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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A Note on the Authorities. I. In the Muniment Rooms. CR = The Computus Rolls (from 1388). LB = The Ledger Books (from 1603). I cite the following headings from these: Cap. = Custus Capelle, Aul. = Custus Aule, Coq. = Custus Coquine, Bot. = Custus (Panetrie et) Botellarie, Lib. = Custus (Scaccarie et) Librarie, Hosp. = Custus in Hospicio Custodis, Stab. = Custus Stabuli, Dom. = Custus Domorum, Hort. = Custus Horti, Nec. For. or Sol. For. = Custus Necessarii Forinseci or Solucio Forinseca. LA = The Liber Albus or Registrum Primum. GR = The Great Register Book. NB = An Account of the New Buildings (1682–90). BC = The Building Chest (1732–66). CA = The Consolidated Account including the Building Chest (from 1767). OB = Order Books of the Warden and Thirteen (18th and early 19th centuries with many gaps). W = A notebook of Warden Woodward, containing a detailed record of the erection of the organ and the decoration of the East end, and the accounts of the top story. CP = Papers relating to the Chapel (17th and 18th centuries). BP = Papers relating to the Buildings (late 17th and early 18th centuries). PE = Plans, Elevations, &c., of Buildings (late 17th and 18th centuries). Misc. = Miscellaneous Papers.
The site which William of Wykeham had acquired for his college by the end of 1379 is described in the deeds as extending from Hammer Hall on the west to the town wall on the east, from Queen's Hall on the south to the town wall on the north. A road passed through it, a few feet from the wall, coming out by East Gate where now is 55 High Street, where it was 11 ft. 3 in. wide. (fn. 1) This lane, with power to close it, was granted to the bishop by the city, 2 August 1379. (fn. 2) Between the lane and the wall was land which the city had granted (fn. 3) to the Trinitarian Friars, 26 March 1311, at a rent of 13s. 4d. It extended from 'the postern next to Smith Gate' (i.e. Hell Passage) eastward to the corner being 60 perches east to west and 24 ft. north to south, and then southward 26 perches, being 18 ft. wide. The land was granted to the bishop by the Trinitarians, 1 August 1379, and the city quitchaimed the rent. (fn. 4) On 30 June 1379 the king gave leave to the bishop to acquire from Oseney Abbey 8 plots (placeae), from St. John's Hospital 8, from St. Frideswide's 6, from the city 8, from Godstow 1, from Queen's College 6, and from private individuals 1 messuage and 12 plots. (fn. 5) Not many of these plots can be located. (fn. 6) The site was in decay even before 1349 and certificates by the mayor and by the chancellor issued in 1415 (fn. 7) assert that in 1379 it was uninhabited, a place of gravel-pits and sand-pits where robbers lurked. A condition of the royal grant was that the college should keep the town wall in repair and should make two posterns, one at each end of the property, that the mayor might pass through every three years to view the walls; for this purpose the Founder made a gate which opened into Queen's Lane, called 'Non-licet Gate'. (fn. 8) Most of the site was bought in 1379, but servants of the bishop had acquired a quarter of it on 20 February 1370. (fn. 9)
The foundation stone of the college was laid on 5 March 1380. (fn. 10) On 14 April 1386 the society entered formally into possession of its buildings. (fn. 11) The quadrangle must presumably by this date have been completed. Between 28 November 1388 and 1 May 1389 the bishop bought land on the west side of the road, (fn. 12) viz. Great and Little Hammer Hall, Sheld Hall and Maiden Hall, small halls but occupied, Temple Hall now a garden, and a garden, once halls, between Temple Hall and Queen's College; he diverted the road and so obtained a site for the cloister. (fn. 13) Work was still proceeding in 1397 on the cloister, which was not consecrated till 19 October 1400. (fn. 14) In the Computus Roll of 3–4 Henry IV there is a special heading, Custus novi edificii extra portam, whence it appears that the Warden's barn was still building in 1402.
No building accounts survive for the quadrangle. For the bell-tower and cloister we possess some accounts of 20–1 Richard II. (fn. 15) The payments for the year totalled £200 9s. 11½d. The supervisor of the works was Richard Malford, the Warden; the clerks of the works were John Hulyn and John Bouk, later (1403–29) Warden. Stone was obtained from quarries leased at Headington; freestone and 'talstons' were bought from John Cooke of Taynton. Timber was obtained from the Forest of Windsor, lead from Winchester, lime was bought from Witney. The only mason mentioned is William Brown, who received £33 for 33 ft. in height of the tower and £16 10s. for 9¾ perches 'muri extra magnam portam collegii'. £10 was paid by contract to William Wys, the carpenter, 'facienti totam carpentariam in turri collegii'; a house was also hired, 'pro Willelmo Wys et sociis suis existentibus in operibus domini per octo septimanas apud Oxoniam'—he is stated by Warden Woodward to have been sent by the founder from Winchester. John Maydeston was paid £6 13s. 4d. 'ex certa convencione cum eo facta pro campanis pendendis in campanili'. This is all the information we possess as to the craftsmen employed on the buildings, and we must repeat Warden Woodward's conclusion; 'But who was ye Contriver, Overseer, chiefe Carpenter or mason in Building ye Colledge I have not found. It may bee that our Founder would have that concealed.' (fn. 16)
New College provides the first example—in Oxford at any rate—of a quadrangle planned to comprise all the buildings required for the life of the society. The plan ingeniously combines architectural dignity with practical convenience. The two principal buildings, the chapel and the hall, are set end to end and together occupy the north side of the quadrangle, dominating it by their superior height. The plan of the chapel is original and has formed the model for many later college chapels. It consists of a long choir of five bays, and a short aisled nave of two bays (called navis capelle in the medieval documents, antechapel since the 18th century). The plan was probably dictated by practical motives. A large choir was needed for the exceptionally large collegiate body which was to worship within it. A nave was hardly required, as the chapel was not parochial, but was convenient for side altars—for which the aisles gave greater space—and could be used for such secular purposes as disputations. (fn. 17) West of the chapel and detached from it lay the cloister, used for a burial ground and for processions. (fn. 18) Balancing the lofty south aisle of antechapel rises against the southeast angle of hall the yet loftier muniment tower. The main entry is under a tower in the middle of the west side of the quadrangle. In it and in the rooms between it and antechapel lodged the Warden, who also owned a kitchen and barn outside the quadrangle. Opposite the main gateway is another leading into the garden. Over it, secluded from the noises of the street, lies the library. The kitchen and offices are contained in a wing projecting east from the hall into the garden, where the activities of cooking would neither disturb the fellows nor tempt them. Corresponding to them, outside the south-east angle of the quadrangle and detached from it, lies the Longhouse, containing the latrines. Beyond it was the already mentioned gate on Queen's Lane through which provisions could be brought to the kitchen without disturbing the quadrangle. (fn. 19)
The buildings seem to have been planned with an eye to defence. The founder placed the chapel and hall, with their great stained-glass windows, on the north, where they were protected by the city walls and ditch. The cloister, with its blank outer wall, formed a breastwork for the west windows of chapel. The south front of the quadrangle, which faces on Queen's Lane, was pierced only by the narrow study windows and was further protected by a high stone wall, which appears very prominently in the Chandler MS. This wall joined the even higher wall of the Longhouse passage on the east and on the west turned north to join the Warden's kitchen. It was lowered and the present railing erected in 1867. (fn. 20)
The cloister is oblong, having eight windows on its east and west sides and twelve on its north and south. It is entered by a short passage from the chapel vestibule; there is also a door facing the west door of chapel. The original fabric, including the fine trussed rafter roof, survives intact. The bell-tower replaces one of the bastions of the city wall. It too has survived unaltered. The clock was probably installed in 1455 when several payments are recorded circa orilegium, circa fenestras in bellfragio and pro bellfragio circa le clok; (fn. 21) the lator librorum, to whom was assigned custodia orilegii, shortly afterwards was made to sleep in the tower. (fn. 22) The old clock finally broke down in 1884 and was replaced by a new one. The school for the choristers in the space between the cloister and chapel can be traced back to 1587. (fn. 23) This school was demolished in 1779. (fn. 24)
The chapel is entered through a vaulted vestibule south of antechapel. Outside on the south wall of antechapel was the figure of an angel (recently replaced by a modern copy) holding a scroll on which were the words, 'Hic est domus Dei porta celi.' (fn. 25) Of the original chapel little survives save the stone shell. The pavement of the medieval chapel was of Purbeck marble. It cost the college in 1411 £251 6s. 8d. 'solutum quarrurario de Purbyk pro mille et dimidio pedibus marmoris pro pavimento capelle' and in 1412 £13 13s. 4d. 'solutum Johanni Borde pro marmore empto', besides heavy payments for transport from London to Henley, storage at Henley, and transport from Henley to Oxford. (fn. 26) The altar steps were completed in 1418. (fn. 27) Of the ancient glass that in the windows of the aisles of antechapel survives; the accounts also record a 'fenestra de ly Jesse', (fn. 28) which is to be identified with 'magna fenestra vocata Gabulwyndowe ex parte occidentali capelle'. (fn. 29) The east wall, being a party wall with the hall, was completely covered by a reredos. The founder has given a description of it: (fn. 30) 'imago sanctissime et individue Trinitatis, patibulum sancte Crucis cum imagine Crucifixi, beatissime Marie Virginis sanctorumque aliorum plurium imagines'. The figures were, he says, 'subtiliter fabricata variisque coloribus perornata'. When Wyatt uncovered the remnants of the reredos, the backs of the niches were found to be a 'deep ultramarine blue' and the carved work 'richly gilt'. (fn. 31) The only surviving sculptures are the five scenes of the life of the Virgin once over the high altar, now in the east vestry. The present niches probably reproduce the original arrangement, being copies in stone of Wyatt's plaster niches, which in turn were modelled on the remnants he found. (fn. 32) There were originally, besides the high altar, three altars in antechapel; an early inventory (fn. 33) records 'ij magna candelabra de auricalco stancia coram summo altari' and 'vj candelabra de auricalco pro altaribus inferioribus'. By 1455 there were six side altars. (fn. 34) Yet more were consecrated in 1461. (fn. 35) The sixty-two stalls with their misericords survive in a much patched condition. Of the screen only the doors survive. Over it was a loft (fn. 36) and a roodbeam, which was gilded in 1470. (fn. 37) On the loft probably stood the organs. Organs already existed in 1449 when 10s. 'pro pipa antiquorum organorum' was allowed by Thomas Wotton in part payment 'pro factura magne pipe organorum'. (fn. 38) In 1458 William Porte gave 'magna organa pro choro'. (fn. 39)
The Computus Rolls record with grim brevity the destruction which accompanied the Reformation; 'solutum famulis Magistri Plummer laborantibus circa frangendas et deponendas imagines in summo altari et reliquis partibus templi, x s. viij d, solutum Henrico Bolton pro removendis Organis e templo, xij d'. (fn. 40) In 1559 the destruction was repeated, (fn. 41) but Bishop Horne, when he visited the college in 1567, was unsatisfied. He enjoined (fn. 42) 'ut amotis tegminibus partis orientis chori … capelle, parietes ibidem obumbrentur, plane dealbentur et sententiae sacrae scripturae ibidem scribantur', and 'ut tabulata inter chorum capellae … et navem eiusdem capellae amoveantur et prosternantur'.
