were that a scholar might cite a defendant, if found within the liberties of the University, before the Chancellor; that the Chancellor had the right of granting probate of wills of scholars dying in the University; that regent masters might hold inquisitions concerning crimes of masters and scholars by juries of scholars, rectors, priests, and laymen; and that no master could be cited outside the University for contracts entered into either within or without the University. (fn. 74)
The dispute was continued in the following year (1281) when Sutton cited the Chancellor and proctors to appear before him to answer charges of injury to and contempt of his office in the matter of visitation and of correcting misdemeanours committed by masters and scholars. The Chancellor, proctors, and other representatives of the University asserted that the right (jus visitandi et corrigendi magistros et scolares) was part of what was conferred on the Chancellor at the time of his admission (prefeccio) and had been approved by long custom. They asked that the correction of offences should come to the bishop only if there was an appeal made to him against the action of the Chancellor. The Archbishop of Canterbury with other bishops brought the parties to terms which allowed the Chancellor, (fn. 75) when an episcopal visitation was held at Oxford, to have the correction of offences as the bishop's representative, with the condition that he should inform the bishop what penalties he had inflicted. The dispute broke out again in 1284 at the next visitation of the archdeaconry, when the Archbishop of Canterbury addressed a letter to Sutton requesting him not to molest the University in the matter of the Chancellor's jurisdiction; although jus commune was on his side, yet the University could plead consuetudo. (fn. 76)
The chief dispute with Oliver Sutton was, however, concerned with the confirmation of the Chancellor of the University, a cause of contention which continued with successive bishops of Lincoln for eighty years. The points at issue were whether the Chancellor was elected or merely nominated by the University, and whether he was bound to come in person to the bishop or need only send deputies. The bishop held that, as he was asked to confirm, the University could only nominate, and that it was necessary for the Chancellor to come in person as he was unwilling to give a commission, which extended to ecclesiastical government, to an official who was unknown to him. The bishop had in practice always confirmed, but only as an act of grace. In 1290 the king intervened in the dispute and a middle course was followed. It was finally agreed that if the bishop was sufficiently near Oxford the Chancellor elect should appear before him: if not, the bishop should give his commission by proxy de gratia speciali. (fn. 77) The chief clash between the two authorities came in 1350, when Bishop Gynwell refused to confirm the election of William de Polmorva. The Archbishop of Canterbury thereupon ordered him to confirm the election within six days or to appear before him. (fn. 78) On the bishop's refusal the archbishop himself confirmed the election (fn. 79) and on meeting with further opposition the bishop was cited to appear at Canterbury for contempt and the town of Banbury, where the bishop had a chapel, was placed under interdict. (fn. 80) In 1367 a bull of Urban V granted that any one lawfully elected to the chancellorship should be deemed confirmed and should need no further confirmation, (fn. 81) but two years later the bishop maintained that it was nevertheless necessary for the Chancellor to obtain a commission to exercise spiritual powers. (fn. 82) This again was rendered inoperative by a bull dated 10 Feb. 1370, when the Pope's indult was extended to a grant of commission as well as to one of confirmation. (fn. 83)
At the end of the 13th century the University consolidated its position by two notable successes over the municipal authorities. The University had been drawn into a lengthy dispute with Robert de Welles, bailiff of the North Gate Hundred, concerning jurisdiction in that area. This suburb was practically the parish of St. Mary Magdalen and included Balliol College and academic halls in Broad Street. The University's case was that it had from early times possessed the jurisdiction in causes between scholars and laics in the suburb. Robert de Welles, however, had cited masters to appear in the king's leet (in curia privata), had imprisoned a bedel, and had generally organized resistance to the Chancellor. On being excommunicated he cited the Chancellor's deputy, the proctors, and other members of the University to appear before the King's Bench in 1288. The University appealed to the King in Council, who confirmed it in its liberties and removed Robert de Welles from office. (fn. 84)
The University had as yet little property of its own. It possessed a few houses, including Canon School, which was let on lease. (fn. 85) It had also the money in the St. Frideswide's Chest. In 1293 Ela, Countess of Warwick, gave the University 120 marks to be deposited in a chest which should be under the charge of two masters. Grants were to be made to poor scholars on sufficient security as laid down in the regulations for St. Frideswide's Chest. (fn. 86) In the following year the University received under the will of Reginald le Bedel a tenement worth 40s. for the community of poor scholars. This tenement was finally sold in 1452 and became part of St. Mary Hall. (fn. 87)
The end of the 13th century is also signalized by the advent of the monastic orders. About 1280 the Cistercians founded an abbey at Rewley as a studium for the scholars of that order. (fn. 88) Their action had been anticipated by the Benedictines, who in 1277 decided to levy a tax on all their communities in the province of Canterbury to provide a habitation where the brethren of the order might live when engaged in study. This project did not materialize until 1283, when Sir John Giffard founded in the north suburb of Oxford a small priory as a cell of St. Peter's, Gloucester, which a few years later became the locus communis for all Benedictine monks of the southern province. In 1298–9 this site was conveyed to the abbey of Malmesbury, but monks were admitted from other houses and were given equal rights, the priory being maintained by funds supplied by the general Benedictine Chapter. (fn. 89)
For over eighty years the University had continued to live in amity with the friars. The action taken by the University in 1253 had left their general relations undisturbed. The friars still received graces to proceed to theological degrees without having taken the Arts course. But the Dominicans were unwilling to continue to seek de gratia what they doubtless thought they should have by right. They were concerned with Bible teaching only, and the approach to Theology through Arts and Philosophy was not only unnecessary but was against the rules of their Order. So too, in the opinion of the Franciscans, was learning itself, but the training, the opportunities it offered for enlisting recruits, and the dignity which was attached to degrees, were a sufficient inducement to persuade them to ignore the stricter demands of their founder. On the University's part there was probably a feeling of jealousy. The friars had a firm hold over the affections of the people and considerable influence over young scholars. They also possessed buildings very suitable for scholastic exercises, and being static they gave no support to the University when, in self-defence, it threatened to betake itself elsewhere. The dispute, however, had a wider aspect and was but a preliminary step in the general conflict between the mendicant orders and the secular clergy. The first move by the University was to release itself from obligations to the friars, and in so doing it robbed the friars of their valued privilege of providing a dignified setting for certain University ceremonies. In 1303 the University decided that the examinatory sermons of bachelors of Theology should be preached in future not at the Dominican and Franciscan convents, but at the church of St. Mary, and a few years later the University also transferred to St. Mary's the theological Vespers, one of the most important ceremonies at Inception. It was further ordained that no one should lecture on the Bible until he had taken the degree of B.D., which required lectures on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, a difficult subject for many friars. About the year 1303 the University had decreed that any statute carried by the regents of two faculties together with a majority of the non-regents should be binding, and it was alleged by the friars that two of the statutes of which they complained were carried by the faculty of Arts, a solitary regent Doctor of Medicine, and a majority of the non-regents, the principal faculties of Theology, Canon and Civil Law being thus overwhelmed by the lesser faculties of Arts and Medicine. The friars also revived their old grievance about the statute of 1253. The case against the University was presented to the Papal Court by the friars in 1311. The University immediately took counter-action. Masters refused to perform academical exercises with friars, and tried to prevent their association with scholars and the laity. The University had also prevailed on the Archbishop of Canterbury to excommunicate them. The chief concession which the friars asked of the Pope was that the privilege accorded to their Order by the University of Paris, which was secured by the bull Quasi lignum vitæ, might equally obtain at Oxford, this privilege being that a theological degree might be conferred after examination by the Chancellor himself without reference to the faculty. (fn. 90)
The cause of the friars was actively espoused by the King, who addressed several writs to the Chancellor on their behalf, in one of which he refers to an attack by scholars on the houses and church of the Friar Preachers. (fn. 91) In another he intimated the examination of the offending statutes, a statement which he explained later had been wrongly taken by the University to mean that he intended to annul their statutes and privileges. (fn. 92) The king also sent letters to the pope and officials of the Papal Court, and later in 1318 went so far as to order the Chancellor to desist from exercising authority over the Friar Preachers since they were exempt from secular jurisdiction not only by reason of their Order, but by apostolic privilege. (fn. 93) The award, which was given in 1313, was in the main a victory for the University, and so far satisfied the claims of the friars as to ordain that every B.D. should preach one sermon in the Dominican Convent; that masters should swear that they would not refuse graces out of malice; that in assembly voting a majority should consist of three faculties, of which Arts must be one, and the non-regents; and that due notice must be given of the promulgation of statutes. (fn. 94) This award was confirmed by the king in 1314. (fn. 95) It was not, however, until 1320 that the parties came to a final agreement, (fn. 96) and it was presumably on this occasion that the University wrote to the Bishop of Carlisle that the Friar Preachers in full congregation, having asked for pardon on their knees, were restored to grace and favour. (fn. 97) To meet the heavy expenses incurred by the University, all abbots, priors, rectors, and vicars were urged to make some gratuitous contribution. (fn. 98)
The beginning of the struggle with the Friar Preachers was contemporaneous with a display of great activity on the part of the University in proceedings against the town. The year 1305 is, for instance, particularly noteworthy for the number of University petitions to the Crown. These had reference to the sale of victuals by strangers; the provision for a separate prison for women; the closing of posterns into the suburbs against men of ill fame; the limitation of regrators; the punishment of delinquent bakers and brewers; the prompt arrest of malefactors; the excessive toll exacted by millers; the granting of a general power of attorney to the University; the arrest of prostitutes frequenting the town but living outside; and the injurious effects to health due to the working of skins and parchments within the walls. The corresponding writs to all these petitions except the last two are still extant. (fn. 99) In 1318 the king addressed to the Chancellor and the University an important prohibition by which the Chancellor was debarred from having cognizance of cases between two laymen when one party had transferred his action to a clerk. (fn. 100)
A long and troublesome dispute arose in 1325 with Gaillard de la Mote, an absentee Archdeacon of Oxford. The archdeacon alleged that the University had usurped his jurisdiction in granting probate of wills and punishing clerks found guilty of immorality, and made an attempt to cite representatives of the University in the Papal Court. The king at various times interceded on the University's behalf with the Pope, the archdeacon, and various cardinals. In 1330 the University drew up a basis of agreement, but it was not until 1346 that a final agreement was reached. This gave to the Chancellor archidiaconal jurisdiction over all doctors, masters, scholars; over rectors, vicars, and chaplains within the University unless they held cures in Oxford; and over the servants of masters and scholars, the bedels, the stationers, and scribes, but the testamentary instruments of the last named were to remain with the archdeacon. (fn. 101)
The Chronicles speak of an affray between scholars and masters in 1327 ending with the deposition of the Chancellor; but no corroboration of this story can be found, and no Chancellor is known to have been deposed in this year. (fn. 102)
A hopeful augury for the future was the building about 1320 of a Congregation House with a library above by Thomas Cobham, Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 103) The supervision of the building, which proceeded very slowly, was placed in the hands of Adam de Brome, founder of Oriel College. When the bishop died in 1327 he bequeathed to the University the sum of 350 marks and a collection of manuscripts. Unfortunately he died so heavily in debt that some of the manuscripts had to be pawned to pay the funeral expenses. Adam de Brome himself completed the building, and having redeemed the manuscripts for £50 placed them in his newly founded College of Oriel. The manuscripts were restored by force in 1337, but a dispute between the University and Oriel College continued for over seventy years. (fn. 104) In 1410 Archbishop Arundel compensated Oriel, and two years later an elaborate code of rules for the management of the library was drawn up. (fn. 105) The Congregation House below seems to have been used from the completion of the building, and continued to serve as an assembly house until the beginning of the 17th century.
The town and the University were busily engaged in disputes about the assize of bread, ale, weights and measures in 1327 and the following year. (fn. 106) A querulous petition was sent to the king by the burgesses complaining that the Chancellor demanded bonds to an exorbitant amount, that he would not allow the arrest of clerks after hue and cry had been raised, that he put difficulties in the way of the bailiffs when they collected felons' goods due to the king, and so forth. (fn. 107) In the course of these disputes, to which the crown could not pay attention until 1328, both the town and the University were ordered to attend the king and council at York and to produce their charters and other muniments. (fn. 108) By October 1328 the disputes seem to have reduced themselves to the assize of bread and ale and to the assize of weights and measures. On October 25 the king granted (during pleasure) to the Chancellor and the mayor jointly the custody of the assize of bread and ale and of the weights belonging thereto, and to the Chancellor, along with the aldermen, the survey of the assize of measures. (fn. 109)
In 1334 a serious quarrel broke out between the northern and the southern scholars with which the Chancellor tried to cope by committing the chief offenders to the Castle prison, a course which drew a protest from the sheriff of Oxford, the Keeper of the Castle. (fn. 110) Proclamations in the king's name were read forbidding the importation into the town of arms and armour and the holding of unlawful assemblies. (fn. 111) The result of these disturbances was that some of the northern clerks migrated to Stamford, there to pursue their studies in peace, as they said. In August a royal writ was directed to the sheriff of Lincoln to cause proclamation to be made in Stamford that none should presume to study elsewhere than in the king's universities. (fn. 112) As this had little or no effect similar orders were given in March and again in June 1335. (fn. 113) In an inquisition dated 26 July 1335 is a list of those persons who had remained at Stamford after the king's proclamation. (fn. 114) The first name on the list is that of William de Barneby, who seems to have been the chief offender since the Chancellor addressed letters to the Chancellor of Cambridge in 1337 asking him not to allow Barneby to incept there inasmuch as he had stirred up strife at Oxford and had induced students to migrate to Stamford. (fn. 115) At that date the danger had passed, but it had been so serious to the University that a special oath was administered henceforth to all inceptors binding them not to lecture at Stamford, an oath which continued to be taken by every M.A. until the year 1827.
An important inspeximus and confirmation of privileges, with additions, was granted by the king in a charter dated 12 April 1336. The additions included clauses by which the 'taxation' of scholars' houses in the town was extended to the suburbs; persons bringing woollen and linen cloths into the town for sale were to be allowed to sell by piece and not only by whole lengths; and further the Chancellor was to be protected against writs of oyer and terminer or of false imprisonment with respect to the imprisonment of scholars or others. (fn. 116) In 1339 these privileges were supplemented by prohibiting the slaughtering of great beasts within the walls, (fn. 117) and granting the Chancellor the power of holding the assize of ale by himself if the mayor should make default. (fn. 118) Certain other disputes were settled by common agreement in 1348: scholars and laics accused of disturbing the peace were not to be bound by other guarantees if they could produce two laymen to be sureties for them; laymen, except in certain reserved cases, might proceed in the Chancellor's court by deputy; and no 'cession of an action' might be given or sold to clerks or laymen. (fn. 119)
In 1349 came something much more disturbing than internal and civic strife—the Black Death. It is hardly possible that Oxford fared any better than the rest of the country, but there are, strangely enough, no definite references to the mortality at Oxford due to the plague. The nearest approach is a statement made in 1363 by Simon Islip, Archbishop of Canterbury, who refers to the loss in all branches of learning of learned and expert men, owing to epidemics, adding that at that time there were very few left to pursue the study of letters. (fn. 120)
A steady increase of benefactions in the form of establishments of chests came to the University from the time when the Countess of Warwick founded her chest in 1293. In 1306 the executors of John de Pontyssera, Bishop of Winchester, gave 200 marks under conditions similar to those of the existing chests. Only poor scholars were to be beneficiaries; a regent master might borrow up to 40s., a non-regent master up to 2½ marks, a bachelor up to 2 marks, and a sophist up to 1 mark. (fn. 121) The executors of Henry de Guildford gave £100 in 1314, the limits for the respective classes being in this case, 30s. for a regent, 20s. for a nonregent, I mark for a bachelor, and ½ mark for a sophist. (fn. 122) Gilbert de Routhbury bequeathed 250 marks in 1321. In 1336 Philip de Turvyle, Canon of Lichfield, endowed another chest with 100 marks with limits similar to those of the Winchester chest; there were to be three guardians of whom one was to be a southerner and another a northerner. (fn. 123) In the following year John de Langton, Bishop of Chichester, gave £100 to found a chest which differed from the earlier chests in that loans from it were permitted to others than poor scholars. The regulations, which were approved by the founder, provided for loans to the wardens of Merton and similar Halls up to 60s.; to masters, 40s.; to bachelors, 2 marks; to scholars, 1 mark. The keepers were to be three masters, one northern, another southern, and the third a non-regent. (fn. 124) It was the rule with these chests that when money was borrowed some article, generally a book, was left as 'caution' for the amount. If the sum was not repaid at the end of a year, the book was sold and the original sum returned to the chest; the remainder, if any, belonged to the owner.
The reputation of Oxford stood high among universities of Europe in the 14th century. By that time it had produced Roger Bacon, the father of the experimental method; Duns Scotus, the most formidable rival of Thomas Aquinas; Walter Burley, who was still studied in the Schools in the reign of Henry VIII; and William of Ockham, the 'Invincible Doctor', who brought about the final separation of Philosophy from Theology. (fn. 125) In national affairs, too, the influence of Oxford was becoming felt. Academic disputation ranged over a large number of human (and divine) activities. This training in mental dexterity exercised on every branch of learning and on many matters of current interest had produced by the end of the 13th century a class of politically minded ecclesiastics who by degrees became a national force and on occasions were collectively powerful enough to resist the royal authority. (fn. 126) Moreover, in the 14th century the constitution of the University assumed definite form. The victory over the friars brought increase of power and confidence, and about this time the University's privileges and statutes were first put on permanent record. The Liber Cancellarii (Registrum A) contains this earliest attempt at registration and codification: its date may be as early as the first quarter of the 14th century. (fn. 127) It will therefore be convenient to give here a brief account of the constitution and administration of the University as it had developed by 1350.
