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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University College (fn. 1) derives its origin from the generosity of William of Durham, a scholar of repute, sometime archdeacon of Caux and, for a few months in 1235, archbishop-elect of Rouen. (fn. 2) William died in 1249 and by his will bequeathed 310 marks to the University of Oxford for the purchase of real property, the income from which was to be employed to maintain 10, or more, needy Masters of Arts studying divinity.
By the year 1253 the first purchase had been made. This was a corner house in vico scolarum, now the north-east corner of Brasenose College, which was bought for 36 marks. In 1255 a house on the north side of High St., now Drawda Hall, was obtained from the priory of Monk Sherborne in Hants for 48 marks. In 1262 Brasenose Hall was acquired for £55 6s. 8d., the vendor being a canon of Lichfield Cathedral; and eight years later quit-rents on two houses, amounting to 15 shillings, were also secured. The three houses mentioned were reckoned to be of the annual value of 40s., 60s., and 8 marks, respectively, in the Hundred Rolls of 1279. It should be noticed that in that survey though there is mention of the 'Warden and Scholars of Merton Hall', there is no mention of the Masters of William of Durham, and the houses were at that time entered as the property of the University.
All our knowledge about the origin of the college comes from a document of the year 1280 in the college muniment room. (fn. 3) It is the report of certain 'Masters deputed by the Regents to inquire into and order those things which had relation to the testament of Master William of Durham'. Probably the executors demanded an account of the legacy and of the way in which it had been spent. It states that the amount received was 310 marks and that the donor desired that rents should be purchased to support 10, 11, 12 or more masters; that some of the money had been spent in that way, producing 18 marks a year or thereabout; but that 160 marks of the fund had been required for the needs of the University and other great men of the land and none of it had been repaid. It is generally assumed that it was lent to members of the Baronial party, perhaps in 1258, when they attended a Parliament at Oxford. We have a letter of Adam Marsh, probably of 1256, asking the Chancellor of the University to lend to Simon de Valences £40 of the money of William of Durham. (fn. 4) It is probable, however, that the rents received during the years 1260 to 1280 from the houses that had been purchased had restored the legacy to its original size. The report proceeds to lay down regulations for the foundation of a college. The number of beneficiaries was to be four, at all events at first. They were to be selected by a special board set up by the University. The committee then proceeded to make regulations for the corporate life of the four masters forming this little collegiate hall. They were allowed to take part in the election of future members and were to receive an annual stipend of 50 shillings each. One of their number was to be in priest's orders; one was to be entrusted with the bursarial administration, and for this he was to receive an extra payment of 5 shillings a year, and it was recommended that this amount should be increased as soon as funds were available. Control of the society's finances was to be exercised by the University through one of the Regent Masters, who was to assist the bursar in the discharge of his duties. The fellows of the college would, of course, be nonRegent Masters. In accordance with the wishes of William of Durham the four Masters of Arts were to be students of theology. But, as a concession to the importance attached to Canon Law at the time, they were allowed to intersperse their theological pursuits with some study of decrees, if they wished. The control of the University was limited to finance and to discipline, if the removal of a member should be called for. This report may be reckoned the foundation charter of the college.
Although the date of appointment of the first members is unknown, it seems likely from the spirit of the report, which betrays anxiety to accomplish after thirty years the intentions of William of Durham, that the first appointments were made shortly after 1280. It is certain that by the year 1292 the society had been in existence for some time, since statutes were then issued for it, the first regulations having proved inadequate.
Possibly the first home of the society was the house, known later as Little University Hall in School St., which had been purchased in 1253; it seems probable too that the little community of four masters was styled from the first scolares Willelmi de Dunelmia. It is evident that by 1292 some additional benefactions had been acquired and some gifts of books seem to have been received; but some defects in the original regulations had become evident. They had made no provision for the headship of the society nor for any control over conduct and the course of studies. Consequently the University in 1292, 'at the desire of the executors of William of Durham', made new statutes. (fn. 5) They settled the question of headship by giving authority to the senior fellow over all other members, and by charging him to see that the statutes were properly observed. Stipends were increased by half a mark, and an additional half mark was to be paid to each fellow for the maintenance of his chamber and servants. Disputations in theology and philosophy were made compulsory at set times and the speaking of Latin was to be encouraged. 'Following the customs of other collegiate societies' (as the statute states) only sums below 10 shillings may be kept by the fellows, anything in excess having to be surrendered to a common fund for custody. The yearly accounts were to be approved by the Chancellor of the University, a rule which was observed all through the Middle Ages, and the movable goods of the society were to be entered in a register. Regulations were also made concerning debts, and (possibly owing to former losses) conditions were laid down for any loans of the books of the college. Provision was made for masses to be said for the souls of the benefactors of the society, which shows that the college had received something beyond the legacy of William of Durham; and a scale of fines for breaches of the regulations was introduced. One of the statutes mentions that there was to be a common seal, the latten matrix of which still exists, but the seal now in use is a facsimile of it in silver. (fn. 6) Despite the improvement in the society's finances, the need of additional funds was still felt; consequently the taking of lodgers was to be allowed upon certain conditions, an example which was followed by other colleges. Finally the statutes made provision for the election of new members, in case all the fellows were to die suddenly or to leave. Should this happen, the Chancellor, the Proctors, and the senior theologian were to choose unbeneficed masters from Durham or its neighbourhood, and if there were no masters, then bachelors or Sophists. It is evident that at this time the foundation was restricted to men of Durham.
In 1311 the University issued new statutes for the society. (fn. 7) In them the principle was adopted that fellowships should be open; preference was to be given to persons from Durham county, only when the candidates were equal; but it is evident from the names of the early fellows that for a long time the society was mainly northern. Election to fellowships was vested in the society, the University only retaining a right of veto. The fellows might study Canon Law, as well as Theology, but only in the long vacation. One who was absent for more than a term without leave ceased to be a fellow; likewise if he obtained a benefice of the value of 5 marks. If a fellow was removed from office or expelled from the house for evil deeds, he might appeal to the Chancellor and Proctors. There was to be a slight increase in the emoluments of a fellow, half a mark being paid to him in addition to his commons, i.e. at the value of 12d. a week. The fellows were to call their society by the name of 'the Scholars of William of Durham'. It may be noted that this last statute was not well observed. In the 14th century we find the following titles used: Masters and Scholars of University Hall, Scholars of William of Durham, the Great Hall of the University, and the College of William of Durham called Mickle Universitie Hall. (fn. 8)
About 1330 the college must have had a gift or legacy; for in the years 1332 and 1336 it purchased four adjacent properties on the south side of High St., which from their size and situation could not have cost less than £100. On the west was Spicer's Hall, the last house in St. Mary's parish, and on the east of it Ludlow Hall, together with two small tenements at the back of Spicer's Hall, lying in Kybald St., known as Rose Hall and White Hall. Of these, Ludlow Hall was an Academic Hall until 1391, being let for 4 marks a year, but the other tenements became the site of University College. Although the title-deeds do not give the size of Spicer's Hall nor the price, yet we know that it was of unusual width; for the frontage of the college about 1630, as we can deduce from what Wood tells us, was about 125 ft., and this represents only Spicer's Hall and Ludlow Hall. It is probable that Spicer's Hall was 70 feet in width, and it is easy to understand why the college moved from School St. to this new site.
In 1404 the college acquired the two tenements between Ludlow Hall and Logic Lane. That which was next to the college was an Academic Hall, which bore the name Little University Hall as early as 1353. (fn. 9) In the Registrum Cancellarii it appears in the list of Academic Halls in 1453, but not later; it continues, however, to pay rent to the bursars with some irregularity as late as 1477. The tenement next to Logic Lane was an inn. About the years 1450–60 the bursars' rolls show that it was leased to Harry Bathe, the University carrier.
Gradually during the 14th century the senior fellow, who under the statutes of 1292 ruled the society, took the title of Master, and the Mastership emerged as a definite office. Although the magistri et scolares of early charters persists into the 15th century, magister et scolares becomes increasingly common from about 1340. The first known Master was Roger Aswardby (c. 1360). Special circumstances may lie behind a document of 1393 in which we learn that Thomas Foston had been 'elected or nominated' Master by the other fellows and was admitted to his office for the duration of two years by the Chancellor of the University. (fn. 10) There is no parallel for this time limitation. John Castell was Master from about 1410 to 1420, when he became Chancellor of the University. In the late 14th and 15th centuries custos is often used as an alternative title to magister or senior socius . Before the establishment of the mastership the chief official of the college was the procurator or bursar; he was one of the fellows, appointed yearly, probably by the Chancellor of the University. This office continued after the mastership became a regular institution, and while the stipend of the Master was 6s. 8d., the stipend of the procurator was 10s.
In addition to the fellows there were commensales, sometimes known as commorantes, who were lodgers and had no voice in the management of the college. Their number varied from year to year according to the demand for rooms, and according to the space that was vacant. At first the college had only eight spare rooms; after 1391, when Ludlow Hall was included in the college, they became twenty, but in many years some of the rooms were unlet. The rents varied from 20s. to 10s. a year. The occupants were for the most part studying for a degree in theology. From 1405 to 1413 an Austin canon of Leicester rented a room; in 1400 a monk of Furness Abbey had one; and Henry Crumpe, a Cistercian opponent of Wyclif, had a room in 1391–2 and probably for the next six years; he was already a doctor of divinity and may have been the Provisor of the Cistercian students in Oxford, appointed by the Cistercian Order. Sometimes a fellow of the college, who had lost his fellowship by preferment, would become a commensalis, that he might continue his studies. Thus John Taylour, a fellow in 1385, was a commensalis in 1390. From 1434 to 1448, or later, William Dowson, who had lost his fellowship at Merton, no doubt through preferment, rented a room; he was B.D. before Feb. 1440, and S.T.P. before July 1445, but he retained his room until 1448, and acted as Vice-Chancellor in the years 1445 to 1449. (fn. 11) In some years a man could afford to take two rooms, one for himself and one for a servant. Once only, so far as we can see, did an undergraduate have a room. This was John Tiptoft, afterwards Earl of Worcester, who together with a companion named Hurle, no doubt his tutor, held two rooms from Whitsuntide 1440 to Easter 1443. He left when his father died and it is probable that he took no degree. In the early 15th century the staff of the college consisted of 3 servants, viz. a manciple, a cook, and a porter who was also the barber; their wages were small, being 20s. or less, but no doubt they had payment from individuals for services rendered. The college accounts reveal nothing about the feeding of the commensales; this was a personal matter between the lodgers and the manciple; no doubt the former made some payment to the manciple and to the cook for their services. Anthony Wood and other historians of the college treat of these commensales as though they were members of the college, but they were only lodgers. Of the seven bishops of the 15th century that Wood attributes to University College, six were lodgers; only Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Exeter, was a fellow. But, though the commensales were not members of the college, they were often benefactors to the place where they had lodged. Thus Wood saw an inscription in a window in the old hall 'orate pro bono statu magistri Ioh. Chadworth dei gracia Linc epi., benefactoris huius collegii'; the date must be 1452–71. John Chadworth, having lost his fellowship at Merton, no doubt through preferment, appears as a lodger at University College in the rolls of 1436 to 1441. (fn. 12)
In the first half of the 14th century the college made many purchases of houses in Oxford, mainly Academic Halls, probably by means of legacies. Its most notable early benefactor, however, was Philip of Beverley, rector of Keyingham, by whose gift of property in Holderness in 1320 two new fellowships were endowed for scholars from the vicinity of Beverley or Holderness. (fn. 13) In 1340 the college comprised at least seven fellows. (fn. 14) In 1359, apparently through a legacy of Robert Caldwell, it purchased houses and lands in Oxford worth more than £15 a year. It was soon evident that the title was defective, the property being entailed and the college made a large payment to Philip and Joan Jedwell (fn. 15) to renounce their claim. But in 1377 Idonea, the wife of Edmund Francis, the daughter and heiress of the Jedwells, renewed the family claim and was so successful in the law courts that it seemed that the college would lose all. The fellows, therefore, about 1380, decided to seek the aid of the Crown through a petition, (fn. 16) in which they asserted among other things that King Alfred had been the founder of their college and that now King Richard II was their founder and patron. To this the drafters of the petition added the names of three saints who according to them had been members of the college, though actually two of them had lived before the time of Alfred. Wood records inscriptions in the windows of the old buildings stating that St. John of Beverley was socius istius contubernii. The gist of the petition was that as the college was the property of the king, the dispute between the college and Idonea should be taken into the king's hands. In this the college was ultimately successful, but it had to make a large payment to Idonea in compensation. Ralph Higden had already taught that King Alfred was the founder of the University of Oxford, but he had not suggested that he was the founder of University College. Subsequently in the 18th century the story advanced one stage more, and the Crown was declared by the law courts to be the Visitor of the college.