In 1571 we duly find a payment of 3s. 'for ij workemen a daie and a halfe to take downe the Roodelofte'. (fn. 43) At the same time 2s. was paid 'to a joyner takeing downe the organes' which had been re-erected under Mary. What happened to them we do not know, but in 1597 a new organ was built. (fn. 44) It was this organ which Anthony Wood as a boy saw 'standing in a loft supported by wooden pillars, joining to the vestry door', whither it had been moved in 1639, (fn. 45) and took to be William Porte's organ. (fn. 46)
In 1637 the Laudian revival manifested itself in improvements to chapel. The pavement was relaid in white, black, and grey marble at a cost of £160; it was now that the brasses—save those of Cranley and Young—were laid in the north aisle of antechapel. (fn. 47) At the same time the stalls and screen were repaired, painted, and gilded for £150 3s., and 'Francis Doone, picture drawer', painted for £55 sixty-four pictures on the backs of the stalls. (fn. 48) Mr. Doone's pictures were not appreciated in the 18th century when the guide-books remark 'the stalls are remarkably elegant in the Gothic manner; but the painted figures in the pannels somewhat disgrace the architecture'. (fn. 49) Seven of Mr. Doone's figures are preserved; they support the judgement of the guide-books. In 1638 a second range of fifty-eight stalls was built in front of the old. The old desks were cut up and new desks made 'with pummels on the toppe like globes'. The work, executed in 'heart of Poland Oake of the best', cost £174 15s. 4d. (fn. 50) These stalls now line the walls of antechapel, having been removed thither by Wyatt. (fn. 51)
Chappington's organ was destroyed during the Parliamentarian occupation. (fn. 52) Immediately after the Restoration the college raised £370 13s. 4d. by subscription (the begging letter sent round is extant) and commissioned Mr. Dallam to build a new organ. His total bill was £427. A loft over the screen was built by 'Mr. Harris the joyner' for £222 12s. and painted and gilded for another £100. (fn. 53)
'When the Warden and Scholars had finished the new organ and placed it on the skreen at the west end of the coll. chapel, they were not unmindful of provideing something for the ornament of the East Ende also.' Many schemes were debated. There were some old hangings at Worcester, representing 'Melchisedech his entertaining of Abraham with bread and wine', which were offered for £180. They were tried but the college did not like them. (fn. 54)
In 1671 'a frame of wainscot' was erected for £15 and the local painter Hawkins painted and gilded it for another £130. (fn. 55) This decorative scheme had a short life. In 1696 a legacy from Mr. Selby enabled the college to employ 'our ingenious countryman Mr. Henry Cook'. (fn. 56) His creation is thus described in the guide-books: (fn. 57) 'It represents the Concave of a Semi Rotunda in the Ionic Order, with a Cupola adorned with curious mosaic work, in which the East End of the Chapel seems to terminate.' In 1718, on the strength of a legacy of 20 guineas from the Rev. Thomas Terry the college spent £81 5s. on 'the curious ironwork which encloses the altar'. (fn. 58) In 1733 the decoration of the chapel was completed by panelling the north and south walls between the stalls and Mr. Cook's Deceptio; a gift of 100 guineas from Mr. Bigge left the college £87 5s. 6d. to pay. (fn. 59) Later (in 1773) Lord Radnor presented a picture of the Nativity of the school of Caracci to hang over the altar; it was moved to the east wall of hall by Wyatt. (fn. 60)
The college now, unhappily, turned its attention to glass. Between 1735 and 1740 Mr. William Price took down the five south windows of chapel and replaced them by his own compositions at the price of £84 each. (fn. 61) These windows are modestly signed 'W. Price has fenestras reparavit A. Dni. 1740', and the college also apparently regarded the work as a restoration, complaining 'the names by some great mistake left out when the windows were new done'. (fn. 62) Actually only parts of the canopies are old glass.
The change was much admired. The guide-books remark: 'Next to this (Mr. Cook's Deceptio) the Windows on the South Side are the most attracting to the Eyes of Strangers. … Upon the whole, when the Windows on the North side are perfected in the same Manner with those on the South, as they are shortly intended to be, this Room will surpass almost anything of the kind.' (fn. 63) The college did not, however, next attack the north windows. After a long pause it, in 1765, employed Mr. Peckett of York to reglaze the great west window; Peckett charged £370 and allowed £30 for the old glass, much of which he put up in York Minster, where it still exists. (fn. 64) From correspondence in the archives, (fn. 65) it appears that this window was a bitter disappointment, the drawing of the figures being extremely bad. Nonetheless the college went ahead, commissioning Mr. Peckett to reglaze three north windows of chapel (those nearest the screen), except for the tracery lights. But this time it took the precaution of obtaining cartoons from a competent artist; one, Biaggio Rebecca, was eventually chosen and got £80 for his pains. The new windows were again a disappointment; 'I am sorry to remark,' writes the bursar in 1773, 'that the shrine work of your niches is not of that pure Gothic I could wish, having too much resemblance to those grotesque designs which should never be admitted into any serious composition.' (fn. 66) The college even tried to countermand the third window, but Peckett insisted on his contract, and the three windows went up in 1774. The bill was £637 10s. (fn. 67)
In 1779 an agreement was signed with Mr. Jarvis of London to glaze a window on the north side of chapel (the first of two to be glazed), on the understanding that he would use the cartoons of an 'eminent painter'. The 'eminent painter' chosen was Sir Joshua Reynolds and the field offered to him was not the two remaining north windows of chapel but the great west window. The new window went up in 1778–85. Jarvis's bill was £1,540. Sir Joshua was paid 20 guineas apiece for the Seven Virtues and for the four side figures in the upper range; by a curious misunderstanding he received nothing for the central group of the Nativity. (fn. 68) The mullions were removed for this central group, but restored in 1848. (fn. 69) The college was too economical to scrap Peckett's west window, little though it liked it. The glass was transferred to the two remaining north windows of chapel, were it now stands with the original signature, W. Peckett pinxit, 1765. (fn. 70) The tracery lights were again spared.
Peckett had been 'very indifferent of purchasing the old glass (of the three north windows); for that which I took out of the great west window I could not dispose of readily'. He recommended the college to advertise in the London papers, offering only £20 for the lot. (fn. 71) The offer was apparently not accepted, for in 1775 the college employed John Taylor to repair the old glass in antechapel (fn. 72) and, in 1776, it decided 'that after the windows in the Antechapel are finished, if in the remaining Glass there be any Figures or parts of Figures tolerably compleat they be leaded and secured, that the remainder separated according to its colours into parcels and the whole in proper boxes be lodged in the Muniment House for the future repairs of the Windows'. (fn. 73) The glass from the two remaining north windows was probably also relegated to these chests. They and their contents seem to have been moved to Winchester, where they were seen by Mr. Winston in 1845. (fn. 74) Some pieces are said to have been given by Warden Williams in 1850 to his son, who put them up in his church of Bradford Peverell, where they still stand. (fn. 75) The fate of the rest is unknown.
By the end of the 18th century the Gothic revival was well under way, and the decay of the chapel roof gave the college an excuse for a thorough restoration in the current taste. (fn. 76) James Wyatt was chosen as architect, and he in 1789–94 completely remodelled the chapel. In the archives are a sheaf of bills; (fn. 77) they abound in allusions to Gothic pedestals, Gothic pinnacles, Gothic leaves, Gothic foliage, Gothic tablets, and 'Gothic composition' in general, often qualified as 'rich' or even 'very rich'. The general effect can be gauged from the Ackermann and Malton prints. The principal items were a plaster vault, a plaster reredos (without figures), a screen, loft, and organ case, with a Gothic opening through the middle to give a view of the Reynolds window, described as 'a most superb piece of Gothic architecture', (fn. 78) and elaborate canopies and desks to the stalls, which were extended to the altar steps. The total cost was £2,734 17s. 6d. for the roof and vault, £6,959 0s. 4¾d. for the other work; the organ was at the same time rebuilt by Green for £844 8s. (fn. 79) Of this restoration only the marble altar, the sculptures above it by Westmacott, and the paving survive.
Wyatt's Gothic did not appeal to the sophisticated taste of the later 19th century, and in 1877–81 another complete restoration was carried out by Sir Gilbert Scott at a cost of £23,729 6s. 5d. (fn. 80) By a lamentable error of judgement the college after many debates sanctioned the present hammer beam roof, which ruins the proportions of the chapel. An ornate screen and loft and organ case were erected, the organ being at the same time rebuilt by Willis. The stalls were restored and provided with their present overpowering canopies, and the floor of the chapel was filled with ranges of seats. The reredos was rebuilt in stone and later (1888–91) fitted with statues. The old windows in antechapel were later (1886–9) restored by Powell. The organ has recently (1926) been renovated and improved by Rushworth and Dreaper.
North of the east end of chapel, between it and the city wall, are two rooms which were, in the Middle Ages, vestries. (fn. 81) The rooms were circa 1690 refitted at the expense of Mr. James Badger, (fn. 82) apparently as a fellow's set; the door into chapel seems to have been blocked and access was contrived by a passage under the west end of hall. (fn. 83) In 1860 the rooms were restored as vestries. (fn. 84)
The hall is, as the founder remarks, (fn. 85) 'in modum solarii desuper terrain elevata'; it is thus lower than the chapel internally though of equal height externally. It is approached by a stone stair occupying the north half of the two lower stories of the muniment tower; this stair is covered by a curious lierne vault with no bosses at the junctions of the ribs. The hall is of four bays, lit by tall two-light windows fitted with stone window seats; the windows were glazed from the beginning. (fn. 86) There was originally a flat tiebeam roof with a low louver in the centre, under which was the hearth. The walls were hung with painted cloth in 1453. (fn. 87) The present linen fold panelling dates from 1533–5, when the hall seems also to have been ceiled. (fn. 88) Over the high table 'ye storie of Christ's Passion (is) carved or wrought in ye said wainscott'. (fn. 89)
The hall suffered little alteration till the 18th century. In 1722, when its undercroft was remodelled, the floor was paved. (fn. 90) In 1786 the medieval roof was demolished and a new roof erected, concealed by a plaster ceiling. The work was done for £578 7s. 9d. by James Pears. (fn. 91) In 1865 a very successful imitation of the original roof was erected by Sir Gilbert Scott. The panelling was at the same time restored and rehung, and the windows glazed. The total cost was £5,830 9s. 4d., of which £1,000 was subscribed by the Junior Common Room.