The Chancellor, who was either a Doctor of Divinity or a Doctor of Canon Law, was elected by the regents and confirmed in his office by the Bishop of Lincoln. (fn. 128) He was the chief officer of the University; presided over both assemblies of the University, namely Convocation and Congregation, and conferred the licence on bachelors and inceptors. He had wide judicial powers and had sole archidiaconal jurisdiction over certain classes of persons. He punished offenders by excommunication, imprisonment, expulsion, suspension, loss of privilege, and fines. In 1322 the Chancellor was holding office for two years, but in the earlier period he probably held office for a short indefinite term of years. His commission could be recalled by the Bishop of Lincoln and he himself could be removed from office by Convocation and the proctors. He exercised jurisdiction over all members of the University, that is, over doctors, masters, scholars, and privileged persons; and had cognizance of cases in which one party was a scholar. (fn. 129) Many of his duties were undertaken by a deputy appointed by himself and known as his Commissary: (fn. 130) his minor judicial duties were undertaken by hebdomadarii who were bachelors of Canon and Civil Law, but were not competent to try cases in which the parties were regents. Appeal could be made from the hebdomadarii to the Chancellor, from the Chancellor to the regents, and from the regents (Congregatio) to the regents and non-regents (Convocatio). (fn. 131)
The proctors, who are first mentioned in a grant of 1248, represented the northern and southern 'nations'. Elected by the regents and holding office for one year, they were peculiarly the representatives of the faculty of Arts, were entrusted with much public business, and were responsible for the good order of the University both as regards studies and conduct. They summoned Congregation and pronounced graces there. (fn. 132) The servants (ministri) of the University included the six bedels, who were responsible for routine duties chiefly at inceptions, funerals, and other ceremonies; and the four stationers who, in addition to being booksellers, were entrusted with the care of exemplaria and the valuation of pledges deposited in the various chests. (fn. 133)
The principal University assembly was the Congregatio plena (Convocation), which consisted of the regents and non-regents of all faculties. The chief function of Convocation was to enact, repeal, and amend statutes. The lesser assembly, the Congregatio regentium (Congregatio minor) or simply Congregatio, which naturally was composed of the younger men, legislated on minor matters and dealt with the more formal business of the University such as elections, granting of graces, studies, and other administrative matters. There was also a rather undefined body called the Congregatio artistarum (Congregatio nigra—the Black Congregation) which claimed the right of deliberating on measures to be brought before Convocation. In all these assemblies the Faculty of Arts was dominant, and the faculty claimed that its consent was necessary in all matters brought before the two assemblies. The voting in assemblies was by faculties, the non-regents forming a separate body. (fn. 134)
The academic body consisted of the faculties of Arts, Medicine, Civil Law, Canon Law, and Theology, of which the largest and the most influential was the faculty of Arts. The study of Arts comprised grammar, rhetoric and logic, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. The authors studied were Aristotle, Boethius (Ars metrica and the Topica), Priscian, Euclid, Donatus, Joannes de Sacro Bosco, together with the Computus ecclesiasticus and the Algorismus integrorum. Every student of the faculty had to be on the roll of a regent master from whom he heard ordinary lectures. After having spent about four years in attending lectures and disputations he could then become a candidate for determination (i.e. for the Bachelor of Arts degree). If his supplicatio was approved he received licence from the Chancellor to lecture on any book of the faculty of Arts. A further series of disputations was then gone through. Between determination and inception (i.e. the Master of Arts degree) at least three years had to elapse, during which time the bachelor studied and disputed in philosophy. The candidate for the degree of M.A. then supplicated, and if approved was presented by a regent master and received licence from the Chancellor to lecture, dispute, and perform all that which pertained to the status of a master in the faculty. Further disputations followed at a ceremony called Vesperiae (vespers) and again on the day of his inception. After inception a master had to dispute again and continue his lectures as a regent master for at least two years, after which he might remain a regent 'at will', teaching for pay. When he ceased to lecture he became a non-regent. Many Masters of Arts after regency proceeded to one of the higher faculties. (fn. 135) Procedure in the other faculties was similar to that of Arts. The faculty of Medicine was small but not unimportant. Six years had to be spent in the study of medicine before inception. The prescribed authors were Galen, Hippocrates, Issac (Liber febrium), and Nicholas (Antidotarium). (fn. 136) Similar periods were required for those proceeding to degrees in Canon and in Civil Law. (fn. 137) In the faculty of Theology seven or eight years spent in the study of the Bible and the Liber Sententiarum of Petrus Lombardus were necessary before the degree of B.D. could be taken, and two more years for the degree of D.D. (fn. 138) One of the chief duties of graduates of the faculty was to preach sermons by which scholars could at the same time be instructed in doctrine and directed towards the virtuous life. In order to make these sermons more easily memorized the headings of the various divisions were cast in rhythmic form. The importance of preaching is often emphasized in the statutes, and is perhaps the only academical activity which has remained more or less unchanged and unimpaired to the present day. (fn. 139)
The period at which the University had reached its full constitutional development is also notable for one of the most tragic chapters in its history. On the feast of St. Scholastica (10 Feb.) 1355 a serious riot broke out between the town and the University which led to a general arming on both sides. (fn. 140) The townsmen asserted that the scholars armed with shields and swords fought in battle order, set fire to the town, pillaged, wounded, and killed. (fn. 141) On the other hand, the scholars alleged that the townsmen pillaged their halls, killed some of their number, and mutilated and imprisoned others. Many fled, some found safety at Merton and in other Halls. The University appealed to the Bishop of Lincoln. The town was immediately placed under interdict, and the king, taking the University under his protection, appointed a special commission to inquire into the matter. (fn. 142) Both the University and the town submitted all their privileges to the king. (fn. 143) On 20 May the scholars received the royal pardon for any trespasses committed and the restoration of their former liberties and privileges. (fn. 144) On 27 June the king granted a new charter to the University enlarging its privileges. The assize of bread and ale, the assize and supervision of weights and measures were committed wholly to the Chancellor; also the cognizance of forestallers, regrators, and those who sold unwholesome victuals. To him also was given the sole authority over the cleansing of the streets; the punishment of offenders therein; and the right of assessing the taxes to be paid by the servants of scholars, scribes, illuminators, and parchment sellers. All goods which had been taken from scholars during the riot were to be restored, and it was ordained that when the sheriff and the under-sheriff were admitted to office they should swear to protect and defend the scholars and their privileges. (fn. 145) In July the mayor and bailiffs were ordered to levy £250 on the town and suburbs as an indemnity, and to restore all stolen goods. The restoration of the town's liberties was made on 26 July, with the exception of those mentioned above. (fn. 146) The interdict was removed in Mar. 1356, (fn. 147) and in May 1357 it was agreed that every year on St. Scholastica's day the town should celebrate a mass at St. Mary's for the souls of the slain at which the mayor, bailiffs, aldermen, and a certain number of burgesses should attend and each make at the high altar the offering of one penny. (fn. 148)
In 1356 the position of the University was also improved by an important extension of the Chancellor's jurisdiction. A dispute had arisen between Richard d'Amory and the Chancellor respecting liberties and privileges exercised in the hundred outside the North Gate. Both parties claimed the assize and assay of bread, wine, and beer together with its fines and forfeits. The University in fact claimed privileges similar to those which it already enjoyed within the town. This perhaps was the less unreasonable since many of the houses were inhabited by members of the University. The parties appeared before the King in Council and it was decided that the Chancellor should have cognizance of all cases where the preservation of the peace and offences against the statutes and privileges of the University were concerned, as well as cognizance of pleas, where one party was a scholar or a privileged person, except in pleas of murder, maim, and freehold: further that he should have the right to punish all vendors of food who contravened the University's regulations, and to compel persons to clear and cleanse the streets and to repair pavements. Lastly to the Chancellor was given the assize of bread, wine, and ale with the assize and assay of weights and measures, but this did not apply to the sale of wool and false measurement therein. It was also agreed that the rents of houses of scholars in the hundred were to be revalued every five years. (fn. 149)
By the middle of the 14th century the University had finally established its ascendancy over the town. At the outset there was a very natural tendency on the part of the citizens to reap as much profit as possible from the food and lodging supplied to a casual population of students. Gradually security of tenure of houses and rooms at equitable rent was established; right of obtaining food at reasonable prices and of good quality was secured; the assize of bread and ale had by various stages come wholly into the Chancellor's hands, together with the supervision of weights and measures; the Chancellor was empowered to call upon the town authorities to maintain order and to take charge of rebellious clerks in their prison; he could enforce measures of sanitation; and he had finally obtained the full right to try all causes (except murder, maim, and freehold) in which a scholar was a party either as prosecutor or defendant, as well as those in which a privileged person was concerned—a large class including the servants of scholars, University servants, and persons engaged in the book-trade. But beyond all these privileges and immunities the town was brought into something like subjection by being compelled to take an annual oath in October to respect the privileges and liberties of the University and to do annual penance on St. Scholastica's day. But, as Dr. Salter has pointed out, although the University had been granted large powers, it was not to the injury of the town:
'When the assize of bread and beer was given to the University, the town was allowed to deduct from its annual fee-farm an amount equal to the profits from that assize. If the Chancellor could inflict fines on those who failed to repair their portions of the road, he did not keep the fines; the money was paid over to the town … The control of the market by the University was to the advantage of all purchasers, whether clerks or laymen. Even the medieval power which the Chancellor had of banishing from Oxford people of vicious life, was easily defensible in the Middle Ages… and here also the privilege given to the Chancellor was to the benefit of the University and of the town itself.' (fn. 150) The injury suffered by the town was the psychological one of frustration. The unhappy relations of the two bodies persisted until the middle of the last century.
Three colleges were founded in the first half of the 14th century—Exeter, Oriel, and Queen's. Exeter College was founded in 1314 by Walter de Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter, for the support of twelve scholars born or resident in Devon or Cornwall. The scholarships were tenable for fourteen years, a term sufficient to carry the holders to completion of regency. In addition there was a scholar-chaplain who was to study Theology or Canon Law. The statutes allowed the scholars to elect a rector from their own number and to frame statutes which did not contravene the founder's ordinance. (fn. 151) In 1324 Adam de Brome founded (and in 1326 refounded) his college of Oriel consisting of ten scholars, already B.A.s, elected without preference to locality, place of birth, or kindred. By the statute of 1326 seven of the fellows were to study Theology, the rest Canon or Civil Law. (fn. 152) The Queen's College was founded by Robert de Eglesfield in 1341 with Queen Philippa as patron. It consisted of a provost and twelve fellows. Candidates for election must have reached the degree of M.A., preference being given to natives of Cumberland and Westmorland and to founder's kin. (fn. 153)
The agreement made with the friars in 1314 was of no long duration. There are records of disputes in 1357 and 1358 in which the friars are accused of preaching heresy, attacking individuals, reviling the University as a school of heretics, and speaking slightingly of the faculty of Arts, which 'inter omnes artes et scientias est singulariter commendanda, sicut janua et apertura ad omnes scientias alias'. The University also fulminated against those who obtained degrees through influence, such persons being mostly found among the friars. They were also accused of enticing young boys to enter their order, an abuse which the University sought to check by passing a statute forbidding youths under 18 years of age to join any mendicant order. (fn. 154) The Pope demanded, in June 1365, that this statute should be annulled, and a few weeks later cited the Chancellor and masters to appear before the Archbishop of Canterbury to show cause why certain other statutes said to be directed against the friars should not be revoked. (fn. 155). In the following year the objectionable statute was annulled, and all proceedings taken by the friars against the University were stayed. (fn. 156) Richard II proved himself a good friend of the friars and sent mandates to the Chancellor requesting him to admit friars to degrees and not to refuse graces maliciously. (fn. 157) The University presumably had good reason to restrict the number of graces since in 1390, on petition of the order itself, the king was asked to decree that no friars of evil life having fraudulently obtained overseas the degree of master or graces of exemption should be admitted to the privileges of Doctors of Theology. (fn. 158)
The great event in the history of the University in the second half of the 14th century is the rise of Wyclif and Lollardism. (fn. 159) When Wyclif first came to Oxford is unknown. He took the degree of Master of Arts in 1361, and that of D.D. in 1372. His heretical opinions on the temporal dominion of the Pope, excommunication and absolution, and the power of the civil authority over the Church were first officially challenged early in 1377. (fn. 160) How novel these conclusions were it is impossible to say, but the seventeenth conclusion, which asserted that the king had power of deprivation over clerks and ecclesiastics of evil life, had been maintained in the University in 1358 by a mendicant friar. (fn. 161)
In May 1377 Gregory XI issued a series of bulls one of which ordered the Chancellor of the University to prevent the heretical conclusions of Wyclif being held in the University, and to deliver him to the Archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 162) The Pope had also addressed a similar bull to the Archbishop and to the Bishop of London asking for an inquiry into the authorship of the heresies, and commanding the imprisonment of Wyclif if he was responsible for them. (fn. 163) No action was taken by the Archbishop and the Bishop of London until December, when they addressed a mandate to the Chancellor bidding him to report through a committee of doctors on the alleged heresies, and to cite Wyclif to appear before them. The committee reported the conclusions to be true, but male sonare in auribus auditorum, a well-known result of academical subtlety. Early in 1378 Wyclif replied to his accusers before the archbishop and bishop, but again the proceedings were abortive owing to his popularity both with rich and poor. (fn. 164)
The turning-point in the history of Wyclifism at Oxford came in 1380, when Wyclif's views on the doctrine of the Eucharist, grouped under twelve conclusions, were examined and condemned by a council composed of ten Doctors of Divinity, two Doctors of Law, and William de Berton, Chancellor of the University. The first of the conclusions was that the consecrated host seen on the altar is neither Christ nor any part of Him, but an effective sign. The fact that six of the doctors were friars shows that the cleavage between Wyclif and the mendicants was at last complete. (fn. 165) Before he had developed the main line of his attack Wyclif had much in common with the friars, partly due to his sympathy with their ideals of poverty, and partly to a common enmity to monasticism. Wyclif had now ranged against him both monks and friars, most of the faculty of Theology, and the whole faculty of Law. In objecting to the study of canon and civil law by regulars and the religious, Wyclif could at least claim papal authority, since Alexander III in 1163 had decreed that spirituales viri, who under pretext of learning concerned themselves with secular studies and attended lectures in physics or law, should return straightway to their cloisters under pain of excommunication, (fn. 166) a regulation renewed by Honorius III fifty-six years later in his bull Super speculam. (fn. 167) Nor was Wyclif's hostility to legal studies due to unfamiliarity: it was combined with an actual knowledge of law. In the papal system only the Canon Law had place, but at Oxford both Canon and Civil Law were studied by religious and secular alike. (fn. 168) After the Chancellor had prohibited the teaching of the conclusions in the University, Wyclif published his Confessio in which he elaborated his views on transubstantiation. In 1382 a new Chancellor, Robert Rigge, showed his sympathy with Wyclif by inviting Nicholas Hereford, an avowed opponent of the friars, to preach the sermon on Ascension Day. In a provincial synod called in May 1382, at which many mendicants were present, twenty-four conclusions were condemned, ten as heretical and fourteen as erroneous. The decree was published both in the Province of Canterbury and at Oxford, where the Chancellor, Robert Rigge, again displayed his enmity to the friars, on this occasion through the agency of Philip Repingdon. (fn. 169) On 12 June Rigge made his submission, as did Repingdon later in the year. (fn. 170) No action was taken against Wyclif, who with logical obstinacy finally turned against all learning not directly concerned with the Bible and would have dispensed alike with colleges and universities. (fn. 171) In 1381 he left Oxford for Lutterworth, where he died in 1384. His influence at Oxford was short-lived. It was in remote country districts among the poor and uneducated that his doctrines at length took root.
But there were other reasons besides heresy to account for the distressed state of the University. The most important of these were the difficulties graduates experienced in obtaining advancement in the Church and the dissension in the Church itself caused by the Papal Schism. Church preferment was in the Middle Ages the normal reward which graduates reasonably expected. From about 1334 letters to the Pope asking for the provision of benefices for members of the University became increasingly common, but the statute against provisors at length made such applications illegal. (fn. 172)
During this troubled period the University received a few small additions to its material resources. In 1360 the sum of 100 marks was bequeathed by William de Selton, Canon of Wells. The money was placed in the New Chest which was then called the Selton and University Chest. The Heads of Halls might borrow up to 60s.; masters, if actually studying, 40s.; likewise bachelors, 2 marks; and scholars, 1 mark. (fn. 173) Other benefactions were received for similar purposes and became respectively the Vaughan, Neel, and Scapeia Chests. (fn. 174)
An important augmentation of the power of the Chancellor was effected in 1390 by a charter which confirmed the privilege respecting personal pleas in which one party was a scholar or a privileged person, and specifically empowered the Chancellor and his successors to proceed 'secundum eorum leges et consuetudines vel per legem regni'. (fn. 175)
In the second half of the 14th century the body of the University was enlarged by two more colleges. Simon Islip, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1361 founded Canterbury College for both seculars and regulars. About five years later the college was organized on purely secular lines with John Wyclif as its first warden. During the next decade the scheme was reversed and the foundation put upon a purely monastic basis notwithstanding the opposition of Wyclif and his associates. The college then passed, with the consent of the king, to Christ Church, Canterbury. (fn. 176) The College of St. Mary of Winchester in Oxford, the most magnificent of collegiate foundations up to that time, was erected in 1379 by the munificence of William of Wykeham. The college was endowed to support a warden, seventy scholars, ten chaplains, three clerks, and sixteen choristers. (fn. 177)
The dispute with the ecclesiastical authorities which had subsided with the death of Wyclif was revived in 1395. The question was again that of visitation, which at various times had led the University to oppose the King, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of Lincoln alike. The Wyclif controversy now clearly showed the distribution of parties. The supporters of freedom of thought and action were the faculty of Arts and a few secular theologians, with the general support of the northern 'nation'. Those who ranged themselves with authority and orthodoxy were the faculties of Canon and Civil Law, most of the faculty of Theology, the friars and monks, and generally the southern 'nation'. The power of the faculty of Arts was formidable. On that faculty the University itself was founded. It was the source and origin of all the other faculties, and it rightly claimed that it was primum docta, instituta, et fundata. The degree of M.A. conferred upon its recipients all the privileges the University had to bestow. In number the faculty far exceeded the others, and was composed of the younger and more energetic men. In theological matters it took little interest. Masters of Arts were in fact not allowed to teach Theology. If from time to time they overstepped the bounds of orthodoxy they did so merely by the accident of academical argument. As a rule the faculty was well content in matters of faith to hold the opiniones probabiles it had always held. (fn. 178) Moreover, there had always been some hostility between the faculty of Arts and the faculties of Theology and Law, the latter tending to set itself apart. In 1376 there was a dispute between the faculties of Theology and Arts and those of Canon and Civil Law which was settled by episcopal arbitration, but with so little permanency that the award had to be confirmed by the king in 1397. (fn. 179) The faculty of Arts and their supporters succeeded in 1395, with the assistance of William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury, in obtaining from Pope Boniface IX a bull confirming the Chancellor's sole jurisdiction over all members of the University, including priests, and students belonging to exempt monasteries and to the mendicant orders. The bull, therefore, at last made the University free of all ecclesiastical visitation. (fn. 180) The exact circumstances in which it was obtained are not known, but it was denounced as an exemption surreptitiously secured and was formally renounced by the representative of the faculty of Law in a convocation held at St. Paul's in February 1397. In March the king ordered the Chancellor and masters to renounce publicly the alleged exemption, and later declared that the visitation of the University belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 181)
For a few years the University remained at peace with those in high authority and even received two valuable privileges. In 1401 the bounds of the University were enlarged, and the Chancellor's jurisdiction accordingly extended. (fn. 182) It has already been stated that the Chancellor had no power to deal with cases of felony and maim, which could be tried only before the king's justices. In 1406 the University obtained a charter by which any of its members accused of treason, insurrection, felony, and maim should be brought before a steward nominated by the Chancellor. The steward was authorized to call a mixed jury of townsmen and privileged persons and to proceed 'secundum leges et consuetudines regni Angliae ac privilegia Universitatis'. (fn. 183) This remarkable privilege was not allowed to pass unchallenged, and a petition of the Commons against it was presented in the following year. The first steward mentioned in University records is John Norys, who was nominated and confirmed in 1432. (fn. 184) The appointment was for life.
