A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3, the University of Oxford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954.
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The College of Blessed Mary and All Saints, Lincoln, in the University of Oxford, was founded by Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, in 1427, with the object of training graduates who should be able to combat the heretical doctrines of Wycliffe. Fleming's first step was to obtain a charter from Henry VI, dated 13 Oct. 1427, (fn. 1) granting him permission to unite the three Oxford parishes of All Saints, St. Mildred, and St. Michael at the North Gate, all of which had been in the patronage of the Bishops of Lincoln since 1326; (fn. 2) to incorporate the three churches thus united into a collegiate church; and therein to establish a college under the patronage of Our Lady and All Saints. To these appropriated churches the chantry of St. Anne in All Saints Church was to be added if the consent of the Mayor of Oxford was obtained; the mayor is mentioned because under the foundation charter of this chantry, the mayor for the time being was the patron.
The college is to consist of a warden or rector and seven scholars (i.e. fellows), and two hired chaplains to serve the churches of All Saints and St. Michael. The church of St. Mildred, which is described as being poor, was shortly afterwards pulled down, and part of the college buildings erected on the site of church and churchyard. The patron of the college is to be the Bishop of Lincoln for the time being. The purpose of the college is stated to be the honouring of God and the increase of clergy, and that prayers may be offered for the welfare of King Henry and of Bishop Fleming during their lifetimes, and afterwards for the repose of their souls, of those of their ancestors, and of all the faithful departed. The chaplains of the two churches are similarly bound to pray for the welfare of king and bishop, living and departed.
Fleming's own foundation charter was issued 19 Dec. 1429 from the chapel of his manor of Lyddington in Rutland. (fn. 3) In this the incorporation of the three churches, the grant of the chantry of St. Anne, and the title of the college are all established. The first rector, William Chamberleyn, is also appointed. Fleming designed, but apparently did not formally draw up, statutes for his college. (fn. 4) But a preface which he wrote and which is prefixed to the statutes of 1479/1480 gives his intentions very clearly. (fn. 5) He was founding his little college (collegiolum) in order that the prevalent errors and heresies which were leading people astray might be opposed by a body of trained graduates. The proem of the statutes reiterates that the college was founded 'pro destruendis heresibus et erroribus evellendis, plantandisque sacre doctrine seminariis'. It is significant that among the manuscripts recorded as having been given to his foundation by Richard Fleming there appears 'Waldensis contra Wiclyf'. (fn. 6) It may be added that the legend, started by Anthony Wood, and repeated by many historians, that Fleming as a young man was a Wycliffite, is quite incorrect. (fn. 7)
The original site of Lincoln College, comprising what is now the front quadrangle, consisted of the following parcels of ground. First, the area occupied by the church and churchyard of St. Mildred, which were situated in the corner between St. Mildred's Lane (now Brasenose Lane) and Turl St., given by Fleming in his foundation charter. The north side of the quadrangle and the west side north of the tower were later built on this site. Secondly, a toft or garden belonging to Robert Craunford, which was sold to Fleming on 4 Apr. 1430. (fn. 8) This was a narrow strip of land, 41 yards long by 12¾ yards wide, reaching to Turl St., between Hampton Hall to the south and a toft belonging to the priory of St. Frideswide (Brend Hall) to the north. The south-west corner of the quadrangle, which Fleming probably began at once, was erected on this site. Thirdly, a messuage called Deep Hall belonging to the Hospital of St. John the Baptist (afterwards Magdalen College), which was sold by the Master, Richard Tew, to Fleming's agents on 20 June 1430. (fn. 9) This was situated between the church of St. Mildred and Brend Hall to the west and a tenement of St. Frideswide (Winton Hall) to the east. The college buttery and hall were later built on this site. Fourthly, the tenement of St. Frideswide called Brend Hall (12½ yards by 31 yards) between the church of St. Mildred to the north and the toft purchased from Robert Craunford to the south. This tenement was probably acquired by Fleming in 1430, thus securing the site of the whole of the western side of the front quadrangle. The tower and entrance gateway were erected on this site. Fifthly, the tenement of St. Frideswide called Winton Hall (62 ft. wide and 155 ft. long in one place), situated between Deep Hall to the west and a tenement of University College (Oliphant Hall) to the east. This was also probably acquired by Fleming in 1430. Winton Hall stood on the site of the college kitchen. No record exists of the acquisition of these two tenements from St. Frideswide, but there is a deed of 1439 in which the prior quitclaims to the Rector of Lincoln a rent of 7s. 4d. due to his priory from Lincoln College for these two tenements. (fn. 10) As the site of Brend Hall is described in this deed as being occupied by the tower over the west gate of the college, it is clear that Lincoln possessed it before 1439: probably the college had possessed both it and Winton Hall tince 1430 and paid rent to St. Frideswide's during the interval. (fn. 11)
Such was the probable extent of the site of Lincoln College when Richard Fleming died on 25 Jan. 1431. The next advance came with the granting by the City of Oxford to the college in fee farm on 1 Aug. 1435 of a wedge-shaped piece of land 103 ft. long and 13 ft. wide at the west end, lying between Brasenose Lane on the north and Winton Hall and Deep Hall on the south. (fn. 12) After that no more land was acquired for nearly thirty years. In 1463 three further additions were made. Hampton Hall, facing on to Turl St., situated between Lincoln College on the north and Sekyll Hall on the south; Sekyll Hall, also facing on to Turl St., between Hampton Hall on the north and land belonging to the Hospital of St. John on the south; and a garden, once Oliphant Hall, between Lincoln College on the west and Sheld Hall on the east, were all acquired from University College. (fn. 13) Hampton and Sekyll Halls formed the site of the chapel quadrangle, which was not begun until 1607. The site of Oliphant Hall was turned by the college into a vegetable garden. (fn. 14) Finally, the land once belonging to St. John's Hospital, situated between Sekyll Hall on the north and All Saints' churchyard on the south, was acquired in 1772, the property having, of course, passed to Magdalen College. (fn. 15)
