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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History of the College
'The most auntient endowed Colledg in Christendome as Sir Hen. Savile was used to affirme' (fn. 1) had a humble beginning, and was an unimportant part of the University until the 19th century. In the following sketch an outline is given of its earlier constitutional development and small endowments. A slightly fuller treatment has been attempted of its rise to a leading position and of the achievements of some of its many distinguished members. Balliol was started as a house for poor scholars, which was supported by the payments of John of Balliol, lord of Barnard Castle. These payments, which began a few years before 1266, were part of a penance imposed on John Balliol by the Bishop of Durham. John Balliol died in 1269, but the payments were continued by his widow, Dervorguilla. In 1282 she gave the house a charter. (fn. 2) Its principal clauses were that the scholars should choose a principal from their own number, who was to govern 'according to the statutes [not further specified] used and approved among them'; but they were to be subject to her two representatives (procuratores), a Franciscan and a secular master. These two were to confirm the election of the principal and to manage all the funds and property of the house. The scholars were to be students of arts (sophistae), and regulations were laid down for the disputing of sophismata. They were to continue scholars until their arts course was finished. The first principal was Mr. Walter of Fotheringay, who later became canon of Lincoln.
The lack of any College Register before 1540 and the absence of any sort of accounts before 1545 makes it impossible to trace the internal growth of the house, but small endowments began to be received in the next generation. The chief of them were the gift of the rectory of St. Lawrence Jewry, London, in 1294, with some houses, and the bequest from William Burnel, Archdeacon of Wells, in 1304 of Burnel's Inn, now part of Christ Church.
Despite the clear intentions of the foundress, some scholars began to study for higher degrees, and in 1325 it was necessary for the two proctors, now called external masters, to intervene and forbid such attempts. From the charter (fn. 3) recording the decision we learn that Richard fitz Ralph, later Archbishop of Armagh, had been a scholar of the house. A few years later students of theology were added to the foundation by the benefaction of Sir Philip de Somervyle. In 1340 he gave the advowson of Long Benton in Northumberland with 2 plough lands to augment the foundation. The gift was accompanied by a new set of statutes, (fn. 4) which, in the words of the donor, were intended to 'confirm and not to overthrow' the existing rules and statutes. (fn. 5) From these we learn that the number of Dervorguilla's scholars had been sixteen. Sir Philip added six further scholars in arts, and provided that from the scholars of the house six should be elected to go on to the study of theology. They were also allowed to study in other faculties, i.e. law and medicine, in the vacations, with a limit to two years in the study of canon law. The two external masters and the principal were retained, but the latter was made subordinate to a 'perpetual master'. This new officer, with greater powers over the revenues of the house, was to be chosen by the fellows, and his election was to be confirmed by the Lord of Wichnor (Sir Philip's manor), the Chancellor of the University, the Warden of Durham College and the two external masters. The same elaborate series of confirmations was also required for the election of the theologians. Over all was placed the Bishop of Durham with power to see that the terms of the bequest were carried out. In the same year (1340) Sir William Felton gave the rectory of Abbotsley in Huntingdon to augment the allowances of the scholars. The statutes of Sir Philip were too complicated to work smoothly, and in 1364 the master and scholars petitioned the Pope to revise them. The Pope delegated the work to Simon Sudbury, Bishop of London. The revised statutes are not known to exist, (fn. 6) and it is only possible to conjecture their main outline from later evidence. It appears that the elaborate arrangements for the confirmation of elections was abolished, but that the new Master remained. No more is heard of the principal. The master was subordinate to the two external masters, who came to be called rectors. The power of altering statutes lay with the Bishop of London, who is known to have exercised it twice (1433, 1470), by regulating the value of the benefice the Master might hold and by relieving him of the task of participating in the disputations held in the house. One distinguished man, John Wycliffe, was Master in the 14th century (c. 1356–61).
The most notable occurrence in the 15th century was the residence of William Gray, afterwards Bishop of Ely, as a sojourner. When he left in 1442 to continue his studies in Cologne, he was accompanied by two of the fellows, Richard Bole, afterwards Archdeacon of Ely, and Nicholas Saxton, who both left books to the library. He also enabled another fellow, John Free, to go and study in Italy. Free became one of the very few English humanist writers. After his death in 1478 Gray's books came to Balliol, and 181 manuscript volumes and one printed book are still preserved in the library. It is by far the finest, as well as the largest, private collection to survive in England from the Middle Ages. It is remarkable in width of interest: not only do the standard scholastic writers stand side by side with classical writers and Italian humanists, but there are important manuscripts connected with authors of the 12th (such as William of Malmesbury) and early 13th centuries (such as William of Auvergne).