The question of heresy was again revived by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1407. A strict censorship of disputations was ordered to be maintained, and all the works of Wyclif and his adherents were to be examined by two boards of twelve persons chosen respectively by the two universities, and ordinance which marks the beginning of the censorship of books in this country. (fn. 185) At this period the University was disturbed by an internal dispute. Richard Fleming, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, had in 1409 maintained in a disputation a proposition which, it was said, was Wyclifite. The question was referred to a committee, whose verdict was given in Fleming's favour in so far as it refrained from actual censure. Deeming this unsatisfactory, Fleming appealed to the king, the dispute being finally settled by a joint committee of eight nominated by Fleming and his accusers. (fn. 186) It is worthy of note that in the statute-book which Fleming gave to the University, and in that register only, is entered a statute inflicting heavy penalties on any doctor, master, or student teaching, defending, or holding any of the conclusions lately condemned to the end that the tares of heresy and error which inimicus homo de barathro sui cordis evomuit might be rooted out. (fn. 187) The Committee of Twelve, which consisted of six northerners and six southerners, seems to have taken little action as regards the examination of Wyclif's books. It was again asked to proceed and to draw up a list of errors. In June 1410 a list of sixty-one errors was condemned in a University Convocation, and about the same time some of Wyclif's works were publicly burnt. (fn. 188) The main task of sifting out the heresies, which ultimately numbered 267, was not completed until 1411, when on 23 June five persons were appointed to administer to all members of the University an oath that they would avoid the errors and heresies enumerated by the Twelve. (fn. 189)
Apart from heresies, there were disturbances of sufficient gravity for the king to send letters patent to the Chancellor commanding him to hold an inquisition. (fn. 190) Early in 1411 Thomas Arundel had begun a metropolitan visitation of the diocese of Lincoln, in the course of which he had expressed his intention of visiting Oxford. Although the University as a whole had never recognized the right of visitation, it had nevertheless been forced to accede to the revocation of the bull of 1395. The Chancellor, Thomas Prestbury, published the archiepiscopal citation on 28 June, but by a proctorial veto was prevented from sending the certificate of citation. On the resignation of Prestbury, Richard Courtenay was elected Chancellor. The University's opposition to the metropolitan visitation was based on the assumption that the Archbishop contemplated inquiring into matters other than heresy, which led them to appeal to the king against the violation of their privileges. The visitation, which began in August, was vigorously opposed by Courtenay and Thomas Birch, one of the proctors. The difficult and dangerous situation that had then developed was ended by the intervention of the king, who promised to mediate between the parties. The Chancellor and the proctors having made their submission the matter was finally settled by a bull (20 Nov. 1411) of John XXIII revoking the bull of Boniface which in 1395 had exempted the University from visitation. (fn. 191) Notice of a visitation was given early in 1414 by Philip Repingdon, Bishop of Lincoln, to deal with the question of heresy only; what happened is not known. (fn. 192)
The heretical period may be said to end with the letter which the University sent to the king in 1414 on the eve of the Council of Constance which had been called to provide a solution of the Papal Schism. With the letter was enclosed a list of forty-six articles for the reformation of the Church. These were more or less orthodox, but highly critical. The University stated that, although John XXIII was the lawful Pope, a general resignation would be beneficial. The articles severely condemned simony, the sale of indulgences, the immorality and rapacity of prelates, absenteeism and pluralities, and lavish expenditure on food and shelter. Protest was made against the promotion of unworthy persons by influence, the non-observance of the Sabbath and saints' days, the assumption of mitres and sandals by abbots, and the neglect of hospitals. The University demanded the removal of all ambiguity about friars hearing confessions, the restraint of friars enticing young persons into their orders, the cessation of the practice of friars begging in churches during service, and the extirpation of all heretics and Lollards. It advocated discipline and punishment for delinquent religious, the defining of the prerogatives of Canterbury and York, and the censorship of religious books translated into English. The fourth article of Church reform contained an appeal for the promotion of graduates to benefices, then the most pressing need of the universities. (fn. 193) In 1399 Richard II granted licence to Oxford graduates to sue for provisions at the Holy See, (fn. 194) and in 1403 Henry IV, at the special request of the queen, permitted doctors, masters, bachelors, and others of the two universities to sue for provisions to benefices in cathedral, collegiate, and conventual churches of England, Wales, and Ireland. (fn. 195) The result was not as great as had been hoped, and for many years to come the University pressed for more effective steps to be taken for the promotion of their graduates. (fn. 196)
The Commons in 1416 presented a petition on behalf of the poor clergy studying at Oxford and Cambridge, (fn. 197) and in the following year the Warden of Merton spoke in their favour at a Convocation at St. Paul's. The faculties of Theology and Canon Law in both universities were at this time petitioning that members of religious orders should be allowed to incept in those faculties without having fulfilled all the requirements of the statutes. This concession had the full support of Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, who informed the universities of his views and at the same time drew up an ordinance for the promotion of their graduates. As the universities were prepared neither to accept the petition of the two faculties nor the ordinance as it stood, they were at once met by the archbishop's refusal to go forward with his scheme of relief. In 1421 the universities weakened in their resistance, and, having accepted the petition, received in return the archbishop's welcome ordinance. (fn. 198)
Heresy campaigns, visitations, poverty, and general unrest both in Church and State did not interfere with administrative zeal within the University. In this respect there was no appreciable decline until the middle of the century, when lack of preferment, crushing internal indebtedness, and civil war had an accumulative effect. The year following the archbishop's visitation in 1411 was marked by a statute which was at once a measure of reform and a peace offering. Richard Courtenay, the Chancellor, was undoubtedly responsible for the ordinance, which opened with promises of masses for the king as well as for his son, Prince Henry, who had been the successful mediator between the University on the one hand and the king and Archbishop Arundel on the other. It provided that principals of halls were in future not to admit, except under certain conditions, scholars who had been expelled from other halls; the proctors were made responsible for entering new statutes in the statutebooks; investigation was to be made concerning guardians of chests and all pledges remaining in chests; collections for doctors, masters, and bedels were to be regularly paid; and a new Chest with Five Keys was to be created for the reception of whatever goods might accure to the University. (fn. 199) In the same year and under the same Chancellor a comprehensive statute was drafted for the management of the University library. This remarkable code of rules for the good ordering of a library provided for the election of a chaplainlibrarian whose duties, salary, hours of attendance, and holidays were clearly stated. It also laid down regulations for the qualification and admission of readers, the proper treatment of books, the commemoration and public recognition of benefactors, the custody of keys, and the cataloguing of books. The oath which was to be administered to readers survived until the 19th century. (fn. 200)
At the beginning of the 15th century the relations between the town and the University had improved. A new threat to internal peace then came from a turbulent element composed of Irish clerk beggars collectively called Chamberdekyns. All Irishmen had been banished from the realm in 1413, exception being made in the case of graduates actually studying in the universities. (fn. 201) A statute of about this date, perhaps a year or so earlier, dealt with this trouble by instituting a very comprehensive series of fines for disturbance of the peace, by requiring all scholars (Chamberdekyns are also mentioned) to reside in halls or colleges, and forbidding townsmen to receive scholars into their houses for bed or board unless by leave of the Chancellor. This statute, frequently referred to as Cum effrenata from its opening words, was ordered to be publicly posted in various places. (fn. 202) It was further enforced by a royal ordinance of 1420 for the better preservation of the peace. All scholars and their servants were required on their first arrival at the University to swear to obey the statutes, to be under the government of a principal, and on no account to live in private houses. Principals were to swear that they would admit to their halls only students of good character, and those who would observe the statutes and regularly pay their dues. (fn. 203) This royal ordinance was re-enacted in 1552, (fn. 204) when the names of all students and their servants then resident in the University were entered in the Chancellor's book, and it anticipated in its intention and to some extent in its procedure the matriculation statute of 1565.
The question of the payment of tithes, which had always been a grievance with the mendicants, was again raised in 1425 by William Russell, a Franciscan, who asserted that as personal tithes did not fall under Divine command, 'if custom were not unto the contrary, it were lawful to Christ's people for to dispose them into uses of pity to poor men'. The University at once repudiated a doctrine which touched them so nearly and assured the Archbishop of Canterbury that in this matter they were unanimous in support of the true doctrine of the Church. Russell's heretical conclusions were placed in the statute-book, and until 1565 every inceptor had to take an oath that he would not support them. (fn. 205)
The University at this period had little corporate property, and that which it had was ill cared for. An attempt to remedy this was made in 1427 by an ordinance for another Chest of Five Keys in which the jewels and moneys, apart from payments made specifically to the Chancellor and proctors, were to be kept. The keepers of this chest were the Chancellor, two regents of Arts, and two non-regents of Arts being members of colleges. (fn. 206) A statute was also made restricting the use of the common seal of the University. Documents were to be sealed only in the full Congregation of regents in term, and in Convocation in vacation, previous deliberation in both cases being necessary. (fn. 207) It would appear that the testimonial to John Wyclif which was sent to Prague in 1407 with the University seal attached must have been prepared at some thinly attended assembly. (fn. 208) The solicitude of the University for its property is also shown by an indenture drawn up in 1427 in which all the official insignia then held by Thomas Chace, the Chancellor, are recorded. (fn. 209)
The movement of reform was in 1431 continued by Gilbert Kymer, the only Chancellor who was a Doctor of Medicine. The first measure under his regime instituted a course designed for those studying the Seven Liberal Arts and the Three Philosophies (in other words, Arts) and made precise regulations for the organization of such lectures and the method of conducting them. (fn. 210) This statute seems to have led to a promise by the Duke of Bedford to found a lectureship in Arts. (fn. 211) In 1437 and 1438 the University appealed to Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester, for help, adding that it had carried on the lectures to that time, but could maintain them no longer. (fn. 212) It is clear, therefore, that if any pecuniary assistance was received it was of a temporary character only. A further reform was introduced in 1432 by another statute which strangely enough opens with a statement that solemn processions should be arranged in order to alleviate the attacks of enemies inflicted on the University by Divine wrath. The statute deals with various subjects, including the teaching of elementary subjects such as French, the preservation of the peace, and the orderly conduct of University assemblies. It suppressed all non-graduate Principals of Halls, provided more stringent oaths for the Chancellor and proctors, and, reaffirming the value of sermons, ordered that copies of all sermons preached before the University should be deposited in the University library. (fn. 213) A later resolution also provided for their cataloguing. (fn. 214)
Side by side with the University's concern with administration and academical reform went a desire which amounted almost to a passion to build schools of its own. Hitherto the schools in which lectures were given were rented from various owners, chiefly religious houses. As early as 1423 the University had taken in hand the building of a School of Theology, and for nearly seventy years the authorities were collecting donations from all quarters and, when asking the Benedictines for financial help, went so far as to add that benedicta manus monastica nostræe Universitatis posuerat fundamenta. (fn. 215) The school was planned on too elaborate lines, but although retrenchments had ultimately to be made it remains the finest room possessed by the University, and one of the outstanding specimens of 15th-century vaulted work in this country. The later history of its building is connected with the second library of the University. In 1435 the University received from Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester, a gift of books and money, and four years later no fewer than 129 manuscripts valued at over a thousand pounds. The statute for the custody and use of the books provided also for the borrowing, under proper security, of books used in the study of the Three Philosophies and Seven Liberal Arts. Between the years 1435 and 1444 the duke had not only given more than 270 manuscripts but had contributed liberally to a proposal that a library should be built over the Divinity School to hold his books, the existing library at St. Mary's being already overcrowded. (fn. 216) Perhaps the chief importance of the gift lies in the fact that the books were those of a private collector and were not directly related to the University curriculum. It was its catholicity, as Bodley's was later, which lifted the new library out of the class of purely academical collections mainly concerned with scholasticism. Duke Humfrey's books included the works of many classical authors, translations from the Greek and Italian, scientific works, and even the works of Dante in Italian. The duke died in 1447, but it was not until 1481, and then by the munificence of Thomas Kempe, Bishop of London, that the building was completed. (fn. 217) About ten years later the rebuilding of the Canon Law School was also finished. (fn. 218)
The poverty of the University received some small relief in 1432 from Archbishop Chichele, who endowed a chest of two hundred marks, of which one hundred shillings might be borrowed by the University, and lesser sums by colleges, masters, licentiates, bachelors, and scholars. (fn. 219) The Exeter Chest, founded ten years later by the Duke of Exeter, was organized on the lines of the Langton Chest, which, although it permitted loans to halls, made no provision for the University itself. In 1457 Joanna Danvers endowed a chest with £100. (fn. 220)
Three colleges were founded at Oxford in the first half of the 15th century. Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln and once proctor of the University, in his early days suspected of heresy, and an eloquent preacher at the Council of Constance, founded Lincoln College in 1429 with the definite object of combating the heresies which then threatened the Catholic Church. The foundation was to be a 'collegiolum theologorum', but owing to Fleming's death early in 1431 'dictum collegium in edificiis, possessionibus, et statutis et ordinationibus, imperfectum et semiplenum reliquit'. The statutes given to the College in 1480 by Bishop Rotherham fulfilled the wish of the founder by including a stringent oath against heresy to be taken by all fellows on admission. (fn. 221) The second college, that of All Souls, was founded by Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1438. The third was Magdalen College, founded in 1448 by William of Waynflete.
The earliest of these 15th-century colleges was London College, which existed for five years only, from 1416 to 1421. It consisted of a master and twelve scholars or fellows, maintained by the alms of Richard Clifford, Bishop of London, who in 1416 leased from Balliol College the hall known as Burnel's Inn (fn. 222) for a term of ten years, on condition that, if he should transfer to the college lands and tenements within that time to the value of £10 a year, the freehold of Burnel's Inn should be his. (fn. 223) It is certain that the bishop never obtained the freehold, which belonged to Balliol until Cardinal College was founded. The bishop died in 1421, and in his will ordered that his executors should spend 1,000 marks on the maintenance of his poor scholars, viz. a master and fellows dwelling in Burnel's Inn, at the rate of £40 a year, until the sum was exhausted. The only other information respecting the college is contained in a petition (fn. 224) to the Lord Chancellor, probably soon after 1426, complaining that Bishop Clifford had bought lands and tenements in Oxford and handed them to feoffees, declaring to them that his will was that with these lands, and others to be acquired, a college should be founded if a licence in mortmain could be obtained; if not, the lands were to be sold and twelve honest persons were to be maintained at the University, as the bishop had done in his lifetime. The feoffees, however, had sold the lands for £140 and the poor scholars could obtain no rent from the houses, and had been ousted from the mansion, that is Burnel's Inn, which the bishop had provided for them in his lifetime. References are found to London College in 1456 and 1465, (fn. 225) but it is only as a synonym for the building called Burnel's Inn.
From the middle of the 15th century a steady decline is noticeable in the discipline, administration, and corporate well-being of the University. The Wars of the Roses, the languishing state of the Church, the lack of great teachers, and the University's preoccupation with building schemes far beyond its means, began to be severely felt, and the situation was aggravated when in 1447 the executors of Cardinal Beaufort gave 500 marks towards the building of the Divinity School on condition that if the building was not completed within five years the money should be returned. In the regulations for the supervision of the building and the raising of money, the internal weakness of the University is clearly seen. Graces were to be granted in return for money payments, and the Pope, the archbishops, and bishops were to be requested to grant indulgences to those who contributed money to the building. The University, in return for a sum of £100 given by the monastic foundations, granted the members of those bodies the right to proceed to the degree of B. Can.L. without a grace, and also shortened in their favour the time of study required for the degree of B.D. and further agreed to waive regency in Arts before inception in Theology in consideration of individual money payments. The faculty of Arts, therefore, which in 1339 had strongly asserted its claim to be the foundation of all studies, was at length willing to capitulate when a financial crisis threatened the University. (fn. 226)
To add to its anxieties the University heard in 1450 that Parliament contemplated resuming the lands which had been granted for pious purposes by the king. In various letters the University pointed out that if this were done the colleges, the source of 'the principal beams of virtue and cunning' by which the University 'shineth and lighteneth this noble Realm', would lose their rents, would be compelled to reduce the number of their fellows, and that students would cease to be attracted to Oxford. These letters have a further interest as containing the first testimony of the University to the importance of the colleges as a goal and a reward for students. (fn. 227) The rise of the collegiate system and the almost continual plague from 1440 to 1540 were instrumental in closing many halls. By the middle of the 15th century their number had been about 70, in 1470 not more than about 60; (fn. 228) by the beginning of the next century it had fallen to 56, (fn. 229) and by 1534 to about 12. (fn. 230) Most of these halls were then owned either by local religious houses or by the colleges which gradually incorporated them. It is curious that in the period of their decline an elaborate code of aularian statutes should have been formulated. The date of these statutes is 1483–90, but they appear to have been based on earlier regulations. (fn. 231)
An important agreement respecting the Chancellor's jurisdiction was made with the town in 1459, the terms of which were that scholars and their servants arrested by the town should on demand be delivered to the Chancellor; and that those who enjoyed the privilege of the University were the Chancellor, doctors, masters and other graduates, students, scholars, and clerks dwelling in the University, together with their servants, the steward, the bede men of the University and their menials, bedels with their servants and households, stationers, bookbinders, illuminators, scribes, parchment-sellers, barbers, the bell-ringers, poor children of scholars or clerks, and other persons of their livery, and the common carriers of the University. (fn. 232)
The printing-press reached Oxford in 1478, the first production being a treatise on the Apostles' Creed. Three years later appeared an edition of Alexander de Ales's commentary on the De Anima, the colophon of which gives the printer's name, Theodoric Rood. (fn. 233) About 1483 Rood was joined by Thomas Hunte, the official University stationer. The press ceased in 1486, having printed about seventeen books, among them an edition of Cicero's Pro Milone (c. 1480), the earliest classical text printed in England. No contemporary reference to the press has so far been found, but there can be little doubt that a printer no less than a stationer would have required the Chancellor's licence. The charter granted to the University in 1636 asserts that the University from the earliest times had permission to print and sell books subject to the licence of the Chancellor, (fn. 234) but the charter on which the right is based is one of 1254 and deals only with contracts in respect of movable property. When the question of quo warranto was debated many years later between the University and the Stationers' Company the University claimed that it had always possessed the right to publish books, and that its right was based on common usage as well as on common law, since Henry VIII had granted to the Chancellor and scholars, their servants, and privileged persons, power and licence to exercise any kind of artifice whatsoever within the town. (fn. 235)