Three doors open from the hall screens eastwards. The northernmost, in the spandrils of which are curious carvings of choristers carrying baskets of bread and blackjacks of beer, leads to the buttery. The southernmost leads into what probably was the pantry. The space under these two rooms was probably the lower buttery and pantry. (fn. 92) The two floors are connected by a spiral stair in the north-west corner, which also gives access to the beer cellar, which lies between the lower buttery and the city wall: it is vaulted with an octagonal central pillar. The central door on the screens opens on to a wide oak stair which descends in a single flight to a room between the lower buttery and pantry and the kitchen. This room was probably the servants' chamber. (fn. 93) Over it, east of the buttery and pantry, was probably the cooks' chamber, (fn. 94) and in this region the butler's chamber. (fn. 95) The main fabric of the kitchen is original. The high pitched roof was originally capped by a louver (shown in Loggan). There were fires under post fixed in the north and south walls: (fn. 96) the smoke from these fires presumably escaped though the windows, of which there were three aside, set high in the wall. In the north-east corner were two great bread ovens (shown in PE, 13). The two fireplaces at the west end were probably built in 1598; (fn. 97) they block an original window. A door, now blocked, at the east end of the south wall, led to the well, wood-and coalhouses, larders, &c. These were rebuilt north and east of the kitchen in 1683, when the north range of the garden quadrangle was built. The offices north of the kitchen were completely remodelled in 1882. (fn. 98) In the early 17th century attics were opened up in the roof between the hall and the kitchen. (fn. 99) In 1726 chambers were fitted up for eight chaplains 'over the kitchen stairs'. (fn. 100)
The muniment tower is in four stages. The lowest room is entered from the quadrangle, the first-floor room from the landing of hall stairs; these two rooms occupy only half the area of the tower, the other half forming hall stairs. The two upper rooms occupy the full area of the tower, being approached by a spiral stair rising from the south-east angle of the screens. All the rooms are ceiled with simple lierne vaults without bosses; these vaults spring from corbels which in the two lower chambers are interestingly carved. The three upper rooms retain their original floors of encaustic tiles and their original fittings, the glass, bars, and shutters of their windows and their magnificent iron-plated doors, each fitted with three or four ponderous locks. The three upper rooms are still used for their statutory purpose. (fn. 101) The lowest room, after having been degraded, probably in the eighteenth century, to an office of Senior Common Room, has recently been fitted up as a museum. The west face of the tower is adorned with three statues, the Virgin flanked by an angel and the founder.
The room to the north of the garden gate is designated by the statutes (fn. 102) as the bursary and is still so used. It retains its medieval ceiling and a piece of medieval glass in the south-east window, depicting a pewit (a pun on 'pay it') and the motto redde quod debes. The original library occupies the first floor over the bursary, the gate, and the chamber south of the gate. For protection against fire it is separated from the chambers to the south by a stone party wall. It was originally entered by a staircase at the north end. (fn. 103) It was lit by nine windows on the east and the west, all originally mullioned and transomed. The three northernmost of the east windows, covered later by the law library, retain their tracery. The windows were glazed in 1402. (fn. 104) The library was ceiled in 1445; (fn. 105) a piece of medieval ceiling survives over the foot of the old stair, and the moulded wall plates with attached rosettes can be seen in the north-east corner of the library.
An additional bursary, the chequer, projecting east into the garden from the old bursary, was added in 1449. (fn. 106) The new room had a door and two windows to the south and a fire-place to the north. Later, circa 1480, a new library (for the law books) was added over the chequer. (fn. 107) The door to the new library was contrived in the lower part of the northernmost east window of the library. The room was lit by one large east window and five windows on the north and south. The original mullions and tracery of two of these windows survive under the panelling; two cupboards for books also survive in the east wall. The medieval roof is intact.
About 1585 the attics over the main library were opened up as a manuscript library. (fn. 108) When the top story was added to the quadrangle in 1674 the library walls were carried up on both east, and west, the old windows being exactly reproduced, and a flat leaded roof erected. This enlargement enabled the seniors to carry out a scheme they had probably long contemplated. They had—since 1567, at least, when Bishop Horne (fn. 109) forbade them to dine or sup outside the hall 'et praesertim in illo loco qui vocatur ly chequer'—used the chequer as a private dining-room. They now annexed the law library as a common room. (fn. 110) Various structural changes were required. A new entrance to the old library was pierced through the stone partition on to the adjacent stair, which was rebuilt in a double flight; the old library stair was lowered to a shallower pitch and used for the new common room. (fn. 111) The west bay of the law library was partitioned off as a lobby. Mr. Bird was employed 'for building up the chequer chymney', i.e. for inserting a fire-place in the 'common fire roome', as it is called, over the chequer fire-place. (fn. 112) In 1678 the room was handsomely panelled by Francis Butler for £60; (fn. 113) four of the original windows were blocked.
The common room, chequer, and library windows were modernized in 1718. (fn. 114) The large window which lights the library stair and the classical door at the head of it were built in 1722; (fn. 115) the present library stairs seem to date from this time also. The upper library was remodelled in 1778. The design, which is very elegant, comprising a pses at either end, is attributed by Chalmers (p. 132) to Wyatt. The college order book merely records (fn. 116) 'that the Bursars write to Mr. Wyatt to require a positive Answer whether he will undertake the fitting up of the library or not, if he will not the Bursars proceed according to their best Judgement to employ some other persons' and the bill (£529) is from James Pears. (fn. 117) In 1780 the lower library was refitted on a much more modest scale by the same James Pears for £92 3s. 5¾d.; this bill included shelves in the chamber south of the library, which now became the Auctarium. (fn. 118)
The Longhouse was connected with the main building by an L-shaped covered passage (the roof appears in Loggan). It is a long building in two stories. In the upper story, which is lit by narrow slit windows and approached by an external stair at the south-west angle, were the latrines. The lower story had originally no openings and was a huge cesspool which was periodically cleanded. (fn. 119) In 1880 the lower floor was opened up and earth closets placed in it. (fn. 120) In 1903 bathrooms were installed in the upper floor and the present water closets on the ground floor.
The Warden's lodging was entered in the Middle Ages as now from the first door south of the gateway. From this door rose a stair, the foot of which is visible in Loggan's second drawing, to a lobby. The room under the lobby was in the Middle Ages the porter's lodge and is still the porter's store room. The lobby gave access to the room over the gateway, the Warden's hall, which was lit not only by two mullioned and transomed windows at either end, but by windows on either side of the west end—for the gate tower projects west from the main building. The hall had a fire-place. (fn. 121) The room over the hall, the Warden's chamber, was approached by a spiral stair in the north-east angle; it was lit by two narrow windows at either end and probably also by small windows to the north and south; on the outside of the end walls are groups of three statues, as on the muniment tower. North of the hall was a room lit by an oriel looking into the quadrangle, which was probably the Warden's study. Beyond it again, next to antechapel and with a squint into it, was the Warden oratory. (fn. 122) The hall, chamber, and oratory at any rate were glazed. (fn. 123) The Warden also owned the chamber between the gateway and the chapel vestibule, which originally opened on to the vestibule only. (fn. 124) When the cloister was built the space between it and this chamber became the Warden's cellar: (fn. 125) the room over it is also probably medieval. The Warden's kitchen was a detached building of curiously irregular plan (it still exists incorporated in the lodging) on the corner of New College and Queen's Lanes; in its north end was probably the Warden's buttery. (fn. 126) There must, presumably, have been a back stairs to provide access to the hall from the kitchen, but how it was contrived is not known. Across Queen's Lane lies the Warden's barn. Near the north-east corner is a low archway, through which horses could be led to the stable, which occupied the central part of the barn, and at the west end of the north side is a huge archway by which wagons of hay could enter the stable yard, either to be unloaded into the loft over the stable or to be pulled in through a great porch into the coach-house at the west end of the barn. In the east end of the barn are two rooms, the lower of which was perhaps the groom's chamber, (fn. 127) the upper perhaps the Warden's guest chamber; it was a larger room, extending over the archway and lit by two south windows and one east window, which retains its original tracery; it also had a latrine. (fn. 128)
Extensive additions were made to the lodgings in 1540–1. (fn. 129) No details are given, but probably most of the changes shown in Loggan were now made. An extra story was built over the study and the oratory, the former's oriel being carried up, and two more stories were added over the cellar. Over the kitchen was built a gallery. (fn. 130) This room had a fine ceiling (fragments of which were fitted together by Warden Spooner to from the ceiling of his new gallery) and was lit by three windows to the west, one to the east (the tracery of which was discovered by Warden Spooner and moved into the west wall). If the existing oriel window in the lane was built at this time it would have been partly in the gallery, partly in the adjoining room to the east. It is more likely that it was built in 1676 in connexion with the new bridge and the barn. A passage was needed to the bridge and it was obtained by cutting off a strip from the gallery at its north end; but space was restricted by the position of a large chimney (shown in Loggan's print) and the throwing out of an oriel window was a device for getting more room for the passage. At the south end of the gallery was built out a small room over what was probably the wood-house; the elegant east door of this room, opening on to a passage connecting with the gallery, was uncovered by Warden Spooner.
The overmantel of the gallery (moved by Warden Spooner to the study) bears the arms of Bishop Bilson (1597–1616). The fine panelling of the hall seems to be of about the same date. In 1631 'a new paire of stares upp into the tower chamber' (fn. 131) was built; the spiral was presumably now abandoned. In 1675 £25 was paid to Frogley the carpenter 'for the warden's starecase'. (fn. 132) This is presumbly the present magnificent stait in six flights. The bottom flight is double, to provide access both from the front door and from a back door into the kitchen yard; on the two upper floors small rooms were fitted in west of the stair. In 1676 a bridge was built over Queen's Lane connecting the gallery with a stone stair built in the barn leading down into the garden. (fn. 133)
In 1684 Warden Beeston surrendered 'the ground chamber next to the chappell' in exchange for 'the chamber over the Baptist's Head', (fn. 134) i.e. the first-floor room on the right of No. 1 staircase. In 1718 the windows of the lodging were modernized, (fn. 135) the oriel being swept away; the mullions of the window of the oratory were strangely spared till 1782. (fn. 136) In 1734 'Dr. Coxhead, Warden of New College made a door out of his lodgings into the street–a thing much taken notice of as against the statutes by persons that are not for innovations.' (fn. 137) This door was till 1903–4 farther north than it now is, opening into the room south of the kitchen. A passage running along the outside of the west front of college connected this room with the great staircase. In 1814 the top-floor chamber on the right of No. 1 stair was annexed; (fn. 138) this room has panelling erected in 1727. (fn. 139) In 1822 the two ground-floor rooms on the right of No. 1 stair were also annexed. One of these had been the porter's bedroom, and the chamber next the vestibule was in compensation converted into the porter's lodge. (fn. 140) In 1867 yet another room on the ground floor in the south-west angle of the quadrangle was annexed.
The south side of the quadrangle was occupied by the chambers of the fellows. They comprised four complete staircases of four chambers each and also one incomplete staircase next the library, which had two chambers on the south but one only under the library on the north. There were also four chambers under the hall. The founder regulated the distribution of chambers in some detail. (fn. 141) The upper chambers were to be occupied by three fellows apiece, the lower by four, except the chamber south of the staircase next the library, which was exceptionally small. The chambers under the east part of the hall were to be occupied by 'the priests and other ministers of the chapel'; actually the ten chaplains occupied the three easterly chambers and the four fellows of the total seventy who were not accommodated on the staircases the westernmost. The ground-floor chambers had all by the 16th century acquired individual names. (fn. 142) The names were, from west to east: the Baptist's Head, the Crane and Dart (No. 1), the Christopher, the Serpent's Head (No. 2), the Rose, the Vine (No. 3), the Green Post, the Vale (No. 4), the Chamber of Three, the Conduit (the stair next the library). The upper chambers were merely called the chamber over the Baptist's Head, &c. The westernmost chamber under the hall was the Cock; the chaplains' chambers had no names. I know of the explanation of only two of these names. The significance of the Chamber of Three is obvious. The Conduit was so called because under the archway adjoining was a pump, (fn. 143) to which Bishop Home alludes in his injunction, (fn. 144) 'Nemo mingat intra curiam nec juxta aquaeductum portamve ibidem.'