There is no reason to suppose that the college inclined towards the heresies of Wyclif, but its members were involved on more than one occasion in the disputes between Archbishop Arundel and the University. In 1409, Robert Burton, fellow and later Master of the college, and John Kexby, commensalis, were among four Masters of Arts cited before the Archbishop for speaking against his provincial constitutions; in the same year the notable scholar Richard Fleming, also a commensalis, was at issue with Arundel over certain theological opinions which he had maintained; and in 1411 all the fellows of the college were excommunicated, and an interdict laid on the college, by Arundel, possibly because of the part it had played in the University's resistance to Arundel's visitation in that year. (fn. 17)
Early in the 15th century came the benefaction of Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham. In 1404 he procured for the college the manor of Roding Margaret in Essex for the maintenance of three fellows, (fn. 18) who, unlike the founder's fellows, did not have to be Masters of Arts at the time of their election. The three fellows were to be in priest's orders and preference was to be given to natives from the dioceses of York and Durham; they were to receive 40s. yearly, besides their rooms and commons. In addition 6s. 8d. was to be given to each fellow on the anniversary of the Bishop's death and on St. Cuthbert's Day. Skirlaw died on 24 Mar. 1405, and in the bursar's roll of 1406–7 we find the three priests receiving 30s. for one term (Easter to St. John Baptist) and each of the six fellows being given 13s. 4d. de ordinacione domini episcopi Dunelmensis. But it would appear that the profits from the Essex manor did not come up to expectations; the rolls record heavy outlays in stocking it and keeping its buildings in repair. During the first half of the 15th century there were at times only three fellows besides the Master, although in 1426–7 the number rose to six. Skirlaw was also a benefactor of the library (fn. 19) and, if we may judge by the inscriptions which Wood saw in the windows of the old chapel, he contributed to the adornment of that building as well. The bishop's interest in the college seems to have been due to John Appleton, Master circa 1403–10, whom years later, when he was old and blind, a grateful college admitted to a Skirlaw fellowship for life. (fn. 20)
But in spite of these promising developments the progress of the Society was not maintained. A roll of arrears covering the years 1405 to 1416 gives a total of £130 16s. 10½d., or more than twice the annual income. In a dispensation granted by Archbishop Chichele to the Master, Robert Burton, in 1420 the almost desperate plight of the college is vividly painted—large debts, property in pawn, tenements empty and even in ruins. To make matters worse, under Burton's successor, Richard Wytton, the college became involved in a lawsuit with Oseney Abbey, which lasted from 1427 to 1433. Nor did the situation show much improvement under Thomas Benwell (1428–41), although towards the end of his mastership the large sum of £29-odd was spent on the building of four new schools, (fn. 21) and Little University Hall in Schools Street was repaired at a cost of over £12. (fn. 22)
Under John Marton or Merton, elected in 1441, the tide of fortune turned. In 1443 Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was approached by the University for assistance for its 'eldest daughter' (fn. 23) with the result that he gave to the college the valuable rectory of Arncliffe in Craven for the support of three fellows to be chosen from the dioceses of Durham, Carlisle, and York. (fn. 24) A licence from Archbishop Kempe enabled the college to appropriate the benefice. Other benefactions followed. Dame Alice Bellasis in 1447 made a bequest of property in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (fn. 25) and a sum of 50 marks was received from Cardinal Beaufort under his will. (fn. 26) These gifts made possible a series of improvements to the buildings, which began to assume quadrangular shape. In 1448–9 a new hall, kitchen, and buttery were built on the east side. Wood records the names and arms of the benefactors which appeared in the glass of the hall windows. (fn. 27) A bequest of money from Dame Joan Danvers (1458) made possible the erection of a gate tower, which the roll of 1472–3 shows was going up or reaching completion in that year. (fn. 28) The chapel was re-dedicated in 1476, perhaps on account of an enlargement or the setting up of a new altar. The improved status of the college during the later years of the 15th century is reflected in a rise in the number of fellows to an average of nine.
In 1476 and 1478 new statutes were drawn up during the Chancellorship of Thomas Chandler. The most important change concerned the office of Master, who had hitherto been the senior fellow and only primus inter pares. Under the new statute seniority ceased to be the decisive factor; henceforth any fellow could be chosen Master provided that he was de gremio ac comitiva Collegii. The interpretation of de gremio was stretched to cover an ex-fellow, and in course of time the statute was frequently waived to allow the appointment, under special dispensation, of a master from outside the fold. The enhanced status of the mastership is shown by the fact that a master's lodging was provided about this time, by his release from the ordinary duties of a fellow, and by the new statute ordaining that special respect was to be paid to him by bachelors. The Chandler statutes also sought to remedy the chronic indebtedness of the college by enacting that the bursar—or procurator, as he was still called—should be responsible for any arrears at the end of his term of office and by requiring him to enter a bond as a personal guarantee. Defaulting bursars, however, long continued to appear in the college annals.
In spite of the clause in the Chandler statutes requiring that the Master should be elected from among the fellows, Ralph Hamsterley, a fellow of Merton, was chosen in 1509 on the death of John Rokysburgh. To regularize the election, which was made by only four of the fellows, the University granted a dispensation and special confirmation was obtained from Archbishop Warham. These proceedings, however, met with considerable opposition and an unsuccessful attempt was made to annul them in favour of Ralph Barneby, one of the fellows. An appeal to the Archbishop had no effect, but in his letter confirming Hamsterley's election Warham had conceded that a fellow of the college should be chosen on future occasions. The dissension provoked by Hamsterley's appointment seems to have continued all through his term of office, which lasted until 1518. The fact that he was honoured by a brass placed in the middle of the chapel did not point, as Carr suggests, to a reconciliation after death; Wood notes that there were other brasses to his memory in the chapels of Merton and Durham Colleges and also in the church at Oddington, his Oxfordshire living, where he wished to be buried, and that he caused all four to be laid during his lifetime. (fn. 29)
The long mastership of Leonard Hutchinson (1518–46) was uneventful, but the increasing importance attached to the office is shown by the appropriation in 1531 of Little University Hall for the Master's Lodging. (fn. 30) On his retirement he was succeeded by John Crayford, a Cambridge man. He had been a fellow of Queens', Master of Clare Hall, and even Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, but he qualified by having held a fellowship at University College after being expelled from his Cambridge fellowship; he died within a year. Richard Salvin, coming from a wellknown Durham family, held office from 1547 to 1551. On his resignation the King's Commissioners urged the election of Thomas Key (or Caius, as he latinized his name), a fellow of All Souls, Registrar of the University and Public Orator, a temporizer turned Protestant. But although Caius had the backing of Cox, the Chancellor of the University, the college was able to oppose with success this attempted infringement of its liberties and elected one of its own number, George Ellison. On his death in 1557, Anthony Salvin, a brother of the former Master and a staunch Catholic, was elected. His was another brief mastership, and so was that of his successor, James Dugdale, who was deprived in 1561 for refusing to take the oath of the Queen's Supremacy. The rejected candidate of 1551, Thomas Caius, was put in in his place, after the necessary dispensation for his not being a fellow of the college had been given.
Caius was a scholar and antiquarian without any pronounced theological convictions; he was one of the few Oxford men of the time with a knowledge of Greek; but he is best remembered for the controversy which he waged with his Cambridge namesake over the antiquity of the two universities. (fn. 31) When Queen Elizabeth visited Oxford in 1566, Caius presented her with a copy of his book, but it is recorded that Her Majesty accepted the gift without comment. The duties of bursar came to be feared and shunned to such an extent that in 1567 the Vice-Chancellor enacted that any fellow refusing to accept the office when elected should be deprived of all his emoluments.
Caius's successor, William James, a Magdalen man and persona grata with the Earl of Leicester, then Chancellor of the University, was elected in 1572, the clause in the Chandler statutes again being waived. His energy and ability as an administrator soon set the college on its feet. James was assisted in his reforms by two bequests of property in Oxford made by Joan Hewet, widow of an Oxford citizen (1567) and by Thomas Gold (1570). A further bequest, which came after he had been promoted Dean of Christ Church, (fn. 32) was doubtless due to his influence with his patron: in 1588 under Leicester's will the college received lands in Montgomeryshire for the maintenance of two scholars. James was also responsible for the college obtaining its first charter of incorporation. In this document, issued in 1573, the name of the college was determined and fixed under the rather clumsy title of Magister et Socii Collegii Magnæ Aulæ Universitatis Oxoniensis, and 'the College of the Great Hall of the University' remains its official designation to-day.
Under James and his successor, Anthony Gate (1584–97), a regular system of teaching was introduced. One of the main effects of the Reformation had been the gradual secularization of the college; Caius's reputation and influence had fostered classical studies; and the appointment of Gate, a layman, to the mastership showed how far the old order of things had been left behind. With the admission of undergraduates the college came more nearly into line with the other colleges, and its numbers were gradually increasing. In 1552 the Society consisted of the Master, 7 fellows, and 17 undergraduates; (fn. 33) in 1574 as many as 22 undergraduates were admitted. (fn. 34) But in its lack of teaching facilities the college was half a century behind the times. The royal commission of 1535 had recommended the regular delivery of lectures in the colleges, but want of endowments at University had made it impossible to follow this advice. In 1583 the college established a regular teaching organization; a dean and four praelectors were appointed. It was the dean's duty to enforce attendance in chapel and at lectures and disputations in hall; three of the readers were to teach Greek, philosophy, and logic; the fourth, the catechista, gave religious instruction. This important innovation was made in the last year of James's mastership. Under Gate the new ground gained was consolidated, and the position of the college was strengthened by two further bequests. In 1590 Otho Hunt, a former fellow, gave lands in Methley to endow a scholarship, and two years later, John Freeston, another Yorkshireman, gave property in Pontefract to maintain an exhibitioner and two scholars. (fn. 35) Freeston also left money to purchase the house on the west side of the old quadrangle. (fn. 36) Part of its site was to be utilized for the present west range at the time of the rebuilding.
Another outsider, George Abbot, fellow of Balliol, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, was Gate's successor. A nominee of the Chancellor of the University, Lord Buckhurst, whose chaplain he was, Abbot was accepted by the fellows without opposition; indeed, by this time submission to the power of chancellors seems to have become almost automatic.
The man to whom the college owed far more than its Master during this time was Charles Greenwood, fellow from 1587 to 1614 and a tutor remembered with affection by his pupils. One of them, Sir Simon Bennet, became a notable benefactor; another was Sir George Radcliffe, who in spite of his Puritan upbringing was to become the close friend of Strafford and his righthand man in Ireland, and who was to die in exile during the Commonwealth. Radcliffe's letters have been published, (fn. 37) and the early ones, written to his mother when he was a commoner of University, give us an intimate insight into an undergraduate's life at the time. He seems only to have returned home to Yorkshire once a year owing to the length of the journey; it was the custom for undergraduates to buy a horse to ride home and to sell it on their return. During his first year, in 1609, there was an outbreak of the plague, and he tries to set his mother's mind at rest on that score. His solicitous tutor 'caused a pomander to be made' for him and 'another preservative to lay to my harte'. His amusements were learning the bass viol and playing a 'game at bowles now and then or prickes when I have got bow and arrows, for our Master (fn. 38) loves shooting well, and we must follow'. Laundry was a problem then as now: 'If you send my shirts I pray you let them be strong, or else they will do but little service; for my landresses beat out all in the washing.' In Dec. 1610 he finds the University 'very much reformed about drinking, long hair and other vices, especially our house out of which 2 have lately gone to avoid expulsion for drunkenness'. When he gives his bachelor's dinner, so great a person as the Vice-Chancellor intimates that he wishes to be present, 'which sudden news put me both to some trouble and expence of more crownes'. He writes with affectionate respect for Greenwood, who gave up his fellowship in 1614 to spend the last thirty years of his life as rector of Thornhill, to which he was presented by Sir George Savile, father of another of his pupils.