The decline of the University in the second half of the 15th century exhibited itself in several ways. The University itself lamented in 1466 that grammar, the very root of other sciences, was almost exiled. (fn. 236) The fees received from grammar masters, which had once augmented the payments due to regents, had in 1477 finally ceased. (fn. 237) There was also a noticeable falling off in the number of students. In 1465 the University, having previously complained to the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote in some alarm to the General Council of the Order of the Benedictines stating that members of their order were being withdrawn from the University and sent elsewhere. (fn. 238) Another contributory cause was the prevalence of plague at Oxford. There was, moreover, a general weakening of the moral sense. The chief manuscript authority for this period is the letter-book (Reg. F) in which are entered the letters sent by the University to influential persons, letters testimonial, &c., a large number of them being requests for financial aid. The letters also reflect very clearly the complaisance and pliancy of the University in political affairs. (fn. 239) The restoration of Henry VI in 1470 is attributed to Divine favour; in the next year the victory of Edward IV is described as a miracle; in 1484 the University rejoiced in the victories of Richard III, and in 1485 expressed delight in the triumph of Henry VII. The University also showed little resentment to royal interference in connexion with elections; but it must be stated that in graver matters, such as the command to surrender the Bishop of Bath and Wells, it offered resistance. The material benefits received from the four monarchs during the period were inconsiderable. Edward IV, it is true, was thanked for founding a lectureship in Theology in 1482, but as he died a few months later the project remained unrealized. (fn. 240)
A great constitutional change was the preference of the University for non-resident chancellors who had political influence and could watch the University's interests at court. The first of such chancellors was George Neville, son of the Earl of Salisbury, Bishop of Exeter (1458–65), and Archbishop of York (1465–76). John Russell, Bishop of Lincoln, who held office for ten years from 1483(?) to 1494, was specially exempted from residence and so became Oxford's first perpetual Chancellor. Russell was followed by John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, who, although he refused to take the Chancellor's oath, was elected and remained Chancellor for six years. (fn. 241)
A growing interest in theological studies is shown in the action of the Lady Margaret, Countess of Richmond, who from 1497 provided at her own expense a public lecture in Divinity. Notwithstanding the renaissance of classical studies and the reaction against scholasticism, the first lecturer, Edmund Wylford, began his course with the Quodlibeta of Duns Scotus. The lectureship in Divinity was permanently endowed and founded in 1502. A lecturer was to be appointed every two years and to be elected by all doctors, inceptors, and bachelors of Divinity who had already been regent masters of Arts. The first lecturer under the endowment was John Roper. (fn. 242)
The revival of classical learning reached Oxford slowly and quietly. There is no trace of it in the statutes and official registers, but it may be seen in the activities of individuals whose studies, lectures, and example prepared the way for the pursuit of classical research at the beginning of the next century. The first foreign humanist known to have taught in Oxford was the Milanese Stefano Surigone, who lectured on Latin rhetoric between 1454 and 1471. Another Italian humanist, Pietro Carmeliano, who later became Latin Secretary to Henry VII and Henry VIII, edited the Latin grammar of John Anwykyll which was printed at Oxford in 1483 by Theodoric Rood. Some informal teaching of Greek may have been given by the Greek scribe, Emanuel of Constantinople, but of that the evidence is not conclusive. Cornelio Vitelli has also been claimed as an Oxford teacher of Greek on the strength of Polydore Vergil's statement that 'omnium primus Oxonii bonis literis juventutem erudivit'; this, however, may merely mean that he taught Latin rhetoric as conceived by the Italian humanists. (fn. 243) William Grocyn lectured on Greek towards the end of the century, and later Thomas Linacre, founder of the College of Physicians, published some editions of Galen's works and two Latin grammars. William Latimer, of Magdalen College, assisted both Grocyn and Linacre. William Lily, also of Magdalen, wrote a famous Latin grammar which survived as a popular school-book for more than three centuries. To these must be added Erasmus and Colet, whose scholarship and eloquence remained an enduring influence, and Oxford scholars like William Grey, John Free, and John Tiptoft, who had visited Italy and helped to widen the scope of Oxford studies. (fn. 244)
In 1506 the University made a good choice in electing William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, as Chancellor. His attention was soon called to the ambiguities of the statutes, (fn. 245) and a committee was appointed in 1514 for their revision; but by the year 1517 the work seems to have devolved entirely upon John Yonge, titular Bishop of Gallipoli. In the following year the University, noting the rise of Wolsey and deciding to stand well with the highest authorities, asked the cardinal, notwithstanding the protest of Warham, to undertake the revision of the statutes—a remarkable lapse from constitutional rectitude. Although a reference is found in 1527 to a book of statutes having been dispatched to Wolsey, no revised code was forthcoming. (fn. 246)
In spite of discouraging conditions, two colleges, Brasenose and Corpus, were founded in the first quarter of the 16th century. (fn. 247) The former was established and founded by William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln, and Sir Richard Sutton in 1509. The latter founded by Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester, in 1516, was intimately associated with the permanent establishment of the new learning in Oxford, in that three public lecturers in Latin, Greek, and Divinity were to be appointed, the Greek lecturer being ordered not only to teach grammar but also to read from a specified list of Greek authors. The Divinity lecturer was especially instructed, in lecturing on the Bible, to follow the interpretation of the Fathers and not of the Schoolmen. A regulation recognizing the value of co-operation in academic studies is that which provides for the attendance of students of theology and B.A.s at daily lectures at Magdalen College. (fn. 248) The study of Greek, however, by this time securely established at Cambridge, was bitterly opposed by an obscurantist faction known as the Trojans. Only when this faction had been sharply rebuked by Sir Thomas More, High Steward of the University, were the Grecians allowed to pursue their studies unmolested. (fn. 249)
A more hopeful sign of the revival of learning was the establishment of a printing-press in 1517, even though it produced only a few small scholastic tracts, the most interesting of which is the Quaestiones of Johannes Dedicus (1518), which was protected by the Chancellor for a term of seven years, the first instance in this country of copyright in a particular book. (fn. 250) About this time, too, Cardinal Wolsey began to make provision for public lectures, but how far he proceeded is uncertain. Thomas Brynknell was appointed lecturer in Divinity, and Nicholas Kratzer in Mathematics: other lecturers were Thomas Moscroffe, Matthew Calphurne, John Clement, Thomas Lupset, and Ludovicus Vives. These lectureships were later developed by Henry VIII into the five public professorships of Divinity, Hebrew, Greek, Law, and Medicine. (fn. 251) In 1524 Thomas Linacre established two lectureships in Medicine which were attached to Merton College in 1549, though it was not until 1558 that any lecturers were appointed. (fn. 252)
A princely benefaction to the University by Wolsey was the foundation in 1525 of Cardinal College (Collegium Thomae Wolsey, Cardinalis Eboracensis), made possible by the dissolution of St. Frideswide's and endowed with lands and other revenues to the value of £2,000 a year. Among the numerous canons, students, and others whom it was designed to support were to be public professors of Theology, Canon Law, Civil Law, Philosophy, Medicine, and Literae Humaniores. (fn. 253)
The relations between the town and the University were generally disturbed, the disputes being on small matters such as the summoning of court leets and the extension of University privilege to those exercising trades outside certain classes. (fn. 254) The chief conflict came in 1523, when Wolsey procured a charter of liberties for the University dealing fully with judicial matters and the relations between the two corporations, and so drafted that it placed the town almost entirely in the hands of the Chancellor. By the charter, the Chancellor (or his deputy) was ex officio a justice of the peace in Oxford and the neighbourhood; the University was to receive the fines and amercements due to the Crown from cases tried before the circuiting justices in Oxford, including the goods of felons, a privilege of value when a wealthy Oxford man committed suicide; the Chancellor's jurisdiction was extended, in causes where one party was a scholar, servant, or privileged person, to the suburbs, hundreds, and county of Oxford, and to any other part of the kingdom. Persons privileged by the University were to be allowed to exercise any trade, and the Chancellor was empowered to form corporations. (fn. 255) The charter was not sent to Oxford until 1528, when it was delivered into the custody of the Dean of Cardinal College. (fn. 256)
Heresy, as well as local dissensions, continued to harass the University. In 1523 it informed Sir Thomas More that the number of students was diminishing in consequence of the disinclination of abbots to send their monks, noblemen their sons, and priests their relations to Oxford. (fn. 257) The Lutheran heresy was sweeping through Europe and at last had found a foothold at Oxford through certain Cambridge Lutherans whom Wolsey had unsuspectingly appointed canons of his new foundation. The story of the chief of these heretics, Thomas Garret, is stirringly told in the pages of John Foxe. (fn. 258) The two universities in May 1530 were ordered by the king to appoint committees to examine suspected books, (fn. 259) and a stringent proclamation of the king forbade the circulation of heretical books, English versions of the Scriptures, and the printing of books on scriptural subjects without the bishop's leave. (fn. 260) A prohibition by the Bishop of Lincoln shows that many heretical books were sold at St. Frideswide's Fair. (fn. 261)
In 1530 the great political question of the king's divorce became the concern of the two universities. Cambridge had early in that year returned an evasive answer to the question of the legality of the marriage of Henry to Catherine, an answer nevertheless construed by Henry as favourable to his cause. When Oxford was invited to express its opinion the faculty of Arts, which was frankly hostile to the divorce, insisted on being adequately represented on the proposed committee. This provoked a kingly rebuke that persons 'of right small learning … should … stay their seniors in so weighty a cause', and a sharp letter from Warham, the Chancellor, written in English so that nothing should be otherwise interpreted. The proposal that the matter should be referred to a committee of thirtythree was carried, although again opposed by the faculty of Arts. The decision of the committee was based on that of Cambridge to the effect that 'ducere uxorem fratris mortui sine liberis cognitam a priore viro per carnalem copulam' was prohibited alike by divine and natural law. (fn. 262)
On Wolsey's fall, Cardinal College was suppressed and re-established in 1532 as King Henry the Eight's College. In 1534 the king, who had already been acknowledged supreme head of the Church by the Convocation of Clergy, requested the universities to give a decision on the question whether the Pope had greater jurisdiction than any other foreign bishop. The universities confirmed the opinion that the Pope was merely Episcopus Romanus. (fn. 263)
A visitation of the University by Richard Layton and John London followed in 1535. No official record of its proceedings survives, and the little that is known about it is derived from a letter addressed by Layton to Cromwell. (fn. 264) Few changes were made in University procedure. Following the example of Waynflete and Foxe, the Visitors established public lectures in Greek and Latin at New College and All Souls, Greek at Magdalen, and Latin at Merton and Queen's. Lectures in Civil in place of Canon Law were established, and scholars of religious houses were ordered to be more strictly confined to their houses. In the following year the king ordered that licence to practise medicine or to proceed to a medical degree was to be given by the Physick Professor, but only after examination. (fn. 265) Further provision was made in 1536 by relieving colleges of payments of first-fruits and tenths on condition that they maintained at their own cost a public lecturer to be called King Henry the Eight's Lecturer. The contribution of the colleges amounted to £13. 10s. 8d. and is the first instance of the colleges combining to make a common contribution to a general need. (fn. 266) Other reforms introduced at the same time were that spiritual persons over 40 years of age should leave the University and return to their benefices, (fn. 267) and that clergy with benefices worth £100 a year should contribute to the support of scholars. (fn. 268)
The suppression of the monasteries began in 1536. The alarm which this proceeding caused in the University was somewhat relieved by the king's assurance that as regards colleges he would not 'impaire the revenewes of anie one House by a penie'. (fn. 269) An Act was also passed requiring all persons proceeding to degrees to take the Oath of Supremacy, the first of several University tests imposed by the Tudors. (fn. 270) Five years later the king himself commented on the state of the University, 'Our Universitie of Oxenford hath of late dayes by lack of ordre fallen in to no small ruin and decaye as well in lernyng as in vertues, behavor, and good manners'. The lack of order he remedied in a small degree by regulating the election of proctors and attendance at public sermons. (fn. 271) In 1545 the newly established Henry the Eight's College and the Cathedral Church at Oseney surrendered their charters and the king established by letters patent (4 Nov. 1546) the foundation of Christ Church which was to maintain a dean, eight canons, and one hundred students. Five Regius Professorships of Divinity, Hebrew, Greek, Civil Law, and Medicine were also established, the first three being chargeable to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, the others to the Exchequer. (fn. 272)
When Edward VI succeeded to the throne in 1547 the trend towards Protestantism became more pronounced. One of the first Acts of Parliament of the new king's reign gave some reassurance. In enacting that colleges, free chapels, and chantries be vested in the king, exception was made in favour of the colleges of the universities, with a saving clause that the king might specially deal with the chantries there established. (fn. 273) To help the Protestant cause Peter Martyr, a noted Lutheran, was brought from Strassburg to Oxford to lecture on Divinity. From lecturing on the Epistle to the Corinthians he passed to the highly controversial subject of the Holy Sacrament, which aroused much learned and sectarian opposition. The debates were conducted with such freedom that the Protector Somerset and the Council had to admonish the disputers to treat such mysteries with 'sobriety, reverence, and lowliness of spirit'. (fn. 274) In 1549 the University was subjected to visitation by commissioners who were empowered to inquire into all that pertained to colleges and halls; to exercise disciplinary powers; to divert money being used in the support of grammar schools and purely church purposes to the teaching of the Arts; to amalgamate colleges if necessary; to assign the money of chantries to other purposes; to enforce and, where necessary, to vary statutes; to exact oaths of obedience and fidelity; and, if thought fit, to localize the study of Arts at New College, of Civil Law at All Souls, and to assign one college to the study of Medicine. The need of a revival in the study of Civil Law was especially emphasized, and great care was to be taken in teaching it. (fn. 275) The colleges were visited and on the whole were dealt with tenderly. Strangely enough, a spirited and successful protest came from the townsmen, who saw with alarm that the closing of Magdalen College School would shut the chief door of education to their children. (fn. 276)
At the same time the commissioners offered the University certain regulations pending the consideration of the statutes then in force. Several innovations were introduced. Greek made its first appearance in the general statutes; the law of the realm was to be studied by jurists; canon law disappeared; and practical work in anatomy was required for degrees in medicine. A statute governing the election of the Vice-Chancellor was for the first time formulated. A closer relation between college tuition and that of the University is shown in the regulation which orders college lecturers to submit at the beginning of every term lists of the names of their general sophisters, and also to supply their quota of disputants in the general disputations. The code also established an official connexion between the University and the Reformed Church of England in providing for the celebration of Holy Communion in every college and hall at the beginning of each term. The increasing prestige of the colleges is seen in regulations as to matters on which the heads of houses were to be consulted. Although the Edwardian Code was provisional, it nevertheless marks a considerable advance in University administration, but it fell into desuetude on the king's death and was never entered in any official register of the University. (fn. 277)
The other acts of the commissioners were less beneficial. Their agents destroyed carvings, statues, and stained glass windows, and despoiled libraries. The books of the public library of the University entirely disappeared, but the collections in college libraries escaped lightly. (fn. 278) The well-known statement by Bale about despoliation refers to the whole country, but in speaking of the treatment of libraries he says 'Yea, the vnyuersytees of thys realme, are not all clere in this detestable fact', which suggests that there was no wholesale purge of college libraries. (fn. 279) How far religious persecution affected the University cannot well be estimated. The statement of a contemporary writer that in 1552 there were scarce left in the universities a hundred students out of every thousand (fn. 280) may be compared with a list of members of Oxford colleges and halls, taken in that year which gives the number as 1,021, but it is not possible to say how many of these were privileged persons (servants, &c.). (fn. 281)
Wood's statement that on the accession of Queen Mary 'religion and learning put on another face' is certainly true of the former and perhaps of the latter. (fn. 282) John Jewel, later Bishop of Salisbury, on behalf of the University addressed a wary letter of congratulation to the new sovereign, (fn. 283) more Visitors descended on the University, and the imported Protestant, Peter Martyr, returned to Strassburg. Protestants had the alternative of leaving the University or of bending without breaking; many preferred to show their suppleness. (fn. 284) Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer were brought to Oxford to defend their views on the Real Presence and suffered glorious martyrdom. Mary, in the first year of her reign, granted to the University three benefices chiefly to repair the public schools then lying waste or in use by the citizens as private gardens. (fn. 285) A University account book shows that over £200 were expended during the years 1557–1559 on that undertaking. (fn. 286) In July 1556 a general visitation of the University began under the direction of Cardinal Pole, Archbishop of Canterbury. The injunctions presented to the University were to serve only until the existing statutes had been examined and revised by a delegacy. They were largely concerned with administrative and doctrinal matters. The duties of the Vice-Chancellor and the proctors were set out in some detail, and regulations were laid down for halls and their principals. Some of the recommendations offered to lecturers are interesting not only on account of their soundness but because they were incorporated into the Laudian Code without reference to their provenance. (fn. 287) During Mary's brief reign the Registers of the University show some increase in numbers, and it is fair to date from her accession a revival in academic studies and a return to better discipline.
In 1555 the last two colleges of the old faith were founded. Trinity College was established by letters patent (8 Mar. 1555) by Sir Thomas Pope 'ad proventum et publicam patriae utilitatem, orthodoxae fidei religionisque Christianae incrementum et ad perpetuam pauperum scholarium in Academia degentium sustentationem'; (fn. 288) and on 1 May 1555 Sir Thomas White obtained licence by letters patent to found a 'collegium perpetuum eruditionis scientiarum, sacrae theologiae, et philosophiae, ac bonarum artium', to be called St. John Baptist College. (fn. 289) By this time a great change was taking place in the University by the conversion of colleges into places of instruction. Originally they were founded to provide means whereby students might proceed to a higher degree; the education of the young at Oxford was never contemplated by any of the early founders. (fn. 290) Until Brasenose was established there was no college where the ordinary undergraduate could apply for admission after the modern fashion. To-day All Souls College alone is privileged non super antiquas stare sed ire vias, and to remain a college of graduates.
On the accession of Queen Elizabeth Oxford was again visited by commissioners, who on this occasion concerned themselves chiefly with the colleges. (fn. 291) Many who would not acknowledge the queen's supremacy either resigned or were deprived of their offices, among them being the heads of University College, Merton, Balliol, Queen's, Lincoln, Magdalen, Corpus Christi, Christ Church, and Trinity. For the moment a more conciliatory and cautious policy prevailed throughout the country, and England at last had a monarch who was determined to form closer ties with the people. The visits which Elizabeth paid to Oxford in 1566 and 1592 established a new and intimate relation between the Crown and the University. (fn. 292) 'Her sweet, affable, and noble carriage', her learning and enthusiasm appealed strongly to the scholars, but close political ties inevitably brought in their train loss of liberty and freedom of choice. The election of the powerful Earl of Leicester in 1564 introduced a succession of statesmen-Chancellors. Leicester nominated successive Vice-Chancellors, leaving only the formal election to Convocation. The political trend of the time is plainly indicated in University enactments. (fn. 293) Religious tests were first introduced, and it was the Earl of Leicester who recommended that motions to be submitted to Convocation should previously be considered by a select delegacy of doctors and heads of houses—a recommendation which gave support to the practice of conducting University business by means of small committees, and which led to the formation of a permanent Weekly Meeting. (fn. 294) A minor result of the election of Leicester was that English and not Latin henceforth became the medium for communications between the University and its Chancellor.