The original internal arrangements have been completely remodelled throughout; even a stair on the medieval lines survives in No. 1 only. The original plan of a normal staircase is shown below; the plans of the corner chambers were irregular, as their principal windows faced outwards east and west; the plans of the Chamber of Three and the Conduit were also abnormal. The three western chambers under hall had a door flanked by two small windows on the south and a large window flanked by two small on the north; there must have been a study in each corner. The easternmost chamber had no openings on the south, but it had a small window in the south-east angle; it must have been entered through the adjacent chamber. The accounts give some hints as to the fittings of the chambers. The studies had doors with locks and keys. (fn. 145) From the provisions of Rubric 52 it is obvious that the lower chambers were not ceiled, and the upper were probably open to the roof. The lower chambers apparently had earth floors till 1536, when 52s. (at 1s. per 100 ft.) was paid 'pro posicione mensarum in omnibus cubiculis inferioribus'. (fn. 146) From the absence of glazing accounts it may be inferred that the windows were unglazed; for their original architectural form see p. 153. I have not found a reference to fire-places earlier than 1466, (fn. 147) but the great corbelled hearths of the upper chamber seem to be part of the original structure; the Chandler MS. shows a complete row of chimneys. The chambers under the hall, except the easternmost, had no free-places.
The statutes do not allot chambers according to seniority, but it is manifest that the upper chambers were so much more comfortable that the seniors would have taken them, and the chamber lists of the 17th century show that this was the case: of the ground chambers the Cock was not unnaturally the most unpopular and was always occupied by the four juniors. During the 16th century the seniors made themselves yet more comfortable by building 'cocklofts' in the roofs of their chambers, into which one of the occupants migrated. The process is assigned conjecturally by Wood (fn. 148) to Dr. Culpepper's time (1573–99), and was proceeding vigorously then, (fn. 149) but it had begun much earlier. (fn. 150) 'But', continues Wood, 'no ample or uniform windows made to them, looking without the college, till the beginning of Charles I.' This statement is con firmed by the ledger books which record a payment 'for stone for the building of the chambers' in 1631 and 'for work on the new buildings' in 1633: custus Domorum in 1632 is very heavy. The quadrangle thus assumed the form shown in Loggan's first view, with a row of regular gabled dormers along the outside of the roof. A few of these dormers survive, considerably altered, in the corner cocklofts and (now within the Warden's lodging) in the cockloft over the Baptist's Head; the pretty oriel in the south-east gable of the quadrangle is probably earlier. Many chambers were panelled during this period. (fn. 151) Panelling of the period survives in the chambers over the Crane and Dart, the Christopher, the Rose, the Green Post, and the Chamber of Three, and in the cockloft over the Christopher.
After the Restoration more ambitious building schemes were mooted. In 1664 the Visitor was asked, it may be presumed by the juniors, whether post extructa nova edificia fewer than four fellows could, despite Rubric 52, occupy the lower chambers. The Visitor's reply was favourable; since the invention of printing the founder's studies had become inadequate for the fellows' libraries and deaths from contagious diseases were only too common ex tam arcta cohabitatione. (fn. 152) Meanwhile Warden Woodward was circularizing past fellows with the question 'whether or no in former times the masters or fellowes in the upper chambers or cocklofts were not alway supposed to be of the middle chambers, our statutes appointing that three at least should be there. Rubric 52 ad initium?' The answers were in the affirmative. In 1670 a fund 'towards an additional supply of Chambers' began to be raised by an annual levy on every fellow, (fn. 153) and on 30 May 1674 indentures were signed with 'John Dew of Marson in the county of Oxon, Freemason' (fn. 154) and 'Richard Frogley of Oxon, carpenter'. (fn. 155) From these indentures it appears that the seniors had carried the day. 'The additional supply of chambers' proved to be a top story to the quadrangle whereby the seniors' cocklofts were converted into regular chambers. The indentures show in detail what was done. Except in the library, as noted above, the inner wall only was carried up; it was specified that the windows should 'exactly answer or be made like unto the windows of the Middle Chambers'. The battlement which appears in Loggan's view is curiously not mentioned. The carpenter was to 'make and finish all the carpenter's work in the upper chambers, cocklofts or pinion ends on the inside of the quadrangle … exactly ranging on the pinion ends on the outside of the colledge'. The quadrangle is thus, owing to the economy of the college in 1674, roofed to this day with a series of transverse gables, concealed on the inside by the high embattled parapet. The whole roof has, however, been raised and the old gables have vanished on the south side (except over the corner chambers), being replaced by a continuous wall; this change is perhaps to be connected with the entry 'raising ye roofs of 3 chambers in ye old quadrangle' in 1709. (fn. 156) The cost of the top story was £631 4s. (fn. 157)
Subscriptions continued to be raised, (fn. 158) but the juniors seem to have been determined that this time the money should be spent for their benefit. It was specified among the 'Condicions on which wee who are undernamed doe promise to pay the severall summes wee have subscribed' (fn. 159) first 'that two ffellows shall be placed in the new chambers out of every ground chamber and one out off ye Chamber of Three', and secondly, 'that what care can be may be taken that the junior ffellows doe not want a common fire roome'. Another project debated was the admission of gendemen commoners. There was a party which opposed it on the ground of Rubric 21, de extraneis non introducendis ad onus collegii, but in 1679 the Visitor by some ingenious casuistry justified the proposed innovation and sternly ordered the dissidents to hold their peace. (fn. 160) Meanwhile many plans for buildings were considered. There are in the archives half a dozen rejected plans and elevations. They are of the most diverse styles, but all agree in their main dispositions; the new building was to be a detached range, facing the library front of the college. The obvious objection to them all is that they give the kitchen and Longhouse, which form the north and south sides of the new quadrangle, a prominence which they architecturally do not merit, and that the chequer block mars the symmetry of the new quadrangle.
On 20 December 1681 an agreement (fn. 161) was formally drafted for the disposal of the proposed new chambers, 'I to ye junior fellows for a common room, 10 others (being double rooms) for easing ye ground chambers … 1 other chamber may be allowed to 2 senior chaplains …all ye remaining rooms to be disposed by Mr. Warden to noblemen and fellow commoners and to none else at 6 li. p. ann. rent for each room to go to ye public stock.' It was further agreed that the new buildings should be begun before Lady Day 1682, 'according to a draught herewith communicated'. (fn. 162) Articles were signed with William Bird, mason of Oxford, for the south line and the 'pile uniform to the chequer' on 23 January 1682 (fn. 163) and for the north line (and also for a battlement and an east window for the chequer) on 12 April 1683. (fn. 164)
The elegance and ingenuity of Bird's plan speaks for itself; symmetry was attained and the kitchen and Longhouse successfully masked. Some details in the plan can be explained from the articles. The small cubicles are specified to be 'two studies and two bedplaces to each roome'. The 'pile uniform to the chequer' consisted for its eastern half of two chambers, for its western half of a 'ground roome for a common roome, one storey in heighth'; over it was apparently a blank space masked by the north wall. Bird received by contract £1,355 15s. for the south range and £1,250 for the north range. On his own showing he underestimated: 'soe here I am', he wrote, (fn. 165) 'above £20 out of purse, as I cane make it apeere by my bookes'. The college allowed him £10 'in consideration of his poverty and pretended loss in our building' and 'at the same time Dr. Traffles gave ten pounds more to satisfy his importunity.' (fn. 166)
The eleven chambers in the south range were used to ease the ground chambers. 'The ground chamber in the north line … next the Masters' Common Room' was on 27 May 1684 allotted to two chaplains. (fn. 167) The other eight chambers should have gone to gentlemen commoners but the seniors did not acquiesce in their defeat. On the same 27 May 1684 it was decided by Mr. Warden and Thirteen that 'for the prevention of inordinate noyse and disturbance in the new court' a senior fellow should be deputed to maintain order and should occupy 'the middle chamber in the north line next the Masters' Common Room'. (fn. 168) Next, when on 27 June 1684 the chamber over the Baptist's Head was ceded to the Warden, it was agreed that one of its occupants should receive a chamber in the north line. (fn. 169) The next encroachment was more audacious. It was proposed (fn. 170) 'that ye six senior fellows in ye middle chambers of ye old building' should have the use of the remaining six chambers in the north line 'during ye absence of noblemen and gentlemen coms.', and that if gentlemen commoners arrived they should pay their rent not 'to ye public stock', as agreed in 1681, but 'to ye use of ye fellow that receded and his chamber fellow.'
This iniquitous arrangement, if it ever came into force, did not last long. 'Proposalls for two Piles of New Buildings' (fn. 171) were considered in 1700. These were to consist of two blocks, each costing £600 and comprising six sets, one for gentlemen commoners and the other 'that the middle chambers in the old building be made single chambers'. For the fellows' block (south) money was to be borrowed from the college stock, to be subsequently repaid from benefactions and from the rent of the gentlemen commoners' block. It was set in hand at once, articles being signed with Richard Piddington and George Smith, builders, on 2 August 1700. (fn. 172) The money for the other block was raised by subscription; (fn. 173) the articles for it, with William Townsend and George Smith, were not signed till 1 March 1707. (fn. 174) The new blocks were to harmonize in general appearance with Bird's work, but their internal arrangements were to be far more luxurious, each set being single and having a large study and bedroom with fire-places and a closet. Two significant innovations were specified in the articles. In both blocks the windows were to be 'hung on box pullies with hemp lines'. In the second block the stair was to be 'according to a model annexed'. The model has perished but the actual stair survives and is with its spiral balusters a great improvement on Bird's stairs. The chambers in the gentlemen commoners' block were moreover panelled 'out of the Benefaction money'. (fn. 175) This panelling survives on the ground and first floors. Four chambers in Bird's building are also panelled in the same style, apparently by their tenants.