To return to the constitutional development of the college, the existence of the rectors with considerable powers and opportunities of interfering in college affairs remained a grievance, and at the end of the 15th century the Master and scholars petitioned the Pope for their removal. In 1504 the Pope commissioned the bishops of Winchester and Carlisle to draw up new statutes. The Bishop of Winchester was Richard Fox, and the new statutes were drawn up by him and promulgated in 1507. (fn. 7) Fox's remodelling of the statutes did not make any radical changes in the composition of the college, except for the abolition of the two rectors. He drew a sharper distinction between the fellows (socii) and the scholars (scholastici). There were to be ten graduate fellows who, with the Master, were responsible for the government of the college, and ten scholars, not over the age of 18 on admission, each to be nominated by one of the fellows, to whom he acted as servant. The scholars were to be given preference ceteris paribus in elections to fellowships. To the majority of the fellows definite offices were assigned. The senior fellow was to be vice-gerent in the absence of the master. There were two deans, the senior in charge of discipline, who was also in charge of disputations and of the library, and the junior who was in charge of chapel. There were two chaplains to perform the chapel services and two bursars to render accounts twice a year. The fellows were bound to proceed to priests' orders within four years of becoming masters of arts. The fellows were given the privilege of electing the visitor, who was only to come to the college once a year, unless specially invited. These statutes with certain modifications continued to govern the college until the Commissioners' Ordinances of 1857.
The changes of religion in the 16th century do not appear to have seriously affected the fortunes of the college. The Master, William Whyte (1525–39), submitted, though somewhat unwillingly, to the changes imposed by Henry VIII. He was succeeded by George Cotys, a nominee of Thomas Cromwell, but Cotys was a 'wilful and factious' man, and the Bishop of Lincoln warned Cromwell that, if he were elected, 'there would soon be few in the college save of his own country', i.e. Yorkshire. In his visitation of 1542 the bishop reaffirmed the principle of the statute that new fellows should be chosen on their merits and not respectu alicuius patrie. (fn. 8) But the desire for local attachments for scholastic endowments was strongly felt, and in 1556, when Dr. John Bell bequeathed a house in Clerkenwell to endow two exhibitions they were restricted to men born in the diocese of Worcester.
In the late 16th and early 17th centuries the college shared to some extent in the revival of the prosperity of the University. The numbers rose. In 1576–80, when bursarial records are first available, the average number of undergraduates was 40; in 1637–41 the average number was nearly 70. (fn. 9) The teaching was reorganized. It was laid down (1572) that every commoner was to be assigned to the Master or to a fellow as tutor and was to perform the same academic exercises as a scholar. In 1571 lecturerships were created in Greek, rhetoric, and logic, and in 1599 a lecturership in theology (catechetics) was added. The increase in the number of commoners was probably due to the greater number of boys wishing to enter the University, but it was no doubt welcomed by the college as a means of supplementing its small endowments. The same motive was probably responsible for the admission of fellow-commoners in 1610, who paid higher fees and had the privilege of dining at the fellows' table. Payments from a commoner to his tutor were a matter of private arrangement and do not appear in the accounts, but their room rents and certain catering profits made it possible to increase the emoluments of the fellows. Such arrangements could not have succeeded without fellows of ability as teachers. One of the earliest was Robert Parsons, elected fellow in 1568, but he was compelled to resign in 1574 owing to his suspected Romanist leanings. The same suspicion did not fall on Thomas Holland (fellow, 1573–85 and later Regius Professor of Divinity) or Robert Abbot (fellow, 1581–9, Master 1610–16) and his younger brother George (fellow, 1583–97 and later Archbishop of Canterbury). These last two were elected during the mastership of Edmund Lilly (1580–1610), 'an excellent divine, universally read in the Fathers, all whose opinions he would reckon up upon any question at divinity disputations in the College'. (fn. 10)
It was during Lilly's mastership that a serious breach was made in the statute that fellows should be chosen without regard to their place of birth. In 1601 the college accepted the benefaction of Peter Blundell, merchant clothier, of Tiverton, co. Devon. It provided for the establishment of a scholar to be chosen from the school founded by Blundell at Tiverton and of a fellow. The scholar was to succeed to the fellowship as of right when it fell vacant. The fellowship could only be held for ten years after the taking of the degree of M.A., a limitation of tenure which did not apply to other fellowships. By a modification made in 1615 the college agreed that if the Blundell fellowship was not vacant when the scholar graduated B.A., he should be entitled to the next vacancy on the old foundation, until a Blundell fellowship was available.
Lilly had an able successor in Robert Abbot, whose biographer claims that 'as a carefull and skilfull Gardiner he set his nurserie with the best plants, making always choyce of the towardliest young men in all elections, and when he had set them, he tooke such care to water and prune them that in no plat or knot in the famous nurserie of the University of Oxford, there appeared more beautifull flowers, or grew sweeter fruit than in Baliol Colledge whilst he was Master'. (fn. 11) His successors were less forceful, and the college did not make the same advance as Queen's and University, two other old foundations which were then coming into prominence.