Abbot at the end of 1609 was appointed Bishop of Lichfield and had already been translated to London before resigning the mastership. Under his successor, John Bancroft, student of Christ Church, nephew of the archbishop whom Abbot was soon to succeed, the character of the college gradually changed. When Laud was made Bishop of London in 1628, a Latin letter of congratulation was sent to him, (fn. 39) and when, two years later, he became Chancellor of the University, the college was quite prepared to welcome the triumph of Arminianism. Bancroft in 1633 became Bishop of Oxford, but continuity of policy was ensured by the appointment as his successor of Thomas Walker, a fellow of St. John's, whose wife was Laud's niece. (fn. 40) The new Master was accepted without demur. He proved an excellent choice. Financial troubles, however, were still the bane of the college. Bursars were continually in difficulties. There was a case in 1608, and in 1613 John Browne, bursar during the two preceding years, was found to be £600 in debt when he died. (fn. 41) Bancroft had sought to remedy matters by making the tutors see that their pupils paid their battels, for which the bursar had previously been responsible. When, in spite of this ordinance, another too easy-going bursar in 1637 was seriously in default, Walker instituted a system whereby on entering office the bursar had to provide two sponsors as guarantors. The Master was scrupulously careful where money was concerned, as his accounts for the new buildings, which he kept himself, along with numerous memoranda in the muniment room, all in his neat handwriting, still attest.
The rebuilding, rather than political or religious questions, occupied the time and attention of Master and fellows during the ten years preceding the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1610 an abortive attempt had been made by Bancroft to rebuild the front of the college, (fn. 42) but this failed, apparently through lack of funds. Although over twenty years elapsed before a start could be made, and it was not as Master but as Bishop of Oxford that Bancroft laid the foundation stone, it is probable that all the time he had the project in view. Its realization was made possible by the benefactions of Charles Greenwood and Sir Simon Bennet, tutor and pupil, who are still commemorated respectively by the west and the east ranges which bear their names and their arms. Bennet died in 1631, leaving by will to the college the Hanley Park estate near Towcester, which he had bought from the Crown. (fn. 43) He intended that it should provide endowments for 8 fellows and 8 scholars, though the revenues only proved sufficient to support half those numbers, and there was a provision allowing the profits for the first few years to be used for rebuilding the college. It was some time, however, before the first returns from the valuable timber of the estate could be realized. Meanwhile, Charles Greenwood by his gift of £1,500 made it possible in 1633 to begin the new west range. (fn. 44) The work was interrupted by the Civil War and not completed until after the Restoration, but Bancroft may be claimed as its author and Walker as the faithful executant.
The number of fellows during the early years of the century averaged between 8 and 9. From a buttery book of 1615 to 1631 the number of undergraduates appears to have been 29 or 30 with little variation. Robert Gunsley's bequest of the rectory of Flamstead in Hertfordshire (1618) added four new scholarships for boys from Rochester and Maidstone. This and the Bennet bequest introduced a southern element into what hitherto had been almost exclusively a stronghold of the north. In 1632 a librarian was appointed, probably in consequence of Abbot's gift of £100 for the purchase and repair of books and the adornment of the library. (fn. 45) Under Walker numbers steadily increased up to the outbreak of the Civil War, when they rapidly declined, until by 1644 the redditus cubiculorum was nil.
The king's appeal to the University for money in the summer of 1642 met with an instant response from the Master and fellows. The bulk of the college plate was pawned for £150; the royal receipt for that sum, signed by Richard Chaworth, is still in the muniment room. In the following year the plate was redeemed and handed over to the king's receivers, when it was valued at £190 4s. 2d. (fn. 46) In other ways the college played its part. Thomas Walker and Obadiah Walker (a future Master, then bursar) were among the delegates whom Convocation appointed to provide for the safety of the University. Contributions were made 'towards ye raysing of the bulwarkes and ye maintenance of the soldiers' and money was 'laid out in ammunition'. (fn. 47) After the surrender of the city nearly two years passed before the Master and fellows were called upon to appear before the Parliamentary Visitors. Thomas Walker, his namesake, Obadiah, and four other fellows refused to submit and were ejected. Joshua Hoyle, who had been a fellow of Trinity, Dublin, and Professor of Divinity there, was appointed Master on the day of Walker's expulsion.
At the best of times the college barely paid its way. Now, owing to the troubles, it was deeply in debt. In 1649 lack of means made it impossible for the Master and fellows to reside, and to remedy matters the Visitors issued an order declaring three of the fellowships void for the time being. Once again, at a time of financial crisis, the college was involved in litigation. The decree in Chancery of 1640, settling the disposal of Sir Simon Bennet's bequest, was reversed in this year, on the application of relatives, and a reservation made in favour of founder's kin. (fn. 48) At the same time Greenwood's executor was being unsuccessfully sued by the college. Under the new régime the colleges were deprived of self-government, and it was not until 1655 that a free election to a fellowship was permitted. Even the appointment of a manciple could not be made without the sanction of the Committee. But gradually conditions returned to something like normal and by 1656 they had so far improved for it to be possible to resume building operations and to complete the hall, which had been standing without a roof. The money was raised by subscriptions. There is evidence that at this time, as at the Reformation, moderate views prevailed. One of the ejected fellows (fn. 49) was even allowed to keep his rooms in college and was consulted by the Visitors and the Master and fellows when difficulties arose.
At the Restoration Francis Johnson, who had succeeded Hoyle as Master, was turned out, and Walker with three (fn. 50) of the ejected fellows was reinstated. He at once resumed charge of the college finances, heading his new account book:
Some finishing touches were put to the hall, but the completion of the chapel was delayed by the state of indebtedness in which the college found itself, chiefly owing to unpaid law charges. Resort was made to borrowing and to the more desperate remedy of sequestrating fellowships until the debts were paid off. In 1665 great efforts were made to finish the chapel, but Walker did not live to see it consecrated. The ceremony was performed by Walter Blandford, Bishop of Oxford, on St. Cuthbert's Day, 1666. (fn. 51)
On Walker's death, there was no outside interference over the election of his successor to the mastership, and for the first time for over a century a member of the College was elected. Richard Clayton's (fn. 52) ten years of office saw the continuation of the rebuilding scheme. The happy conclusion of the long-drawn-out operations was due less to Clayton than to his tireless lieutenant, Obadiah Walker, who, after several years spent chiefly in travelling abroad, settled down as senior fellow and tutor. The energy which he displayed in soliciting subscriptions for 'the Mother of all Colleges' made it possible to round off a programme over forty years old.
The election of Obadiah Walker to succeed Clayton was unopposed. As Carr has shown, (fn. 53) there is no certain evidence that at this time he was even in secret a Roman Catholic, but it was common knowledge that he was on close terms of intimacy with Abraham Woodhead, his old tutor, who it is probable had already become a Catholic during the Commonwealth. Woodhead, living in seclusion at Hoxton, with a few intimates of the same way of thinking, continued in possession of his fellowship until shortly before his death in 1678. Once again the college showed a broad-minded tolerance, no doubt out of regard for Woodhead's fine character and massive learning. (fn. 54) When, however, another fellow, Timothy Nourse, was converted, and declined when cited to take the sacrament at St. Mary's, he was expelled (1674). Carr has detailed the stages in Walker's progress towards open allegiance to Rome. (fn. 55) He moved with circumspection, and so was able to retain his office during the outbreak of antiCatholic fanaticism that followed the alleged Popish Plot. (fn. 56) With the growing probability of the Duke of York coming to the throne, it became Walker's aim to build up a Catholic party in the college. In Dec. 1684 he was successful in procuring the election of Thomas Deane, one of his protégés, to a fellowship after twice being rebuffed. Among the other fellows his principal supporter was Nathaniel Boyse. The three were relieved from taking the oaths of allegiance and supremacy by a royal dispensation the year after James's accession and allowed to absent themselves from college chapel. (fn. 57)
University College now achieved a short-lived notoriety as the headquarters of the Catholic movement in Oxford. Walker had great influence with the king, and it is probable that the appointment of Massey as Dean of Christ Church was due to his advice. (fn. 58) An announcement of Walker's conversion was made in The French Gazette of 8 March 1686, (fn. 59) where it was also stated that he was about to build a chapel in which to sing mass. Protected by the dispensation, he ceased to attend prayers in the college chapel and mass was celebrated in the Master's Lodging. His next step was to appropriate the ground-floor rooms on the east side of the quadrangle, between the passage and the chapel, and to convert them into a Roman Catholic chapel; this was opened for the public celebration of Mass on 15 Aug. To maintain the cost of the services the stipend of a vacant fellowship was sequestrated by royal mandate. These developments produced one or two hostile demonstrations from outsiders, and 'Obadiah Ave-maria' became a by-word in Oxford; but within the college there seems to have been no opposition, and Romans and Anglicans lived together in amity, the latter ignoring what they seem to have regarded as a foible of their Master, who otherwise had their loyalty and even affectionate regard. (fn. 60) Walker also established a printing-press in the college for the printing and publication of propagandist literature. Most of the works produced were unpublished writings of Woodhead. When King James visited Oxford in Sept. 1687, he attended vespers in Walker's 'masshouse' and was presented with copies of works printed by the college press. He also saw his statue which had been set up in the niche of the gate tower overlooking the quadrangle, (fn. 61) and which still remains there to perpetuate this curious chapter in the history of the college. The tact which Walker showed in handling the affairs of his own college was not forthcoming in the celebrated controversy at Magdalen, in which he was one of the three to whom the king committed the consideration of the case of the recalcitrant fellows: he came down heavily on the king's side. But within a few months James, under the threat of invasion, was resorting to last-minute attempts at appeasement. The bells and bonfires that greeted the Magdalen fellows on their reinstatement must have made it plain to Walker that the end was at hand. A fortnight later, on 9 Nov., he left Oxford; before the end of the month his printing house had been deserted and his chapel dismantled. (fn. 62) In the following February his office was declared vacant at a college meeting after an unsuccessful attempt had been made to persuade the old man to resign. (fn. 63)
The long rule of Arthur Charlett (1692–1722) followed two brief masterships. (fn. 64) He had been a fellow of Trinity, and 'we chose him', Smith wrote, 'in Expectancy of his being a great Benefactor; but I think he lived to be his own Heir, and left us nothing of his Library, which he had so long promised'. (fn. 65) One of the conditions imposed at his election was that on his retirement he should in no way 'promote a stranger to governance'. Charlett's income was not commensurate with his ambition to be regarded as the Oxford Maecenas, and the college benefited little from the extensive correspondence which its Master maintained with many of the aristocracy and most of the literary notabilities of his day. The letters which he received from the eminent were carefully preserved; his albums are now among the Ballard MSS. in the Bodleian. (fn. 66) As a busybody and know-all Charlett earned the nickname of 'The Gazeteer or Oxford Intelligencer'; (fn. 67) as Abraham Froth he figures in The Spectator., (fn. 68) In his earlier years he enforced a stricter discipline over such matters as dining and supping in hall, attendance in chapel, and regulating the studies of gentlemen commoners. But his arrogance did not endear him to the fellows. 'He proved of another Temper [to Obadiah Walker], and being bred in another College and under different Statutes could not well be inured to govern himself nor the Fellows by our own Statutes.' (fn. 69) An example of his high-handed conduct was his attempted expulsion of Albemarle Bertie, one of the Bennet Fellows, for not proceeding to take orders. (fn. 70) Without consulting the fellows he struck Bertie's name off the list, an action which provoked such strong opposition that he was obliged to give way and to accept a ruling which granted Bertie two years' dispensation in which to make up his mind. So long, however, as William Smith remained a fellow, Charlett 'kept himself, or was kept by others, within some bounds'; so long, too, as the learned Joseph Bingham was a tutor, (fn. 71) the college maintained some reputation for scholarship, whereas the first thirty years of the 18th century were almost barren in names of distinction. Several antiquaries and historians were at the college during the closing years of the 17th century. Robert Plot, (fn. 72) author of the Natural History of Oxfordshire, migrated from Magdalen Hall in Obadiah Walker's time and resided off and on up to his death in 1696; Hugh Todd (elected fellow 1678) and John Thorpe (fn. 73) (matriculated 1698) were two other antiquaries, in addition to William Smith, the college historian; also William Elstob (fellow 1697), Anglo-Saxon scholar. Humphrey Wanley, before becoming Harley's librarian, lived for a time in the Master's Lodging with Charlett.