In 1711 the new quadrangle was completed by the beautiful iron railings which separate it from the garden; they were erected by Mr. Thomas Robinson of Hyde Park Corner at a cost of £170. (fn. 176) The new buildings involved a change in the domestic arrangements of the college. Hitherto supplies had reached the kitchen from Non-licet gate in Queen's Lane east of the Longhouse. As this was now impossible, the college decided, despite the heavy expense involved, to pierce an archway through the city wall. The slipe was acquired from the city 16 May 1700, (fn. 177) and at the same time a house in Holywell from Merton College, now the Back Gate. The present 'tudor' arch in the bastion was then built. A passage was also opened between the chequer and the north line. (fn. 178) Non-licet gate was moved to its present position in 1855. (fn. 179)
In 1718 £256 19s. 6d. was paid for 'sashing the lower court, common room, library, lodgings etc.' and £84 18s. for 'alterations (in mason's work) of ye windows of New Coll.' (fn. 180) Bird's mullions and transoms were thus removed. The old quadrangle was probably sashed at about the same time. Mr. Salmon in The Present State of the Universities (1744) declares (p. 56) 'The students chambers have most of them narrow, arch'd windows, which are no great Ornament to these buildings', but the present sashed windows appear in Williams (1734). The alterations made in the stonework are shown above. The stair in the gentlemen commoners' block was admired and similar stairs were inserted at a cost of about £37 each in Nos. 2, 3, and 4 of the old quadrangle; (fn. 181) the new stairs involved a complete rearrangement of the studies. On No. 1 the old stair was left, but the ground chambers were rearranged as four sets, one of which was allotted to the porter. (fn. 182) In 1722 the chambers under the hall were pulled down and two parallel brick tunnel vaults, running east and west, erected. (fn. 183) In 1726 it was admitted that these vaults had 'become damp and unwholesome', and new chambers were fitted up over the kitchen stairs for the eight chaplains who still lived under the hall—two chaplains had migrated to the north line and the Cock had been transferred into the vestries. (fn. 184) The north vault was next year 'converted into a publick cellar'. (fn. 185) The south vault was used as a chaplains' common room till 1779, when it was converted into a choir school. (fn. 186) It finally became a storeroom in 1861. (fn. 187) The Junior Common Room was, perhaps before 1734 (cf. Williams's plan), moved into the adjacent room on the east. The original Junior Common Room, after serving as a double set, was converted in the second quarter of the 19th century into a lavatory for Senior Common Room. The Junior Common Room annexed the chamber over itself circa 1825; this room was enlarged westwards over the old Junior Common Room in 1866. (fn. 188) In 1912 a block of two stories was added to the south of Junior Common Room.
The admission of commoners on a large scale after the first University Commission necessitated new buildings. Land along the south side of Holywell was acquired from Merton College and a block was built by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1872; (fn. 189) access to it was provided by cutting a door in a bastion and constructing a vaulted passage under the west bay of hall. In 1885 Mr. Basil Champneys built a tutor's house and one staircase farther east along Holywell, and in 1896 two more staircases and the Robinson Tower, which joins Scott's building to his own. In view of possible future expansion the college in 1921 acquired from the city, in exchange for houses near Carfax, the land between Longwall Street and the city wall. The latest addition to the college buildings is the Memorial Library, erected in 1939 to the designs of Sir Hubert Worthington.
The land which forms the college garden is nearly all part of the founder's original purchase. The only subsequent addition was made on 1 August 1500, when the college acquired from Magdalen College three gardens on the east of the church of St. Peter in the East. (fn. 190) 'The Garden', as Warden Woodward (fn. 191) remarks, 'was ancyently not for pleasure and walking, but for Profitt'; this statement is borne out by many items in the Computus Rolls. It perhaps began to be laid out as a formal garden in 1530. (fn. 192) The mount was begun in 1594, (fn. 193) continued in 1616 (fn. 194) and 1623, (fn. 195) and 'perfected with stepps of Stone and setts for ye Hedges about ye walke' in 1649. (fn. 196) The garden thus assumed the shape it has in Loggan. It so continued till circa 1762, when it seems to have been laid out more or less as it is now. (fn. 197)
History of the College
William of Wykeham has clearly set forth his motives for founding St. Mary College of Winchester in Oxford in his charter of foundation and the first rubric of his statutes. He wished to cure, in so far as in him lay, 'the general disease of the clerical army, which we have observed to be grievously wounded owing to the fewness of the clergy, arising from pestilences, wars and other miseries of the world'. In particular he had noted the decline in numbers at Oxford, which used to produce 'men of great learning, fruitful to the church of God and to the king and realm', owing to 'general epidemics and pestilences and dangers of wars and dearness of victuals', which had driven many students into becoming vagabonds or taking up the more profitable careers of soldiering, trade, or the mechanical arts. There is no reason to doubt that the Black Death and succeeding plagues had seriously depleted the ranks of the clergy and that the university had been severely hit by the causes set forth above. Wykeham's aim was to reinforce the secular clergy by providing university education for 'poor and indigent scholars', that is, persons of modest means who could not afford a course at Oxford without assistance. It may be noted that, though he pays lip-service to pure learning, Wykeham regarded the primary function of the University to be the production of men competently educated to serve Church and State.
The foundation perhaps acquired the name by which it is generally known, the New College, in distinction from the old college of St. Mary (Oriel) which already existed. (fn. 198) But in many ways it was a striking innovation. In scale, in numbers, in endowment, and in the size and splendour of its buildings, it far transcended all earlier foundations. In its educational programme also it started a new era. Most previous colleges had been designed to enable graduates to proceed to higher degrees. New College was primarily designed to take undergraduates through their arts course; its members might thereafter study in the superior faculties, but this was secondary. Moreover, observing that grammar 'is reputed the first of the arts or liberal sciences and is the foundation, door and spring of all other liberal arts and sciences', the founder insisted that his scholars should not begin their arts course till they were adequately grounded in grammar, and founded the grammar school at Winchester through which they must pass before coming up to Oxford. The endowment of grammar at Oxford was not an entire innovation; Eglesfield had provided for it at Queen's to a small extent. But Wykeham was introducing a salutary reform in demanding a full course in grammar as a necessary preliminary to a university course and in providing, in the two separate but intimately connected colleges, a complete education for his scholars.
Wykeham seems to have formed the project of founding a college in Oxford almost as soon as he was consecrated bishop of Winchester in 1367. In 1369 his agents were already buying land in the north-east corner of the city: (fn. 199) a Bull of 1371 shows that he was even then purchasing estates to endow a college; (fn. 200) and before his temporary disgrace in 1376 he was maintaining 60 scholars at Oxford. (fn. 201) A royal licence to found a college and alienate land in mortmain was obtained on 30 June 1379, (fn. 202) and Wykeham issued his own charter of foundation on 26 November of the same year. (fn. 203) Subsequently, between 1383 and 1400, over a dozen Bulls were obtained, the general effect of which was to exempt the college for all purposes from the jurisdiction of the vicar or rector of the place and the diocesan, and to bring it under the sole authority of the bishop of Winchester, who was constituted Visitor. (fn. 204) The buildings were begun in March 1380 and substantially complete by 14 April 1386, when the college, which had hitherto been living in a number of hired halls, took possession. (fn. 205) The founder took considerable pains to calculate the exact revenue required for the maintenance of the college; there survives in the archives (fn. 206) a comparative table evidently drawn up for his benefit, of the actual expenditure of the three years 21–3 Richard II, itemized as in the Computus Rolls, contrasted with the maximum statutable expenditure under various headings. The estates conveyed to the college by the founder include the manors of Hardwick* (half), Radclive,* and Tingewick* in Bucks.; Birchanger,* Easthall, Lindsell, Takely, and Widdington in Essex; Heyford Warren* and Kingham in Oxon.; Alton Barnes,* Colerne,* and Stert in Wilts.; Kenninghall in Kent; and West Drayton in Berks. (those asterized included the advowson); and the impropriated rectories of Hornchurch (with two manors attached) and Writtle in Essex, Adderbury and Swalcliffe in Oxon., Steeple Morden in Cambs., and Heckfield in Hants; also the advowsons of Saham Tony in Norfolk and the chapelry of St. Leonards in Sussex. (fn. 207) The founder's endowments brought in about £600 a year. In the 1430's the college fell into increasing financial difficulties, until in 1439 it was £74 in debt to its tailor, and defaulted on its statutory payments to the extent of £66. (fn. 208) At this point an ex-fellow, Bishop Beckington, came to the rescue, persuading Henry VI in 1441 to grant to the college the confiscated property of the alien priory of Longueville. This included the manors of Akely,* Great Horwood,* and Newton Longville* in Bucks., West Hanney in Berks., and Weston* and Wychingham Longville (with the advowson of one parish and the impropriated rectory of the other) in Norfolk, as well as the impropriated rectory of Whaddon, Bucks., and the advowson of Stratton, Norfolk, and St. John's Maddermarket, Norwich. (fn. 209) The new estates brought in about £75 a year and enabled the college to balance its accounts.
The founder bestowed much care on his statutes, which are vastly longer and more detailed than any previous code; they clearly owe much to those of Merton and Queen's. A letter of 20 May 1386 alludes to a code already in force. (fn. 210) In 1389 a revised version was sealed by the founder and fetched from London to Oxford, and in the following year a visitatorial commission exacted oaths of obedience from the members of the college. (fn. 211) In May 1394 a further revision was made. (fn. 212)
The college proper consisted of a Warden and 70 fellows or scholars. Scholars were to be annually elected in advance—an indenture or roll of names being drawn up, from which vacancies were filled as they occurred—from scholars who had been at Winchester for at least one year: they were to be between 15 and 20 years of age, non-graduate, having the full tonsure and bearing no blemish which would disqualify them for the priesthood, and were not to possess an income of £3 6s. 8d. or over. Preference was given to inhabitants of parishes in which college property lay, then to those of the diocese of Winchester, and then to those of certain counties in order. The election was made at Winchester by the Warden and two fellows (the 'Posers'), who were at the same time to inspect the school and with the assistance of the Warden and head master of Winchester to elect to vacancies in it. Scholars were to swear on admission, amongst other things, that they would reside five years; it may be noted that over a quarter of those elected between 1386 and 1547 broke this oath, some few leaving for some reasonable cause, but the majority animo deserendi studia or without explanation. Scholars passed two years on probation, during which they had no voice at college meetings and were ineligible for office. They were then to be admitted full fellows, (fn. 213) if they gave satisfaction to the Warden and the majority of the graduates; only one is recorded to have been rejected in the medieval period, viz. in 1460, and one in 1581, and a third in 1838.