The Civil War and the consequent drop in numbers of commoners seriously strained the college finances. The Parliamentary Visitors in 1650 had ordered that, considering the debts of the college, 'no more fellows be put into the old foundation of the said College until further order'. (fn. 12) The number of undergraduates in residence did not recover its pre-war level. The average from 1649 to 1667 was approximately 40. Further financial difficulties arose owing to laxity in enforcing the payments of battels. The college did not bake its own bread nor brew its own ale, and fell into arrears in the payment of tradesmen. At the end of the '60's its fortunes reached their lowest depth. The Bishop of Lincoln, as visitor, was compelled to intervene. (fn. 13) On 25 January 1667/8, Thomas Yate, Principal of Brasenose, wrote to the bishop that he had inquired of the Master (Henry Savage) what were the bishop's powers as Visitor. He continued: 'For the condition and state of the Colledge, it is in every mouth, that they are much indebted, and if my informacion be not wrong, their dettes are contracted by such wayes and meanes, that it may be a work worthy of your Lordship to cure at the present and to provide against and prevent for the future.' (fn. 14) The Master had spent a considerable amount of time in exploring the archives of the college, and had written a history of it—the earliest history of any Oxford or Cambridge college—which he had circulated in manuscript in 1661. (fn. 15) He now published it with dedicatory letters to Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, to the Bishop of Lincoln and to John, Earl of Lauderdale, from which we learn that Sheldon played some part in setting the Visitation in motion. An appeal for help was made to old members and others. The largest sum (£295) was contributed by Christ Church. By 14 July 1670 the day after the Visitation was begun, £783 had been paid off, and £585 was still owing. The Visitation was adjourned to October, the examination and auditing of the accounts were delegated to the Vice-Chancellor and heads of houses. It was found that a small part of the deficiency arose from loss of rents owing to the Great Fire of London, but that the greater part was due to unpaid battels. Behind the scenes Thomas Goode, a former fellow, was active, writing to the bishop, and on the death of Savage in 1672, he was elected Master. He set himself to restore the college to solvency. 'Every fellow has engaged to use their best endeavours to get in arrears [of battels] that are owing in their respective countrys'. (fn. 16) But his efforts to restore discipline met with opposition. On 10 September 1674 he wrote to the bishop: 'I have disannuld their sharking impositions and lazy customes which grew up in my predecessor's sleepy government, which are the great occasion their banding against me.' He was appealing for the intervention of the bishop over the election of John Venn (Master, 1678–87) as Bursar, which had been carried against him. In 1676 after a disputed election to a fellowship, the fellows went so far as to appeal for an injunction to the Vice-Chancellor's Court. The fellows probably were factious, but they had legitimate doubts about the wisdom of some of the means by which Goode proposed to restore the finances of the college. He was an ardent supporter of the acceptance of the benefaction of John Warner, Bishop of Rochester, who died in 1666. He had left money to Magdalen for exhibitions for Scottish scholars, but the college had not been ready to accept the bequest. Goode wrote: (fn. 17)
Memorandum that Mai 6xt  74 Mr Hopkins (chaplain to the late Lord bishop of Rochester) told me that Magdalen Colledge having refused to receive the Scots into the College, the Bishop was doubtful where to sette them. Whereupon Mr Hopkins desired his Lordship to settle them on Balliol College which was a Scotch foundation; to which the Bishop readily assented and said that he intended two of them should be fellows and thouter two schollars of the house.
The endowment was insufficient for this scheme, and it was finally settled that there should be two exhibitioners, who should give sureties that they would afterwards return to Scotland and take episcopal orders, a condition that was very difficult to carry into effect. Still more questionable was the agreement that he carried through in 1676 with the Blundell feoffees. In return for the gift of £600 the college undertook to maintain another fellow and scholar on the same conditions as the original Blundell scholar and fellow, and suppressed a fellowship and scholarship on the old foundation.
However questionable some of these expedients may have been, the fortunes of the college were saved, and its condition began gradually to improve. New lecturerships were set up in poetry (fn. 18) and mathematics (1698). The first mathematical lecturer was John Keill, from Edinburgh, who later became Savilian professor of astronomy. In 1708 the money bequeathed for a catechetical lecturership by Dr. Richard Busby (Visitor, 1691–5) became available, and the old praelectorship in theology was changed into one of Hebrew. (fn. 19) New benefactions were received. John Snell (d. 1677) had bequeathed property at Ufton (co. Warwicks.) to establish exhibitions similar to those of Bishop Warner 'in some college or hall in the University of Oxford' for persons born and educated in Scotland, on the nomination of Glasgow College, but the existence of lifeinterests made it impossible to carry out the bequest for many years. In 1693 the property was handed over to trustees for the college by order of the Court of Chancery, and the first pair of exhibitioners, duly nominated, came into residence in 1699. The condition attached that the exhibitioners should return to Scotland and take episcopal orders was again very difficult to carry out, and was never incorporated in the Chancery decrees governing the scheme. (fn. 20) Among the earlier exhibitioners was the distinguished mathematician, James Stirling (1710–16). (fn. 21) Between 1699 and 1766 eleven other exhibitions were endowed by eight separate benefactors, among them Roger Mander (Master, 1687–1704). Between 1692 and 1724 bequests were received of ten advowsons, six of them from Henry Compton and John Robinson, successive bishops of London.