The original endowments of Lincoln College consisted of the revenues of the two Oxford churches of All Saints and St. Michael at the North Gate. These revenues, which included weekly offertories, Easter offerings (i.e. personal tithes), and customary fees, were very small. It has been computed that they would not have amounted to much over £15 a year after paying the salaries of the two chaplains appointed to serve the churches, for the maintenance of the fabrics, and other requisites. (fn. 16) In 1475 Bishop Thomas Rotheram, the second founder, entered into negotiations with the abbey of Eynsham, the patron of the living, for the appropriation to the college of the church of Long Combe, Oxfordshire. (fn. 17) In 1478 the bishop received a licence from Edward IV to impropriate into Lincoln College the churches of Twyford, Buckinghamshire, and Long Combe, Oxfordshire, a proviso being made that a chaplain should be appointed to perform divine service in each. (fn. 18) The revenues from Twyford and Combe were designed to help to supplement the inadequate resources of the expanding society. No further advowsons were added for a long time. In the eighteenth century, however, a Livings Fund was formed for the purchase of advowsons. In this way there came to the college the patronage of Leighs Magna, Essex (1726), Winterborne Abbas with Winterborne Steepleton, Dorset (1735), Waddington, Lincolnshire (1755), and Cublington, Buckinghamshire (1766). (fn. 19) The estate and advowson of Forest Hill, Oxfordshire, were bought in 1800 in order to supply an income for the scholarships founded by the bequest of Richard Hutchins, Rector of Lincoln College from 1755 to 1781. (fn. 20) Finally, the advowson of South Otterington, Yorkshire, came into the possession of the college through the gift of Miss Darnborough in 1906. (fn. 21)
Lincoln College soon began to acquire both land and house property. Accordingly, it became necessary to obtain licences from the king for the college to hold lands in mortmain. These licences, which are sometimes referred to as the second and third charters of Henry VI, are dated respectively 4 Nov. 1445 (for land up to the value of £10) and 21 Oct. 1447 (for land up to the value of £50). (fn. 22) The college estates came to it in one of two ways: either by direct gift, or else by the gift of money to be spent on the purchase of land or house property. The following properties came by direct gift. In 1444 William Finderne, of Childrey, Berkshire, gave the estate of Seacourt, in Botley parish. (fn. 23) In 1451 John Bucktot, priest, who died as a lodger in the college in 1452, gave his manor of Little Pollicott, in the parish of Ashenden, Buckinghamshire. (fn. 24) In 1507 William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln, granted to the college his manor of Senders, or Seynclers, in the parish of Chalgrove, Oxfordshire; (fn. 25) and in 1508 he also made the college a gift of his manor of Bushbury (or Elston), Staffordshire. (fn. 26). In 1568 Roger Manwood, founder of the grammar school at Sandwich, Kent, as executor of the will of Joan Traps, widow of Robert Traps, a London goldsmith, conveyed to the college lands at Whitstable, Kent, of the estimated value of £11 6s. 8d. of which £10 13s. 4d. was to be paid in even portions to four poor scholars of Lincoln, to be called 'the Schollers of Robert Trapps, of London, gouldsmith, and Jone his wife', one of whom was to be nominated by the governors from Sandwich School. (fn. 27)
Lincoln, like other poor colleges, was ready to let vacant rooms to outsiders, and in two cases at least they gave benefactions. We find that John Gorsuch, the Commissary, had a room in the college in 1438, (fn. 28) and the Chancellor himself in 1450. (fn. 29) In 1452 Richard Cordone, the wealthy Archdeacon of Rochester, had a room for which he paid 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 30) In 1452 John Bucktot, an elderly priest, died in the college. (fn. 31) In 1479 M. Walter Bate, a lodger of the same kind, (fn. 32) left to the college his house property in Oxford; he had been Proctor in 1447 and Principal of White Hall in 1458. (fn. 33) An incumbent named Hesylle, who died in 1464, was a lodger in the college, as it seems from his will. (fn. 34) These lodgers have been termed 'Commoners of the College' by college historians, an unfortunate term; they were often elderly persons, in no sense members of the college, who hired a room in Oxford when they retired from work; they were allowed to order food from the manciple at their own cost and eat it in hall. The bursar's accounts about the years 1490 to 1520 give us the names of the lodgers; they were five or six in number and all that the college received from them was a rent of 13s. 4d. a year for a camera. The college, of course, had no scholars or commoners in the modern sense of the words; but the bursar's accounts, which are very incomplete, speak occasionally of poor scholars who lived on the leavings of the fellows and acted as fags to them. They, too, were not members of the college, but private servants.
In 1475 the college received a useful addition to its income. Fleming in his foundation charter (fn. 35) had endowed the college with the churches of St. Michael, St. Mildred, and All Saints and also the chantry of St. Anne habito Maioris ville consensu; but Fleming evidently did not obtain the mayor's consent, for mayors presented to the chantry in 1440, 1442, 1444, and 1458. (fn. 36) On 1 May 1475 William Dagville, Mayor of Oxford, and a friend of the college, issued a charter that 'sufficienter informatus per reverendum in Christo patrem, dominum Thomam Rotheram, dominum nostrum specialissimum, quod Ricardus Fleming ab annis quorum memoria hominum in contrarium non existit' had endowed the college with the chantry of St. Anne, having received the licence of the king, the archbishop, the dean and chapter, the archdeacon, and the comminalty of Oxford, as was clear from the letters of the foundation of the college, he now, having had deliberation with the city council, ratifies the appropriation of the chantry, on condition that it is served by one of the fellows of the college, who shall receive 40s. a year, and that on New Year's Day the mayor shall inform the Rector which of the fellows he nominates to serve the chantry for the next twelvemonth; if the mayor sends no message, the Rector shall choose whom he wills. (fn. 37) It is evident that the information supplied by Rotheram was not historically accurate, but if Fleming had not died so soon it would have been true. The endowments of the chantry were worth about £12 a year from rents in Oxford, the chief property being Bicester's Inn which now passed to the college and in consequence took the sign of the Mitre. Subsequently by the will of William Dagville the college acquired another inn in All Saints called Dagville's Inn, formerly Croxford's Inn; this has been confused by Wood with the Mitre, and he has misled all the college historians. Dagville's Inn was nos. 10 to 12 High Street, having its front on the High Street, but a back entrance from Market Street; (fn. 38) it is now the western portion of the site of the market. The college parted with it early in the sixteenth century to Mr. Frere or Freur.