The college was governed by the Warden, who was elected for life by a majority of fellows; he had to be a fellow or ex-fellow, 30 years of age at least, a graduate in theology or law, or an M.A., in priest's orders or to take them immediately. He received a salary of £40 over and above his livery, an entertainment allowance, his expenses when travelling on college business, six horses with their upkeep, and his lodging with plate and kitchen utensils. He was, moreover, allowed to hold benefices to any value; most of the medieval Wardens actually held one college living. He maintained a separate establishment, with his own hall, kitchen, and staff, only dining in hall on gaudies, when he sat alone at the high table and was served from his own kitchen; the college on these occasions supplied him with a pittance of 2s. (as against 6s. 8d. for the whole of the rest of the college). He had to reside ten months in the year (absence on college business being counted as residence). (fn. 214) He was mainly occupied in the management of the college estates and other external business. In the internal affairs of the college he was assisted by various annual officers. The sub-warden deputized for him in his numerous absences and assisted him generally, receiving a salary of 53s. 4d. (fn. 215) Five deans, two artists, a civilist, a canonist, and a theologian, supervised the academic and religious duties of the fellows; they received 13s. 4d. each. (fn. 216) Three bursars kept the accounts, received rents, and paid out money for the various statutable purposes; they also received 13s. 4d. each. (fn. 217)
The constitution of the college was of a mixed type. There were some democratic features. All the fellows had an equal voice in electing the Warden, (fn. 218) and in matters of importance, which are specified to include the letting of farms and presentation to benefices and serious lawsuits, the Warden was obliged to consult all the fellows and follow the decision of the majority (which must include ten lawyers). (fn. 219) Scrutinies were also to be held three times a year, at which any fellow might raise complaints about the conduct of others and a general discussion of college affairs was held. (fn. 220) More or less democratic also was the provision that admissions to fellowships and permission to take the degrees of M.A. or doctor were decided by a majority of graduates. (fn. 221) The election of officers, the audit, admission to the baccalaureate and all matters of discipline, including leave of absence, were on the other hand entrusted to the Warden in conjunction with the thirteen seniors or with various permutations and combination of officers and five or six seniors. These various committees seem in effect to have gradually coalesced into 'Mr. Warden and Thirteen', which was, from the 16th century at any rate, the governing body of the college for all purposes for which a full college meeting was not required. (fn. 222)
The programme of academic work laid down by the statutes is as follows. Scholars were all to study arts, and those in their third year either to be allotted to law, civil and canon successively, or to proceed in arts and then pass on to theology, with the exception of two who might study astronomy and two who might, if there was a regent doctor in the University to teach them, take up medicine. It was the founder's desire that there should be always, if possible, ten civilists and ten canonists in the college, and complicated rules are laid down to maintain these numbers. (fn. 223) These rules take no account of personal predilections; in 1515 S. Rawlins had to resign his fellowship, 'because his friends refused to support him any longer because he had been assigned to civil law'. (fn. 224) In addition to University lectures and exercises the scholars and fellows received during their first three years tuition from magistri informatores, selected by the deans from among the seniors; in 1399 the sub-warden and three others shared 33 pupils. Tutors were entitled to 5s. per pupil, but as £5 was the maximum assigned for tuition they rarely received the full rate. (fn. 225) College disputations were also regularly held under the supervision of the deans. Sophisters were to dispute once a week between 9 October and 15 August; B.A.s twice a week from 9 October to 7 July and then once a week till 15 August; civilists and canonists in alternate weeks from 9 October to 15 August; and theologians once a week from 9 October to 7 July. (fn. 226) Fellows were forbidden, exceptin a few specified matters, to supplicate the University for graces but were bound to fulfil the complete form and residence for each degree (with an additional year in the case of M.A.s and doctors) according to the statutes and customs of the University. This done, they were examined, for the baccalaureate by the Warden, sub-warden, two deans, the bursars, and six seniors; for the M.A. and doctorates by the Warden, the deans, and all graduates, and if passed were immediately to take their degrees: (fn. 227) poor fellows, who had no friends to help them, were allowed grants towards the expense of graduation from college funds. (fn. 228) The curious privilege of fellows of the college to take degrees without grace or examination by the University must be mentioned here. It is first recorded in 1607, when the Chancellor of the University asserted that it had existed since the foundation of the college. No satisfactory explanation of its origin has been discovered. (fn. 229)
On the religious side the founder ordained an ample series of chapel services, including the seven canonical hours and seven masses daily. The fellows were not, however, obliged to attend this lengthy ceremonial, which would have seriously interrupted their studies. Their religious duties were relatively light. On Sundays, forty-six specified major feasts, and, in general, on all non-legible saints' days they were to sing the hours and attend High Mass with procession. They were also to attend the four exequies of benefactors and the obit of the founder, being paid 1s. a time for this. On ordinary days they were merely bound to attend one mass if convenient, during which they were to repeat 50 Aves and 5 Paters; and recite certain prayers for the founder's soul privately on rising, during the day, and on going to bed and publicly after dinner and supper in hall. (fn. 230) All were bound to take orders eventually, but the rules were not severe. Those who took the arts and theology course need not be in priests' orders till six years after incepting as M.A.s. Civilists were obliged to take priests' orders within three years of incepting, canonists within fourteen years of beginning their study of either law. Students of medicine were allowed three years of regency before ordination. (fn. 231) Fellows were encouraged to take orders by an annual allocation of £26 13s. 4d. which was distributed among graduate priests (with a maximum of 40s. a head). (fn. 232)
The regular chapel services were conducted by a staff of ten chaplains, three clerks, and sixteen choristers. The chaplains ranked as fellows for commons and livery and received a salary of £2 13s. 4d.; two, the sacrist and precentor, were paid an additional 13s. 4d. The clerks received commons and livery on the scale of the servants and 20s. wages; they waited in hall besides serving in chapel. The choristers were charity boys, to be fed from leavings if these sufficed: the college actually allotted them commons on a modest scale. Their duties included waiting in hall and making the fellows' beds. (fn. 233) The founder made no provision for their education, but the college from the first paid various persons, apparently chaplains, to instruct them in Latin and singing; in 1461 the informator choristarum became a permanent addition to the staff, with double the emoluments of a chaplain; he also acted as organist. (fn. 234)
The domestic staff is not specified in the statutes and varied in number and wages. Normally there were three superior servants: the butler, later called the manciple (at 40s.), the cook (at 30s.), and the porter (at 20s.); the last also acted as college barber and made the candles for the chapel. To these may be added the bursary clerk (at 53s. 4d.) and the laundress (at 40s.) who did not reside in college. Inferior servants included an underbutler (later two), one or two undercooks, an underporter, a gardener, a groom, and the lator librorum, who, by the express provision of the founder, existed to carry the fellows' books to and from the schools; he also did odd jobs, such as winding the clock and blowing the organs. These received 13s. 4d. a year. All servants residing in college received commons (at three-quarters a fellow's rate). All, including the bursary clerk and laundress, received livery, the inferior servants of a cheaper stuff. (fn. 235)
Fellows and scholars in residence received commons at a rate varying according to the price of corn from 1s. to 1s. 6d. a week; that is to say, the total sum available for food was calculated on this basis, the quality and quantity of the meals served varying according to the status of the recipient. The weekly sum allocated was laid out by the butler under the supervision of the steward of hall (an office taken weekly in rotation by the fellows); weekly and quarterly audits by the bursars checked expenditure against residence. (fn. 236) Two meals a day were provided except on Fridays, Saturdays, and in Lent, when there was only one. Diet seems to have been substantial, comprising, besides bread and beer, beef and mutton (and veal in season) on ordinary days and fish on fast days. During most of the year the greater part of the meat and fish was salt but was helped out with spices (with the meat) and butter and mustard (with the fish); in Lent butter was not served but both spices and mustard accompanied the fish, and there was a daily allowance of pease; on Fridays in Lent figs, raisins, almonds, honey, and rice were substituted for fish. (fn. 237) The college bought its spices and salt meat and fish wholesale—a fact which greatly irritated Oxford tradesmen. (fn. 238) It baked its own bread but did not brew its own beer. (fn. 239) No vegetables appear among the purchases, but the garden supplied more than enough, the surplus being sold. (fn. 240) The regular round was varied by twenty-one gaudies in the year, for each of which a block grant of 6s. 8d. was added to commons; space does not permit an account of the curious delicacies served on these occasions. (fn. 241)
Full fellows (but not scholars, i.e. probationers) received an annual livery, i.e. a piece of cloth averaging one-third of a length (of 24 yards at 42s.) but varying according to the recipient's stature and grade, together with 6s. 8d. for tailoring and for fur. Fellows were forbidden to alienate their liveries till after five years' wear, when they might give them to the scholars. (fn. 242)
Discipline was rather severe. Fellows were forbidden to keep dogs or hawks, to play dice, draughts, or chess, or to indulge in 'the most vile and horrible game of shaving beards' on the eve of the inception of masters. Rowdy games which might disturb the study or sleep of the fellows or damage the buildings were forbidden, and especially wrestling or dancing in hall and games of ball in chapel. (fn. 243) Latin was always to be spoken, and during meals there was to be silence while a clerk of the chapel read the Bible. Fellows were not to linger in hall after meals but to disperse immediately to their studies, except on principal feasts and major doubles when they might indulge in 'songs and other honest solaces' and 'seriously discuss poems, chronicles of kingdoms and the wonders of this world'. On these occasions, and these only, a fire was lit in hall in winter, and 'upon ffire night there was an allowance of chease to bee eaten after the ffellowes had sung derges'. (fn. 244) The punishment for minor offences was normally the subtraction of a week's commons, and for repetitions of the offence a fortnight's or a month's. Holidays were not very liberally given. The Warden and deans were, it is true, not to be too difficult in granting leave of absence, but only ten fellows were to be away at any given time, or twenty in vacation time (i.e. three weeks at Christmas, a fortnight at Easter, ten days at Whitsun, and from 16 August to 1 October); these totals do not include special leaves for urgent personal reasons or for college business. (fn. 245)
For the management of the college estates the founder made careful provision. He laid down the salutary rule that no leases were to be granted for longer than 20 years for manors and 10 years for rectories. Every year in September the Warden, accompanied by one fellow (the 'outrider') and the bursary clerk, made a progress round the estates. Then followed in October the general audit by the thirteen seniors. The Computus Rolls drawn up each year on these occasions show the proportion of the revenue expended on various purposes. Commons is the heaviest individual item, averaging £250; next follows livery, about £80; the Warden with his allowances, the stable being an expensive item, cost about the same; the chapel, what with salaries of staff, candles, vestments, incense, &c., about £50; the various salaries and allowances noted above, servants' wages, the upkeep of the buildings and the furniture, plate, and utensils of hall, kitchen, and offices, expenses of fellows travelling on college business and other minor items bring the total up to £600–£700. (fn. 246)
From the register of 'protocolls' it is possible to estimate with some precision the composition of the college and to a less extent to trace what careers the fellows followed on going down. During the medieval period (by which I mean the years 1386–1547) the fellows did not on the whole stay very long and the college thus was a youthful body. There were on an average (actual numbers vary enormously) eight to nine elections a year, and at any given time there were about thirty to thirty-five members of under four years' standing, who would all be undergraduates, and some fifteen to twenty more of under eight years, who would be B.A.s if artists and still undergraduates if lawyers; the remainder were mostly comparatively young, few residing over twenty years. Of the 1,350 persons who passed through the college during this period about a third left for reasons unknown or merely animo deserendi studia, 254 are recorded to have died, nearly all fairly young, 124 while still undergraduates. Five only were expelled, besides two burnt as Lollards. The rest resigned for some respectable cause. These are defined under the statutes as si … religionem intraverit (only thirteen entered religious orders), vel ad alicuius obsequium se transtulerit (seventy entered the service of the king or some prelate or noble), uxoremve duxerit (only nine married). Fellowships were also forfeited on coming into a lay estate of the annual value of £5 (only three resigned for this cause) or on obtaining a benefice of £6 13s. 4d. (312 were beneficed besides 80 who became fellows or wardens of Winchester). A select few (about twenty) left to practise in the ecclesiastical courts or to hold legal offices in the Church. Forty became schoolmasters, nearly all in the sixteenth century, and twenty-two took up the common law, again nearly all in the sixteenth century. (fn. 247)
These figures suggest that during the medieval period the college on the whole fulfilled the objects for which the founder intended it. The great majority of the fellows swelled the ranks of the secular clergy, either holding benefices, or serving as chaplains to the great (which is probably what obsequium means) or practising canon law. Of the innovations of the sixteenth century the founder would probably have approved the teaching profession; the bar would hardly have seemed to him a career for graduate clerks.