The masters of the 18th century have not left a clear mark of their personality. The longest tenure was that of Theophilus Leigh (1726–85), an outsider and the nephew of the Visitor, who was elected after a disgraceful contest. (fn. 22) But his mastership does not appear to have caused the college to decline. A great difficulty in estimating its state at this period is due to the widening gap between the studies prescribed by the University curriculum and the intellectual interests of the age. Outside the University the prevailing view was that 'Aristotle was an obscure and unprofitable author, whose philosophy had been deservedly superseded by that of Mr Locke'. (fn. 23) Yet inside, a study of parts of the works of Aristotle was required of students. Hence those who, like Adam Smith, came from a University then less hidebound found that the teaching had little to offer them. (fn. 24) What the ordinary English undergraduate made of it we do not know. Warton in 1761 speaks of the 'flourishing condition' of the college in contrast to its state immediately after the Restoration. (fn. 25) There is one development of which we should like to know more. In 1772–3 the accounts show substantial payments to three fellows, presumably for tuition, for from 1780 the fellows to whom such payments are made are called tutores. (fn. 26) There is nothing in the Register to explain the sudden appearance of these payments, but it may represent the change over from the Elizabethan system of private arrangements between tutor and pupil to something like the 19th-century system of college tutors. New life was stirring. The first act of Dr. Leigh's successor, John Davey (Master 1785–98), who, it must be noted, had been Blundell scholar and fellow, was the election of an outsider, John Parsons, from Wadham, as fellow. (fn. 27) In 1786 another outsider, George Powell, from Brasenose, was elected fellow 'being at that time esteemed a young man of very considerable promise'. (fn. 28) In 1789 a building fund was set up, which was made possible by the increased revenue from the Long Benton property, due to the development of coal-mining, and the affairs of the college began to be administered in a more purposeful way. (fn. 29) The number of fellow-commoners fell sharply after 1785, their privileges were reduced in 1789, and no more were admitted after 1796. At the other end of the scale servitors had been declining in numbers since the 1760's. From 1781 there were never more than four, and after 1810 no more were admitted.
John Parsons, who succeeded Davey as Master in 1798, is commonly reckoned as the founder of modern Balliol, perhaps with too great a disregard for the efforts of his predecessor. (fn. 30) Parsons was the son of Isaac Parsons, butler of Corpus Christi College, and brother of Herbert, founder of the Oxford Old Bank. In 1810 he was made Dean of Bristol and in 1813 Bishop of Peterborough, but retained the mastership until his death in 1819. This outline of his career suggests a man of unusual ability, but scarcely anything is known about his life in college. Two points are clear. Parsons was one of the authors of the new University Examination Statute (1800), and from 1808 the names of Balliol men began to appear among the firsts in the Class List. From 1807 he continued Davey's policy of bringing in outsiders as fellows; of the fourteen fellowships on the old foundation to which elections were made from 1807 to 1819 nine were filled by outsiders, who had distinguished themselves in the schools, but were not eligible for fellowships in their own colleges.
In contrast to Parsons a clearer picture can be formed of the personality of his successor Richard Jenkyns (Master 1819–54). Short in stature, with a mincing gait and a pronunciation which by the 1830's was old fashioned, he became the subject of innumerable anecdotes. In spite of his physical disadvantages he combined firm discipline with an ability to win the affections of fellows and of undergraduates and to keep that of old members, who all recognized his entire devotion to the interests of the college. (fn. 31) By his younger contemporaries he was accounted a man of only moderate ability, but they were perhaps not fully aware of the work he had done as tutor in his earlier days under Parsons. A great gulf was fixed between men who had come within the orbit of the Oxford movement and the 'high and dry Tories' of the beginning of the century. Elected scholar 1800 and fellow 1804, he became tutor in 1805, and from 1811–19 was sole tutor. When he became Master, he had an able set of fellows. Noel Ellison (one of Parson's outsiders) became tutor (1819–23). Among the others were J. Carr (another of Parson's outsiders) and C. A. Ogilvie (a Balliol man, who had gained a first class in the Schools, tutor 1823–31). Among the undergraduates was J. T. Round, the first Balliol man to win a 'double first'. (fn. 32) In 1828, at the persuasion, it is said, of Ogilvie, Jenkyns abandoned the system by which scholars were nominated by the master and fellows in turn, and threw the scholarships open to competition, (fn. 33) except those on the Blundell foundation which could not be touched. In the judgement of Jowett 'this more than any other change we may regard as the turning-point in the fortunes of the College'. (fn. 34) The college was beginning to be marked out as a place of intellectual distinction, more men were seeking admission, and the practice was introduced of admitting commoners from the larger public schools on the scholarship examination.