In Charlett's time the college received the notable benefactions of Dr. John Radcliffe. Although he had held a fellowship at Lincoln, he preferred to enrich the always needy college to which he had come up from Wakefield as a poor exhibitioner on the Freeston foundation in 1666. Under Obadiah Walker he had contributed towards the completion of the new buildings, and in 1687, the year after the Master had opened his 'mass-house', Radcliffe gave to the college chapel the painted glass by Giles of York which formerly filled the east window. Charlett lost no opportunity of putting before him the claims of the college, (fn. 74) but it is improbable that he needed these reminders. In his lifetime he contributed more than £1,100 for the increase of exhibitions, and on his death in 1714 a considerable part of his fortune came to the college under his will. He bequeathed £5,000 for building the quadrangle named after him to provide a new lodging for the Master and accommodation for his two travelling fellows; to endow these two fellowships he gave his manor of Linton and all his lands in Yorkshire; the overplus of the rents was to be spent on the purchase of advowsons. (fn. 75) Pittis tells how the Doctor was asked one day why he did not marry a young gentlewoman to get heirs by and how he replied that 'truly he had an old one (University College) to take care of, which he intended should be his executrix'. (fn. 76) It was at first the intention of Radcliffe's executors that his body should be buried in the college chapel, but he was laid in St. Mary's church, after a funeral unparalleled in splendour accorded him by a grateful University.
The election of Charlett's successor was to have farreaching consequences for the college. The new foundations had brought about an almost even division of the fellows between North and South, and by a bare majority the southern candidate, Thomas Cockman, was elected Master on 4 Dec. 1722. It was complained by the northerners that the election was contrary to the statutes, and when the senior fellow was not present, William Dennison called a new meeting, at which he was elected. Neither party would give way, so that the college found itself in possession of two Masters. Although the Vice-Chancellor and Doctors, to whom appeal was made, gave their decision in favour of Dennison, the Cockman party refused to submit and, remembering 'the French Petition' in Richard II's time, appealed to the Crown as Visitor of the College. The petition came before the Attorney and Solicitor General, on whose advice the petitioners moved for a prohibition in the Court of King's Bench to determine the right of visitation. Long delays ensued, in the course of which the college was reduced to a state of anarchy; but, eventually, the case was heard on 10 May 1727 'before a full bench of excellent Judges and a Jury of impartial gentlemen'. They succeeded in convincing themselves that (1) King Alfred was the true founder of the college and that (2) the Vice-Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University 'from time to time immemorial to the time of making the constitution of delegates beforementioned' did not exercise a visitatorial authority. A royal commission was appointed under the Great Seal to make an end of the schism, and after lengthy investigations Cockman was duly confirmed in the mastership, nearly seven years after his election. So the Aluredian tradition came to receive official sanction.
It was this dispute that prompted William Smith in his distant Yorkshire rectory (fn. 77) to write his Annals of University College. (fn. 78) The book was written with the special end in view, not of supporting one party against the other, but of exploding the Aluredian legend, showing how it arose, and proving from historical evidence the visitatorial rights of the University in Convocation. Smith was in a unique position to make known the true facts, having years before made an exhaustive study of the college archives and transcribed the greater part of them. The eleven volumes of his transcripts of the college documents are in the Treasury; seventeen further volumes, containing his excerpts from the University archives, are in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries. The Annals were produced when he was an old man of 76, racked by gout in hands and feet, (fn. 79) and he wrote against time, the sheets going 'from me to the Press as fast as I writ it', (fn. 80) in the hope of the work appearing before the trial. In this he was disappointed. If the result is confused in arrangement and the style prolix and circuitous, his book is none the less a remarkable achievement, and the conclusions were inescapable, though such iconoclasm was highly unpopular. Smith's transcripts, both in bulk and value, are second only to Twyne's, and are all the more valuable because many of the originals have disappeared.
A revision of the medieval statutes by which the college was still governed had been promised by Charlett but not performed. This was now undertaken, on the orders of the Crown. The new statutes, drawn up by the Master and fellows, received the approval of the Privy Council in 1735 (fn. 81) and remained in force until 1872. They contained no revolutionary changes but set out in a clear and coherent code the regulations governing the college, at the same time abolishing or amending anomalies and obscurities. The Master should be or have been a fellow or scholar of the college, or at least educated in the college; he must be over 30 years of age and in priest's orders. Failing a suitable candidate de gremio, an outsider could be appointed if chosen by two-thirds of the electing fellows. The election was to be confirmed by the Lord Chancellor. In default of an election by the college the Crown might appoint. There was a clause requiring any fellow to vacate his fellowship if he obtained property or preferment worth more than £80 a year. (fn. 82) Any doubtful points in the statutes were to be submitted to the Lord Chancellor.
The award of 1729 was loyally accepted by the defeated party, so that the last fifteen years of Cockman's mastership passed in amity. (fn. 83)
By contrast with the preceding fifty years the second half of the 18th century was a time of peace and prosperity for the college and of an intellectual distinction never previously attained. Two masterships covered this epoch, those of John Browne (1745–64) and Nathaniel Wetherell (1764–1807). The golden decade occurred between 1765 and 1775, when the society included Robert Chambers, the Vinerian Professor of Law, Sir William Jones, the Orientalist, and the brothers Scott, afterwards to become Lord Stowell and Lord Eldon. (fn. 84) These were the years when Dr. Johnson was a frequent guest in the Common Room on his visits to Oxford and by his own confession would drink three bottles of port 'without being the worse for it'. (fn. 85) Besides being acquainted with the Master, (fn. 86) he was on terms of friendship with Chambers and with the elder Scott, who afterwards presented the mezzotint after Opie's portrait which hangs in the Common Room and is inscribed: 'Samuel Johnson, L.L.D. in hac Camera Communi Frequens Conviva.' (fn. 87) As in Abbot's time, it was the influence of an able tutor that proved so beneficial to the college. Robert Chambers was elected to his fellowship from Lincoln College in 1761, under Browne, and was tutoring until his appointment in 1773 as a Judge of the Supreme Court in Bengal. He had many distinguished pupils, but the most remarkable of them all was Sir William Jones, who at the time of his early death was engaged in the vast undertaking of codifying the systems of law in India.
In 1792 a University College Club was established in London to commemorate this brilliant period in the college history. Of its 33 members, all of whom were at the college between 1764 and 1772, 11 were (or had been) Members of Parliament, 4 of them ministers; there were 13 judges, 2 Lord Lieutenants, and the Commander-in-Chief in Scotland. During Wetherell's later years the college failed to maintain its intellectual pre-eminence, although socially it continued to rank high. Under James Griffith (1808–21) the only event of note was the expulsion of Hogg and Shelley 'for contumaciously refusing to answer questions proposed to them and for also repeatedly declining to disavow a publication entitled "The Necessity of Atheism"' (College Register, 25 Mar. 1811). Shelley's rooms were on the first floor in the corner of the quadrangle next the hall.
During the 19th century provisions for the teaching of undergraduates were improved. Through the establishment of the Stowell fellowship in 1836 a permanent post for the teaching of Law was assured to the college, a post which was to become a praelectorship in 1873. Through the will of Dr. Plumptre 6 scholarships were established in 1871.
The rise of athletics which took place in Oxford during the 19th century had valuable support from University College. The college has a boat on the river as early as 1826 and in 1827 it took part in 'eight's week', reaching the headship of the river in 1841. A college barge was acquired in 1854. The college had a remarkable record in that it was head of the river nine times between 1841 and 1878.
The Universities Commission of 1850 swept away the obligation to take Holy Orders and the restriction of scholarships or fellowships to a particular locality. In 1872, after some delay, new statutes were drawn up on the lines of the recommendations of 1850; there were to be only 12 fellowships and life fellowships could only be held by those who had already been fellows for 20 years. More changes were made in 1877 and new statutes were issued under the Commission of 1923; the number of open scholarships was fixed at 28.
When in 1903 the college made new buildings on the east side of Logic Lane, called Durham buildings, and connected them with the college by an archway over the lane, there followed a lawsuit of some importance between the town and the college, the former demanding from the latter a rent of £5 a year for a passage built over a public road; the college replied that it was not a public road, but was the property of the college. The case was tried in July 1904 before Mr. Justice Swinfen Eady, who found 'that the soil of the road was vested' in the college. (fn. 88) It is evident from the printed account that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant had much knowledge of the geography of medieval Oxford or of the customs about the roads before the Oxford Paving Acts. If in process of time it should appear to historical students that the court erred through lack of historical knowledge, the verdict of 1904, as also of 1380 and 1727, is not a matter of regret.
The 1926 statutes, which were further modified in 1949, swept away the distinction between the fellowships of the various ancient foundations, and provided that the number of fellows be determined annually. In 1950 the governing body consisted of the Master, 4 professorial fellows, 12 tutorial fellows, and 1 research fellow.
During the First World War, the college was used as a military hospital. In the Second World War, some of the college buildings were requisitioned by a government department, but the two main quadrangles continued to house some undergraduates, including a number from Merton College, and, for a short time, from Keble College. Like many other colleges, University's undergraduate membership, which in the period between the wars stood at about 170, rose very sharply after the Second World War, and in 1950 the total of about 280 in statu pupillari seemed unlikely to be reduced substantially in the near future.
The college possesses none of its original plate, of which 61 lb. 6 oz. 5 dwt. was handed over to the king in 1642. One piece of Cromwellian silver survives, a 2-quart flagon purchased for the chapel in 1651. Other chapel plate dates between 1660 and 1674. The college loving-cup was presented c. 1666. There are a few other late 17th-century pieces. Notable among the much more numerous acquisitions of the early 18th century is a 73-oz. punch-bowl made by Paul de Lamerie (1730).
Few of the college's portraits (fn. 89) are of earlier date than the beginning of the 18th century. The most interesting are a portrait of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, which is attributed to Zuccaro, and two contemporary portraits, by unknown artists, of John Bancroft and Sir Simon Bennet (early 17th century). The later portraits include three by John Hoppner and two by Sir Thomas Lawrence.
The original seal, with which the college was provided in the statutes of 1292, survives, but is broken horizontally into two pieces across the centre. It is an oval seal, 2½ in. by 1½ in., and is made of latten. The design of the upper part shows St. Cuthbert, seated, holding the head of St. Oswald; that of the lower part shows William of Durham conversing with four scholars. The inscription, which is in Lombardic capitals, reads: s' COMMUNE SCOLARIU MAGRI WILL'I DE DUNELMIA STUDENCIU OXON. The seal now in use is a silver cast of the original.
Regulations for the Library first appear in the College Statutes of 1292 and 1311. The most important early gifts of manuscript books were those of Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham (1404), and William Asplyon, a former fellow (1474). (fn. 90) The college possesses rather under 200 manuscripts which formed part of its Library in the 17th century or earlier; of these nearly half are of unknown provenance, and of those whose history can be traced about two-thirds were given during the 17th century. (fn. 91) They are a very varied collection, the best known volume of which is a fine 12th-century illuminated life of St. Cuthbert. With the sole exception of William Smith's volumes of transcripts from the college muniments, all the college manuscripts were deposited in the Bodleian Library in 1882. The college Library has a fair selection of early printed books, including a few of the 15th century. Apart from theological works, the Library is strongest in scientific and medical books of the late 16th and 17th centuries. In 1632 the former Master, Archbishop Abbot, gave £100 for the purchase of books; the volumes bought are listed in the College Register. A register of benefactors to the Library was drawn up in 1674 and is kept in the Master's Lodging.
The names of the earliest Masters are not known, and the list does not become continuous until the beginning of the 15th century. Before 1509, when the first surviving College Register begins, it is not always possible to be certain of the exact dates of the Masterships to within a year.
The wholesale rebuilding of the college in the 17th century swept away the medieval quadrangle. A rough idea of its appearance can be gained from Bereblock's woodcut (1566) and the bird's-eye view of Agas (1578), but Wood's sketch of the south and west ranges, drawn shortly before their demolition in 1668, is far more detailed and substantially reliable. (fn. 92) Reference has already been made to the building of chapel, hall, and gate-tower and to the efforts of the college in the 15th century to give shape to their buildings and 'to reduce them', in Wood's words, 'into a quadrangular pile'. This medieval quadrangle was confined to the area covered by Spicer's Hall and Ludlow Hall. The present west and south ranges were both built outside its limits.