The following lands were bought by the college with money left for its endowment. With money given by John Forest, Prebendary of Lincoln (1401–46) and Dean of Wells (1425–46), who received the title of co-founder of the college, and by William Finderne, who has already been mentioned, land in Littlemore, Iffley, and Cowley, Oxfordshire, was purchased in 1445. The property in Iffley included Iffley mill. (fn. 39) With part of the £200 paid to the college by the executors of the will of Thomas Beckington, Bishop of Bath and Wells, land at Holcot in Northamptonshire was bought in 1471. (fn. 40) In 1518/19 the manors of Eckney and Petsoe, near Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, were bought, (fn. 41) a small portion of the purchase money being the gift of Edmund Audley, Bishop of Salisbury. (fn. 42) In 1537 Edward Darby, Archdeacon of Stowe, gave a large sum of money to support three new fellowships at Lincoln College. (fn. 43) With this money the college purchased in 1544/5 the manor of Little Smeaton, Yorkshire, (fn. 44) and in 1552 land at Sutton with Lound and Knighton, also in Yorkshire. (fn. 45)
In 1529 the bursar's roll gives a list of the obits which the college observed; viz. Ric. Fleming 2s., John Southam 16s. 4d., Will. Fyndern 3s. 4d., John Crosby 7s. 4d., John Forest 19s. 6d., Henry Bewford Cardinal 12s. 10d., Thos. Rotheram 15s. 2d., Ame Lane 1s. 10d., Edmund, Audley 23s., Will. Smith 14s., Will. Dagfeld 19s., Walter Bate 8s. 4d. It will be observed that Bp. Beckington and Margaret Parker, two great benefactors, had left no money for an obit. On the other hand, Ame (Amilia) Lane, who was tenant of the Mitre to about 1508, had an obit, although she is not in the list of college benefactors.
About 1570 Robert Parkinson, then Sub-Rector, drew up a list of early benefactors for whom the college was in duty bound to pray. (fn. 46) It is not necessary to detail them here. Of later benefactors, two deserve especial mention. These are first, Thomas Marshall, Rector from 1672 to 1685, who left a large number of his books to the college and ordered the rest of his effects to be sold and with the proceeds land to be bought by the college 'for the maintenance of some poor scholars in Lincoln College'. (fn. 47) Unfortunately, rent charges were purchased instead of land. (fn. 48) Secondly, Nathaniel Crewe, Rector from 1668 to 1672, afterwards Bishop of Durham, gave the college in 1717 the munificent benefaction of £474 6s. 8d. a year to increase the incomes of the Rector, fellows, chaplains, scholars, and Bible-clerk, and to found twelve exhibitions of £20 each. (fn. 49) Scholarships were also endowed by Richard Hutchins, Rector from 1755 to 1781 (1781), Elizabeth Tatham, widow of Edward Tatham, Rector from 1792 to 1834 (1847), John Radford, Rector from 1834 to 1851 (1851), Henry Usher Matthews (1856), and William Walter Merry, Rector from 1884 to 1918 (1909). An exhibition was given by George Henry Mellor in 1898. All these are now merged in one general scheme, together with the original fellowships and the Darby fellowships. A law scholarship was founded in 1918 by Mr. L. A. Oldfield in memory of his son Captain L. C. F. Oldfield, who was killed in the war of 1914–18, and an organ scholarship in 1935 by the Rev. Geoffrey Francis Allen. Exhibitions were founded by John Alexander Stewart (1927), Theodore Frederick Althaus (1933), and Old Members (1934). (fn. 50)
As originally planned, Fleming's college was to consist of a warden, or rector, and seven scholars (fellows). The number of scholars was to be regulated at the discretion of the founder. The patron, or visitor, was to be the Bishop of Lincoln. As has been seen, Fleming conceived, but never executed, statutes. In the half-century which elapsed between his death in 1431 and the drawing up of the code of statutes by Thomas Rotheram, Bishop of Lincoln, the second founder, in 1479/80, the college passed through many vicissitudes, and twice at least came very near extinction. When Edward IV ascended the throne in March 1461 Lincoln, like other bodies owing their title to the deposed Henry VI, was threatened with dissolution. The Rector, John Tristropp, who had only been elected in February, (fn. 51) together with the fellows, appealed to George Neville, Chancellor of Oxford University, Bishop of Exeter, and Lord High Chancellor of England, to help them in this dilemma. (fn. 52) Accordingly, acting on his advice, a petition was addressed to King Edward some time in 1461, asking him to confirm the original charter of Henry VI and his two licences in mortmain. A prescribed form was attached. (fn. 53) The required confirmation was sent in the form of letters patent under the Great Seal on 9 Feb. 1461/2, and is known as the first charter of Edward IV. (fn. 54) Furthermore, on 23 Jan. 1462/3 the king sent the college his pardon of all transgressions before 4 Nov. 1461 and his release from all fines, &c., up to 5 Mar. 1462. (fn. 55) Unfortunately, however, although the college had asked for the ratification of its foundation to be made 'Custodi sive Rectori et Scholaribus et successoribus suis', the all-important words 'et successoribus' were omitted, either by accident or design, from the letters patent. The result of this omission was that in 1474 the college again found itself on the verge of extinction: it was alleged that with the death of the then existing members the college would lapse to the king. On this occasion an appeal was made to the Visitor, Thomas Rotheram, Bishop of Lincoln, not the least of whose benefits to Lincoln College was the successful supplication for a further charter. On 16 June 1478 letters patent were issued to the college authorities confirming the charters of 13 Oct. 1427 and 9 Feb. 1461/2, and the mortmain licences of 1445 and 1447, and establishing the foundation as a permanent society. Rotheram was also empowered to raise the number of fellows from seven to twelve, and the college was to be allowed to hold land in mortmain to the yearly value of £10 above the amount previously granted. (fn. 56) This is known as the second charter of Edward IV.