Jenkyns was, in Dean Church's phrase, 'an unfailing judge of a clever man, as a jockey might be of a horse', (fn. 35) and the fellows were chosen with great discernment. Those elected in the 30's included A. C. Tait, W. G. Ward (from Lincoln College), R. Scott (from Christ Church), W. C. Lake, and B. Jowett. Tait seems to have been the first tutor to have successfully broken 'down the wall of partition which used to separate undergraduates from their teachers'. (fn. 36) In his Journal for 1835 he wrote: 'There is no good to be done in Oxford unless one is intimate with undergraduates.' (fn. 37) A remarkable series of scholars was under his charge, among them A. P. Stanley, E. M. Goulburn, W. C. Lake, A. H. Clough, Matthew Arnold, all from Rugby, B. Jowett, F. Temple, J. D. Coleridge. It was the scholars of these years that J. C. Shairp commemorated as 'a Scholar brotherhood, high-souled, complete'. (fn. 38) 'Given a very able teacher', wrote Lake, '(as both Tait and Scott were in our days) the plan of lecturing in his own rooms to some 18 or 20 pupils combined in a great measure the advantages of public and private teaching; and I have still a lively impression, when the substance of the lecture was given, of the cross-questioning of Tait, in his lectures on the Ethics, and of the ready, sometimes almost too ready, answers and retorts which they elicited. Tait's great lectures were on Aristotle's Ethics and Rhetoric, and on the New Testament … . [His] lectures on History were a very inferior matter; but nothing could be better than those of Scott on the Greek Poets'. (fn. 39)
It was the hey-day of the Oxford Movement. Tait was one of the most level-headed opponents of Newman, Ward (from 1834) his most ebullient supporter, and the Common Room was the scene of endless debates between them. But they did not allow differences of theological view to cloud friendship and co-operation. As Tait later reminded F. Temple (fellow, 1842): (fn. 40) 'It was understood between us that private friendship should not be interfered with by the necessity for public acts.'
Tait left Oxford in 1842 to become headmaster of Rugby, and in the same year Jowett succeeded to a tutorship. In 1843 there was a break in the successes in the schools. They began again in 1845, when J. Riddell and E. Palmer (both afterwards fellows and tutors) were placed in the first class. Jowett was beginning to find himself in the study of Greek philosophy, which 'was the true foundation of his greatness in the eyes of Balliol men and of the Oxford world'. (fn. 41) He began to increase his hold over his pupils, and his power of converting idle but intelligent men to the 'doctrine of work' was being developed. He was also taking a prominent part in college affairs and working for its extension. (fn. 42)
When Jenkyns died (1854), the college was divided over the succession to the mastership. Of the resident fellows Jowett was the strongest candidate, but he was only 37, and some of the fellows 'did not choose to place him in authority'. F. Temple was invited to stand, but declined. Finally Robert Scott, who had held a college living since 1840, was elected and remained Master till 1870. (fn. 43)
One of the earliest acts of Scott's mastership was the passing of a by-law requiring every scholar to declare himself a member of the Church of England, but it was vetoed by the Visitor, J. Jackson, then Bishop of Lincoln. In 1855 Jowett was appointed Regius Professor of Greek, which gave him a new outlet for his energies. He also published his work on the Pauline Epistles, which brought a storm of theological opprobrium on his head. He kept somewhat aloof from his colleagues, ceasing to attend Common Room or to dine in Hall, but his hold over his pupils was not lessened, and he did not always fail to get his way in college meetings. A characteristic incident occurred in 1859. A committee, of which Jowett was a member, was set up to consider 'the means of founding Exhibitions out of the funds of Domus'. 'Having carefully considered the annual income of Domus', the committee 'came to the conclusion that the income would allow two Exhibitions annually of the value of £60'. Jowett thought that this was over-cautious and gave notice of a motion at the next stated meeting for the founding of eight exhibitions of £60 a year, which was carried. In the same year the 'college rule', first laid down in 1856, was enforced, not without some disagreement, that all undergraduates must read for honours. (fn. 44) Yet fundamentally this picking out of points of difference is misleading. The other tutors, notably J. Riddell and E. Palmer, were men 'of exceptional abilities and attainments', and all were 'united by common loyalty to the higher interests of their College'. (fn. 45)