The first step towards the formation of a quadrangle was taken in 1392, when the wall between the gardens of Spicer's Hall and Ludlow Hall was removed, and in the same year a new wall was built between 'our college', as it is described in the roll, and Little University Hall to the east. In the earliest Bursar's Roll (1381–2) Spicer's Hall, or Great University Hall, as it had come to be known, is described as hospicium nostrum. The street frontage outside it was paved in that year, and paving was also carried out in front of Staunton Hall, farther west, and Drawda Hall, across the road. A well is mentioned in the early rolls; it needed periodical cleaning. Rents from eight rooms were being received in 1383–4; (fn. 93) White Hall (at the back of Spicer's Hall) is entered with them and not under the rents of halls. The buildings seem to have been of timber framing with clay and straw filling and to have been covered with stone slates, although outbuildings were thatched. (fn. 94) The rooms were not yet glazed, as an entry of 1391 discloses: 'in board bought for the windows of chambers.' The rolls are not very informative about the buildings, but a few other facts can be gleaned. Some building seems to have been done in 1405–6, probably to make room for Bishop Skirlaw's scholars. (fn. 95) There was a new room built between 1434 and 1436; towards defraying the cost 20s. was borrowed from the vicar of St. Peter in the East, and 56s. 8d. taken out of 'the common chest'. (fn. 96) The building of 'a new house within the college' is recorded in 1441–2, but this may only have been the new 'storhows' in the garden mentioned in the following year. Locks bought 'for the new chambers' in 1446–7 show, however, that the buildings had been recently enlarged, but there is no clue to their precise position.
In Wood's drawing the chapel is shown as crowned by a louvre and occupying roughly two-thirds of the south range of the quadrangle. There were chambers immediately east of it, so that there was no east window, and its high-pitched roof, which extended over the library to the west, projected a few feet beyond the outside wall of the west range. Between four buttresses on the north side there were three large windows with Perpendicular tracery. The chapel was entered by a doorway at the SW. corner of the quadrangle, leading into an antechapel, over which was the library with two square-headed windows looking into the quadrangle. According to Wood a room at the west end of the building (probably west of the doorway) and below the library was added to the antechapel at a later date. (fn. 97)
The chapel which Wood sketched was built during
the closing years of the 14th century. The licence
which the college procured in 1369 was for celebrating
in capella seu oratorio infra mansum aule nostre constructa; (fn. 98) this is likely to have been no more than a room
fitted up as a chapel. The early rolls record payments
for the mending of the chalice (1384–5), to John
Glasyer pro factura fenestrarum capelle nostre and for
the key of the chapel (1385–6), to a mason for making
an entry next the chapel (1391), pro vna veste ante
altare nostrum in capella (1391–2). From that year
until 1399–1400 the rolls are now missing. But Smith
gives extracts from two rolls of 1396–8 which prove
that a new chapel was then being built. In the second
roll there was a memorandum that certain battels
entered 'were not those of the fellows but of diverse
workmen at the time of the building of the chapel'; the
bursar also noted a sum of 20s. which he had expended
on timber for the chapel. Smith also transcribed a
licence granted by Henry Beaufort as bishop of Lincoln
(17 Nov. 1398) for the consecration in honour of
St. Cuthbert of the altar in the chancel of the chapel
newly constructed and built (novam capellam decentem
opere admodum sumptuoso). (fn. 99) The chief benefactors were
commemorated in the glass of the windows which
Wood saw. There were inscriptions asking prayers
for the souls of Robert Waldeby, Archbishop of York
(died 1398), and Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham
(died 1405). Skirlaw was evidently a notable benefactor, for in one of the north windows Wood read the
Presul Waltere gaudere potes quia per te
Hic locus ornatur et honor meus amplificatur.
Among the arms in the windows were those of Thomas Brantingham, Bishop of Exeter (died 1394), and Thomas Foston, elected Master in 1393. (fn. 100) A later window was glazed by John Chadworth, Bishop of Lincoln (1452–71), during his lifetime. Apart from a reference to the whitewashing of the chapel in 1461–2 the rolls record nothing of interest until 1475–6, when 41s. 6d. was spent over 18 months in capella et dedicacione eiusdem et in pane et vino. The expenditure on the chapel shows a rise in the years 1477–8 and 1478–9 to £4 12s. 10½d. and £5 8s. 10½d. from an average of about 30s., but there is nothing to justify Carr's statement that it was 'enlarged and partly rebuilt' at this time. (fn. 101) The consecration or dedication of 1476 may only have been of a new altar. (fn. 102) Possibly the room at the west end of the building was taken into the chapel at this date.
From Wood's sketch it looks as though the library and antechapel were built at the same time as the chapel, the whole forming a continuous and coherent range. Skirlaw's benefaction of books (1404) may have been responsible for a library being built at the time, though the provision of a room for the books seems to have anticipated the gift itself. The roll of 1401–2 records a sum of 17s. 11d. spent in libraria. The books had previously been kept in a ground-floor room in the original buildings. In 1474 William Asplyon, a former fellow, gave 13 books to be chained in the library. (fn. 103) Not much is to be gleaned from the rolls. In 1444–5 13s. 0½d. was spent pro fabricacione gradus librarie, in 1448–9 16s. 9d. circa libraiam et pro libris redemptis a monacho collegii Gloucestre, in 1466–7 2s. 6d. for chaining of books. The windows of this old library contained the arms of Skirlaw and of Edmund Stafford, Bishop of Exeter (1395–1419), and an inscription to William Sharpe, a former fellow and benefactor. (fn. 104) Shortly before the rebuilding of the college began Archbishop Abbot gave £100 to the library which was spent on the purchase of books, repairs, and decoration. (fn. 105)
The hall, buttery, and kitchen, forming the east range of the medieval quadrangle, were built in 1448–9, (fn. 106) the buttery and kitchen lying south of the hall. In Bereblock's view a lantern is shown rising from the hall roof. Before this time the hall of Great University Hall seems to have sufficed for the small society. In the earliest rolls 'the chamber together with the hall' occurs. A lock for the door of the hall was bought in 1387–8. Among the arms which Wood noted in the 15thcentury hall were those of Richard Fleming and John Chadworth, Bishops of Lincoln (1420–31 and 1452–71), Sir Walter Hungerford (died 1449), and Robert, Lord Hungerford and Moleyns (beheaded after the battle of Hexham in 1464); also those of Percy.
The gate tower is represented by Bereblock as very broad and massive, but not much reliance can be placed on his proportions. Like nearly all the medieval gate towers of Oxford it had a turret at one angle (the SE.) carried up above the level of the battlements. There was an oriel flanked by windows and there were also windows on each side of the gateway, which had a four-centred arch under a square hood-mould. It is possible that the moulded stones of the arch were reused when the present tower was built. The sections of the mouldings are characteristic of late-15th-century work, and so are the capitals, differing from those used on the side gateway, also erected when the tower and street front were rebuilt. The erection of a tower was made possible by the benefaction of Joan Danvers (1458), who left 'a notable sum of gold and silver' for the purpose. (fn. 107) The Bursar's Roll for 1472–3 records an outlay of £9 12s. 6d. circa turrim, but it is not mentioned the following year. The work may have been begun some years earlier. In 1475–6 the carpenter, John Branche, received 40s. in part payment for making the college gates. Although the structure of the tower appears to have been completed at this time, further work on it was carried out early in the 16th century, soon after the election of Ralph Hamsterley to the mastership. (fn. 108) No details are forthcoming from the rolls; possibly the entry was vaulted or the oriel made over the gateway, or the room in the tower may have been fitted up at this time. Before 1531, when Little University Hall was assigned to the Master, the room in the tower had been allotted to him. (fn. 109) Wood notes that the tower was repaired by Thomas Key during his mastership. (fn. 110)
The west range and the eastern part of the south range both contained chambers. They were of two stories with attics lighted by dormers. About the middle of the east wall of the west range Wood's sketch shows a two-storied bay window, battlemented. Possibly the ground-floor room having the bay was the parlour, which, latinized as perlocatorium, is mentioned in the roll of 1480–1. If this was so, the senior common room was allotted the old position when the new west range came to be built. For a hundred years before the rebuilding of the college nothing of any importance seems to have been done to the old quadrangle, but the large dormers, which Wood shows lighting the attics, were probably inserted in the second half of the 16th century when the society increased in numbers.
For the appearance of the old Master's Lodging on the High St. front, which survived until the erection of the Radcliffe quadrangle, there is the evidence of Loggan's engraving. Little University Hall, (fn. 111) which was assigned to the Master as his hospitium in 1531, on the condition of the tower being made available as accommodation for fellows, was acquired by the college as far back as 1402 along with the adjoining inn, called the 'Cock on the Hoop', at the corner of Logic Lane. In the 15th-century rolls its rent is entered along with those of the other academic halls in the possession of the college. In 1446–7 more than £13 was spent on reconstructing its buildings; (fn. 112) cautions were pledged to raise some of the money. It did not become the Master's Lodging at this date, as Carr asserts, (fn. 113) but continued to be let until 1476–7. Arrears of rent for it were then owed and continued to be recorded for many years, although it no longer appears among the current redditus aularum. Wood, who knew these old lodgings, records that they were repaired and added to by Ralph Hamsterley and further 'restored and beautified' by Thomas Key, who confidently set up an inscription in one of the windows: Magistratus indicat virum: Tho. Key. Magister. An. Dom. 1564. (fn. 114) During the Commonwealth, in 1655–6, nearly £60 was spent in repairs to the Master's Lodging, the bills of the mason, John Jackson, accounting for over £16, and there were payments to carpenters, plasterers, and slaters. (fn. 115) Further work was done in 1672–3, when nearly £19 was spent, and in 1681–2. Loggan shows that the building had received the addition of two large gabled attic windows towards its west end but that otherwise its medieval appearance had undergone little external change. Three projecting buttresses against the lower story are indicated and between them two squareheaded three-light windows, perhaps dating from 1447; also a wide projecting chimney breast. East of this was the doorway to the street, and there was a Tudor oriel to the easternmost room on the first floor.
The rebuilding of the college in the 17th century was carried out in accordance with a uniform plan, and this was strictly observed in the work only brought to completion after the Restoration following the interruption caused by the Civil War. Although no increase in the number of undergraduates appears to have taken place after 1600, (fn. 116) there had been a considerable expansion in the preceding century, and accommodation in the old buildings must have been taxed to the limit. This, no doubt, was the main consideration, but the example of other colleges—St. John's and Oriel particularly— may also have had its influence. A new library was added to St. John's in 1596–8, and this became one side of the noble Canterbury quadrangle (1631–6) which that college owed to the munificence of Archbishop Laud. At Oriel rebuilding, first contemplated in 1606, began in 1619 and was completed in the year when the Civil War broke out. Work at University College, only begun in 1634, was still in full swing when the troubles started. In Wood's words, 'upon the comming on of the warr it laid still till ann. 1657,' (fn. 117) when the hall was roofed, but it was not untill 1677 that all was finished.
The moving spirit in the work of rebuilding seems to have been John Bancroft. Later, when Bishop of Oxford, he built the palace at Cuddesdon, and it was he who laid the foundation of the new west range of the college. On 12 Nov. 1610, when he had been Master for little more than nine months, an agreement was made between the bursar, John Browne, representing the college, and two Yorkshire masons, John Acroyde and John Bentley, whereby the latter were to 'build with fair free Ashlar stone all ye north side of University College from ye east end of Mr Dr Bancroft his Lodgings up to the west end of John Daies tenement of the said Colledge the Tower excepted'. (fn. 118) The windows and shafts to the chimneys were to be 'fair and proportionable like Maudlein or All Soules College at Dr Bancroft or Dr Brownes choice'. The work was to be completed by Michaelmas following, and Acroyde and Bentley were to receive £100. 'A note of work yt is wrought for Mr Dr Browne' shows that a sum of £51 14s. 8d. was actually spent, chiefly on '60 lights of windows' (£15), and on sawing and carriage of timber, but it is improbable that anything beyond the preparation of materials was done at this time. (fn. 119) Acroyde and Bentley were two of the Halifax masons brought to Oxford by Sir Henry Savile for the building of the Fellows' Quadrangle at Merton, and they also built the Schools Quadrangle.