Rotheram's code of statutes, consisting of ten chapters, is dated 11 Feb. 1479/80. (fn. 57) The first and most important chapter deals with the method of election, &c., to the twelve fellowships which Lincoln College was now to possess. Thenceforth no one was to be elected to a fellowship at the college unless he came from one of the three dioceses of Lincoln, York, and Wells. The reason for this particular restriction is obvious. Lincoln was the diocese of the original founder, Richard Fleming, and of Rotheram himself. York was the diocese in which Rotheram had been born. John Forest and Thomas Beckington, who between them, as will shortly be seen, had built most of the college, had been respectively Dean and Bishop of Wells. One fellow was to come from Weils diocese; eight from Lincoln diocese, of whom four were to be from Lincolnshire and especially from the archdeaconry of Lincoln, if enough suitable persons were forthcoming; and four from the diocese of York, of whom two at least were to come from Yorkshire, and especially from the archdeaconry of York, always giving preference to the parish of Rotheram, if suitable persons were forthcoming. The Rector was always to come either from the diocese of Lincoln or from that of York. A bachelor was never to be elected to a fellowship unless no suitable master was forthcoming. There follow regulations concerning the actual ceremony of election, the circumstances under which fellowships might be forfeited, &c.
The second chapter deals with the three chief college officers, the Rector, the Sub-Rector, and the Treasurer or Bursar. The Rector, who was to enjoy substantial privileges, had to be elected by the fellows in the college chapel, and his election must then be ratified by the Bishop of Lincoln. The duties of the Sub-Rector, who also had to come either from the diocese of Lincoln or from that of York, consisted chiefly in dealing with questions of discipline among the fellows and of taking charge in the absence of the Rector. The Treasurer or Bursar was deputed to receive the college revenues, to superintend the buying of food, and to supervise the manciple and the cook. He was required to render both strict terminal and annual accounts. There was to be a chest for the custody of muniments and treasure: of this the Rector, Sub-Rector, and one fellow, who was not an officer, were to have the keys.
In the third chapter minute directions are laid down as to the degrees of those elected to fellowships and the disputations to be attended by them. The study of theology and the taking of theological degrees was naturally strongly insisted upon. All fellows must be priests when elected or take priest's orders within the year. One fellow might study Canon Law, provision having been made for a capellanus legista by John Crosby in 1476. (fn. 58) With this exception, all fellows must take the degree of S.T.B. within eight years of completing their necessary regency, and S.T.P. within six years more; if they failed to do so, they ceased to be fellows. The college, therefore, like University College and Queen's College, was for the members of the University who had already finished the Arts course, that they might be able to complete the long Theological course. Two great chapters were to be held annually by virtue of regulations laid down in the fourth chapter. They were to take place on St. Leonard's Day (6 Nov.) and on the feast of St. John before the Latin Gate (6 May), and were intended for the transaction of college business. In case of difficulty or dissension appeal was to be made to the Bishop of Lincoln. The fifth chapter deals with the subject of the fellows' commons, which were to be of a moderate character. It also significantly deals with the question of the expulsion of heretical fellows. The sixth chapter contains elaborate provisions for the temporary diminishing of the number of fellows should the college fall on evil days. The seventh chapter makes arrangements for the preaching of sermons in English by the Rector and fellows at certain stated times. The eighth chapter arranges for the saying of the Divine Office and for the assignment of altars: the feast of St. Hugh is to be especially observed. In the ninth chapter very minute regulations are laid down with regard to prayers and masses to be said for founders and benefactors. Finally, in the tenth chapter, provision is made for the serving of the two new churches appropriated to the college by Rotheram. The chaplains would thus now be four in number.
The constitution of Lincoln College remained as it had been laid down by Bishop Rotheram, the second founder, for over fifty years. The bursar's accounts, which generally give us the names of the fellows, show that in many years the college could not maintain its full number, and they were no more than nine or ten, but in the years 1512 and 1514 and subsequently they were a rector and twelve fellows, as laid down by the statutes. In 1537, as already stated, by the benefaction of Edward Darby the number of fellows was again to be increased, this time by three. One of these was always to come from the archdeaconry of Stowe; the second from Leicestershire or Northamptonshire (preference always being given to a candidate from Leicestershire if his qualifications were equal to those of candidates from Northamptonshire); and the third from the county of Oxford. These Darby Fellows were to enjoy all the same privileges—pay, food, clothes, &c.,—as the other fellows. But the number of sixteen fellows (including the Rector) was only attained in 1538, the year of the appointment of the first Darby Fellows. (fn. 59) The Visitor's decision in 1606 settled that there need never be more than the Rector and twelve fellows. (fn. 60) From 1631 the constitution of the college was ten fellows on the original foundation, one from Somerset, three from Lincolnshire, two from Lincoln diocese, two from Yorkshire, and two from York diocese; and three on the Darby foundation, one from Oxfordshire, one from Northamptonshire or Leicestershire, and one from Stowe. (fn. 61)
Subject to these changes Rotheram's statutes governed Lincoln College until the University Commission of 1854. The statutes which were drawn up for the college in 1855 temporarily diminished the number of fellows from twelve to ten. The old customs, which are referred to in the Preface, connecting fellowships with particular localities, were abolished, and the various provisions of previous benefactors were welded into one body of statutes. (fn. 62) In 1925 fresh statutes, containing twenty chapters, were drawn up for the college in pursuance of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act of 1923. Previous benefactions were again welded into one general scheme, and the number of fellowships was left fluid. (fn. 63)
Again, in 1950, there were further extensive changes in the statutes, most of them matters of detail to facilitate the internal administrative and financial arrangements of the college. One important change was the surrender by the Visitor of the right to appoint a Visitor's fellow, the election now being in the hands of the Rector and fellows, subject to the Visitor's approval; the college also undertakes always to have one official fellow in Holy Orders of the Church of England.