The Ordinances made by the University Commissioners (1857) introduced no sweeping changes. The scholarships on the old foundation were reduced to four, the majority of the exhibitions founded in the 18th century were consolidated into four open scholarships, but the scholarship of Dr. Bell remained separate. The Blundell fellowships were abolished, subject to existing rights, and in place of them the number of Blundell scholars was increased to five. The college was given the power to elect Honorary Fellows, which it first exercised in 1867 by the election of Robert Browning. The most important provision was the removal of the obligation on a fellow to enter into Holy Orders within four years of proceeding to the degree of M.A. The first fellow elected under the Ordinances was T. H. Green (1860), who became the first lay tutor (1866). It was a symptom of the increasingly secular character of the college. During the mastership of Jenkyns from 1833–4 to 1844–5 almost half the graduates of the college had been ordained. In the next decade the number dropped to one in three, and during Scott's mastership to one in five. (fn. 46)
The changes among the fellows in the decade following Scott's accession went in favour of Jowett, but it was not until C. P. Ilbert had completed his probationary year (1865) that Jowett could command a majority ready to support his proposals. With Green he established (1867) a hall of residence in St. Giles for students unable to afford the expenses of an education in college. They received tuition from the fellows gratuitously. Compulsory attendance at college lec tures was modified, and a combined lecture list for Balliol and New College was introduced, (fn. 47) the beginning of the system of intercollegiate lectures. Compulsory attendance at Chapel was abolished, its place being taken by a roll-call. The benefaction of Miss Hannah Brackenbury (fn. 48) made possible the establishment of exhibitions in history and natural science.
Green remained tutor for a comparatively short period, but it was a time when many men were shedding traditional beliefs. In Green's idealistic philosophy they found a creed which could replace the old one, and it was through him and his pupils (for instance R. L. Nettleship, A. Toynbee, H. Scott Holland, B. Bosanquet, J. H. Muirhead, W. Ashley, A. C. Bradley, W. P. Ker) that the college exercised a profound influence on the direction of thought in England in the latter part of the century and beyond. (fn. 49)
Jowett's ascendancy inside the college was established: outside he had become a public figure, the friend of statesmen and of men of letters. In 1870 by the influence of one of them, Robert Lowe, Scott was preferred to the Deanery of Rochester. Jowett was elected to succeed him, and held the mastership until his death in 1893. Outside the college it was expected that he would introduce radical changes, but this was a misunderstanding of the man. He was 'inventive' and 'fertile in experiments', but 'seldom practically approved of radical changes'. (fn. 50) 'Nothing interested him so much as new plans, new ideas that could be tried, improved methods, schemes for making things work better'. (fn. 51) His schemes embraced many sides of college life. He started weekly tutorial meetings to review the work of every undergraduate. He established an undergraduate library (1871), which was later (1878) transferred to the old dining-hall, which had become vacant by his building of the new Hall. There the modern books in the main college library were also placed, and one of the best working libraries for the schools in Oxford was built up. He abolished the catechetical lectures and replaced them by sermons. He shortened the week-day services in Chapel and provided an organ for them. He compiled a new hymn book with music edited by John Farmer. He welcomed foreigners to the college for a year or two's study. He built a tutor's house (The King's Mound in Mansfield Rd.). He acquired the playing-field, called after him The Master's Field.
Two schemes may be mentioned more fully. Jowett was always anxious to attach outstanding teachers to the college and to strengthen the teaching of subjects outside the classical curriculum. The outstanding instance is the arrangement by which W. Stubbs was elected honorary fellow in 1876 and undertook to give tuition to a few of the better men reading history. During the three years of this arrangement his pupils included R. L. Poole, J. H. Round, T. F. Tout, and C. H. Firth. 'That four of Stubbs's pupils during the three years should have been men who were to become, with the exception of Maitland, the most fruitful and influential historical scholars of their time is indeed a remarkable coincidence.' (fn. 52) In 1879 A. L. Smith became history tutor, a position he retained until he was elected master in 1916. Since 1904, four Balliol men, Sir Charles Firth, H. W. C. Davis, Sir Maurice Powicke, V. H. Galbraith have succeeded each other as Regius Professors of Modern History.