Bancroft and his bursar had evidently been too sanguine about the prospects of obtaining the necessary funds; and possibly, as Carr suggests, when the intentions of Charles Greenwood and Sir Simon Bennet to make their handsome benefactions became known later on, the policy of piecemeal building was abandoned for the more ambitious scheme of complete reconstruction. To Greenwood more than anyone else was the college indebted for the realization of this plan, for not only did he give £1,500 in his lifetime, which more than covered the cost of rebuilding the west range, but his fellow benefactor had been one of his pupils and it was no doubt the strong influence of his old tutor that prompted Bennet's generous gift. It was not, however, until two years after Bennet's death that the college ventured to begin work, now assured of adequate funds from the profits of Hanley Park, near Towcester, which he had bequeathed to them in his will. (fn. 120) To reconstruct the college in its entirety meant proceeding one range at a time, but as it proved possible to build the west and south ranges outside the limits of the old ones, there was a minimum of dislocation in the life of the college, and as has been mentioned above, the old west and south ranges actually remained standing until 1668 and the east range until 1675.
To gain the ground needed for a larger quadrangle the college took in the two tenements lying between Deep Hall and the west side of the old quadrangle. (fn. 121) The frontage to the High St. was thus extended to 150 ft. The quadrangle is nearly a square, measuring 105 ft. north and south by 101 ft. east and west. Carr mentions the existence of various contemporary plans which were preserved in the muniment room. They included alternative designs to the scheme eventually adopted. (fn. 122)
The plan of placing chapel and hall in the range opposite the entrance follows those of Wadham and Oriel. At these two colleges, the entrance being on the west side of the quadrangle, the chapel is built at right angles to the east range and, at Wadham, the hall is also. The different situation of University College resulted in chapel and hall being placed end to end, and the scale of the new quadrangle was large enough to accommodate both within its limits without extending the range to east or west. (fn. 123) Only the kitchen and library failed to find a place in the quadrangle itself, and, to accommodate them, after the Restoration, a range was built out southward from the hall. The site eventually chosen for this wing appears to have been an afterthought, for where it abuts on to the hall two windows have been blocked up and the base mouldings are cut into.
The architectural design is clearly indebted to that of Oriel, which in its turn owes much to Wadham. In all three colleges the conservative ideas of the Oxford masons and their employers are apparent. Only in the frontispiece, with its twin doorways to hall and chapel, its niches and curved pediment, was a concession made tentatively and clumsily to the new classic mode. (fn. 124) Although more than forty years elapsed before the completion of the quadrangle, its design is uniform and homogeneous; it is a characteristic example of Oxford Caroline work, in which the medieval spirit so tenaciously survived. The main innovation on the design of medieval colleges was the development of the uppermost of the three stories to form a continuous row of dormers, each with its little gable, so that from ground level the fact that it is structurally an attic is skilfully disguised. This feature is derived from Oriel, where, however, the crisp outline of the gables produces an effect both clear-cut and vivacious. The curious design adopted at University—a sinuous ogee with the loop pinned by a 'brooch'—is not nearly so happy, giving to the sky-line a weak and wriggling silhouette. (fn. 125) The elevations are banded horizontally by continuous string courses carried up over each window—again as at Oriel. There is a difference, however, in the position of the chimneys: at Oriel the stacks are placed centrally, emerging from the roof-ridge, while at University they rise from the outside walls (as at Wadham), leaving blank spaces between the groups of windows. Another debt to Oriel is the design of the tracery in the windows of the chapel and hall. (fn. 126) The gate tower, deeper than it is wide, is flanked by two narrow pilaster-like features; the elevations appear rather crowded, and the traditional angle turret rising above the battlements is omitted, though it was retained in the towers at Oriel and Wadham.
As the original building accounts are in the muniment room, it is possible to follow the whole progress of the work. The two books covering all the building undertaken up to the outbreak of the Civil War are in the handwriting of Thomas Walker, the Master. (fn. 127) Both receipts and expenditure are recorded, the latter being divided under separate headings—'carpenter', 'glasiers', 'slatter', 'plasterer', 'plumbers', 'mason', &c.—and the sums paid out are signed for by the craftsmen, so that the men's signatures (or, if they could not write, their marks) appear under each item. Most of the work was done by contract, by one or more craftsmen, and in several cases the terms of the agreement are entered. The first book covers the building of the west range besides some preliminary work. The second book goes on with the building of the street front and of the south range (hall and chapel) up to the discontinuance of the work in 1642.
Bishop Bancroft laid the foundation stone of the west range on 14 April 1634; a dinner was given 'to entertain those who were assistant at ye Laying ye first stone'. Preparations, however, had been going on since the preceding August, the first payments being for sawing and carriage of timber. Other preliminary work included the pulling down of the tenements adjoining the west side of the old quadrangle, the making good of 'Mr Crosse's house end' (Deep Hall), and the erection of a new boundary wall, called 'the mound wall', in March and April. Between them these operations cost rather over £60. (fn. 128) Another minor undertaking was the building of a coalhouse, storehouses, and 'house of office' (1634–5) at a cost of £44 odd. (fn. 129) The total sum expended on the west range, which was completed in the summer of 1635, was £1,405 3s. 3d. (This figure is exclusive of the items above.)
For all the work undertaken up to 1642 the master mason was Richard Maude. Until the autumn of 1633 he had been working at St. John's College on the new Canterbury quadrangle, for the building of which he, with two partners, had entered into a contract. When it was found that they had received £176 more than their estimate, and they could not repay, they were dismissed, and in the following summer John Jackson, who later on succeeded Maude at University College, came from London to take charge of the work. (fn. 130) Thomas Walker must have known his man, for before being appointed Master in Aug. 1632 he had been a fellow of St. John's; possibly his sympathies were with the mason, for whose difficulties the fellow acting as overseer seems to have been chiefly to blame. At any rate, Maude is found working at University College from Feb. 1634. Perhaps to avoid trouble such as had arisen at St. John's, a 'surveyor', Bernard Rawlins, was also engaged and paid a weekly wage of 8s. It is clear that he was in no sense the architect; his duties were those of a foreman and he was probably employed to keep a check on Maude and the other craftsmen. He did not start work until after the foundation stone had been laid, and he was incapable of signing his name, acknowledging payments with his mark; Richard Maude, on the other hand, always signed in a clear hand. In default of actual entries recording payments for draughts, the credit for the design should probably go to Maude as the master mason responsible. His 'bargain' for the west range amounted to £639 7s. 6d. 'for all the mason-worke and materialls'. (fn. 131) On 18 Sept. 1634 a roof-rearing dinner was given to the workmen, and the two chief carpenters, the chief mason, and the surveyor each received a pair of gloves. (fn. 132)
In building the west range a return of 41 ft. on the High St., up to the west end of the existing front, was erected at the same time. The remainder of the north range, including the gate tower, was taken in hand during the years 1635 and 1636; the cost amounted to £1,711 19s. 4d. Of this sum Maude received £706 15s. 10d. (fn. 133) and Mayo, the carpenter, £150. The particulars of Maude's work include 'ye Vault under ye tower, made of burford stone'. This fan vault is of excellent design. The following five coats of arms are carved on it: (1) Arms of the College (the mythical coat assigned to King Alfred); (2) Percy quartering Lucy (for Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland); (3) Dudley within the Garter and with Earl's coronet (for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester); (4) William of Durham; (5) Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham. The carving of the grotesques below the battlements ('ye 20 anticks about ye tower') cost £10. Maude was also paid for making the gateway at the west end of the street front, which is shown in Loggan's engraving, (fn. 134) and 'for Mr Greenwoods armes cutt in Burford stone' on the Greenwood building (£1 10s.). (fn. 135) A payment of 10s. to 'Mr Jackson Mason for his advise about or new gate-house and ye tower over it and ye vault arches' (fn. 136) shows that Laud's master mason was consulted, and when the great gates were made in the winter of 1637–8 Jackson, although a mason, gave the design for them. (fn. 137) They were made by Thomas Mayo, and the carver was John Bolton. Although a rearing dinner for the north range was held on Michaelmas Day 1635, the gate tower was not completed until the following year; its walls were covered with boards during the winter.
There was an interval before the college went on to build their new chapel and hall, work on which did not begin until the autumn of 1639, although there was a good deal of expenditure on purchases of timber during the two preceding years. Maude's payments began on 24 Sept. 1639 and ended on 13 Aug. 1641; he had by that time received £1,072 16s. 10d. and gave a 'full discharge'. In the following December, however, he was paid a further £7 'for work done in ye new Sellare'—presumably the cellar under the hall. Mayo's share for the carpentry was again £150. By the end of 1641, when work had virtually ceased, over £2,000 in all had been spent; (fn. 138) the walls of the whole range had been completed, and the chapel, vestry, and buttery had been roofed and slated. (fn. 139) There was again a rearing dinner and the four chief workmen received pairs of gloves. In the course of the work a labourer, one Thomas Davis, lost his life by a fall; the college paid for his burial and gave his widow £5 'to releive her and her two children distressed by the losse of her husband'. When the work stopped the hall was roofless; the chapel, though covered, had no fittings and the carving and joinery of its roof were unfinished. But advantage was taken of the presence of Abraham van Linge in Oxford to have the stained glass for the chapel made. His eight windows cost £190 and the accounts contain his signatures for the four instalments which he received. The glass was not set up at the time: in the General Account for 1651–2 there is a payment of 2s. 'for a new lock to lock up the new chappell glasse in ye storehouse'.
Wood's statement that building 'laid still' until 1657 is a year out. The date 1656 is carved on the hall roof, and the accounts of the bursar, William Offley, prove that the roof was set up and the structure of the hall completed between March 1656 and the spring of the following year at a total cost of £533 2s. (fn. 140) Some timber for the roof had been provided under Mayo's supervision 15 years before, (fn. 141) but more was needed, and much of it was bought from Sir George Stonehouse. John White was the carpenter in charge of the work; there was again a carpenters' dinner, and there is a payment of £2 to White 'for his tackeleinge to raise the Roofe'. A good deal of mason's work was required and for this John Jackson was responsible. (fn. 142) The classic doorway on the south side of the hall, now blocked up, is probably of this date, and the classic frontispiece (between the hall and chapel) destroyed in 1802 may also have been erected at this time. The cost was defrayed by subscriptions; Sir Orlando Bridgman contributed £50, the Master, Francis Johnson, £40. The design of the hammerbeam roof was evidently modelled on that in Wadham hall.
At the Restoration a new book of building accounts was begun by Thomas Walker. (fn. 143) Under a heading 'Laid out in ye Colledge since my returne 7° Aug: 1660' a sum of £42 odd is entered for expenditure about the new screen in the hall, on paving the entrance to the hall, purchase of a buttery bell, (fn. 144) and building 134 perches of garden wall. The General Account under the same year records a payment of 25s. to Jackson 'for 33: foote & 4 inches of stone for ye crests of ye new hall'. But the main effort was to be concentrated on completing the chapel, to which the largest donation (£200) came from Katherine Read, daughter of Giles Read of Mitton, Worcestershire, a former commoner. There exists an estimate, made about 1641, of joiner's work to be done in the chapel amounting to £433 6s. 8d. (fn. 145) The largest item is for the roof, 'which is to be wainscotted as All Soules'. The screen is estimated to cost £100, 'stalls for thirty men' £50, two rows of desks £60, wainscot behind the stalls £10. In a memorandum Walker states that a bargain for this work was made with Thomas Richardson of Oxford, joiner, and a note is added, 'ye first particulare concerning ye roofe of ye chappell was most-what perfected'; towards this Richardson had received £100. In 1663 the remaining £100 was paid to Thomas Richardson's son, William, who, not being a joiner himself, employed John Raynford and Edward Trindall to complete the work. (fn. 146) The carving of angels for the roof was done by Edward Woodroffe. (fn. 147) This roof, replaced by a plaster ceiling in 1802, must have been a hammerbeam roof if it was at all like the model specified, the chapel roof of All Souls. (fn. 148) It was panelled internally.
The work of fitting up the chapel was pressed on during 1665 and on St. Cuthbert's Day 20 March of the following year the consecration ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Oxford. In the course of these two years nearly £225 was spent. The largest item was to Richardson and Frogley (fn. 149) for joiner's work (£60 10s.), by which is probably meant the stalls and wainscoting behind them. They are of a similar character to the slightly earlier stalls in Brasenose chapel, which was visited at the time. (fn. 150) A bill of £41 odd for 'masons worke' may have been for paving. A sum of over £12 was expended on a Consecration Feast. Another item was £2 8s. laid out on 'Common Prayer books'. For the east end hangings were bought; the panelling round the altar was not set up until 1682.