From what class the fellows were drawn it is impossible to say without much detailed study of their names and birthplaces. A fair number are known by these tests to have been of the humbler gentry, but evidently, since only three resigned propter feudum saeculare, they were younger sons; but on the other hand the property disqualification was far from rigorous. It is indeed probable that most of the scholars and younger fellows had some pecuniary resources besides what they got from the college. Seniors could pick up a living from the allowance to graduate priests, tuition fees, and salaries for college offices. Juniors got only livery (and not even that during their first two years), two meals a day, and lodging. They could earn 5s. a year by attending the exequies and obits; they could also get their books on permanent loan from the college library, (fn. 248) and an allowance towards their graduation expenses; the founder also provided a fund from which they could borrow. (fn. 249) On the other hand, they had to pay their regular University fees, provide their own fires and lighting in their chambers, and buy their own furniture and clothes, except for their livery (poor founder's kin, it may be added, had a special allowance for beds, boots, &c. (fn. 250) ) and pay for any 'nuncheons' and 'beavers' they might indulge in. It is worth noting that between 1515 and 1523 six fellows resigned 'because of the failure of their exhibition'; by this time evidently a poor man could not maintain himself without assistance from a patron. (fn. 251)
New College led the way in introducing the new learning into Oxford. Warden Chandler (1454–75), himself a good Latin scholar, brought Vitelli to Oxford, and it was in New College he gave the first lectures in Greek that Oxford heard. It was no doubt from him that William Grocyn (fellow 1465–80) first learnt his Greek, but he does not seem to have taught Greek till his migration to Magdalen. The Royal Visitors in 1535 established a Greek lecturer in the college. This proved the beginning of a new era in the system or college teaching. A few years later the £5 allotted for tuition was converted into lecturerships in dialectic and civil law. In Mary's reign a junior Greek lecturer and senior lecturer in philosophy and civil law were added. In 1580 a lecturer in catechism or theology was established in accordance with a decree of Convocation; he drew the huge salary of £66 13s. 4d. Under James I followed lecturers in mathematics and Hebrew. (fn. 252)
In religion the college was as a whole conservative, though there were a few zealous protestants. No troubles are recorded under Edward VI. Under Mary one fellow was exiled and another resigned 'at the threats of the Visitors of the Venerable Lord Legate Cardinal Pole'; but many received promotion at this date. The real trouble began under Elizabeth. The Royal Visitors expelled six fellows in 1560 and five more in 1562; Bishop Horne expelled seven in 1562, eight in 1566–7, and six in 1575–6; seven others were ejected at various times during this period. Not all these were papists, but, on the other hand, many who resigned during these years probably did so to avoid expulsion; nine at any rate migrated to Louvain or joined the Society of Jesus. (fn. 253)
The injunctions issued by the Elizabethan Visitors (Bishop Horne in 1567 and 1576, Bishop Cooper in 1585, 1592, and 1594, and Bishop Bilson in 1599) shed much light on the internal condition of the college. Many of them deal with the reorganization of chapel services necessitated by the Reformation. Others deal with discipline and studies, which had become lax. Disputations, especially in theology, were omitted or scamped: lecturers neglected to read; they were ordered to do so five times a week by Horne, but Bilson reduced the number to three: on the other hand, he inaugurated weekly declamations. Artists delayed to proceed to theology and thus evaded holy orders, and canonists sought to excuse themselves on the ground that the subdiaconate, the first step enjoined by the founder, had been abolished. There was also much financial corruption: leases of college estates were granted to fellows; court fees, heriots, and fines on copyhold leases were pocketed by the Warden and outriders; the bursars made such profits from the sale of dripping and from commissions from tradesmen that there was unseemly competition for the office. The Visitors also frowned on some of the methods whereby the seniors made life more comfortable. Bishop Horne forbade them to keep poor scholars to wait on them at the college expense; Bilson allowed them provided that their employers obtained leave and paid their battels. Bishop Horne forbade the seniors to use the Chequer as a private dining-room. (fn. 254) On the other hand, the Visitors winked at the building of 'cocklofts', the panelling and ceiling of rooms, and the provision of furniture in chambers at the college expense, (fn. 255) and tolerated beer money (an allocation for beavers and nuncheons which began in the latter years of Elizabeth) (fn. 256) and the free distribution of wood (inaugurated by Warden Lake under James I). (fn. 257)
The enormous rise in prices which began in the 16th century had complicated repercussions on college finance. Rents, since the estates were let on long leases, lagged behind prices, and in fact never rose in full proportion, since the college, like other landlords, took the line of least resistance and renewed leases at a low rent in consideration of a fine. The Warden and fellows tended to regard fines not as college revenue but as windfalls, to be divided between them. The attitude of the Visitors stiffened on this question as fines became a larger proportion of revenue. In 1567 Horne permitted 'money given for the common seal' to go to the fellows, only insisting that it should be equally divided. In 1610 Bilson allowed a fifth of the fines to the Warden, two-fifths to the fellows, but reserved two-fifths to domus. (fn. 258) The expenses of the college, on the other hand, did not rise in full proportion to prices, since the majority of the allowances statutorily defined in cash were not raised; and incidentally the chapel bill was halved by the Reformation. The expenditure on commons, however, had to be increased in proportion to prices. From the 1530's onwards the college regularly exceeded the statutory allocation by ever-increasing amounts. (fn. 259) The increase was apparently justified on the ground that the college had since the founder's time acquired additional estates whose revenue was deemed to cover an additional 1s. a week per head on commons. (fn. 260) In fact, besides the donation of Henry VI in 1441, the college acquired several new estates in the 16th century, including the manor of Stanton St. John* (1539) in Oxon. and the impropriated rectories of Marshfield (1552) in Glos. and Chesterton in Oxon. (1558). (fn. 261) The acquisition of Stanton was also deemed to justify a modest increment to the livery, totalling about £20. This increment was allotted according to seniority. The system varied, but eventually became £1 to the Warden, 16s. each to the seven seniors, 13s. 4d. to the next seven and so on (12s., 10s., 8s., 5s., 4s., 3s.). (fn. 262) Notwithstanding this increase in its revenue the college was in a difficult position till in 1575 the Statute of 18 Eliz. c. 6, sometimes known as the Statute of Provision, enacted that in all future leases a third of the customary rent should be 'reserved' in corn, to be valued at the pre-inflation price of 6s. 8d. the quarter, and that this corn rent, paid either in kind or in cash at the current price of corn, should be devoted to the increase of commons. The college thus, in regard to a third of its revenue, both regained the loss incurred by inflation and was assured for the future against further depreciation. One-tenth of the corn rent was, it may be noted, assigned to the Warden, who also during this period (1553–1647) always held the two college livings of Stanton and Colerne. (fn. 263) The remainder was mostly actually spent on food; but as it was not specified in the statute that only resident members were entitled to commons, it was deemed that absentees might draw their allocation under the statute in cash. (fn. 264)
It may be noted that the financial changes of the 16th century rendered fellowships more attractive in many ways. Not only did the fellows acquire many minor comforts—beer, wood, furniture, and so forth—but a fellowship had now a cash value in the share of fines, a value which rose steadily, and it was not necessary to reside in order to enjoy this revenue nor the proportion of commons arising out of the com rent, which was by the early 17th century well over half. These facts may partly account for certain abuses which arose at this time. Since fellowships were worth having, they commanded a price. In 1567 and 1576 the Visitors complain that the Warden and posers took bribes at the elections and preferred the rich to the poor. (fn. 265) In 1592 it is stated that the fellows sold their places when they resigned; this complaint is repeated in letters of 1609–10, and by the Parliamentary Visitors in 1657. The system of election (see above) made this abuse peculiarly tempting, since the fellow intending to resign knew exactly who would fill his place. The practice, forbidden with increasing stringency, was to resign immediately before the election. Scholars of Winchester on the current election roll, which would shortly be rendered void by the new election, would be willing to pay highly to get a place at the eleventh hour, and perhaps they were unwilling to pay a living fellow for his place so long as they had a chance of getting a 'dead place' for nothing. It is doubtful whether the oaths imposed on all parties had much effect: 'corrupt resignations' were still in full swing in the early 18th century. (fn. 266) Another abuse which began in the Elizabethan period was non-residence; in 1585 Bishop Cooper ordered that leaves of absence be entered in a special book, and forbade leave for foreign travel (fn. 267) (in 1572 Fisher had got 3 years 'for study overseas', in 1576 W. and R. Harley each 3 years 'for travelling overseas', in 1578 J. Harman 4 years to visit the Indies, and, despite the injunction, Butler got 3 years in 1593 'to visit universities overseas'). (fn. 268) Bishop Bilson in 1599 found that scholars retained their places while actually in the service of great men and wearing their livery. (fn. 269)
The third abuse of this period was the influx of founder's kin. The founder had, in the manner of his age, made ample provision for his kindred on the foundation. They were to have an absolute preference, provided only that they were competent in grammar; they need not have been at Winchester; they were admissible up to 30 years of age; and their property disqualification was £13 6s. 8d. (as against £3 6s. 8d. for others). They were admitted as fellows without probation, and might hold their fellowships with an income, lay or ecclesiastical, of £20 (as against £5 and £6 13s 4d.). (fn. 270) Despite these privileges only about a dozen founder's kin entered the college in the medieval period, six in the founder's lifetime, the rest in the following fifty years. After a gap of about a century Lord Saye and Sele secured his son's election in 1569, and in the succeeding eighty years forty-five more were elected. (fn. 271) The college endeavoured to stem the influx and obtained in 1589 a judgement from the Visitor that there should not be more than eight founder's kinsmen in the college at any given time. This ruling was set aside by the House of Lords in 1640. (fn. 272)
After the disturbance caused by the numerous expulsions early in Elizabeth's reign the number of elections during this period (1578–1647) fell to five or six a year. The reason for this was not that the seniors stayed up any longer, but that mortality was greatly reduced, especially among juniors, and that the great majority now stayed up to take their M.A. or B.C.L. and did not abandon their studies prematurely. Among the professions the Church still led, with 114 beneficed and forty fellows of Winchester, besides twenty who went to the ecclesiastical courts. Six only went over to the common law, 25 became schoolmasters, ten struck out a new line, practising as doctors of medicine. Four only resigned on marriage, but the increasingly aristocratic character of the college is betrayed by five resignations on the property qualification and three on receiving a knighthood. (fn. 273)
The Commonwealth caused a serious breach in the continuity of the college. The Parliamentary Visitors expelled the Warden and over forty fellows and scholars, while several others vanish without a trace; only seventeen seem to have retained their fellowships. The vacancies were filled by an intruded Warden and fellows, many of whom were drawn from Cambridge, but regular elections were subsequently permitted. In 1660 the fourteen surviving intruded fellows and five others were expelled, and eighteen of the old fellows came back; by this time only five of the fellows who had submitted in 1648 survived, and one of those was expelled. (fn. 274)