When Elizabeth succeeded to the throne the Marian statutes were in force. On their repeal the University quietly continued in its traditional ways. The new statutes which were promulgated in 1565 were only provisional pending a general revision: they had been submitted to the Chancellor in English, and then translated into Latin. The opening sentence is significant, Vetera statuta observabunt, which seems to imply the abrogation of the Edwardian Code. The statutes (Nova Statuta) for the most part dealt with disputations, the exercises necessary for the various degrees, and courses of study. The chief authors to be studied were Virgil, Horace, Cicero, Aristotle, Plato, Porphyry, Boethius for arithmetic and music, Euclid, and Orontius and Joannes de Sacrobosco for astronomy—a curriculum which indicates that the learning of the Middle Ages was not yet entirely discredited. Particular emphasis, as in the Edwardian Code, is laid on the preaching of sermons which were ostensibly to teach persons their duty towards God, but were more particularly intended to inculcate obedience to their lawful rulers and magistrates. The old statutes against Wyclif and William Russell were amended, and all statutes affecting monks, friars, masses, and prayers for the dead were removed. (fn. 295) At the same time a still greater reform was introduced. A matriculation statute was introduced securing the registration of all scholars, servants, and privileged persons. Heads of houses and principals of halls were required to present students to the Vice-Chancellor within a week of their admission into the University so that their name, age, residence, and date of entry might be recorded in a Register. Students who were not members of a college or hall were to be under the charge of a master who was a member of some society, and all who had reached the age of 16 were required to take an oath to obey the statutes of the University. (fn. 296) The first matriculation register begins with the academical year 1564/5, but was not regularly kept until 1581. From 1571 to 1602 the number of students matriculated, distributed in seventeen colleges, eight halls, and one private hall, was 8,530, which gives a yearly average of about 266. The earliest age at which a student is found entering the University is 7: the usual age was from 14 to 20. (fn. 297) The University had of course no power of choice respecting its new members: its function was merely one of registration. (fn. 298)
In 1576 were issued a new order 'for the reformation of excess in apparel' and a general statute in English for the better observance of public exercises which included a clause that no one should be admitted to any degree unless he subscribed to the XXXIX Articles. (fn. 299) A statute against heresy was also promulgated in 1579 and specified the various Protestant catechisms which might be used in the University. (fn. 300) In the following year the Oath of Supremacy was made obligatory on all those taking degrees, (fn. 301) and students living in private houses were recalled to colleges and halls. (fn. 302) A still more drastic measure was introduced in 1581 which required every person of the age of 16 and over to take the general University oath and also to subscribe to the Articles of Religion and take the Oath of Supremacy. (fn. 303) Most of these statutes were obviously directed against the Romish recusants who, in order to avoid the tests, preferred to lodge in private houses. The passing of such measures became more and more frequent, and provoked an exodus of Roman Catholics, which, although it helped to relieve the political situation, yet left Oxford poorer in scholarship. Learning abroad, however, was enriched and Oxford traditions were carried into foreign lands. John Rastell of New College became ViceRector of the Jesuit College at Ingolstadt; Richard White, also of New College, became Professor of Laws at Douay; and William Allen, of Oriel, founded the English College at Douay. In such circumstances the foundation of Jesus College, the first Oxford Protestant college, was a notable event. The college is described in the letters patent of 27 June 1571 as of Queen Elizabeth's foundation, but it was erected and endowed at the charge of Hugh ap Rice, treasurer of St. David's. (fn. 304)
The relations between the city and the University showed no improvement. As the charter of 1523 was still the chief matter of dispute, an Act was passed in 1571 íncorporating the two universities by the name of the Chancellor, masters, and scholars of the said universities with special mention of the charter of Henry VIII to Oxford and that of 3 Elizabeth to Cambridge. (fn. 305) In speaking of privileges affecting the prerogative granted to the University of Oxford, Sir William Blackstone has made a memorable statement: 'But yet, notwithstanding these charters, the privileges granted therein, of proceeding in a course different from the law of the land, were of so high a nature, that they were held to be invalid; for though the king might erect new courts, yet he could not alter the course of law by his letters patent. Therefore in the reign of queen Elizabeth an act of parliament was obtained, confirming all the charters of the two universities, and those of 14 Hen. VIII and 3 Eliz. by name.' (fn. 306)
An important event in the history of learning was the setting up of a printing-press in 1585 by Joseph Barnes. This desirable and requisite addition to the equipment of a University was sponsored by the Earl of Leicester and given legal sanction by the Star Chamber decree of 1586. Although Barnes was Printer to the University, his press was his own financial venture, for which the University accepted no liability. He was Printer to the University only in the sense that, if the University had any printing to be done, it used his facilities. Most of his publications were sermons and minor scholastic books, but among the more important works printed by him were the first Catalogue of the University Library (1605) and the first history of the University, Antiquitatis Academiae Oxoniensis apologia. Authore Briano Twyno (1608). Just before the death of Elizabeth the University received a benefaction which in course of time became of world-wide importance. In 1602 Sir Thomas Bodley restored and refurnished the old University Library. By his own efforts and those of 'a great store of honourable friends', the Library contained over 2000 volumes at the time of its opening on 8 November. (fn. 307)
The first Public Acts of the reign of James I in which the University is mentioned throw light on the general state of affairs at Oxford. The enactments related to tippling in inns, the relief of persons infected with the plague, and to 'dangers which may grow by Popish Recusantes'. (fn. 308) By the last enactment recusants were disqualified from presenting to benefices, which were then committed to the two universities. The plague which broke out in 1603 was unusually severe. Colleges had to close their doors, but generously opened their pockets for the relief of the townsfolk. (fn. 309) The University supported the legislature in 1605 by a decree against Popish recusants which required all privileged persons, their families, and servants to attend divine service regularly at their parish churches; (fn. 310) and in the following year by another decree inflicting heavy fines on any one (graduates as well as privileged persons) who haunted taverns. (fn. 311) This was reinforced by another decree in 1610 which prescribed open and public whipping at St. Mary's Church for young delinquents. At the same time it was again ordered that no scholar should lodge in the town either with a privileged or non-privileged person. (fn. 312) But it was not only against recusants that the hand of authority was raised. Both Jesuits and Puritans were known to be meddlers in matters of state. The Puritan preaching activities of John Sprint and Robert Troutbeck in 1602 had almost resulted in another University Visitation, (fn. 313) and the remarkable thesis sustained in 1622 by William Knight, that in certain circumstances a subject might take up arms against the King, had caused the Commentary of David Paraeus on the Epistle to Romans to be publicly burnt, his propositions condemned, and the unlawfulness of resisting the Sovereign publicly proclaimed in Convocation. (fn. 314)
In 1617 the king sent certain edicts to be published and observed in the University. The first of these ordered that all who took degrees should subscribe to the three Articles of the thirty-sixth canon approved in the London Synod of 1604; the other edicts were concerned with preachers who had not conformed, the orderly attendance of students at sermons, the inculcation of the doctrines of the Church of England in sermons and academic disputations, and the careful supervision of theological students. There was also to be 'a great restraint for schollers haunting of townesmens houses especially in the night'. (fn. 315) Another matter which greatly troubled the authorities at this time was the wearing of caps by Masters of Arts in University assemblies. It was then customary for M.A.s to sit bare-headed, but a certain Henry Wightwick, finding authority for their remaining covered, reintroduced the custom, for which he was banished on a charge of trying to subvert the honour of the University. (fn. 316) He was, in fact, merely asserting the supremacy of his faculty. In 1622, on the petition of fifty-three regent masters, among them being Gilbert Sheldon, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, the wearing of square caps by Masters of Arts in Congregation and Convocation was given statutory sanction. (fn. 317)
The most important privilege received during James's reign was a grant to the two universities by letters patent (12 Mar. 1604) to elect two burgesses, a favour which was obtained at the instance of Sir Edward Coke. (fn. 318)
In 1610 the University Library received its greatest privilege by an agreement made by Sir Thomas Bodley with the Stationers' Company that a copy of every new book printed by a member of the company should be sent to his library. This agreement theoretically meant that Bodley's Library had thenceforth the right to receive a copy of every book newly printed in England, with the exception of those printed at Cambridge, since only three towns, London, Oxford, and Cambridge, had the right to set up printing-presses. This privilege received royal recognition in a Star Chamber Decree in 1637, and virtually made the University Library the National Library until the establishment of the British Museum in 1759. An elaborate code of library statutes, drafted by Bodley himself, was also promulgated in 1610. Two years later Sir Thomas Bodley built the east wing, now called the Arts End, and made provision for adding a third story to the quadrangle of the Schools which were to be erected, and for building a west wing. (fn. 319) In 1619 Sir Henry Savile established two lectureships in mathematics, one in geometry, the other in astronomy. A significant clause in the Savilian statute is that the choice of professors should not be restricted to natives of this country. (fn. 320) Sir William Sedley, by his will dated 29 Oct. 1618, endowed a chair of Natural Philosophy. (fn. 321) A professorship of Moral Philosophy was founded by Thomas Whyte in 1621. (fn. 322) In the same year Henry, Lord Danvers, purchased for the University a piece of land as a Physic Garden, and by his will endowed it with the rectory of Kirkdale. (fn. 323) The only faculty under a cloud was that of Civil Law, which seemed to be near abolition in 1603. (fn. 324) In recording the achievements of scholarship at this period it should be mentioned that Oxford supplied two companies for the revision of the Bible which resulted in 1611 in the publication of the Authorized Version.
During the eighteen years, 1603 to 1621, the average number of students matriculated annually was 320. The matriculation of 1621 reached the extraordinary number of 784, the largest contribution of any one society being Magdalen Hall with 113. (fn. 325) A distinguished alumnus among those who matriculated in 1616 was Prince Charles. (fn. 326) Wood gives the total number of students in 1611 as above 2,420, (fn. 327) and John Scot in 1622 as 2,850 including servants, &c. (fn. 328)
Two colleges were founded in James's reign. Wadham College, founded by Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham in 1610, was built on the site of the Austin Friars without Smith Gate, provision being made for a warden, fifteen fellows, fifteen scholars, two chaplains, and two clerks. (fn. 329) Pembroke College was nominally founded in 1624 by James I, who had been supplicated by the town of Abingdon to constitute a college within Broadgate Hall. The cost and charges, borne by Thomas Tesdale and Richard Wightwicke, provided for a master, ten fellows, and ten scholars. (fn. 330)
The Stuarts inherited one troublesome obsession of the Tudors, namely that of heresy, which changed its spots as circumstances demanded. In the reign of King James the struggle in the University lay between the Calvinists and Puritans on the one hand, and the Episcopalians and Arminians, later to be known as the Anglican Party, on the other. The king, who saw that an hierarchy of bishops would be a welcome support for the Crown, inclined naturally to the Episcopalians. It was also with this party that William Laud, who had first become prominent in connexion with a supposed heretical sermon in 1615, was associated. (fn. 331) In 1611 he had been elected to the presidency of St. John's, which he resigned in 1621 on being promoted to the see of St. David's.
The accession of Charles in 1625 was marked like that of James I by a serious outbreak of plague, necessitating the removal of Parliament from London to Oxford. Royal intervention in academic matters had now become a commonplace. As the elections of proctors continued to be attended with great disturbances, largely owing to the presence of nonresidents, the king in 1628 referred the matter to arbitrators with full power to elect, and later on settled the matter permanently by imposing on the University an ordinance by which the colleges, in a prearranged order, should elect proctors from their own members, a method which with some modifications is still in force. (fn. 332) To this ordinance regulations were added for the appointment of collectors at University disputations. The king also sent down rules in 1631 for appeals in the Chancellor's Court and a decree for a weekly meeting (Conventus Preæfectorum) consisting of the Vice-Chancellor and heads of colleges and halls who should meet every Monday to consider University affairs, and, if necessary, to bring forward matters for the consideration of Congregation before submission to Convocation. (fn. 333) This finally abolished previous deliberation by the faculty of Arts, a form of procedure which by that time had fallen into desuetude. On the part of the Crown it was good policy to place the effective government in the hands of a small body of influential officials, but the University was thereby fettered for over two hundred years.
On the death of the Earl of Pembroke in 1630 the University chose for its Chancellor William Laud, (fn. 334) who at once declared his intention of reforming the University, which, in his opinion, had departed from all discipline. In order to keep in touch with University affairs he desired the Vice-Chancellor to send him a weekly report. His chief reform was the revision and recodification of the statutes of the University. In 1614 a delegacy of twenty-eight, including William Laud and Brian Twyne, had been appointed to arrange the statutes. Its work terminated after three years, but in 1619 it appears that the revision had not been completed. The Earl of Pembroke took the first effective step in 1629, when he wrote to the Vice-Chancellor asking that a new delegacy should be appointed and the business settled. A committee of sixteen was chosen which largely deputed the main work to a subcommittee of four, of which Dr. Zouch and Twyne were the most active members. As the various sections were drafted they were voted upon by the whole delegacy and by the Conventus Praefectorum. By 1633 the body of statutes was finished, revised by the ViceChancellor, and submitted to the Chancellor. The code was printed in 1634 and placed on trial for one year, afterwards extended to two years. Finally, on 22 June 1636 the statutes in their corrected form, written in a large folio volume, ratified, sealed, and confirmed by a royal charter, were received by the University at the hands of the king's commissioners. (fn. 335)
The code was not a new collection of statutes, but rather a recodification of those existing, elaborated and arranged in an orderly way, and including the royal edicts mentioned above—Ipse multus in eo Carolus. Not only was the codification the result of some hundred years of reform, but it is still the foundation of the present statutes of the University. The main divisions of the code are terms, vacations, matriculation, and residence; public lectures and attendance; time required for the taking of degrees and the exercises to be performed; the ceremonies of Inception, Vesperies, and the Act; disputations; Congregation and Convocation; sermons; officers and servants; public goods and places; and the Chancellor's Court. Laud attached great importance to the statute respecting the examination of candidates for degrees and was gratified to hear that it was working successfully, the examiners 'asking fundamental questions, not propounding studied subtilties to gravel and discourage young students'. (fn. 336) An appendix contains the statutes relating to the Lady Margaret Readership, the Bodleian Library, professorships, the election of proctors, and to halls. Congregation was defined as consisting of the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor, the proctors, the necessary regents, and the optional regents who comprised the resident doctors, professors and public lecturers, heads of houses who had been regent M.A.s, the masters of the schools and the deans or censors of colleges, and M.A.s during the second year of their regency if dispensed with. Its functions were to deliberate on the resolutions of the Hebdomadal Board; to grant graces, and, in certain cases, dispensations; to admit to degrees; to grant incorporations; and to give letters testimonial. Convocation was to consist of the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor, the proctors, and regent and non-regent doctors and masters. Its functions were to accept or reject any motion respecting statutes, &c., of the Hebdomadal Board after it had been submitted to Congregation; to elect officers, professors, and public lecturers; to nominate delegates; to grant dispensations; to present to benefices; to examine accounts; to control the letting of lands; to dispatch letters to royalty, &c.; to grant honorary degrees and to deprive offenders of degrees. The constitution of the two assemblies, Congregation and Convocation, remained unchanged until 1854. The constitution and procedure of the Chancellor's Court were modified in 1854 and again in 1862. The royal ordinance regarding appeals survived until 1894, when an Order in Council provided that the enactments and rules of the Supreme Court relating to appeals from county courts should apply to the Chancellor's Court. (fn. 337)
The year in which the Laudian Code was received was also that of the last of the Great Charters granted to the University. The charter was primarily one of confirmation, but its wide explanations and enlargements make it of great importance. The material for it was prepared by Twyne, who paid special attention to the privileges granted to Cambridge, particularly to those contained in the charter of 3 Elizabeth. New privileges were that the Chancellor's Court should be a Court of Record; that the University might have two coroners; that the town be inhibited from building cottages without leave of the Chancellor; and that the Vice-Chancellor might claim the bodies of such as suffered death by law for the use of the anatomy lecturer. The charter also provided that the clerk of the market should be placed in control of the ordering of the market, and that the number of vintners should be reduced to three, all to be licensed by the Chancellor. The chief explanations were concerned with the exemption of members of the University from being impleaded in the courts of Westminster; power to hold a full and complete court-leet over the town; the right to make orders and by-laws to bind townsmen in certain matters affecting the University; the right to felons' goods within the precincts of the University, with power of search; the right to all privileged persons to trade in the same way as townsmen; and exemption to all members of the University from musters as well as discharge from all subsidies. The final section related to printing, and exemplified and amplified letters patent granted in 1632 and 1633 by which the University was allowed to have three printers with the right to print all kinds of books not publicly forbidden. The amplification gave the University the right to print all those classes of books which were specially mentioned in the charter of the Stationers' Company. (fn. 338)
The year 1636 may be taken as the year in which the University under the old dispensation reached its zenith. The reform of its statutes, which had occupied the attention of the University since the time of Wolsey, was brought to a successful conclusion in the Laudian Code, and the charter was the most ample the University had ever received. It was appropriate, though accidental, that the king and queen in that year should visit Oxford, and be pleasantly entertained, not by learned arguments in Greek and Latin, but by witty comedies. Unfortunately the code, based as it was on a medieval system, came just as learning was being re-born and immediately before the great social upheaval which, as far as this country is concerned, was to introduce the modern world. Laud's charter gave the University all that it could reasonably desire, but it went too far at the expense of the town. No compromise was henceforth possible; civic resistance stiffened, and the town secured its first triumph when in 1690 the University failed to get its great charter confirmed by Parliament. (fn. 339)
In the Caroline age considerable benefits accrued to scholarship. William Camden founded a lectureship in History in 1622; (fn. 340) and in 1624 a lectureship in anatomy was founded by Richard Tomlins. (fn. 341) William Heather in 1626–7 gave an endowment for the support of a master of musical praxis and a lecturer on the theory of music, (fn. 342) and a chair of Arabic was founded by Laud in 1636 with the great orientalist, Edward Pococke, as first professor. (fn. 343) The provision of the materials of scholarship was also remarkable. Bodley's Library received in 1629 from the Earl of Pembroke a large collection of Greek manuscripts formed by Giacomo Barocci and a further smaller gift of Greek manuscripts from Sir Thomas Roe. In 1634 Sir Kenelm Digby presented 238 medieval manuscripts especially rich in treatises of science, and from 1635 to 1640 Archbishop Laud presented nearly 1,300 manuscripts, oriental as well as western. These munificent benefactions made Oxford one of the chief centres of research in Europe, and necessitated the enlargement of the University Library, which was effected by the addition of the west end, begun in 1638 and opened in 1640. (fn. 344)
On the outbreak of civil war the University, with the help of the town, began the work of fortification, and in July 1642 opened its coffers at the request of the king, who promised a just and speedy return of loans with interest at 8 per cent. Parliamentary forces entered Oxford in Sept. 1642, but abandoned it in the following month. From Oct. 1642, when the king entered the town, until 1646 Oxford was the headquarters of the Royalists. The Oxford press found employment in printing royalist proclamations and pamphlets, college plate was requisitioned on loan, disputations were discontinued, and the schools were used for the storage of munitions. (fn. 345) Nevertheless, there was little falling off in the number of degrees conferred, since, on the recommendation of the king, academic honours were freely bestowed on 'great multitudes of very noble Gentlemen of all rankes who have done the University much honour in accepting of her favours'. (fn. 346) At the beginning of 1644 Parliament assembled at Oxford. Laud was executed in 1645, and on 24 June 1646 Oxford surrendered to Fairfax.
The government being now in the hands of the Parliamentarians, a visitation of the University was ordered on 1 May 1647 for the reformation of the University and the several colleges and halls. The Visitors were commissioned to inquire by oath concerning those who had neglected to subscribe to the Solemn League and Covenant and to take the Negative oath, and those who opposed the execution of the ordinances of Parliament respecting discipline and divine worship. The colleges adopted obstructive tactics. Non-submitters were ejected and new heads and several new professors were appointed, among the latter being Seth Ward and John Wallis. The Engagement and the Negative oath were imposed on all members of colleges and halls. From 1648 to 1660 an important administrative innovation was effected by the appointment of delegates for the management of general University business, their resolutions being subject to approval by Convocation. The board of delegates was independent of the Conventus Praefectorum, which still continued to meet. (fn. 347)
The Chancellor, the Earl of Pembroke, died in 1650 and was succeeded by Oliver Cromwell. From this time onwards there was a gradual improvement in the state of the University, especially under the ViceChancellorship of John Owen, Dean of Christ Church, a good administrator, a stern disciplinarian, but a determined apponent of formalities. In 1652 the Parliamentary Committee was dissolved. A petition was then sent to Parliament asking that a new Board of Visitors be appointed, few in number and resident in Oxford, and empowered to revise and reform University and college statutes. (fn. 348) The petition having been approved and confirmed by Cromwell, a board of ten Visitors was appointed. The Visitors, who began their activities in June 1653, introduced various regulations respecting tutors and their pupils; attendance at and the recording of sermons; the studies of gentlemen-commoners; and the election of probationers, fellows, and chaplains. In 1655 and 1656 several important reforms touching the studies of B.A.s, examinations, promissory oaths, and 'collectors' were carried through. Notwithstanding this substantial progress, Wood states that John Owen was willing to move still faster along the path of reform. Opposed in some of his measures by Convocation, Owen then proceeded to take steps to reform that body, and to put it entirely 'in the hands of godly and prudent men'. The plan was so strongly opposed by John Conant, Rector of Exeter, and others that Owen desisted from further action. From Oct. 1657, when he was succeeded by Conant as Vice-Chancellor, the reformers disappear. During Conant's period of office (1657–9) academical dress was restored, the heads of houses were joined to the Delegates, and an ill-advised attempt to set up a university at Durham was for good and sufficient reasons defeated.
In the Commonwealth period there was a notable advance in the study of science associated with the names of Bathurst, Wren, Petty, Wallis, Boyle, Goddard, Seth Ward, and Wilkins. Oriental studies were under the direction of the great scholar Pococke. The only faculty which continued to languish was that of Civil Law, on behalf of which the University petitioned Parliament for the fostering of a study which was 'very suitable to the present government as well for forraigne commerce and negotiations abroad' …. (fn. 349) The University Library received in 1654 some Greek manuscripts from Cromwell, and between 1654 and 1659 the valuable library of John Selden, one of the burgesses of the Universities from 1640 to 1653 (fn. 350). In 1658 the first Architypographus was appointed. (fn. 351) This important official was to be a good classical scholar, a philologist, a practical printer, and a capable manager. (fn. 352) The most distinguished holder of the office was Thomas Hearne.
So far the town and the University had worked fairly amicably together. The town's sympathies were largely with the Parliamentarians, which may have encouraged them to present a list of grievances against the University on traditional lines in 1649. (fn. 353) The University made a general levy on its members to defray the expenses of the suit, (fn. 354) and although proposals for a treaty between the parties were made the negotiations seem to have been abortive.