The earliest buildings of Lincoln College were probably erected by Richard Fleming before his sudden death in Jan. 1431. As has been seen, he acquired the site of what is now the west side of the front quadrangle, and on it he may have built the tower, comprising the entrance gateway, the Rector's room over the archway, and above that another chamber, which served as the treasury and muniment room, and also the rooms south of the tower. The college buildings would thus have consisted of a mere fragment at the time of the founder's death. The work of continuation was undertaken by John Forest, Prebendary of Lincoln and Dean of Wells. In June 1437 his achievement is described as follows: 'Collegium in integrum aedificavit, capellam cum libraria, aulam cum coquina, cameras in alto et basso, de nobili opere at figura decenti eleganter construxit.' (fn. 64) This means that Forest completed the west side of the front quadrangle, built the whole of the north side, and the greater portion of the east side. The buildings thus erectect by Forest must each be considered briefly in turn.
The CHAPEL was a lofty upper room, situated in the eastern and larger portion of the north side of the quadrangle. As it abutted on the buttery buildings at the east end and on a staircase at the west, it had no east or west windows. In Bereblock's view of the college (1566) two windows are shown on the north; in Loggan's view (1674) four windows are shown on the south. A licence to perform divine service in a decent chapel or oratory within the college was granted by the Bishop of Lincoln to the Rector and fellows in 1441/2. (fn. 65) Further licences from the Archbishop of Canterbury followed in 1449/50 and 1450/1. (fn. 66) It is thought that the room had been used as a chapel since 1437, (fn. 67) and so it certainly continued to be until the consecration of the present chapel in 1631. From that date it remained disused until c. 1655, when it was converted into the senior library. (fn. 68) In 1906 it was divided into two stories in order to furnish ordinary college rooms. (fn. 69) Below the original chapel, on the ground floor, were two 'chambers' with their attached studies. These two sets of rooms were turned into the senior common room in 1662, and wainscoted in 1684. (fn. 70)
The LIBRARY (fn. 71) was also on the first floor, situated in the western and smaller portion of the north side of the quadrangle. It had two windows on the north (Bereblock) and three on the south (Loggan). As has been seen, Bishop Fleming inaugurated the library with a gift of manuscripts, of which twenty-six are enumerated in an inventory of 1474. In 1432 Dr. Thomas Gascoigne gave six manuscripts. (fn. 72) A few years later John Southam, Archdeacon of Oxford, who gave money to help with the buildings, also enriched the library with books. (fn. 73) In 1465 Robert Fleming, Dean of Lincoln, gave thirty-eight manuscripts of classical authors. (fn. 74) By 1474 the library contained 135 manuscripts chained to seven desks, and in 1476 a catalogue was made of 37 manuscripts which the fellows were allowed to take to their rooms to study there. Of later benefactions the most important is that of Thomas Marshall, who left his fine collection of Civil War tracts and pamphlets to the college. (fn. 75) The old library has now been divided into two rooms. Below it was a 'chamber' and its study: these now form two rooms also. Above was an attic for the Bible-clerk.
The HALL occupies the central and greater portion of the east side of the quadrangle. It consists of three bays, each with a large two-light window facing west. Originally, there were three corresponding windows on the east, but in process of alterations in the 18th and 19th centuries two of these were blocked up. From 1437 to 1699 we do not know that it received any major alterations, but in 1699 the open fire-place in the centre of the hall with its louvre, as shown in Loggan's plan, was. removed, and a fire-place with chimney was made, on the east side. In 1701 the pleasant wainscoting was set up, mainly at the expense of Nathaniel Crewe, who contributed £100. Nine cartouches of arms, recorded in Gutch's Wood (1786) as on the screen, which were obscured by the renovation of 1891, have recently come to light once more. The hall 'was the general living room of the Society, used for mid-day dinner and six o'clock supper, for morning scholastic disputations and evening social conversations'. (fn. 76) North of the hall is an arched passage way leading to the kitchen, and north of this again is the BUTTERY, used as a store for bread, cheese, beer, &c. Underneath the buttery a cellar was excavated in 1608. A great cellar was also excavated underneath the hall in 1640–1. Here are to be seen two rather rudely shaped stone pillars. In the past these pillars have been the subject of much controversy. Attempts have been made to prove that they are connected with the crypt of St. Mildred's Church, but their position is wrong for this. (fn. 77) Above the buttery were built a 'chamber' and an attic. (fn. 78)
East of the buttery, and connecting it with the kitchen, is a building of two stories, the lower one of which it is thought may have formed the manciple's room (fn. 79) The Kitchen is on the eastern side of the little court so formed. It has been conjectured that the kitchen, which is a strongly built stone structure with very thick walls, is the oldest part of the college, and that it may be 'the kitchen or refectory of an ancient hostel, adapted to its present purpose at the foundation of the college'. (fn. 80) On the other hand, there is the categorical statement that Forest built a kitchen, and the latest authority holds that there is insufficient architectural evidence to date the work before his time. (fn. 81) The chief features of the kitchen are its high roof and the pent-house (probably dating from the 17th century) on the western wall covering a pump.