In these circumstances it is not surprising that Warden Woodward (elected 1658) found great difficulty in ruling the college. Many traditions had lapsed: the restored seniors had lost the habit of academical life: and there was a not unnatural bitterness between them and the Warden who had been elected under the Commonwealth. The visitation of Bishop George Morley in 1664 reveals that discipline was, as a result, lax; academic exercises were neglected, religious services were not attended. In 1667 it is complained further that 'long and unstatutable absence is winked at in some fellows'. There was, moreover, friction between the seniors and juniors, and in 1666 the former, complaining that they 'have been soe awed for fear of loosinge some expected preferment' by the votes of the juniors 'that the discipline of the House may in time be lost', urged the Visitor to interpret Rubric 47 (which is ambiguously worded) so as to deprive the juniors of their votes at college meetings. The Visitor, however, confirmed the custom of the college. (fn. 275)
During this period life in college was made far more comfortable. Between 1675 and 1700 new buildings were erected which provided single sets for the seniors and double sets for the juniors. In 1676 a senior (or masters') common room was established, followed in 1684 by a junior (or bachelors') common room on a less sumptuous scale. (fn. 276) In 1678 an important financial change was introduced by the Warden and Thirteen; henceforth, a reserve fund of £500 having been created, all the surplus revenue of the college except £50 was annually distributed among the Warden and fellows (scholars were allowed increment from 1799 onwards), in modo incrementi (see above); this method of distribu tion, it may be noted, gave substantial preference to seniors. (fn. 277) Twelve increments were forthwith paid out, and the number rose steadily year by year till it reached about fifty in the early 18th century. These increments, together with his share of the fines (four-fifths of which were by 1664 distributed among the fellows), (fn. 278) provided a regular cash income (not dependent upon residence) for each fellow. The financial value of a fellowship was not only dependent upon seniority but also varied considerably from year to year according to the number of fellows and the amount of fines which fell in, but seems by the early 19th century to have been on an average from £100 to £150. The Warden, meanwhile, besides his statutory salary and allowances (now commuted for cash), drew a fifth of the fines, a tenth of the corn rent, and a twentieth to a twenty-fifth of the surplus by way of increments. To this was added in 1764 the revenue from four houses in Gerrard Street, Westminster, bequeathed by John Carey to augment the emoluments of the Warden. (fn. 279) On the other hand, later Wardens did not hold college livings till in 1765 the sinecure rectory of Colerne was annexed to the office. (fn. 280)
One other change deserves notice. In 1677 the Visitor, despite some opposition from within the college, ruled that Rubric 21 (de extraneis non introducendis ad onus collegii) did not bar the admission of gentlemen commoners who, so far from being a burden, would not only pay their way but might be hoped to be generous patrons. (fn. 281) Accommodation for six was provided in the new buildings, (fn. 282) but this number was exceeded at times; in 1836 an order of the Warden and Thirteen reduced it to eight. (fn. 283)
Towards the end of the 17th century the college began to sink into that torpor from which it did not awake till the middle of the 19th. During this period fellowships tended to become 'perpetual' in the sense which the founder had hardly contemplated, some fellows retaining them for thirty, forty, or even fifty years. The number of elections thus sank to an average of four to five a year—about a third being of founder's kin—and the number of seniors (M.A.s and B.C.L.s) in college rose to 30–40. Of these relatively few resided, 20–25 being given leave of absence year after year 'because being detained by serious business they could not conveniently be present in college'. (fn. 284) They were in fact pursuing their professions (principally, it would seem, the law) or serving benefices which fell below the statutory maximum. For a literal reading of the statutes now required resignation only on marriage, or presentation to a benefice exceeding 8 marks (interpreted in 1701 as £80 and 1784 as £120) (fn. 285) in clear value, or on succeeding to property (the statutory maximum of £5 was presumably interpreted at a higher figure). In these circumstances it is not surprising that death, often at an advanced age, accounted for as many as 150 vacancies. Only about thirty resigned or were ejected on the property disqualification, which it was difficult to verify; of these two had for many years been insane. Over 200 resigned on marriage. About fifty became fellows of Winchester, and about 200 retired beneficed; in addition to these over half of those who resigned on marriage had married on the strength of a benefice. (fn. 286) The college during this period tried to accelerate the preferment of its fellows by buying up livings with the now useless building fund: it acquired Berwick (Wilts., R.) in 1741, Paulerspury (Northants, V.) in 1750, Little Sandford (Essex, R.) and Long Ditton (Surrey, R.) in 1765–6, Worthen (Salop, V.) in 1784, and Stockton (Warwick, R.) and Donhead (Wilts, R.) in 1824. (fn. 287) It had previously acquired by gift Bucknell (Oxon., R.) in 1610, Wootton (Oxon., R.) in 1647, and Abbotstoke (Dorset, R.) in 1675.
The college took no part in the early-19th-century movement of reform beyond renouncing in 1834 its privilege of obtaining degrees without examination; (fn. 288) it obtained one first class in the next twenty years. It refused absolutely to co-operate with the first Commission, but in 1854 yielded so far to the trend of the age as to admit commoners. (fn. 289) In 1857 it had to bow to an ordinance which radically amended its constitution. Under this scheme thirty scholarships at £80 a year, tenable for five years only, were created; these were still reserved for Winchester (but for the whole school, commoners included), but were to be thrown open if there was no candidate of sufficient merit (the first open scholar, the late Warden Spooner, was elected under this clause in 1862). Of the fellowships (30, to to be raised as funds allowed to 40) half were to be open, half reserved to former members of Winchester or New College. These fellowships were to be awarded on examination but carried no obligations and were for life, vacated on marriage, a benefice of £300 or property or office bringing in £500: their value was to be brought up to an average of £200. By a second ordinance of 1858 the creation of the last ten fellowships was postponed and the money used to implement the salaries of the two Savilian professors. (fn. 290)
Once reformed the college soon began to reform itself. It reduced its redundant staff of chaplains to three and instituted in place of the clerkships eight choral scholarships; this experiment was soon abandoned. (fn. 291) By an amendment of 1866 it converted the last five open fellowships into ten open scholarships and in 1869 suppressed the five corresponding Winchester fellowships in favour of the tuition fund. At the same time it gave a lead to the University by allowing tutorial fellows to marry (within certain limitations) and electing its tutorial fellows without examination. (fn. 292) A year earlier it had in concert with Balliol initiated the system of intercollegiate lectures. By this time the number of commoners had risen to thirty; all were expected to read for honours. (fn. 293)
Under the new constitution of 1881 the college was to consist of thirty-six fellows, viz. five professors (the two Savilian and three Wykeham), a bursar (optional), up to ten tutors, and not less than fourteen 'ordinary' fellows, half open and half Winchester, elected by examination for seven years; the last class never reached its full complement and had before the last commission lapsed in favour of additional lecturers. There were six Winchester and four open scholarships a year, tenable for four or five years, besides exhibitions. The financial system was at the same time remodelled, the old dividend giving way to fixed stipends. (fn. 294) The number of commoners had by 1881 reached 150; (fn. 295) in 1948 it rose as high as 424 but by 1950 it had decreased to 350. The college is now governed by statutes enacted by the Commission of 1922. (fn. 296)
The most outstanding of the portraits in Hall are those of the Founder by Sampson Strong (1596), of Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury (late 17th cent.), of William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, which is very possibly by John Taylor, and of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells.
In the Warden's Lodging there is a group of late-16th-century and early-17th-century portraits in tempera as follows: the Founder (full length), heads of the Founder, Henry Chichele and William Wayneflete, King Henry VIII, Bishop Jewel, Sir William Petre; Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (?); Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset; Henry, Prince of Wales; Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury; Robert Sydney, Earl of Leicester (?).
Of similar date are William Wayneflete, Archbishop Bancroft and Warden Pink in oils. The only notable later portrait is Warden Oglander by Romney. (fn. 297)
The college's collection is distinguished by its jewelled medieval relics of the founder, and by its numerous fine pieces of 15th- and 16th-century plate. There is the founder's crozier (1367), his mitre and ring; also a jewel (an M enclosing an Annunciation), and a chain of enamel plaques (pictures of hares, hounds and huntsmen) believed to have belonged to the founder.
The early plate belonging to the warden consists of a coconut cup with mid-15th-century silver-gilt mount, representing a Hortus Inclusus; a coconut cup of the same date with silver-gilt mount of feather design, inscribed Benedicte Maria gracia plena, Dominus tecum; a Salt with cover (c. 1490), silver gilt, inscribed M super WA montes TER stabunt HIL aque; a Grace Cup (c. 1480), silver gilt; a Sung pottery bowl in early-16th-century mount of silver gilt; the Monkey Salt (early-16th cent.) of silver gilt; a coconut cup (1584) with silver-gilt mount and the Unicorn's Horn.
Among the chapel plate are the following early pieces; a silver pax with gilded relief of the Crucifixion (1520–30); two Elizabethan chalices and patens, two silver-gilt flagons of 1602; a small silver alms dish (1640) and a large silver-gilt one (1665).
The original seal of the college c. 1380 is circular and measures 2½ in. in diameter. At the top in a canopied niche is a representation of the Annunciation, directly below in canopied niches are four figures: William of Wykeham, and a bishop with hand raised in benediction (presumably St. Swithin), and St. Peter and St. Paul on either side, with the inscription 'Wykham: Epo: fu[n]dator'. In base are the founder's arms, two chevronels between three roses, with supporters, and the legend round the seal is 'Sigillum: Comune: Collegii: Ste: Mare: of: Wynchester: in Oxonia'. This seal was replaced in 1932 by an electrotype replica made at the Royal Mint. The original is now kept in the college treasury.
The small seal c. 1540 is also circular and has a diameter of 11/6 in. It bears the founder's arms with the letters I.L. on either side—the initials of John London, Warden of New College, 1526–42. The inscription is '+ Manner (sic) + Makyth + Man +'. This seal was replaced in 1945 by one made at the Royal Mint with the founder's arms and the inscription 'Sig + Comm + Nov + Coll + Oxon.'
Nicholas Wykeham, 1379–89
Thomas Cranley, 1389–96
Richard Malford, 1396–1403
John Bowke, 1403–29
William Estcourt, 1429–35
Nicholas Ossulbury, 1435–54
Thomas Chaundler, 1454–75
Walter Hyll, 1475–94
William Porter, 1494–1520
John Rede, 1520–1
John Young, 1521–6
John London, 1526–42
Henry Cole, 1542–51
Ralph Skinner, 1551–3
Thomas Whyte, 1553–73
Martin Culpepper, 1573–99
George Ryves, 1599–1613
Arthur Lake, 1613–17
Robert Pink, 1617–47
Henry Stringer, 1647–8
[George Marshall intruded by the Parliamentary Commissioners], 1649–58
Michael Woodward, 1658–75
John Nicholas, 1675–9
Henry Beeston, 1679–1701
Richard Traffles, 1701–3
Thomas Brathwait, 1703–12
John Cobb, 1712–20
John Dobson, 1720–4
Henry Bigg, 1725–30
John Coxed, 1730–40
John Purnell, 1740–64
Thomas Hayward, 1764–8
John Oglander, 1768–94
Samuel Gauntlett, 1794–1822
Philip Nicholas Shuttleworth, 1822–40
David Williams, 1840–60
James Edward Sewell, 1860–1903
William Archibald Spooner, 1903–25
Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher, 1925–40
Alic Halford Smith, 1944–