Jowett was no less anxious to attract fresh types of students to the college, and he had long been interested in the training of men for work in India. In 1878 new regulations were introduced under which successful candidates in the examination for the Indian Civil Service proceeded to a two years' probationary course at one of the universities. Of those who came to Oxford the greater number came to Balliol. Arnold Toynbee was appointed the first tutor to them. The regulation was not wholly satisfactory and only lasted thirteen years, but many Balliol men of distinction entered the service. From 1888 to 1905 three Balliol men were successively Viceroys of India (Lord Lansdowne, the Earl of Elgin, Lord Curzon) and from 1883 to 1909 another, Sir Arthur Godley (Lord Kilbracken) was Permanent Under Secretary of State for India. (fn. 53)
The numbers in college had been growing from the 80 to 90 men in residence in the 30's and 40's, and the increase was greatly accelerated by the abolition in 1868 of the University requirement of twelve terms' residence in college. In the 70's the numbers rose to approximately 150. The admission of the I.C.S. probationers brought about a further increase to about 200. In the judgement of Strachan-Davidson 'a college of 150 men can live and work as a single society. If it goes up to 200, it gets, as we found by experience, out of hand'. (fn. 54) As a means of countering the divisions into sets among the members of this large society Jowett persuaded John Farmer to come from Harrow (1885), where he had done remarkable work in the cultivation of music. Concerts were given in Hall on Sunday nights, an institution which has continued, and Hallsinging and 'Smoking Parliaments' were arranged on other nights of the week. Jowett gave an organ, built by Willis, which was erected at the west end of the hall. Among the fellows at this time R. L. Nettleship had remarkable musical insight, and Farmer was succeeded as director of music by one of Nettleship's pupils, Ernest Walker. After Nettleship's death a scholarship for classics and music was founded in his memory, of which the first holder was D. F. Tovey.
Underlying all these schemes, there was one aim, which was always kept in view, to make the College 'a really great place of education'. (fn. 55) The undergraduates came first: contributions to knowledge by the fellows second. Jowett was animated by an intense desire to make young men to use their powers to the utmost. (fn. 56) To give one example. In 1883 Sir Edward Grey (later Earl Grey of Fallodon) was sent down for idleness, but a little later Jowett invited him to one of his week-end parties, and when Grey was leaving he followed him out into the passage, took hold of his arm, and said in a pleading voice: 'You will read, won't you ? Please do.', and then hurried back to his other guests. (fn. 57) Jowett was sometimes accused of snobbery and tufthunting. His answer is recorded: 'Anyone who tries to get hold of young men of rank or wealth must expect to be accused of snobbishness, but one must remember how important it is to influence towards good those who are going to have an influence over hundreds or thousands of other lives.' (fn. 58)
The athletic record of the college in the 19th century cannot match its distinction in the schools, but was not negligible, especially in rowing. It was one of the earliest colleges to put a boat on the river (1825). Dr. Jenkyns, after being hostile, was converted. The eight was head of the river five times during the century (1851, 55, 59–60, 73, 79). The crews of 1858–9 were specially notable, thanks to the training of E. Warre (later headmaster of Eton), whose 'interest in Balliol rowing did not cease with his undergraduate days. It was he who convinced Jowett of the social, and even moral, as well as physical, value of rowing as part of college life'. (fn. 59) The athletic achievement of one individual, W. H. Grenfell (Lord Desborough), was so outstanding that his name cannot be omitted.
The remarkable rise of the college from an insignificant to an eminent place in the University in the 19th century was due in the first place to a discernment of the possibilities opened up by the Examination Statute of 1800, coupled with the absence of severe restrictions on the qualifications for fellowships and scholarships in the Statutes of the college. By 1834 Tait could write to Ogilvie: 'You will be glad to see that Balliol makes a good appearance as usual in the class lists', and 'putting all prejudice aside, I am sure that at present there is no College in Oxford, in which a fellowship is more desirable than it is at Balliol.' (fn. 60) The position thus won was consolidated by a series of remarkably able tutors, men like B. Jowett, J. Riddell, R. L. Nettleship, J. L. Strachan-Davidson, A. L. Smith, who devoted their lives to the College and to their pupils. The spirit which animated them finds expression on the memorial tablet to Nettleship in the chapel: 'He loved great things and thought little of himself. Desiring neither fame nor influence he won the love of men and was a power in their lives; and seeking no disciples he taught to many the greatness of the world and of man's mind.' (fn. 61)
The time has not yet come to see the later history of the college in perspective; but in conclusion mention may be made of its scientific laboratories. The earliest reference to them is in 1851. In 1879 a joint scheme with Trinity for the teaching of science was started, and the Balliol-Trinity laboratories were responsible for important work on chemistry, especially physical chemistry, under Sir John Conroy, Sir Harold Hartley and others. They were closed in 1941 when the University physical chemistry laboratory was opened, and one of them is now (1952) fitted up to house the Balliol-Trinity science library. (fn. 62)
The library contains approximately 50,000 volumes. The principal benefactors, apart from Bishop William Gray (see above, p. 82), are Sir Thomas Wendy, who bequeathed 2,120 books, received in 1677; Nicholas Crouch, fellow 1641–89 (incl. medical books with notes of the date of purchase and price paid); George Coningsby, 1766; H. Norris who gave the theological books of H. H. Norris (d. 1853) in 1863; Arnold Toynbee (books on economics); Robert Browning (manuscripts of later poems); B. Jowett (general collection, of which there is a separate catalogue); Paget Toynbee (Italian history); Percy Hyde (books on history of British India); F. F. Urquhart (works on history and art and papers of David Urquhart); Sir Maurice Powicke (works on medieval history). 2,874 books (theological works printed after 1600) were disposed of in 1928, of which 1,000 were given to the Bodleian and a few sold at Sotheby's, 16 April 1928.