The Interregnum left the academic life of the University little changed. Both universities were looked upon by Cromwell as national institutions and assets. Oxford itself was governed not by men who were strangers to its traditions, but by its own members who differed from their predecessors mainly in politics and forms of religious observance. The pursuit of knowledge was still directed (at least officially) towards the same great end: in the medieval university for the good of the Church, in the Cromwellian Academy that it might 'be useful to the great and glorious Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ'. The Laudian Code was never more strictly administered as regards moral discipline and studies, not even by Dean Fell, than it was by John Owen and John Conant. Obvious differences were those of dress and dogma. Whereas a Caroline Vice-Chancellor sat in Convocation in cap, gown, and hood, Owen presided in cocked hat, velvet coat, and jack-boots with cambric tops. (fn. 355) Wood's testimony is conflicting. His autobiography exhibits him during this period as a contented student, peacefully studying in the Bodleian, and fiddling for recreation, (fn. 356) although there was of 'preaching and praying too much'. In his History and his Athenae he becomes frankly political and shows the influence of more prejudiced contemporaries sometimes indicated by such expressions as 'I was told' or 'I have heard'. (fn. 357) The tribute of Clarendon to the University's learning and devotion to duty is valuable as coming from one who had no cause to think well of Cromwellian administrators. (fn. 358) In 1657 Oliver Cromwell resigned his office of Chancellor, and was succeeded by his son, Richard, who resigned in May 1660. He was succeeded by the Marquis of Hertford, who, dying five months later, was in turn succeeded by Sir Edward Hyde, later Earl of Clarendon. (fn. 359) The first act of the Restoration affecting the University was an order of Parliament to the Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge to secure the government of the colleges according to their respective statutes, and to restore those who had been unjustly ejected. A commission appointed in July 1660 restored some and ejected others, but Wood remarks that those who were reinstated did not amount to a sixth part of those ejected in 1648 and after, 'they being either dead, or married, or had changed their Religion'. (fn. 360) In 1662 the Act of Uniformity led to a few more ejections, the chief of the sufferers being John Conant, Rector of Exeter, one of the ablest of the Commonwealth Vice-Chancellors. (fn. 361) The proctorial cycle, which had been interrupted in 1648, was readjusted by Clarendon, (fn. 362) and on 25 Jan. 1667 all acts promulgated in Cromwell's time from 23 Oct. 1647 to 6 Sept. 1659, 'famæ bonæ et honestati publicæ repugnantia,' were expunged from the Register. (fn. 363) Parliament in 1665 returned thanks to the University for refusing to sign the Solemn League and Covenant and for resisting Visitation in 1647. (fn. 364) The final gesture of the academic bodies against the Interregnum was the ceremonial burning in 1683 of works by Milton, Hobbes, John Owen, Knox, Buchanan, and others; and the removal, in 1684 at the request of the king, of John Locke from Christ Church. (fn. 365) On the accession of James II in 1685, the rebellion in the West produced a loyal outburst in the University; arms and ammunition were obtained from Windsor, regimental colours were provided, and drums purchased; and finally the ammunition and arms were returned to Windsor unused, all at a cost of about £140. (fn. 366) But the king soon lost his popularity by his attempt to Romanize the University, imposing a President on Magdalen College, and ejecting the fellows. The firm and honourable opposition of the college to the attempted violation of their statutes recalls the heroic corporate resistance of the earlier University to despotic intervention. (fn. 367)
The licence of the Restoration period, which so profoundly influenced English social life, was naturally felt in academic circles. The number of ale-houses increased, and coffee-houses, where members of the University discussed all the 'news and the affairs of Christendom,' became popular. (fn. 368) A more acceptable amenity, from the official standpoint, was the introduction of 'common rooms' in colleges where fellows might meet for relaxation and private conversation. (fn. 369) The 'pass-man' also appears on the scene, determined to live like a gentleman and to do only enough to carry him through the exercises of his college and to secure a degree. (fn. 370) Great efforts were made by Dean Fell when he was Vice-Chancellor from 1666 to 1669 to restore discipline and encourage studies. Some minor reforms in the conduct of examinations were introduced by Fell's successor, Ralph Bathurst, President of Trinity, whose regulations for the instruction of undergraduates at Trinity are a good example of an efficient college curriculum. In the history of study Bathurst's provision of a special library for undergraduates also deserves mention. (fn. 371) The study of law continued to decline. Another petition on behalf of Civil Law was made to the king in 1660, appealing for the promotion of those who held degrees in that faculty. (fn. 372) Eleven years later a candidate for the degree of B.C.L. and D.C.L. could find no one to dispute with him in the Schools. (fn. 373)
With the decline of University exercises a notable provision was made for the scene of their performance. The use of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin for the annual Act had given rise to much disquiet among the more responsible section of the University. It was often attended with disorder and unseemly speeches. In 1664 Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, who succeeded Clarendon as Chancellor in 1667, gave sufficient money to begin the building of the Sheldonian Theatre, where such exercises could be held; and in that building the Act, now represented by a commemoration ceremony called the Encaenia, has been celebrated from 1669 to this day. From the point of view of learning, the endowment of the Theatre was of importance, as Sheldon provided that any surplus income should be employed for the advantage and encouragement of the Oxford Press. (fn. 374) The Laudian Code had already envisaged an officially controlled University Press. An overseer had been appointed in 1658, and from 1666 Fell had presented the University with matrixes for type and had established a type foundry. When the Theatre was completed in 1669 the printers, who had hitherto occupied hired premises in the town, were installed in the new building. From that time until Fell's death in 1686 the press was practically under his sole management. (fn. 375) One of its chief works was Wood's Historia Universitatis Oxoniensis (1674), which was designedly published 'for the honour of the University in forreigne countries'. (fn. 376) Copies were presented to distinguished persons and thereby the history of the University first became generally known both in this country and overseas. The publication in the same year of a catalogue of books in the Bodleian Library also assisted in spreading abroad the fame of Oxford. A foundation which helped the advancement of science was the Ashmolean Museum, built in 1683 by Elias Ashmole to house a collection of natural and artificial curiosities formed by the Tradescant family. It also received Ashmole's collection of manuscripts and printed books, and later the libraries of Anthony Wood and Dr. Martin Lister, as well as the collections of Sir William Dugdale and John Aubrey. (fn. 377) The building also provided a place where experimental science could be pursued, and it was there that the Oxford Philosophical Society was founded in 1683. (fn. 378)
In the second half of the 17th century many important accessions were received by the Bodleian Library. Thomas, Lord Fairfax, who died in 1671, bequeathed some valuable manuscripts, including several early English works (Chaucer, Gower, Wyclif's Bible, &c.). In 1675 Christopher, Lord Hatton, gave some precious Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, and three years later the University received the Anglo-Saxon manuscripts of Francis Junius, including the Ormulum and Caedmon's Paraphrase. The collection of Oriental manuscripts was greatly enlarged by the purchase in 1693 of over 1,000 manuscripts from the libraries of Edward Pococke and Robert Huntington. The manuscript resources of the Bodleian and of the college libraries were first made known in 1697 by Bernard's Catalogi manuscriptorum Angliae et Hiberniae (Oxon. e Theatro Sheldoniano), a work of reference which even yet has not been entirely superseded. (fn. 379)
James II had few supporters in the University. On 17 Dec. 1688, a letter of congratulation to William of Orange was read in Congregation, (fn. 380) and the coronation of the new monarchs was celebrated in April of the following year by a special Act in the Sheldonian Theatre. (fn. 381) Nevertheless, the University failed to obtain any substantial privileges from the new monarchs. In 1689 the two Universities petitioned Parliament to confirm their charters and in particular that of 31 Elizabeth to Cambridge and the great charter of Charles I to Oxford. The Bill, strongly opposed by the town, was laid aside by the Parliament, which was prorogued on 27 Jan. 1690: from that time until the 19th century the town and the University may be said to have suspended active hostilities. (fn. 382) With the departure of James, the University found itself faced with the problem of non-jurors and politically divided into Jacobites and Whigs. The Jacobite element was so strong that soon after the accession of George I in 1714 a number of bishops advocated the presentation of a Bill giving the king power to nominate all the chief officers of the two Universities and all heads of houses. (fn. 383) This and similar schemes for University reform, even though not carried out, indicate very plainly the resistance of the University to the Hanoverians. Jacobite influence gradually declined, but a bitter struggle with the Whigs was carried on for many years. Our knowledge of Oxford academical life at this period is largely derived from the partial pen of Thomas Hearne, staunch non-juror, scholar, antiquary, and shrewd man of business. (fn. 384) The picture is not a pleasant one; the dulled conscience of the University is illustrated by the career of a dissolute head of a college who, having misappropriated £3,000 of University money for which he had his living sequestered, yet was afterwards elected Lady Margaret Reader in Divinity. (fn. 385)
The intellectual state of the University, preoccupied as its members were with clerico-political activities, was one of profound torpidity. The inflexibility of the Laudian Code which had been designed to give permanence and direction to a definite course of studies had defeated its purpose. Its fundamental weakness was that it perpetuated an obsolete curriculum and so hindered the pursuit of new studies. As administered by strong characters like Laud, Owen, Conant, and Fell the code functioned and provided good training, but in the hands of lesser men only the forms remained. Hobbes had scoffed at the University's Aristotelity tricked out with the jargon of vain philosophy. (fn. 386) Clarendon had declared that the learning which scholars got at Oxford was 'impertinent, being only a pedantick way of disputing and wrangling'; (fn. 387) and Bishop Butler in 1717 added his testimony that at Oxford 'we are obliged to misspend so much time here in attending frivolous lectures and unintelligible disputations, that I am quite tired out with such a disagreeable way of trifling'. (fn. 388) Amhurst in his periodical Terrae Filius has given a satirist's view of the way in which University exercises were conducted and the base intrigues which encompassed them. The title of Amhurst's periodical is that of one of the principal speakers of the Act whose scurrilities had in the 18th century become the chief feature of that once solemn ceremony, and never failed to attract a fashionable crowd only too willing and ready to be amused by ribaldry. The terrae filius was suppressed in 1713 and from that time the Act survived only in the Sermon and in the annual ceremony connected with the dedication (Encaenia) of the Sheldonian Theatre. The Act was, however, revived for the last time in 1733, and it is memorable that this was the last occasion when the insignia of the Book, the Cap, and the Kiss were bestowed on those who proceeded to a master's degree. (fn. 389)
In spite of the low ebb of intellectual life, the University received several benefactions for the establishment of professorships. A professorship of poetry was endowed by Henry Birkhead, who died in 1696; a second chair of Arabic was endowed by the Lord Almoner, and George I founded a Regius Professorship of Modern History in 1724. Botany obtained recognition in 1728, when the University received £3,000 to endow a professorship by the bequest of William Sherard, who also bequeathed his library and herbarium. (fn. 390) In the reign of George II two notable chairs were endowed. Richard Rawlinson, who died in 1755, made provision for a chair of Anglo-Saxon but not to take effect until forty years after his death; and in the same year Charles Viner left about £12,000 partly to endow a chair of Common Law, the first occupant of which was Sir William Blackstone. (fn. 391) In addition to these endowments the sum of £30 from Lord Crewe's annual benefaction of £200 was allotted to a Reader of Experimental Philosophy. (fn. 392)
The cultural resources of Oxford received a notable addition when the Radcliffe Library was opened in 1749. Arrangements for the building and its equipment had been made by John Radcliffe, the eminent physician, before his death in 1714. The intention of the trustees seems to have been that the library should be devoted to the acquisition of 'the most modern books in all faculties and languages not in the Bodleian Library'. One of the first collections acquired was the Fraser Collection of Oriental manuscripts. (fn. 393) During the reign of George II the Bodleian was still further enriched by the manuscripts and printed books bequeathed by Thomas Tanner, Bishop of St. Asaph, including the Sancroft and Nalson papers; the State papers of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon; and the library of Richard Rawlinson, a non-juring bishop, consisting of about 5,000 manuscripts and 2,000 printed books. The Rawlinson manuscripts are very miscellaneous in character, but include valuable State papers and the collections and diaries of Thomas Hearne. The fourth catalogue of the printed books of the Bodleian Library was published in 1738. (fn. 394)
The printing-house which had been installed in the Sheldonian Theatre had, before the beginning of the next century, outgrown its accommodation. A large building in the classical style was therefore built in 1713 to the east of the Theatre and called the Clarendon Building, since its cost was defrayed largely from the profits which came to the University from the sale of Clarendon's History of the Rebellion. The renaissance of the press under Fell had been short lived. Great hopes had been built on the printing of Bibles and the Book of Common Prayer, of which the University had secured from the Crown a partial monopoly, but it was a financial failure. In printing, the University, unable to withstand the competition of the official London interests, decided in 1692 to lease the printing of Bibles to the Stationers' Company and to limit itself to learned work. (fn. 395) In 1757 Blackstone found University printing in a melancholy condition. The Bible press was controlled by Baskett and the Learned press had fallen into the hands of one family which was content 'to drive a little peddling trade, with a small but certain gain': it had 'been made the property of a favourite family, and a nest of imposing mechanics' while the interests of learning were forgotten or neglected. (fn. 396) Some improvement in the management of the press was effected in 1757 by a statute which provided for its control by perpetual delegates. (fn. 397)
In the first half of the 18th century two new colleges were founded. In 1714, in consequence of a benefaction of Sir Thomas Cookes, Gloucester Hall was refounded as Worcester College, (fn. 398) and Hart Hall in 1740 was incorporated as Hertford College. The latter was established on a very inadequate endowment provided by the then Principal, Richard Newton, but with a remarkable code of statutes. One of the most striking features of the code is the encouragement given to English studies. Undergraduates were to write a theme every week, 'The Theme shall always be an English Composition, that the Youth of the Society may learn to write and speak their own Language readily and properly; the English language being that wherein they will chiefly have Occasion to Converse, to Correspond, and to Preach.' (fn. 399) Not until the 19th century were the claims of English recognized by the University itself.
The first deliberate proposal to introduce a modification into the Laudian Code was made in 1759 by the submission of a statute regulating the conditions of membership of Convocation and thereby affecting the franchise. Various opinions were expressed. The proctors, who opposed modification, were convinced that the University was restrained from altering or explaining any of the statutes confirmed by the Charter of Charles I, but learned counsel held that 'the University has the power of making such Statutes without obtaining a Royal licence, where the subject matter of them imports an explanation or alteration of such former Statutes as were specially confirmed by Royal authority before the compilation of the present body of Statutes'. After much controversy two explanatory statutes were added to the code in 1760. (fn. 400) In 1768 an edition of the code was issued, which, though it really contained several unnoted additions, purported to be the approved code of 1636, and still forms the official text of the Corpus Statutorum. This has been kept up to date by the publication of addenda, now issued annually. (fn. 401)
The reign of George III brought no considerable change, but movements of reform were slowly advancing. The progress of religious toleration is shown in 1773 by the support given by a section of Convocation to a proposal that subscription to the XXXIX Articles at matriculation should be abrogated. (fn. 402) The question had been raised in the House of Commons during a debate in February 1772 on a clerical petition praying for relief from subscription to the Articles. (fn. 403) Although the proposal was almost necessarily rejected, it indicated nevertheless the existence of a considerable body of opinion in favour of toleration.
The great political disturbances of the reign are reflected in the proceedings of the University. In a letter to the king in 1775 the University deplored that the liberty of the Press had been prostituted to sedition, and equally deplored the miseries into which their 'deluded Fellow Subjects in America have been by these seducing Arts betrayed'. (fn. 404) A petition was sent to Parliament in 1779 against the Bill for the further relief of Protestant dissenting ministers and schoolmasters, (fn. 405) and in 1792 the University expressed its gratitude to the king for the course he had taken in checking and suppressing wicked and seditious publications. (fn. 406) A movement in the other direction was made by Edward Tatham, Rector of Lincoln, in proposing to the Hebdomadal Board that the degree of D.C.L. should be conferred by diploma on Edmund Burke. As a similar proposal had already been made and rejected by the Board, no further action was taken. (fn. 407) Revolutionary principles were again condemned in 1795 when the University, congratulating the king on his escape from danger, expressed its abhorrence of 'those pernicious doctrines which, disseminated under the pretence of Reform, have produced this Violence and Outrage'. (fn. 408) A more practical step was the sending of £4,000 subscribed by the University and the colleges towards the revenue of the country, and by the enrolment of an armed association to assist in repelling the threatened invasion. (fn. 409) The loyalty of the Universities was never questioned, and in the Act for the more effectual suppression of societies established for seditious and treasonable purposes (39 Geo. III, ch. 79) a clause provided that it should not extend to lectures delivered in the Universities.