A delay ensued before further building was undertaken. The college was in financial difficulties, and between 1665 and 1667 permission was obtained from the Vice-Chancellor to sequestrate vacant fellowships to pay off debts. It was not until 1668 that a beginning was made with work on the east range of the quadrangle and the new library and kitchen wing. These two undertakings occupied nearly ten years and were paid for largely by subscriptions. Obadiah Walker was deputed by the Master and fellows to write begging letters, which he did with much skill and prolixity and no little success. Copies of many of these letters are still in the muniment room. In 1668 the old chapel and west range, which Wood sketched, were at last pulled down, and the foundations of the inner wall of the east range were laid. The kitchen and library wing was begun at the same time, and this was completed first. The structure was finished in 1669, but the fitting up of the library went on until 1675. New personnel had taken the place of the craftsmen employed before the Civil War. The master mason was now Thomas Knight; (fn. 151) the carpenter, John White; the joiner, Arthur Frogley; the slater, John Wiggen.
At Wadham the library is placed over the kitchen in a wing projecting at right angles from the hall and this arrangement was copied at University. In design the new building was as conservative as the rest of the quadrangle. It has a gabled roof of unusually steep pitch; the windows are mullioned, of two lights, under square hood-moulds; projecting from the south wall there is a stone oriel. The library, 60 ft. long and 23 ft. broad, occupied the whole of the first floor. In 1672 Frogley was paid £25 for 'ye wainscot ceeling'. In the roof there was a single long attic chamber, which was not divided into separate rooms until 1809. The kitchen is separated from the hall by a passage, in the south wall of which are twin doorways, now blocked owing to the raising of the floor level. The present staircase was erected in 1691, (fn. 152) but the original arrangement has been altered. After the building of the present library in 1861 the first floor was divided into rooms.
Although the foundations of one wall of the east range had been laid in 1668, further work was left until 1675, in which year the old building was pulled down. The new side, completing the quadrangle, was finished in 1677, forty-three years after the inception of the scheme. (fn. 153) The mason and carpenter worked 'by great' (i.e. on contracts), and at the end Thomas Knight was given £5 'above his Agrement'. Some of the timber was obtained from New College. The expenditure on building from 1660 had amounted to over £2,000, and the grand total since the rebuilding started to approximately £8,200.
Loggan's engraving gives an accurate picture of the college at this date. Oxonia Illustrata was published in 1675, so that his drawing was actually made before the east side of the quadrangle was finished. The niches on the gate tower and over the doorways to hall and chapel are all shown empty. The first to be filled was the niche over the outer arch of the tower. A statue of King Alfred, the gift of Dr. Robert Plot, the historian of Oxfordshire, was set up here on 17 Jan. 1683, on his becoming a fellow commoner. (fn. 154) In Oct. 1686 it was removed to the niche over the doorway leading to the hall (fn. 155) and at the same time the companion niche over the chapel doorway was filled by a statue of St. Cuthbert, procured by Obadiah Walker 'at his own or some other Roman Catholick's Expence'. (fn. 156) The two statues seem to have been removed when the south side of the quadrangle was altered in 1802. The remains of King Alfred for long lay in the rockery in the Master's garden.
Obadiah Walker was also responsible for the statue of James II over the inner arch of the tower. Wood gives a description of 'the great ceremony' when it was set up on 7 Feb. 1687, the day following the anniversary of the king's accession, which fell on a Sunday that year. (fn. 157) It was the gift of a Roman Catholic, (fn. 158) but the college had to pay the bill for the carriage and erection of it. (fn. 159) Describing King James's visit to the college later, Smith relates how His Majesty was taken into the chapel by Walker to view the painted windows so that he 'could not but see his own Statue in coming out of it'. Like the bronze statue by Grinling Gibbons in St. James's Park, the king is represented in Roman armour and wearing a toga. These are the only two extant statues of James II.
The place of King Alfred over the entrance facing
the street was taken by a statue of Queen Anne, the
gift of John Ward, brother of George Ward, fellow.
This was erected on 4 Oct. 1709. It was commonly
regarded as an astute piece of flattery on the part of the
Master, Dr. Charlett, about whom the following verse
O Arthur, O in vain thou tryes
By merit of this statue for to rise;
Thou'lt nere an exaltation have
But that on Prickett's shoulders to the grave.
Prickett, 'the pragmaticall butler of the College', was Dr. Charlett's powerful ally in all internal affairs. (fn. 160)
At the end of the 17th century the Master's Lodging was the only medieval building still surviving. It stood for forty years after the completion of the quadrangle until Dr. Radcliffe's bequest made it possible to build new lodgings. In his will he left to his old college £5,000 'for the building the front of University College down to Logic Lane answerable to the front already built, and for building the Master's lodging therein' and chambers for his two travelling fellows. Radcliffe died on 1 Nov. 1714. In a letter dated 25 March 1716 the Master, Arthur Charlett, wrote from Hambledon that he had 'left all the houses next my Lodgings and in Logic Lane pulling down'. (fn. 161) The earliest Minute Book of the Radcliffe Trustees (1717–20) and their earliest Account Book (1714–50) reveal that the building contract was given to 'Mr. Peisley and Mr. Townsend' (the Oxford masons, Bartholomew Peisley and William Townesend); the actual payments, however, £3,600 in all for 'the first contract', were made to William Townesend. Their work was certified by George Clarke in Feb. 1719. There is an interesting item showing that Francis Smith of Warwick was consulted. He is described as 'surveyor' in the Minute Book, and in the Account Book under 15 Apr. 1717 there is a record of payment to him of £10 15s. 'for his Expences and Trouble abt. the Building at University College'. Tilleman Bobart, of the family of botanists of that name, received £44 18s. 'for Plants and Gardening'. (fn. 162)
If the main quadrangle is a notable example of the survival of Gothic tradition, the Radcliffe buildings are still more remarkable for their conservative character. While it is true that the style of the old quadrangle was copied in accordance with Dr. Radcliffe's wishes, it is nevertheless surprising that there were still in George I's reign local masons capable of working in the traditional manner. Hawksmoor's classic buildings were going up across the street at Queen's at the same time; but a still more interesting contrast is with the north quadrangle at All Souls, which, though not completed until 1734, was begun in the same year as the Radcliffe buildings. At All Souls, Hawksmoor, a classically trained architect, was trying self-consciously to design in the old style with results which even his greatest admirers find difficulty in approving. At University College the wiser course was followed of repeating the existing scheme, to obtain a continuous, uniform front to the High St. of nearly 300 ft. That this work was no dead copyism there is proof in the fan-vault of the gate tower, which, though based on that of the older tower, is none the less a new variation on the old theme. At Oxford the survival of Gothic as a still living tradition overlaps its conscious revival as something romantic and picturesque.
The plan of the two ranges is curious when seen on paper. The outer walls were built on the frontages of the High St. and Logic Lane and made to meet at a right angle, but the new front departs from the front of the old quadrangle by as much as 10 degrees, the break being skilfully masked by a three-storied bay window, which was inserted at the north end of the old east range. The inner walls of the two ranges, however, are squared with the east side of the old quadrangle. The result is that the range facing the High St. is much wider at the west end than at the east and the one along Logic Lane tapers at its south end to a mere 15 ft. The portion of the building west of the gate tower was allocated for chambers for Dr. Radcliffe's travelling fellows; all the rest was assigned to the Master. Internally, the quadrangle is a square of a little over 90 ft. each way. In leaving the south side open the college followed the current practice, recommended by Wren, of building to an open, three-sided plan. A screen wall across the south end separates the quadrangle from the Master's garden and has for its centre feature a classic composition axial to the gateway.
On the vaulting of the gateway are two cartouches carved with the arms of the college and of Dr. Radcliffe. On the side walls are the arms of the four Radcliffe trustees, Sir George Beaumont, Thomas Sclater, William Bromley, and Anthony Keck. (fn. 163) The design of the gates is modelled on those of the main gateway. A statue of Dr. Radcliffe occupies the niche on the inner side of his tower; he is represented holding in his right hand the staff of Aesculapius, in his left hand a book. The inscription below was composed by Dr. Charlett. In the niche facing the street Charlett had a statue of Queen Mary set up to balance that of Queen Anne on the old tower. Thus all three of the last Stuart sovereigns were commemorated in the college. From the Minute Book and Account Book of the Radcliffe Trustees we learn that the statue of Queen Mary was copied from one at Richmond and that Nost (John van Ost) was paid £40 for it. Dr. Radcliffe's statue is by Francis Bird, who charged £70.
In the Clarke collection in the library at Worcester College are several elevations and plans relating to the Radcliffe quadrangle, including a pen-and-wash drawing of the High St. front showing both quadrangles but without the bay that divides them. Most of these drawings concern a scheme for a house in the classic style for the Master, designed to stand in the garden on the axis of the gate tower. The Radcliffe building is shown without the range along Logic Lane. The designs may have been made by William Townesend and proposed as an alternative scheme to that adopted. The classic feature in the garden wall is, perhaps, a faint echo of the project.
After the completion of the Radcliffe quadrangle no addition to the buildings was made for over a century. But in 1802 the south side of the main quadrangle was refaced and remodelled. The ogee cresting was removed and the classic frontispiece replaced by a gabled central feature with a tall oriel in two tiers; buttresses, battlements, and pinnacles were introduced; the sills of the chapel and hall windows were lowered, and blind tracery was inserted below them. James Griffith, then Dean and afterwards Master, an amateur artist (fn. 164) and architect of no small ability, was responsible for this Gothic design. The effect of the change was to give a marked vertical emphasis to the elevation, which both in its proportions and detail is an improvement on the old one as shown in Loggan's engraving. Griffith's water-colour drawing of the elevation hangs in the lobby outside the senior common room. In the same year, with less justification, the timber roof of the chapel was replaced by a vaulted ceiling in plaster, also designed by Griffith, and possibly inspired to some extent by the one introduced into the hall. In 1862 this ceiling in its turn gave place to Sir Gilbert Scott's heavy-handed timber roof with its clumsy stone corbels and uninspired carving.
The alterations made by Scott have had a disastrous effect on the interior of the CHAPEL. He rebuilt the east wall, introducing a five-light window of 14th-century East Anglian character and below it an ornate stone reredos. But the van Linge glass, the 17th-century stalls and screen, and the marble paving were permitted to remain. In 1924 Sir Michael Sadler was responsible for bringing back the late-17th-century carved wood altar-piece, which had been preserved, and setting it in front of Scott's reredos, the gaps on either side being filled by old crimson damask hangings; the outer lights of the east window were covered up at the same time. So long as the eyes are not raised too high, the charm of this Caroline interior can still make itself felt.
The oak stalls and wainscoting were probably made in 1665 (see above), Arthur Frogley being the joiner. The deep cornice supported on carved brackets also occurs in the nearly contemporary woodwork of Brasenose and Corpus Christi chapels. In 1682 the altarpiece and wainscoting at the east end were set up, the cost being defrayed by six subscriptions, the largest of which was a gift of £20 from Sir Thomas Gower. The agreement with Arthur Frogley 'for the frameing & setting up the Wainscot in the East part of the Chappel & on both sides the Altar, he finding Cedar & all other materialls (except Black wall-nut)' is the last item entered in the book of building accounts covering the Restoration period. (fn. 165) He was paid £45 for the work. It would appear that the elaborate lime-wood carving surrounding the centre panel, including the pelican in her piety, birds, fruit, and flowers, was added in 1695. Smith transcribed from the bursar's book for that year the entry: 'To ye carver for work at ye Altar £10.' (fn. 166)
This was but one small item in a further large outlay, amounting to nearly £600, which was incurred during the years 1694 and 1695 in completing the decoration of the chapel. Already, in 1692, a sum of £113 15s. 10d. had been spent on the marble pavement. (fn. 167) This work was followed by the making of the screen. A screen already existed a bay farther east than the present one, but it was not considered handsome enough, and an agreement, dated 4 July 1694, was made with Robert Barker, joiner, of the parish of St. Giles in the Fields, Middlesex, for the erection of a new one 'according to a modell sealed with ye Bursars seale & signed & sealed by ye said Robt.' (fn. 168) Frogley's wainscoting and seats were to be continued westward to the new screen, 'two handsom Pewes' were to be made on the inner side of the screen, and the walls of the antechapel were to be lined with wainscoting. The wood was to be 'good sound right German or Dantzwik Oak without Sapp'. Barker undertook to procure all the carving, 'to be done by a skilfull Artist,' for a sum of £80. In all he was to receive £440.