The remaining portion of Forest's work consisted of the rooms north of the tower. These were two 'chambers' on the ground floor; on the first floor a 'chamber' giving access to the tower 'chamber' and another on the opposite side of the stair; and two attic 'chambers', all with their studies. (fn. 82) They corresponded to the six 'chambers' with their studies, probably built by Fleming, on the south side of the tower. In 1670 the 'chamber' south of the tower was made into a porter's lodge and a door was cut into it from the archway: the present lodge is north of the tower. In modern times the other 'chambers' have become rooms, and the studies small bedrooms and pantries. (fn. 83)
The next addition to the college buildings was made between 1465 and 1470, when part of the money handed over to the society by the executors of Bishop Beckington was spent on erecting new Lodgings for the Rector at the south end of the hall. (fn. 84) These consisted of a large room on the ground floor, an upper chamber with an oriel window (shown in Loggan's view of the college, but since destroyed and replaced by two windows), with an attic above and cellars below. The building was entered from the quadrangle by a door which is also shown in Loggan's view, but which was afterwards blocked up and has only been reopened comparatively recently. Inside, another door communicated with the hall dais, and a steep staircase led to the upper stories. (fn. 85) Beckington's rebus, a beacon in a tun, was carved on both sides of the Lodgings. An original rebus and his coat of arms may still be seen on the eastern face; a modern rebus is also to be found there. The original carving on the western face appears in Loggan's engraving; a modern rebus has been placed between the two modern windows.
The first period of building came to an end in 1479, when Bishop Rotheram, who had undertaken to carry out this work in 1475, after his visitation in the previous year, completed the front quadrangle by building the south side. (fn. 86) This increased the accommodation of the college by twelve 'chambers' and their studies. (fn. 87) Three stone half angels with shields bearing Rotheram's arms are still to be seen on the north face of the building. A passage was left in order to give access to Hampton and Sekyll Halls, which were not pulled down until 1607.
For over a hundred years Lincoln College retained the form shown in Bereblock's drawing of the year 1566. Early in the 17th century a new era of building began. This was largely necessitated by the postReformation influx of undergraduates. In 1607, as already stated, the hostels facing on to Turl St. were demolished, and work was begun on the west side of what was to become the inner quadrangle. (fn. 88) The new building, which was carried out mainly at the expense of Sir Thomas Rotheram, fellow of Lincoln from 1586 to 1593, and a kinsman of the second founder, added about twelve 'chambers' and attached studies to the existing accommodation. (fn. 89) The two remaining sides of this inner quadrangle were completed partially at the expense of John Williams, who became Bishop of Lincoln, and thus Visitor of the college, in 1621. The south side of the quadrangle was occupied by a new chapel, which was the bishop's especial concern, the original chapel being now too small to hold the increased numbers. (fn. 90) It was consecrated on 15 Sept. 1631. (fn. 91) It is a very good example of Jacobean Gothic, consisting of four bays of three-light windows, the westernmost bay forming the antechapel, which is divided from the body of the chapel by a carved screen. (fn. 92) The chief feature of the chapel is its fine contemporary glass. (fn. 93) The eastern side of the quadrangle was occupied by more 'chambers', a full staircase to the north and a half staircase to the south. At the same time the Rector's Lodgings were enlarged by the addition of the northern half of the full staircase, an increase due to the fact that the Rector, Paul Hood, was about to marry, being the first Rector so to do. (fn. 94)
In 1739 the ground east of the front quadrangle, originally occupied by Oliphant Hall, later known as the Grove, was partially built upon. This building behind the college hall, 'consisting of six chambers for the use of commoners', (fn. 95) was replaced in 1880–3 by new Grove buildings designed by (Sir) Thomas Jackson. In 1884–5 additions were made to the Rector's Lodgings. The appearance of the college was greatly spoiled by the addition in 1824 of battlements (fn. 96) along the whole of the Turl St. frontage, and in 1852 along the interior of the front quadrangle, and along the northern side of the inner quadrangle, in imitation of those on the chapel. (fn. 97) In the 20th century practically the whole of the rather cramped site of the college has been filled up. In 1906 a new library was built at the east end of the garden, which occupied the space between the college and All Saints Church. In 1929–30 a new Rector's Lodgings was erected at the western end of the garden, with a frontage on Turl St., to the design of Herbert Read. Finally, in 1939 Lincoln House, adjoining the Aedes Annexae at 13 Turl St., was built to the designs of (Sir) Hubert Worthington and Mr. Gilbert T. Gardner. Originally this block comprised shops on the ground and offices on the first floor: the latter were converted into undergraduates' rooms, and six sets were opened on the second floor in 1950.