Political unrest and the international situation were not conducive to studies, and serious complaints, apparently well justified, were made in 1787 about the lax administration of the Bodleian Library. (fn. 410) In the same year the first part of Codicum manuscriptorum Orientalium catalogus a loanne Uri confectus, was published, and in 1789 the University assigned to the use of the library the School of Anatomy, to provide accommodation for the rapidly increasing number of books. From that time onwards the other schools have been taken over and appropriated to the library, the last school having been incorporated in 1884. Science received a very notable contribution in the building of an Observatory by the Radcliffe Trustees. The foundation stone was laid in 1772, the building being completed several years later. (fn. 411) In 1780 an endowment from George Henry Lee, 3rd Earl of Litchfield, took effect for the reading of clinical lectures in the Radcliffe Infirmary to the students in medicine. (fn. 412) The study of botany was advanced in 1793 by a yearly grant from the king of £200, which was reduced by fees of office to £182; (fn. 413) and in 1798 professorships of Anatomy, the practice of Medicine, and Chemistry were endowed by George Aldrich. (fn. 414) A chair of Rural Economy was also provided by a benefaction from John Sibthorp, who died in 1796. (fn. 415) Apart from science, the University received one of its best-known benefactions in the bequest of the Rev. John Bampton, Prebendary of Salisbury, for the endowment of the delivery of eight divinity lecture sermons on as many Sunday mornings in term. (fn. 416) Undergraduate talent was fostered by the Earl of Litchfield, Chancellor of the University (1762–72), who gave an annual prize of £20 each for compositions in Latin verse and English prose, two prizes which have been continued by his successors. (fn. 417) Prizes were also given for compositions in English verse, later to be put on a permanent footing by Sir Roger Newdigate in 1806. (fn. 418)
As regards one phase of University life in the second half of the 18th century no two opinions are possible, and that is the deplorable condition of studies. The University itself did little more than grant degrees, many of them undeserved. Gibbon's statement that the time he spent at Magdalen College was 'the most idle and unprofitable' of his life is well known. (fn. 419) It is supported from other sources. Candidates declaimed to bare walls and often read their declamation from a book. Questions and answers were handed down from man to man and the professional respondent, who was willing to sell his services as well as to provide the arguments, was not unknown. Moreover, the University put a premium on incompetence and idleness by granting honorary M.A. degrees to gentlemencommoners who had completed two and a half years' residence. (fn. 420) But as intellectual standards declined, expenses increased. To meet this evil a statute was introduced in 1785 for reducing expenses at the University, especially those resulting from the curses of that age, gambling, horse racing, and cock fighting. (fn. 421) The last of the statutes regulating in detail the form of academical dress was promulgated in 1770, and representations of the various gowns were engraved so that the prescribed forms might be known as widely as possible to members of the University and to tailors. (fn. 422) One administrative matter very prominent in this period is the number of dispensations granted to supplicants for degrees by means of 'Chancellor's letters'. A considerable number of such supplicants had not resided in the University for the full statutory time, dispensation for which could be granted only at the request of the Chancellor, subject to confirmation by Convocation. In order to check one abuse in the obtaining of such dispensations the Hebdomadal Board resolved in 1798 'that no person should be placed in a more advantageous situation by a Chancellor's letter, than he would otherwise be in, provided he had proceeded regularly to his degrees'. (fn. 423)
But if University teaching had lost its efficacy, signs of a revival of learning began to be seen in some of the colleges. At the end of the century Oriel under Eveleigh, Balliol under Parsons, and Christ Church under Cyril Jackson were already reforming the curriculum of their colleges, (fn. 424) and are credited with the introduction of the examination statute of 1800, which provided for examination for the B.A., B.C.L., and M.A. degrees. Six examiners were to be nominated by the Vice-Chancellor and proctors, and confirmed by Convocation and Congregation. For the B.A. degree the subjects were Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Moral Philosophy, and the elements of Mathematics and Physics: History and Jurisprudence were added for the B.C.L. examination. For the M.A. degree the subjects were Mathematics, Physics, Metaphysics, and History. One sign of progress was that the examiners were allowed to conduct the examination in Latin or English as they thought fit. Provision was also made for an honours examination (examinatio extraordinaria) for the B.A. and B.C.L. degrees, the number of candidates at any one examination being limited to twelve. In this examination the names of the candidates were to be published in order of merit. The statute did not become operative until 1802, when at the first examination only two candidates presented themselves for honours. (fn. 425) The importance of the new Examination Statute lay rather in its intention than in its immediate achievement. Modifications, including an increased number of examiners and of classes, were introduced in 1807 and later. The most important change came in 1849 and 1850 when a revised Responsions examination was introduced, together with a First Public Examination embracing classics, mathematics, and the Gospels in Greek. The Second Public Examination had four Schools—Literae Humaniores, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Natural Science, and Jurisprudence and Modern History. The successful candidates were grouped in four classes. (fn. 426)
The predominant studies in the first part of the 19th century were Theology and Classics. The Prince Regent had in 1813 and 1818 respectively founded moderately endowed chairs for Mineralogy and Geology, (fn. 427) but science could make little progress owing to the want of suitable accommodation, apparatus, and endowment, and to the absence of official encouragement. In 1817 the lower room of the Ashmolean Museum was still the head-quarters of the Professor of Chemistry who, in reply to a request for more accommodation, was offered a share of the Keeper's kitchen with the use of the common pump, an offer rejected as being 'too humiliating to science'. Improvement in these conditions was effected by Dr. Daubeny, who fitted up additional rooms in the Ashmolean, partly at his own expense. It was not until 1830, when rooms were allocated in the Clarendon Building to scientific pursuits, that the teaching of science could make headway. (fn. 428)
One of the chief grievances of the teaching staff of the University at this time was that attendance at professors' lectures was not obligatory. Tuition was monopolized by college tutors, and, as there was no legislation by which attendance at professors' lectures could be enforced, their entire neglect was threatened. In 1840 the Professors of Medicine, Sanskrit, Clinical Medicine, Chemistry, Moral Philosophy, Astronomy, and Arabic, with the Readers in Mineralogy, Experimental Philosophy, and Natural Philosophy, together with the Praelector of Logic presented a memorial to the Hebdomadal Board suggesting that compulsory attendance at a certain number of their lectures should be imposed on those seeking distinctions in examinations. It is significant that the memorialists thought it necessary to state that such attendance would not mean 'weakening the interest now felt in the pursuit of Classical Literature and Theology', and that it would be operative only in conjunction with college tutors. (fn. 429)
The professoriate was enlarged by the foundation of a chair of Political Economy in 1825 endowed by Henry Drummond; a chair of Sanskrit in 1830 by Joseph Boden; and a chair of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture in 1847 by John Ireland, Dean of Westminster. (fn. 430) In 1840 an Act of Parliament directed that two canonries of Christ Church should be annexed to two new professorships: the Regius Professorships of Pastoral Theology and Ecclesiastical History were accordingly established by letters patent two years later. (fn. 431) Lastly, an ancient readership was revived in 1839 when a Praelector of Logic was appointed, his salary being derived, as it was in early times, from a small tax imposed upon all members of the University below the degree of Master of Arts. (fn. 432)
A great advance in teaching was effected by the foundation of the Taylor Institution in 1847. The founder, Sir Robert Taylor, a surveyor to the Admiralty, died in 1788. By his will the residue of his estate was left to the University for the erection of a building and the establishment of a foundation 'for the teaching and improving the European languages'. The will was contested by his son, and it was not until 1835 that the University came into possession of the sum of £65,000. With this benefaction the Taylor Building (Aedes Taylorianae) was built from the designs of C. R. Cockerell in 1847, and a Librarian, a Professor of Modern European Languages, and two teachers of languages were appointed. As the study of languages was no part of the University curriculum the instruction was of an elementary character, and remained so until the foundation of the final Honour School of Modern Languages in 1903. (fn. 433) While building the Taylorian the University also added the University Galleries (Pinacotheca Academica). The cost of this addition was partly defrayed from money left by Dr. Francis Randolph to erect a building to contain the Pomfret marbles and other works of art. (fn. 434)
The first half of the 19th century was an era of reform, a political phase peculiarly unacceptable to academic Oxford. The identification of the University with the national Church, which the Earl of Leicester had so thoroughly inculcated in the reign of Elizabeth, was then complete. The University could truly say in 1834 that it had 'constructed a system of education in strict conformity with the discipline of the Church of England'. (fn. 435) It was therefore inevitable that schemes for religious toleration, the redistribution of Church revenues, reorganizing the Churches of Ireland and Wales, and Church reform generally, met with unfailing opposition. As regards the proposal to extend the franchise in 1831 the University contemplated the measure with 'sorrow and alarm'. (fn. 436) Even the proposed extension of the Great Western Railway to Oxford was condemned as being subversive to discipline, detrimental to health, and an incentive to monetary speculation. (fn. 437) Nothing shows the official attitude of the University more clearly than the numerous petitions which it presented during this period. From 1805 to 1829 the measures to grant relief to Roman Catholics produced numerous appeals; Sir Robert Peel, who supported the Emancipation Bill, tendered his resignation as University burgess. (fn. 438) The proposal to found the University of London was viewed with alarm by Convocation as being the establishment of a society 'disavowing all connexion with the Established Church and educating its members in no system of religion whatever'. (fn. 439) A petition on the observance of the Lord's Day was presented in 1833 (fn. 440) and another on the reform of the Church in Ireland. (fn. 441) A Bill to remove disabilities in 1834 evoked opposition on the ground that it would 'subvert the present mode of academical education, and render impracticable any definite system of religious instruction', and 'unsettle the minds of the young'. (fn. 442) Further petitions were against the abolition of Church rates and the discontinuance of the bishopric of Sodor and Man. (fn. 443) A Government measure respecting ecclesiastical duties and revenues was put forward in 1838 and strongly opposed by the University until 1840. (fn. 444) On the constructive side the University from 1839 to 1841 presented petitions in favour of Church extension and the employment of State funds for that purpose, since it was, the memorialists claimed, the interest and duty of the government and legislature to apply national resources towards the relief of a national want. This was by no means the opinion of the Chancellor, the Duke of Wellington, whose name had formally been included among the signatories. He informed the University that if the petition were sent to the House of Lords he should decline to present it, and would then declare publicly his dissent and give his reasons. (fn. 445) Later the Bill to allow Jews to sit in Parliament was opposed, as also was the appointment of Roman Catholic bishops in this country. (fn. 446)
Although the University viewed national reform movements with alarm it yet proceeded to introduce some minor reforms into its own constitution. In 1819 the statute 'of the ordinary disputations' was repealed as being ill suited to the times—the first repeal of any part of the Laudian Code. (fn. 447) In Feb. 1827 the antiquated oaths that graduates would not be reconciled to Henry Simeonis (flor. 1242), nor lecture or incept in any other English University, Cambridge alone excepted, nor lecture at Stamford, were also repealed. (fn. 448) Many other improvements in the statutes were also effected, and in March 1835 a new code of statutes was approved for the halls, (fn. 449) then only five in number with about 130 commoners on their books. (fn. 450) In the same year a very belated reform was brought forward by the Hebdomadal Board by which a declaration at matriculation was to be substituted for subscription to the XXXIX Articles, a declaration which merely stated that the person matriculated assented to the doctrines of the Church of England. The proposal met with the most determined opposition and was rejected by Convocation. (fn. 451) A petition was also presented against a Bill prohibiting subscription to the Articles of Religion in certain cases. (fn. 452) Towards the town the University showed a conciliatory attitude in 1825 by releasing the mayor and citizens from the annual visit to St. Mary's on St. Scholastica's day: (fn. 453) in 1859, by Act of Parliament, the town was also relieved of the yearly oath. (fn. 454) Two minor events of this period may also be recorded. In 1810 the University Calendar first appeared, and in 1823 the United Debating Society was formed, later to become famous as the Union Society. (fn. 455)
The rise of Liberalism and the popular demand for political and ecclesiastical reform which so alarmed clerical Oxford was responsible for a movement that had for its main aim the defence of the Church in her spiritual capacity against the prevalent spirit of latitudinarianism. The pioneers of this Church revival were John Henry Newman, Hurrell Froude, Keble, and Pusey, all fellows of Oriel College. The appearance of Keble's Christian Year in 1827 auspiciously marked the beginning of the Oxford Movement, and the publication in 1833 of his sermon on National Apostasy opened a sustained attack on Erastianism. The sermon was followed by the publication of the first three Tracts, all anonymous, but written by Newman. In these the author emphasized the apostolic descent of the Church of England, the necessity of the defence of the Catholic Church, and the sanctity of the liturgy. In 1836 the Tractarians took an active part in the promulgation of a statute framed to deprive, on the ground of heresy, Dr. Hampden, Regius Professor of Divinity, of certain privileges and duties pertaining to his professorship. (fn. 456) This again raised the question of the unalterability of the Laudian Code. Notwithstanding the opinion of eminent legal authorities, the statute was passed and came into force. (fn. 457) The publication in 1841 of Tract 90, in which Newman put a Romanist interpretation on the XXXIX Articles of Religion, aroused a fierce controversy both in the University and without. Several secessions to the Church of Rome followed, including that of Newman himself. The Movement passed from Oxford and became identified with the High Church party. Its abiding monument at Oxford was the foundation in 1870 of Keble College, built by subscription as a memorial to John Keble and as a place in which young men then debarred from University education might be trained in simple and religious habits according to the principles of the Church of England. (fn. 458)
The movement of reform from within was continued in 1837, when the Hebdomadal Board entered upon a general revision of the statutes and appointed a committee to that end. The decision aroused great opposition among members of Convocation, who resented the Board's undertaking such a revision without their sanction or even knowledge. It is here that the curious conflict of aims at this period between the Board and Convocation, both normally parties of reaction, is well seen. The attitude of Convocation was that its members were bound to be jealous of its privileges and particularly to watch over any infringement of them or any informality of proceedings. The revision, which continued for about three years, was never completed. (fn. 459) A still greater step in this direction of reform was taken in 1845, when a scheme for University extension was introduced. A committee was appointed, and in 1851 submitted its final recommendations. These were (1) that a fund should be raised to establish an independent hall or halls unconnected with any existing college; (2) that three hospitia be erected, to be placed under the supervision of three Masters of Arts, for undergraduates who would be attached to the several colleges, and (3) that colleges be allowed to annex lodging-houses to themselves for the purpose of receiving students. The Board rejected its first and second recommendations, and accepted the third. (fn. 460)
Reform from without had been threatened as long since as 1772 when the Solicitor-General remarked that 'the Universities ought to be under parliamentary cognizance if they did not take care to reform themselves'. (fn. 461) From 1831 to 1835 Sir William Hamilton, in four articles in the Edinburgh Review, very aggressively emphasized the need of such state intervention. The author's opinion was that the colleges had unlawfully usurped the system of education legally organized in the University, and that Oxford was rather a collection of private schools dominated by the heads of houses than a public university. He further maintained that college tutors had usurped the place of the professors and that in its insistence on subscription to the XXXIX Articles and the manifold oaths taken on all conceivable occasions the University had converted 'the great seminary of the English Church into a school of perjury'. The attack was violent, but it called public attention to many academic abuses, and helped to prepare the way for government intervention in 1850. (fn. 462)
A Royal Commission to inquire into the state, discipline, studies, and revenues of the University and colleges of Oxford was appointed on 31 Aug. 1850. The commissioners first invited the University authorities to co-operate and then forwarded lists of questions. A good deal of passive resistance of a courteous kind was offered. A few colleges declined to give any information: only Balliol, All Souls, Corpus Christi, and Pembroke College gave information in full, including a statement of revenue. The University itself refused information about revenue. The commissioners estimated the annual income of the University at £7,500: actually its income was about £9,250. (fn. 463) In a presentment of their case the authorities of the University stated that they were anxious to do what was right in that matter and to show every possible deference and respect to the Crown, but were equally anxious not to compromise their rights and privileges. The case was submitted to their legal advisers, who held that the commission was not constitutional or legal, or such as the University or its members were bound to obey: and that the University was subject to visitation neither by the Ordinary nor by the Crown. Counsel recommended a petition to the Queen in Council against the commission. A few weeks later the. University received the opinion of the law officers of the Crown: this stated that the commission was not in any respect illegal or unconstitutional. The University, acting on the recommendation of its own advisers, prepared a petition which, however, was refused by the Crown. (fn. 464)
The report of the commissioners was received in July 1852 through the Chancellor, who advised the University that if it should be deemed desirable that any measure should be adopted it should be prepared by the University itself. (fn. 465) Its recommendations embraced the state and discipline of the University, its studies and revenue, and the colleges. It proposed that the University should receive an indemnification in case it had exceeded its power in altering the Laudian Code and should henceforth have full authority to make, abrogate, or alter statutes with a few exceptions. (fn. 466) It recommended the enlargement of the Hebdomadal Board and the remodelling of Congregation; the abolition of promissory oaths and of grades of commoners; the admission of non-collegiate students; reforms in connexion with the professoriate and lectureships; and the building of a science museum. As regards colleges, the commissioners recommended the abolition of oaths against change in statutes; throwing open of fellowships and scholarships; improvement in the number and value of scholarships; and power being given to heads and fellows to alter or a brogate statutes. (fn. 467) A proposal of the Hebdomadal Board in 1852 that the Crown should be petitioned to grant its licence to the University to hold lands in mortmain so that it might extend its public buildings, erect additional museums and lecture-rooms, and invest in landed security trust moneys held for the permanent advancement of learning and education, was accepted, but proved abortive. (fn. 468) In 1860, however, in response to another petition, licence to hold lands not exceeding the sum of £10,000 of yearly income was granted by letters patent. (fn. 469)
The Act embodying the final recommendations of the commissioners was passed in 1854. (fn. 470) The most far-reaching amendment was that all resident members of Convocation should also be members of Congregation. The Hebdomadal Board became the Hebdomadal Council and was reconstituted to include the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the proctors, six heads of houses, six professors, and six members of Convocation, each of these three classes to be elected by Congregation. (fn. 471) The remodelled Congregation, which included all resident members of Convocation, naturally embraced a large number of those engaged in teaching. It received the privilege of using English instead of Latin in its debates and the power of accepting, rejecting, and proposing amendments to statutes submitted to it by the Hebdomadal Board. By an oversight the old Congregation of Regents was not abolished, and it therefore retained those functions which were not transferred to the new Congregation. It then became the Ancient House of Congregation, the functions of which consisted solely in granting graces, conferring degrees, and confirming the appointment of examiners. The statute defining the constitution of Convocation was redrafted, but with little change. The Act pronounced certain oaths unnecessary, as well as any oath or declaration at matriculation or on taking a bachelor's degree. The Vice-Chancellor was empowered to grant licences to members of Convocation to open private halls, and the University to make regulations for their government. The Vice-Chancellor's Court was subjected to the rules of the common law. (fn. 472) Power to amend or frame statutes was given to the University and the colleges: if they omitted to frame statutes to meet the objects of the Act the commissioners were themselves empowered to undertake that duty. Only three colleges, Exeter, Lincoln, and Corpus, submitted revised statutes: the rest received com missioners' ordinances, St. John's protesting to the last. (fn. 473) The recommendations of the commissioners were gradually adopted. In 1857 the University dealt with one phase of extension by arranging examinations for boys and girls in various centres. (fn. 474) A more important step was taken in 1868 by the admittance to the University of students attached to no college or hall. (fn. 475) These students (nulli Collegio vel Aulae ascripti) found accommodation in approved private lodgings under the supervision of a Delegacy. (fn. 476) A great reform, which had been advocated for about a century, came in 1871 when by an Act of Parliament those taking lay academical degrees or holding lay academical or collegiate offices were not to be required to subscribe to any Formulary of faith or to make any declaration or take any oath respecting religious belief or profession. (fn. 477)
The professorships founded under the ordinances of the commissioners were the Chichele Professorships of International Law and of Modern History (All Sould); the Waynflete Professorship of Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy (Magdalen); the Waynflete Professorship of Chemistry (Magdalen); and the Linacre Professorship of Physiology (Merton). Corpus Christi College also founded in 1854 a chair of Latin Literature, and in 1869 one of Jurisprudence. The University in 1868 endowed a chair of Comparative Philology. Endowments of professorships by individuals in this period were the professorships of Zoology and of Fine Arts. The former was founded in 1861 by the Rev. F. W. Hope, who also gave to the University his entomological collection and a large and valuable collection of engraved portraits; the latter in 1869 by a benefaction from Felix Slade. In 1875 a chair of Chinese was founded by subscription, and in the following year a chair of Celtic was endowed by Jesus College. (fn. 478)
In the first seventy-five years of the 19th century great advance was made in the equipment of learning. The Bodleian Library, which was gradually absorbing the Schools, had received the topographical books of Richard Gough, the collection of dramatic literature and early poetry formed by Edmund Malone, the great Hebrew collection of David Oppenheimer, the splendid library of Francis Douce, the magnificent collection of prints formed by Alexander Sutherland, and a benefaction of £36,000 from Dr. Robert Mason. A memorable event in the history of the Library was the publication from 1843 to 1851 of a catalogue of its printed books, then estimated to be about 220,000. In 1843 the Bodleian was still larger than the British Museum and its catalogue was for another forty years or so the most extensive published record of printed books in Great Britain. Further accommodation for readers and space for storage were provided by the loan of the Camera from the Radcliffe Trustees in 1860. (fn. 479) The Clarendon Printing House in 1830 moved into larger premises in Walton Street and, gradually freeing itself from the interests of managers, was at length brought under the sole control of the University and was ripe for mechanical reorganization under Horace Hart at the end of the century. (fn. 480) One of the recommendations of the commission was realized in 1860 when the Science Museum was built in the Parks. Designed by Sir Thomas Deane and Benjamin Woodward, it is closely associated with the names of John Ruskin and Sir Henry Acland. Its history is remarkable for the blending of idealism, artistic integrity, and medievalism with the claims of science. (fn. 481)
Notwithstanding the reforms introduced by the Commissioners and by the University itself, there remained a powerful body which was of the opinion that the University still needed reorganization. The professoriate was regarded as unsatisfactory and vigorous protests were made against 'the expenditure of public money in sinecures for the benefit of persons professedly devoted to learning and science'. (fn. 482) The commission of 1850 had taken some steps to control collegiate expenditure, but the redistribution of college revenue in aid of the University at large remained a very pressing need. A Royal Commission was therefore appointed in 1872 to obtain 'the fullest information respecting all matters of fact connected with the property and income either of the universities themselves or of the colleges and halls therein'. It was, however, no part of the duty of the commissioners to pass judgement on the existing appropriation of those resources or to recommend alteration. The warrant for the commission was dated 5 Jan. 1872 and the information received prepared the way for an operative commission five years later. The Bill appointing the commission was considerably amended before it received the royal assent in Aug. 1877. The task of the commission was a constructive one, its chief duty being to provide for greater teaching facilities. (fn. 483) In Aug. 1877 an Act was promulgated by which it was provided that the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge should 'contribute more largely out of their revenues to University purposes, especially with a view to further and better instruction in arts, science, and other branches of learning'. The University and colleges were given power to make, alter, or repeal statutes with the approval of the commissioners, and the commissioners themselves were invested with similar powers. The main objects of the Act were to secure for the University adequate contributions for general purposes from the colleges, regard being first had to the needs of the colleges in themselves; for the creation of a Common University Fund; for the endowment of professorships or lectureships; for providing new buildings, libraries, &c.; for reducing the expense of university education; for founding and endowing scholarships; and for the keeping and publication of accounts. (fn. 484)
The work of the commissioners extended over several years. Professors, whose election was to be more strictly controlled, were required to give instruction to students, to assist the pursuit of knowledge, and to contribute to its advancement. The length of time they were required to be resident in Oxford was laid down, as well as the number of lectures to be delivered in each academical year. They were also subject, in the case of neglect of duties or of wilful disobedience to the statutes, to a Visitatorial Board. (fn. 485) Many new professorships were created out of suppressed fellowships, &c., and others reconstituted: five, circumstances not then permitting their foundation, were established between the years 1884 and 1910. Seven readerships at least were to be established, the duties of the readers being to lecture and give instruction. (fn. 486) Boards of Faculties were formed representing Theology, Law, Arts, and Natural Science. The commissioners also made provision for a Common University Fund largely derived from moneys received from colleges. They ordered the publication of the general University accounts and the accounts of the colleges, and allotted £1,000 a year to noncollegiate students, who later were to be provided with offices, &c. at a cost of not less than £7,000. But their chief work was to promulgate status for all the colleges, except Lincoln, which had so successfully revised its statutes in 1854 that no further revision was needed. (fn. 487) One fundamental weakness of the commissioners' recommendations was that the contribution of the colleges to University needs was based 'on the assumption that the agricultural depression of that day was temporary only. This assumption proved erroneous, and the result has been that some Colleges were overloaded with an establishment which they could not really afford.' (fn. 488)
The problem of University extension had been before the University for many years. At first the question was merely one of finding means for the admission of a poorer class of student to the University. This had been partly met by the creation of private halls and by the admission of students attached to no college or hall. The larger scheme of carrying university tuition into the provinces had been brought before the commission in 1877, and as early as 1850 had found in William Sewell an enlightened advocate. In 1878 the University enacted that the Delegates of Local Examinations should receive proposals for the establishment of lectures and teaching in the large towns of England and Wales, and be authorized to appoint lecturers and examiners for carrying out such proposals. (fn. 489) In the same year an association for promoting the higher education of women in Oxford was formed to establish a system of lectures to be conducted with general reference to the Oxford examination of women over 18 years of age which had been introduced in Nov. 1875. (fn. 490) The question of the higher education of women had been debated for some years previously, and in 1873 an organization was formed with that object in view. In 1879 Lady Margaret Hall was opened for the reception of women who were members of the Church of England, and in the same year Somerville Hall, an undenominational society, was also founded. Women, resident or non-resident, were first admitted to University examinations in 1884, the examinations being those of Honour Moderations (Classics and Mathematics) and the final Honour School (History, Mathematics, and Natural Science). St. Hugh's Hall and St. Hilda's Hall were established respectively in 1886 and 1893. (fn. 491)
Although religious tests had been abolished in 1871 by Act of Parliament (fn. 492) which permitted Nonconformists to proceed without restriction to all degrees except those of theology, it was not until 1886 that they had any centre in Oxford. The Congregational body had resolved that their college at Spring Hill, Birmingham, should be removed to Oxford, be non-residential, and named after the family of the founder. Mansfield College was accordingly established to provide a theological education for men who intended to enter the Congregational ministry, its aim being 'devoted entirely to the making of theologians and to preparing men for the active work of the pastorate'. The college, which was designed by Basil Champneys, was begun in 1886 and formally opened in 1889. (fn. 493)
In 1888 another Nonconformist body, associated with the Unitarians, decided to remove to Oxford. This body was first founded at Manchester in 1786 as the Manchester Academy. Then, as Manchester College, it was removed to York in 1803, restored to Manchester in 1840, and removed to London in 1853. Four years after its transfer to Oxford Manchester College was opened as a non-residential society having as its aim the free imparting of theological knowledge without insisting on the adoption of particular doctrines. (fn. 494) A member of the Society of Jesus opened in 1896 a private hall for members of that order, and in 1897 a community of Benedictines was also established. These became respectively in 1918, as permanent private halls, Campion Hall and St. Benet's Hall.