Various alterations in the end brought his bill up to over £500, of which £150 was for the carving. The original design provided for six fluted Corinthian pilasters on the inside, but the pair flanking the doors became columns; a carved modillion cornice was substituted for one of plain dentils. Four carvers were employed by Barker: a 'Mr. Crosia', John Baker, (fn. 169) a 'Mr. Harvey', and a 'Mr. King'. King carved the pierced panels of foliage for the pews and the two angels on the pediment. A model for the angels was made and sent down from London. (fn. 170) Harvey was responsible for sixty-seven modillions, the capitals of the two columns, and the two large openwork panels of foliage, carved on both sides; for the last he was paid £8 apiece. These two panels are of an intricate but beautifully clear design of scrollwork with two cherubs' heads in the centre; the carving is of such consummate technical skill that curiosity is aroused over the identity of this otherwise unknown artist. There can be little doubt that the similar but larger panels in the screen in Trinity College chapel, which are very nearly contemporary, were the work of the same highly skilled carver. The pair of cherubs' heads are repeated in the Trinity panels with an additional one above and below. The new wainscoting on the side walls follows the old design so exactly that only on a close inspection can the joins be detected. The wainscoting in the antechapel was removed in 1798.
Mention has already been made of the eight windows
executed by Abraham van Linge in 1641–2. They were
not set up until after the Restoration. (fn. 171) Each has a
shield in the tracery, and all but No. 3 are signed and
dated. The subjects are as follows:
South side (east to west): (1) The Fall and the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise (arms of the college). (2) Adam and Eve lamenting their fallen estate; Abraham entertaining the two angels (William of Durham). (3) Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice (Skirlaw). (4) Christ in the house of Mary and Martha (Dudley). (5) Christ casting out the money changers (blank shield).
North side (east to west): (6) Jonah and the Whale (Percy). (7) Elijah ascending to Heaven in a Chariot of Fire (Bennet). (8) Jacob's Dream (Greenwood).
In 1682, the year in which the woodwork at the east end was set up, preparations were made to fill the east window with stained glass. A design was obtained from Henry Giles of York (fn. 172) and the stonework was altered to suit it. (fn. 173) In 1684 Giles received a payment of £1 5s., but the window was not set up until three years later. It bore an inscription stating that it was the gift of Dr. John Radcliffe and was signed: Henricus Giles pinxit. (fn. 174) The subject of the window was the Nativity. The glass was removed in 1862, when the east wall was rebuilt by Scott. Some fragments, including part of the figure of the Virgin, have been made up into a panel, which is now in the muniment room. A drawing of this window is also preserved in the muniment room, along with eight sepia drawings of the van Linge windows, probably made by Giles. (fn. 175) Behind the organ in the blank window on the north side of the chapel there was a painting by Henry Cooke of Lot's Wife, (fn. 176) traces of which were seen when the organ was repaired in 1929. A water-colour sketch made at the time is also in the muniment room.
The chapel furniture includes two hanging chandeliers of eight branches presented by William Bouverie in 1747, brass candle branches and candlesticks on the stalls (c. 1695), and a brass eagle lectern, apparently of mid-18th-century date. (fn. 177) A 17th-century communion table of cedar-wood was removed in 1862 and given to Hubberholme Church, Yorkshire, a living then in the gift of the college. The present communion table of carved and inlaid oak (early 16th century) was formerly in the Master's Lodging.
Wood gives the inscriptions on three monuments which were removed from the old chapel. (fn. 178) One was a brass to Ralph Hamsterley, Master 1509–18. The only one of the three now remaining is a black marble tablet to Jonas Radcliffe (1570–1626), fellow. In the antechapel is Flaxman's large and striking monument to Sir William Jones (1746–94), the Orientalist, represented at a desk writing his Digest of Hindu and Mohammedan Laws, with three natives seated crosslegged facing him. (fn. 179) There are three other monuments by Flaxman—tablets to Nathan Wetherell, Master 1764–1807; Sir Robert Chambers (1735–1803), fellow; and Matthew Rolleston (1787–1817), fellow. (fn. 180) A tablet to A. J. M. Melly (1897–1936) was carved by Eric Gill.
The HALL stands over a cellar, which before the alterations of 1802 was lighted by oval openings in the plinth of the north wall, as shown by Loggan. (fn. 181) The passage from the quadrangle to the buttery and kitchen was formed when the present buttery was built circa 1850 in the angle between the chapel and the kitchen. Before this alteration the buttery occupied two-thirds of the space between antechapel and hall, the remainder forming a small vestibule to the hall. The screen, mentioned in the accounts under the year 1660, was probably set immediately west of the easternmost window in the north wall. Opposite this window, in the south wall, there is a doorway now blocked. The original arrangement for entering the hall was probably the same as that still existing at Wadham, where the screen remains and the buttery is placed in the position it once occupied at University.
In 1766 a drastic remodelling of the interior of the hall took place, when £1,200 was spent in ceiling the roof with a plaster vault suspended from the hammerbeams and collars, wainscoting the walls, introducing tall canopied woodwork at the dais end, 'and ornamenting the whole in the Gothic stile'. (fn. 182) The designs were supplied by Henry Keene. The floor was paved with Swedish and Danish marble. The ceiling and the woodwork were swept away in 1904, when the timber roof was again revealed and restored. At the same time the hall was extended two bays to the west and oak panelling of Jacobean character was introduced. Portions of the Gothic woodwork are preserved in the hall passage and the adjoining room; the chimney-piece remains concealed behind the new chimney-piece of oak, in which the medallion of King Alfred is now framed. The fine set of mahogany chairs with backs of Gothic design were made for the high table at the time of the alterations. The high table itself is the original 17th-century one.
The windows of the hall contain heraldic glass by James Powell & Sons, inserted between 1904 and 1907. The coats of arms in the oriel are by Willement and were given in 1833 by Dr. F. C. Plumptre, afterwards Master. They replaced a window by the York glass-painter, Henry Giles, given by him to the college and set up in 1687, the same year as his east window in the chapel. This glass, which still exists, stored away in packing-cases, is one of the few examples of a period when the art had almost died out. There are two figures of Moses and Elijah, and a panel painted as a sundial, with the figure of the Saviour in the centre and the words Sum Vera Lux above. On another panel below the sundial a dedicatory inscription recorded the gift. (fn. 183)
The SENIOR COMMON ROOM in the west range of the main quadrangle is lined with oak wainscoting (1696–7), for which Robert Barker, the London joiner, was responsible. (fn. 184) In a first-floor room at the west end of the north range there is oak panelling and a chimneypiece contemporary with the building of the range, and several rooms in the east range contain 18th-century woodwork and fire-places. In the Treasury over the main gate some of the woodwork removed from the chapel lines the east wall. In 1865 a summer common room was formed in the room on the south side of the centre staircase in the west range and a passage made connecting it with the hall. The fine Elizabethan woodwork of the summer common room came from No. 88 High St., an old house at the corner of Logic Lane on the east side. The carved chimney-piece is dated 1575 on a cartouche and has the initials of Richard Slythurst and his wife. Forming a frieze to the panelling is a remarkable series of carved panels in relief, the subjects of which are taken from Aesop's Fables, Apuleius, and a bestiary.
At the beginning of the 19th century a plan was drawn up for building new Master's Lodgings west of the main quadrangle facing the High Street on the site of Deep Hall. A Gothic design was made by James Griffith, whose water-colour drawing of the proposed building hangs in the lobby outside the senior common room. In preparation for this scheme Deep Hall, or 'the Principality' as it had come to be called, was pulled down in 1809. The proposal was dropped, however, and the fellows' garden was laid out on the site instead. Staunton Hall, (fn. 185) the adjoining house to the west, survived some years longer, but was removed to make way for the new building on the High St. front erected in 1842 and designed by Sir Charles Barry in Tudor Gothic style.
The passage connecting the main quadrangle with this building was altered in 1894, when a domed chamber was built to receive the Shelley memorial, the work of the sculptor, Edward Onslow Ford. The figure of the drowned poet lies on a slab of Connemara marble supported by two winged lions in bronze; in front is seated a bronze figure of the Poetic Muse. The memorial, originally intended to be placed over Shelley's grave in the Protestant Cemetery at Rome, (fn. 186) was presented to the college by Lady Shelley.
The present Library was built in 1861 from the designs of Sir Gilbert Scott by the executors of Lord Eldon, grandson of the Chancellor. In it stands the 16-ton monument to the two brothers, Lord Eldon and Lord Stowell, designed by Chantrey and executed by M. L. Watson and George Nelson. In 1937 the building was divided into two floors, new fittings were introduced and the tracery of the windows was modified. Mr. A. S. G. Butler was the architect responsible for this improvement. In the vestibule, in addition to the monument to the Scott brothers, now stands Joseph Wilton's marble bust of King Alfred, (fn. 187) given in 1771 by Viscount Folkestone and formerly in the senior common room.
In 1879 the present Masters' Lodgings was erected on the west side of Logic Lane in the Master's garden. For the design of this house, which harmonizes well with the older buildings, the architect (G. F. Bodley) was inspired by Cotswold traditions of domestic architecture. The Tutor's house, a red brick building to the south of the library, facing Kybald St., was added in 1887. Further additions to the college were made in 1903, when the Durham Building on the east side of Logic Lane was built from designs by H. Wilkinson Moore. To make way for it No. 88 High St., which the college acquired in 1763 through the bequest of the Master, Dr. Browne, was demolished; the Elizabethan woodwork in the summer common room came from this house.
In 1905 No. 90 High St. was purchased from Christ Church for £8,000 and joined to New Building. The house was built in 1612 by John Williams, apothecary, and contains some interesting 17th-century woodwork and plaster ceilings. Two rooms on the first floor, originally a single room, are lined with oak panelling and have carved chimney-pieces with the coat of arms and crest of John Williams in the centre panel. On the second floor there are two other oak-panelled rooms, in each of which is a carved chimney-piece, one illustrating the story of the Garden of Eden, the other the sacrifice of Issac. In all four rooms there are contemporary ornamented ceilings. The saloon at the back of the building, (fn. 188) now a lecture room, is lighted by two large Venetian windows and decorated in the Regency style. It was added to the house circa 1812 by James Adam, cabinet-maker and upholder, who was also responsible for the re-fronting of the building. In this house John Ruskin's mother lodged during the whole of each term when her son was an undergraduate of Christ Church (1836–40).
A pleasure Garden (disportum) and a herb garden (herbarium) are mentioned in the earliest Bursar's Rolls. The wall removed in 1391–2 separated the pleasure garden of Spicer's Hall from that of Ludlow Hall. Evidently the two united gardens were replanned, for in the following year trees were bought for planting in the garden. There is record of a wall made for the garden in 1439–40, a new storehouse 'within the garden' was erected in 1442–3, and the expenses incurred in 1448–9 over the building of the hall included an item pro mundificacione orti. This medieval garden probably lay between the chapel and the backs of White Hall and Rose Hall.
Loggan's view shows a small garden running back behind the old Master's Lodgings and a larger one, laid out with little formal beds, east of the chapel and occupying part of the area covered by the Master's garden to-day. The latter was originally the fellows' garden; much attention was bestowed on it after the Restoration, and in 1697 it was adorned with an arbour. In the walled enclosure behind the chapel Loggan shows a large tree rising above its roof; it occupies the position of the ancient mulberry tree in the Master's garden. His bird's-eye view of Oxford also shows an avenue running southwards towards Merton Lane; this was, no doubt, the grove mentioned by Smith 'planted with Walnut-Trees when I was first Bursar of the College, but as I hear, is now cut down and destroyed'. (fn. 189) After the demolition of Deep Hall in 1809 and the abandonment of the scheme for building a new Master's Lodgings on the site the fellows made over to the Master their garden east of the chapel and laid out the present garden on which the windows of the two common rooms open. A restricted site in the heart of Oxford has never made it possible to develop a large garden as at other colleges, but the green lawns and some fine old trees add not a little to the charm of the buildings.