Lincoln College experienced many vicissitudes of fortune during the first fifty years of its history. Within four years of its foundation it nearly suffered extinction through the death of the founder, who had provided no endowment, and on the death of its first Rector, William Chamberleyn, in March 1434, it was not in much better case. Fortunately, the second Rector, John Beke, vicar of St. Michael's Church since 1422, instituted by the Visitor on 7 May 1434, (fn. 98) was a man of energy and ability, and served as ViceChancellor to Kymer, 1450 to 1453. It was he who secured the co-operation of John Forest and John Southam in saving the college. When the bishop held a visitation of the college in 1445, (fn. 99) Beke was the Rector, with five fellows; all had the degree of magister, five were in priest's orders and one in minor orders. No doubt the funds of the college were inadequate for the full number of fellows. On the resignation of Beke, John Tristropp was elected, a man equally devoted to the interests of his society. It was he who secured the two charters of Edward IV, made a claim on behalf of the college to Bishop Beckington's executors, and, above all, if one version of the story is to be believed, it was he who so eloquently preached before Bishop Rotheram on the customary, but peculiarly apposite, text 'Behold, and visit this vine'. (fn. 100)
The period between 1480 and the death of the eighth Rector, John Cottisford, in 1539 was uneventful. At a visitation in 1520 the college consisted of a Rector and eleven fellows of whom three were B.A.; at another visitation in 1530 the numbers were thirteen; two were S.T.P., two were S.T.B., five were M.A. and four were B.A.; discipline was lax (fn. 101) and one of the fellows, Edmund Campion, S.T.P., would have been excommunicated but for his tears. Although it was an era of benefactions, the college still remained comparatively poor. But with the religious changes of the middle of the 16th century new difficulties set in. Owing to the objects for which it had been founded, Lincoln was likely to come forward as a champion of the old order. Her three Rectors of this period, Hugh Weston (1539–56), Christopher Hargreaves (1556–8), and Henry Henshaw (1558–60), were all notable Romanist protagonists. Weston presided over the commission which disputed with Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer in Apr. 1554; Hargreaves enjoyed a reputation among his party as a disputant; (fn. 102) Henshaw resigned under compulsion, for he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy to Queen Elizabeth. (fn. 103) It is little wonder that a special entry had been made in the register recording the deaths of Queen Mary and Cardinal Pole. (fn. 104)
The next three Rectors of Lincoln, although they had been thrust upon the college from outside in order to make a break with tradition, all proved to be Romanist in their sympathies. They were Francis Babington (1560–3), John Bridgewater (1563–74), and John Tatham (1574–6). Of these Babington resigned, (fn. 105) and Bridgewater was deprived of the rectorship for his opinions and went abroad. (fn. 106) Several other members of the college went into exile during Elizabeth's reign on account of their adherence to the Papacy, the most distinguished of them being William Gifford, who became Archbishop of Rheims in 1622. On Tatham's death in 1576 a scandalous case of intrusion occurred when John Underhill, a nominee of the Earl of Leicester, was thrust upon the college, although not without stout resistance being put up on the part of the fellows. (fn. 107)
The Reformation naturally produced a great change in the character of Lincoln. The objects for which it had been founded were no longer legal, and in place of a religious seminary for graduates it became a house of education for undergraduates. It is significant that the Traps benefaction for undergraduates dates from 1568, although it must be remembered that undergraduates had been eligible for the Darby Fellowships thirty years earlier. (fn. 108) From the last years of the 16th century the numbers of undergraduates rapidly increased, and it was largely this growth which necessitated the erection of new buildings early in the following century. In fact, as Dr. Clark has pointed out, 'the strength of the college as a centre of education lay in its undergraduate commoners, i.e. students unconnected with the foundation, who paid all dues out of their own resources'. (fn. 109) These were quite distinct from the fellow-commoners, first introduced in 1606, who, as 'the sons of lords, knights, and gentlemen of good place in the commonwealth' were to be on terms of social equality with the fellows themselves. (fn. 110)
The period between the accession of James 1 and the outbreak of the Civil War is noteworthy in the history of Lincoln College for the manifestation of Puritan sympathies among many of its members, including notably Paul Hood, Rector for the surprisingly long time of forty-seven years—1621–68; for lack of discipline and quarrels between the Rector and the fellows; and for the especially direct contact into which the college came with the Chancellor of the University, Archbishop Laud, who on Bishop Williams's suspension in 1637, succeeded him as Visitor. Two particularly notorious cases with which Laud had to deal were those of John Tireman (fn. 111) and John Webberley in 1639. (fn. 112)
During the Civil War Lincoln showed its Puritan leanings by the lukewarm manner in which it responded to the demands made upon the Oxford colleges by Charles I. Two 'subsidies to the King' only brought in 6s. 9d. (fn. 113) This anti-royalist attitude very probably accounts for the fact that Lincoln's contribution of plate to be melted down at the king's mint in New Inn Hall is the second smallest on record. (fn. 114) Nevertheless, the college numbered some ardent royalists amongst its members, including John Webberley and Thomas Marshall, afterwards Rector of Lincoln. Marshall, who went into exile as chaplain to the English merchants at Dordrecht, had proved so zealous for the king that Charles asked the University to excuse him the usual fees when he took his B.A. degree in 1645. (fn. 115)
After the surrender of Oxford on 24 June 1646 the University had to undergo a parliamentary visitation, which began on 15 May 1647. This visitation met, naturally enough, with very strong opposition, and among those who took a leading part in resisting it was the royalist Sub-Rector of Lincoln, John Webberley, who suffered a short imprisonment and expulsion from his fellowship for his pains. (fn. 116) In striking contrast was the attitude of the Rector, Hood, who was the only Head of a House to submit to the Visitors when all members of Convocation were called upon to do so on 7 Apr. 1648. (fn. 117) In spite of this compliance on the part of the Rector, however, Lincoln suffered great harm under the Commonwealth. By 1650 the college had lost all its old fellows, and the vacancies were filled up very largely, sometimes without the consent of the Visitors themselves, by evil-living and ignorant nominees of the London Committee which had been appointed by Parliament to reform the University. It is little wonder that discipline went from bad to worse. (fn. 118)