The first real attempt to solve the problem of the academic education of the working classes was made in 1899, when Mr. and Mrs. Vrooman founded Ruskin Hall to make educational opportunities offered by Oxford accessible to working men and women. In 1902 the hall was moved from St. Giles's to Walton Street, where in 1913 it was housed in a building of its own and became Ruskin College. In the same year it was approved by the University as a society established for the purpose of higher study. The governing body is representative of trade unions and other working-class organizations, but the college is not identified with any political party. (fn. 495) By the efforts of Sir Monier MonierWilliams Indian studies were encouraged by the opening in 1884 of the Indian Institute to form a centre of teaching and information on all subjects relative to India. (fn. 496) The University Galleries were enlarged (1892–7) and received the contents of the Ashmolean Museum in 1897. (fn. 497) An important addition to the architectural amenities of Oxford was the building between 1876 and 1882 of a new range of Examination Schools, designed by T. G. Jackson, on frontages facing High Street and Merton Street. (fn. 498)
The twentieth century opened auspiciously with the building of a new Radcliffe Science Library, adjoining the Museum, by the Company of Drapers; and with the establishing, under the will of Cecil John Rhodes, who died on 26 Mar. 1902, of scholarships for students from the British Colonies, the United States, and Germany. Rhodes had matriculated from Oriel College in 1872 but had never taken any degree. The terms of his will had both an educational and a political aspect, Rhodes's object being 'the consolidation of the British Empire, the union of the Englishspeaking peoples, and the promotion of peace throughout the world'. Ninety-six scholarships were allotted to the United States, sixty to the British Empire, and fifteen to Germany. Later the Rhodes Trustees established forty extra scholarships for members of the British Empire. In the choice of scholars Rhodes desired that character and athletic qualifications should be taken into consideration. In connexion with the scheme the trustees in 1929 built Rhodes House as a non-resident cultural centre for the scholars, and to house a library devoted to the history of the Englishspeaking British dominions and Colonies, of the United States, and of Africa. (fn. 499)
Since the time of the Duke of Wellington the Chancellor had taken no prominent part in University administration. Lord Derby had held the office from 1852 to 1869. He was succeeded by the Marquis of Salisbury, who remained Chancellor for thirty-four years. Lord Goschen held office from 1903 to 1907, when he was succeeded by Lord Curzon, who ranks with the Earl of Leicester and Archbishop Laud as a Chancellor-reformer. Lord Curzon, in a letter addressed to the University and dated February 1909, paid tribute to the two commissions of 1850 and 1877, and in a Memorandum observed that the academic problem had 'assumed new shapes with the immense extension of the boundaries of human knowledge, the vastly increased demand for higher education, the wider conception of the duties of a modern university, and the emergence in the body politic of social strata that had previously lain lifeless and obscure'. Questions which the Chancellor asked the University to consider were its constitution as based on the Hebdomadal Council, Convocation, and Congregation; the increase of facilities for the admission of poor men; (fn. 500) the administration of endowments in scholarships, exhibitions, and fellowships; the relations between the University and the colleges in educational and financial aspects; and financial administration in general. In order to improve the teaching element he also advocated a reform of the faculties and suggested a revision of the relation of University to college tuition in order that the University might secure a larger measure of control over teaching and teachers. He also put forward two subjects of great controversial moment—the abolition of compulsory Greek in Responsions and the admission of women to degrees. (fn. 501) In the following year the University proceeded to give effect to these recommendations. A Delegacy for Women Students was formed, and the four women's societies, together with the Society of Oxford Home Students, were admitted to the privileges of recognized societies. (fn. 502) In 1912 a Board of Finance was constituted consisting of members of Convocation who should review annually the published accounts of the University and the colleges, and advise the Hebdomadal Council on matters of financial administration. (fn. 503) The faculties were reconstituted under a general Board. Eight were established: (1) Theology, (2) Law, (3) Medicine, (4) Literae Humaniores, (5) Modern History, (6) Mediaeval and Modern Languages and Literature, including English, (fn. 504) (7) Oriental languages, (8) Natural Science, (fn. 505) including Mathematics, each faculty consisting of the recognized teachers in the subjects of that faculty. (fn. 506)
By a statute dated 4 Mar. 1913 and approved by the King in Council 12 Aug. 1913, Congregation was reconstituted to become a genuine organ of the teaching and administrative elements of the University and the colleges. The number of the members of those elements was therefore increased, and mere residence ceased to be a qualification for admission. (fn. 507) Finally, in 1914 a change was effected in the constitution of the Hebdomadal Council which, besides five ex-officio members, was to consist of three heads of houses, six professors, and nine members of Convocation, all to be elected, as before, by Congregation. (fn. 508)
The professorships founded from 1900 to 1914 were those of English Literature (1904: established 1894); Colonial History, established and later endowed by Alfred Beit (1905); German Language and Literature (1907); Engineering Science (1907); Pathology (1907); Romance Languages (1909); Military History (All Souls, 1909); and Political Theory and Institutions (1912) as a national memorial to the Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone. The last-named was converted from a readership established in 1910. (fn. 509) Readerships were also established in Ophthalmology, endowed by Margaret Ogilvie (1902); English, endowed by the Company of Goldsmiths (1908); Assyriology, endowed by Mary Wallace Shillito (1911); and Egyptology, endowed by Walter Morrison (1912). (fn. 510)
The outbreak of war in 1914 had an immediate effect on the University. In Oct. 1914 the number of students in residence below the degree of M.A. was 1,400, about 2,000 less than in Oct. 1913: at the end of 1917 there were only 315, mostly oriental students and those unfit for military service. The Examination Schools were appropriated as a military hospital, and later Somerville College was also requisitioned. In 1915 a School of Instruction for young officers was formed as well as a School of Military Aeronautics. The School of Instruction was afterwards superseded by Officer Cadet Battalions. Teaching was very largely suspended, but valuable work was done in the scientific laboratories in connexion with research immediately concerned with military matters. (fn. 511) A Chemical Laboratory was built by the generosity of Mr. Dyson Perrins in 1916, (fn. 512) a degree of D.Phil. for research work of a high standard was created in 1917, (fn. 513) and in the next year a School of Agriculture and Forestry was established. (fn. 514)
The professorships founded in the war period were those of Byzantine and Modern Greek, endowed by Ingram Bywater and his wife Charlotte Sotheby (1915); Forestry (1919); French Literature, endowed by Sir Basil Zaharoff and called the Marshal Foch Professorship (1918); and Italian Studies, endowed by Arthur Serena (1918). (fn. 515) The year following the War saw the formation of a department for the training of teachers, (fn. 516) the establishment of a Rhodes Professorship of RomanDutch Law, (fn. 517) and the removal of denominational restriction from theological degrees. (fn. 518)
After the War the question of degrees for women was again brought forward. As an opinion was expressed that by the uniform practice of the University from the earliest times women could not be admitted to degrees, the University was advised to obtain express Parliamentary sanction in the form of an Act, (fn. 519) but this procedure was rendered unnecessary by the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act (1919). (fn. 520) In May 1920 a statute was promulgated admitting women to matriculation, to all University degrees except those in Theology, (fn. 521) and to full membership of the University. (fn. 522) Degrees for women, but without the right to take part in the administration of the University, had been advocated by Lord Curzon. Another of his recommendations, that compulsory Greek in Responsions should be abolished, was approved by the University in the same year. (fn. 523) This reform was followed by the creation of a new honour school of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, generally known as Modern Greats. (fn. 524) A constitutional matter of some importance was effected by the Representation of the People Act (1918) which entitled all graduates (including B.A.s) to be registered as University voters.
The financial upheaval consequent on the War had such a serious effect on Oxford and Cambridge that both universities made application for financial assistance to meet the increased costs resulting from the War. A Royal Commission was therefore appointed in 1919 to inquire into the financial resources of the universities and of the colleges and halls; the administration and application of those resources; the government of the universities; and the relations of the colleges and halls to the universities. (fn. 525) A preliminary step of reform had been taken by the University in June 1920 by consolidating the financial boards with the object of producing greater unity and efficiency. (fn. 526) Pending the publication of the report, a provisional grant at the rate of £30,000 a year was paid to the University from the public funds. Under the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act, 1923, (fn. 527) a Statutory Commission was empowered to reduce the recommendations of the Commission to legislative form. The constitution of Congregation was amended by the exclusion of persons formerly included on grounds of residence alone. As regards statutes and decrees containing a preamble, and accepted without a division or by the votes of twothirds or more, the decision of Congregation was to be final; otherwise they were to be referred to Convocation. The composition of Convocation remained unchanged. The functions which it retained were the election of the Chancellor and other elections assigned to it by statute; the elections of persons for presentation to benefices; the conferment of degrees by diploma, and honorary degrees; the approval of letters from the University to the king, and to other universities and learned bodies; and the acceptance or rejection of statutes and decrees submitted to it. (fn. 528) Other statutes made by the commissioners were concerned with the composition of the Curatorial board of the Taylor Institution; the admission of societies of women students; the allocation of professorships to colleges and societies; the duties of professors; college contributions for University purposes; and the reorganization of the faculties. (fn. 529) In accordance with the recommendation of the commission that extra-mural instruction should be considered as an established and essential part of the normal work of a university, a Delegacy was constituted in 1923 for the non-vocational education of adult persons beyond the limits of the University. (fn. 530) Another recommendation was realized in 1924 by a superannuation scheme for the regular teaching and administrative staffs of the University, (fn. 531) extended in the following year to a pension scheme for University employees. (fn. 532) The Commission finally recommended that each University should receive an annual grant of £110,000 in order to enable them to fulfil their functions to the nation in a satisfactory manner. In 1925 the annual grant was increased from £60,000 to £85,000, the expenditure of the University being chiefly upon objects directly recommended by the Royal Commission, viz. additions to stipends; creation of a pension scheme; the improvement of the resources of the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum; extra-mural activities; encouragement of research; grants to women's colleges; assistance to non-collegiate students; and the development of the English and Modern Languages Schools. (fn. 533)
The first step towards an important addition to Oxford societies was the opening of St. Peter's Hall as a hostel in Oct. 1928. In Jan. 1929 it was accepted by Convocation as a permanent private hall and its licence was granted in the following October. When the hall was faced with a serious financial crisis in 1934 Lord Nuffield came to its assistance and was named its benefactor. In 1936 the hall consisted of a master, three resident tutors, and ninety undergraduates.
The history of the University from 1920 is chiefly remarkable for the number of benefactions received. In humane studies the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Professorship of American History was founded by Lord Rothermere in 1920; in the same year a Professorship of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion was endowed by the Rev. C. F. Nolloth; a professorship of Spanish Studies was established in 1927 with a sum of £25,000 collected by a committee for the purpose of endowing a chair of Spanish and of commemorating the visit of the Prince of Wales to Spanishspeaking South America in 1925; W. W. Rouse Ball founded a Professorship of Mathematics in 1928; the Association of American Rhodes Scholars established a George Eastman Visiting Professorship in 1929; Mr. Montague Burton founded a chair of International Relations in 1935; All Souls founded a Chichele Professorship of Economic History in 1931; the readership of Egyptology was converted into a professorship in 1933; and Mr. and Mrs. H. N. Spalding established a professorship of Eastern Religions and Ethics (1935) and a lectureship in Chinese Philosophy and Religion (1935) for limited periods. (fn. 534) The pressing needs of the Bodleian Library were to some extent relieved in 1920 by the gift of £50,000 from Walter Morrison. In 1927 the Radcliffe Trustees transferred to the University the freehold of the Radcliffe Camera with adjoining land; the books, furniture, and equipment of the Radcliffe (Science) Library; the Trustees' collections already on deposit in the Bodleian; and a sum of £1,500 annually towards the upkeep of the Science Library. An ambitious programme of Library provision was brought forward in 1928, which after much controversy resolved itself into a scheme the chief points of which were the continuance of the Bodleian building mainly as a range of reading rooms; the assignment of the Radcliffe Camera to the needs of undergraduates; the erection in Broad Street of a building capable of holding about 5,000,000 volumes; the preparation and printing of a new catalogue of printed books; and the enlargement of the Taylorian and the Radcliffe (Science) libraries. The cost of the complete scheme was estimated at nearly £1,000,000. Towards this sum the Rockefeller Trustees offered to contribute three-fifths, provided that the University found the remaining sum within a stated period. Following a private appeal the sum was raised within a year. An annexe to the Taylorian from plans by Mr. T. H. Hughes was added in November 1932, and a new wing, designed by Mr. J. H. Worthington, was added to the Radcliffe (Science) Library and opened in November 1934. Large sums began to be received for Library provision soon after the scheme was brought forward, but the appeal for funds was not publicly made until the beginning of 1937, when, apart from the needs of the Bodleian, donations were invited for carrying out schemes connected with the promotion of higher studies, chiefly for the provision of new laboratories, extension of existing laboratories, and their staffing and maintenance. (fn. 535) Towards this sum Lord Nuffield and the Rhodes Trustees each contributed £100,000. The benefactions to science were of extraordinary munificence. In 1920 Mr. Edward Whitley endowed a professorship of Biochemistry; (fn. 536) in 1922 the sum of £100,000 was given by the Trustees of Sir William Dunn for the establishment of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology; (fn. 537) and in 1924 the Rockefeller Trustees gave £75,000 to found a laboratory in Biochemistry. (fn. 538) Sir William Morris, afterwards Lord Nuffield, bought in 1930 the site and buildings of the Radcliffe Observatory, and placed it in the hands of Trustees in order that it might be used for the benefit of the Radcliffe Infirmary and the Medical School of the University. The Observatory Building was to be devoted to medical teaching and research, and to be known as 'The Oxford University Institute of Medical Research'. (fn. 539) Other benefactions in the same field of study were the founding of two readerships in medicine by Miss A. M. May (fn. 540) and a bequest of £30,000 from Mrs. Theodore Williams in 1934 for the promotion of medical studies. (fn. 541) Another benefaction of a different kind was the presentation in 1924 by Lewis Evans of a valuable collection of scientific instruments, now appropriately housed in the Old Ashmolean Museum under a Curator who is also Reader in the History of Science. (fn. 542) A new experiment in University organization was the founding in 1932 by Lord Grey of Fallodon, the Chancellor of the University, of the Oxford Society, the object of which was to embrace all Oxford men and women, past and present, and 'to offer them an opportunity of re-establishing contact with the University and of associating themselves with its activities and fortunes'. In 1937 the membership was over 10,000. (fn. 543)
The years 1936 and 1937 will be for ever memorable in the annals of the University and the history of science for the princely benefactions of Lord Nuffield. In order to establish a Trust to promote the cause of the science of Medicine, Lord Nuffield in Oct. 1939 offered the sum of £1,250,000, realizing as he did that progress in medical science was reaching a stage where it was 'desirable for those who work in the field of research to undergo a period of post-graduate training in modern methods of investigation, to keep in close touch with developments in the sciences ancillary to medicine, and to pursue their inquiries unhampered by the cares of private practice and of routine teaching'. (fn. 544) This benefaction was increased in Dec. 1936 by a further gift of £750,000 (fn. 545) and in Oct. 1937 by another sum of £200,000 to meet certain unanticipated expendi ture on buildings. The object of the benefaction as stated in the deed of trust is to enable the University to widen the scope of its Medical School, including the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research, and to provide special facilities in it for those engaged in research. Lord Nuffield expressed his conviction that the scheme to be carried out under the Trust must inevitably increase and facilitate the clinical investigation and treatment of patients and lead to the provision of more ample hospital accommodation in or near Oxford, and that the University would be able to secure the ready co-operation of the hospitals in the neighbourhood. In accordance with the scheme, professorships of Clinical Medicine, of Surgery, of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and of Anaesthetics were to be established. (fn. 546) Finally, in Oct. 1937, Lord Nuffield gave a further sum of £300,000 in trust to the Radcliffe Infirmary and other hospitals associated with the Joint Hospitals Board as an endowment fund to provide forthe increased hospital services as a result of the creation of the Nuffield Trust.
The culmination of Lord Nuffield's benefactions came in Oct. 1937, when he gave the University the sum of £1,000,000 to erect and endow a college worthy of the highest traditions of Oxford architecture and to erect and equip a laboratory of Physical Chemistry. The object of the college is 'to bridge the separation between the theoretical students of contemporary civilization and the men responsible for carrying it on' and to 'produce a flow of recruits to industry for whom the gulf … had been bridged'. The college and its endowments are to be under the control of the Hebdomadal Council, and part of the endowment is to be devoted to the establishment of University fellowships tenable at the college. (fn. 547)
The Government of Oxford contains a pronouncement made by Oxford graduates in the following terms: 'There is no person or body in Oxford competent to declare what the functions of the university are. … Oxford has never felt the necessity of declaring its purpose because it has always found that purpose in its own traditions, moulded slowly by the pressure of economic and social revolutions.' (fn. 548) Nevertheless, from the earliest times a purpose has been sought and variously expressed. To the student of the Middle Ages the University of Oxford was the field of scholastic learning wherein he sought the pearl of knowledge, to Wyclif it was the vineyard of the Lord. The Elizabethans valued it for the maintenance of good and godly literature and the virtuous education of youth, and a later generation looked upon the University as a body existing for the preservation and transmission of all useful knowledge. On the other hand, the University has been in bondage both to Church and State, as well as to its own oligarchies; its activities have at times been diverted to causes other than those of learning; it has known 'the dull forgetfulness of aimless years', and for some centuries its own identity was almost lost in the splendour of its Colleges. During the last hundred years a recognizable outline of the University has gradually emerged. Now, in creating a School of Medicine richly endowed, and associating Oxford with one of the greatest, most honoured, and beneficial of the sciences and founding a College which is to bear his name, Lord Nuffield has perhaps shown the way in which the University of Oxford may attain its full development and find in the science of life and industry a new inspiration and yet wider fame.