With the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 a period of revival opened for Lincoln, although this was not immediately apparent. The University was now faced with a Royal Commission, which began its work on 31 July. Again Lincoln appeared in a somewhat singular light. Hood, who had been elected Rector as far back as 1621, was the only Head of a House whose position was recognized as valid by the Commission, and so he was forced into the far from enviable position of Vice-Chancellor. (fn. 119) But although Lincoln would thereby again appear to have enjoyed a more favourable status than that of other colleges, the reverse was actually the case. Whereas in other colleges submission to the Commission and retention of fellowships was the general rule, in Lincoln several ejections were carried out. (fn. 120) This was doubtless due to the type of fellow intruded by the London Committee during the Commonwealth. Some forced resignations also took place in Aug. 1662, as the result of the Act of Uniformity. (fn. 121) But after this preliminary upheaval, Lincoln settled down under the guidance of Nathaniel Crewe, first as Sub-Rector and effectual ruler of the college in Hood's old age, and from 1668 to 1672 as Rector, to an existence of quiet prosperity and enthusiastic loyalty. Discipline was restored; the finances were improved; the buildings were repaired and made more comfortable; the numbers were as great as accommodation would allow; above all, men of distinction were again to be found among the fellows. Of these, especially notable are George Hickes, John Radcliffe, and Thomas Marshall. The last-named succeeded Crewe as Rector and continued his policy. The loyalty of the college was shown by the fulsome speech of welcome to Charles II delivered by Crewe as Senior Proctor on the occasion of the king's visit to Oxford in 1663, and by the cordial reception given to James, Duke of York, and his family by Rector Marshall and the fellows when they were shown round Lincoln in 1683. (fn. 122) That this loyalty, however, was due more to the personal predilections of Crewe and Marshall than to the sentiments of the general run of the fellows, is proved by three facts. In the first place, the democrat James Parkinson was deprived of his fellowship at Lincoln in 1683 by sentence of the Visitor and not by vote of the college. (fn. 123) Secondly, on the death of Marshall in 1685 the moderate Fitzherbert Adams was preferred as his successor to George Hickes, the future non-juror. Thirdly, apparently only one fellow had scruples about taking the oath to William and Mary, and he seems soon to have submitted. (fn. 124)
The century between the Revolution of 1689 and the death of Richard Hutchins, Rector from 1755 to 1781, has been described as a 'period of good, if uneventful government'. (fn. 125) The college, in contrast to the upheavals of the 17th century, was singularly free from strife, and benefactions poured in. Characteristic of the age was the outlay on increasing the comfort of the hall and the fellows' rooms. The library, too, was beautified by new shelving. Among the fellows, the two most distinguished names are those of John Potter, fellow from 1694 to 1706, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1737, and John Wesley, fellow from 1726 to 1751. (fn. 126) The 'golden age' was followed by an 'iron age' (the epithets are Dr. Clark's) characterized by inertia and indifference, when the quality of the teaching sank to a very low level. This unsatisfactory state of affairs was largely due to the eccentric and quarrelsome Edward Tatham, who was Rector from 1792 to 1834. (fn. 127) He was followed by John Radford (1834–51), a peace-loving if rather lax and ineffectual Rector, who had the great merit of being wholeheartedly devoted to Lincoln. (fn. 128) His death was the signal for the outbreak of fresh dissensions in the college, and the contest over the rectorship, in which James Thompson was elected in place of Mark Pattison, is a famous one. Thompson, although lacking the brilliance of his unsuccessful rival, possessed a firm hand and was an excellent man of business. This latter qualification stood the college in good stead at the time of the University Commission of 1854, which was the outstanding event of his rectorship. (fn. 129) Pattison was eventually elected Rector in 1861, but not without a renewed contest. His great gifts did not bring all that they might have done to Lincoln. His ideal was to make the college what it had originally been, a society of graduates (whose function in the 19th century would have been to devote themselves to research), and to eliminate the undergraduates. This ideal, although it could be nothing more, naturally made him unsympathetic with the undergraduates and their activities. This fact, added to his uncertain temper and sarcastic speech, made him greatly dreaded and disliked by the majority of them. (fn. 130)
Under the last two Rectors but one, William Walter Merry, Rector from 1884 to 1918, and J. A. R. Munro, Rector from 1919 to 1944, Lincoln has expanded in numbers and accommodation. The most recent events in the history of the college have been covered when dealing with the Statutes and buildings.
A descriptive list of the college portraits, with four plates, will be found in Mrs. R. L. Poole's Catalogue of Oxford Portraits, vol. ii, pp. 172–9 (1925). They include a three-quarter-length of Nathaniel Crew by Sir Godfrey Kneller and a halflength of John Wesley by John Williams, both in the hall.
A description, with twelve illustrations, of some of the most notable pieces of the college plate, ecclesiastical and secular, will be found in S. A. Warner's Lincoln College Oxford (pp. 72 and 74). There are no very early pieces. Mention may be made of a silver-gilt chalice and paten (1625) and of a silver soup tureen and cover (1806): the latter piece is 'considered to be amongst the best examples of plate in Oxford' (Warner).
The college possesses two silver seals dating
from the fifteenth century. They are described and
illustrated in S. A. Warner's Lincoln College Oxford
(p. 40). They are:
1. A small oval seal, used for stamping letters-testimonial and documents of minor importance, showing the figure of St. Hugh of Lincoln. Inscribed 'S hugo' beneath, and round the edge 'Sigillum Collegii Lyncolne in Oxonia ad causas'.
2. The chief or 'common' seal, intended for use with a press. The Virgin is seated in the middle with the Holy Trinity above: there are three rows of two figures under canopies on each side. The conjectural reading of the inscription is 'S(igillum) Co(mmun)e rectoris et Collegar(um) Collegii Beatae Mariae et om(n)i(um) s(an)c(t)o(rum) Lincolnie i(n) Oxonia'.
William Chamberleyn, 1429–34
John Beke, 1434–61
John Tristropp, 1461–79
George Strangways, 1480–8
William Bethome, 1488–93
Thomas Bank, 1493–1503
Thomas Drax, 1503–19
John Cottisford, 1519–39
Hugh Weston, 1539–56
Christopher Hargreaves, 1556–8
Henry Henshaw, 1558–60
Francis Babington, 1560–3
John Bridgewater, 1563–74
John Tatham, 1574–6
John Underhill, 1577–90
Richard Kilby, 1590–1620
Paul Hood, 1621–68
Nathaniel Crewe, 1668–72
Thomas Marshall, 1672–85
Fitzherbert Adams, 1685–1719
John Morley, 1719–31
Euseby Isham, 1731–55
Richard Hutchins, 1755–81
Charles Mortimer, 1781–4
John Horner, 1784–92
Edward Tatham, 1792–1834
John Radford, 1834–51
James Thompson, 1851–60
Mark Pattison, 1861–84
William Walter Merry, 1884–1918
John Arthur Ruskin Munro, 1919–44
Keith Anderson Hope Murray, 1944–