The chief printed authorities are Balliol College by H. W. C. Davis, 1899, with bibliography, and H. E. Salter, Oxford Balliol deeds, 1913. Andrew Clark constructed annual lists of members, 1520–1868, of which the rough copy is in the Bodleian Library, MS. Top. Oxon. e. 123/1–23 (S.C. 35409–31) and the fair copy is in the college library. He also made extensive extracts from the Registers and Accounts, which are in MS. Top. Oxon. e. 124/1–15 (S.C. 35432–47). For both sets see Summary Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, vi, 357–8. His Index for the College is MS. Top. Oxon. d. 96–106 (S.C. 35736–46), but it does not add much, if anything, to the other collections. For the 19th century there is a considerable collection of biographies of Balliol men in the college library, and Balliol College Register, 1833–1933.
The medieval plate has disappeared. The chief 17th-century pieces, the 'Man of Ross' and the chapel plate are described and figured in H. C. Moffatt, Old Oxford Plate, 1906, pls. iv and vi. The melting down of the pint pots and of the punch bowl given by the Monmouth peers in 1681 ('a large bole with a cover to it, all double gilt, 167 oz. 10 dwts.') took place in 1783, with the exception of one pint pot then in the Master's lodgings. The chief donors are Robert Finch (d. 1830) and Sir John Conroy, 3rd bt. (1845–1900). Among the pieces bequeathed by the latter is a silver candlestick reputed to have been carried by Queen Victoria when she went down to receive the news of her accession. There is a small quantity of foreign plate, including four Portuguese altar candlesticks (1650–70), given in memory of H. J. S. Smith, 1883. They are said to have been loot from the Peninsula War. There are also two 18th-century American beakers given by Lowell House, Harvard.
The matrix of the present seal has been in use at least since 1676 and may well date from the 16th century. Oval shield 85 × 60 mm. The standing figure of St. Catherine, robed and crowned, holding in her right hand a sword, point downwards, and in her left hand a Catherine wheel. In the background flanking the crowned head, hangs a shield; that, on the dexter, of the lion of Galloway, and that, on the sinister, of the Earldom of Chester (three garbs). At the base are two shields, that on the dexter (on which the point of the sword rests) is of Balliol (a voided escutcheon) and that on the sinister (on which the wheel rests) is of the Earldom of Huntingdon (three piles points downwards in base). Legend: SIGILLUM + MAGISTRI + ET + SCHOLARIUM + COLEGII + BAYLIOLENSIS.
Masters (fn. 63)
Walterus de Fodringeye, principalis, 1284, 1287 (fn. 64)
Hugo de Warkenby, custos, 1296 (fn. 65)
Stephanus de Cornubia, magister, 1307 (fn. 66)
Henricus de Seton, custos, 1324 (fn. 67)
Nicholaus de Luceby, custos, 1328 (fn. 68)
Ricardus de Chikwelle, custos, 1329 (fn. 69)
Johannes de Pokelinton, custos, 1332 (fn. 70)
Hugo de Corbrigge, 1340, 1342, 1345 (fn. 71)
Johannes Wyclif, 1360, 1361 (fn. 72)
Johannes Hugate, 1366, 1372 (fn. 73)
Thomas Tyrwhit, 1379, 1394, 1395 (fn. 74)
Hamundus Askham, 1397 (fn. 75)
Thomas Chace, 1411, 1414, 1416 (fn. 76)
Robertus Burley, 1427 (fn. 77)
Ricardus Stapulton, res. 1429 (fn. 78)
Willelmus Brandon, 1440 (fn. 79)
Robertus Thwaytes, 1450 (fn. 80)
Willelmus Lambtone, 1465 (fn. 81)
Johannes Segden, 1469, 1472 (fn. 82)
Robertus Abdy, 1481, d. 1483 (fn. 83)
Willelmus Bell, 1484, 1488, 1490, 1495 (fn. 84)
Ricardus Barnyngham, 1496, 1497, 1506 (fn. 85)
Thomas Cisson, res. 26 Sept. 1511, 5 Feb. 1512 (fn. 86) res. 1518
Ricardus Stubbys, el. 24 Apr. 1518; d. 1525
Willelmus Whyte, el. 15 Nov. 1525; d. Oct.(?) 1539
George Cotys, el. 1539; vac. 1544
William Wright, 1544–46/7
James Brookes, 1547–55
William Wright, el. 1 Dec. 1555; res. 15 July 1559
Francis Babington, 2 Sept. 1559; res. 27 Oct. 1560
Anthony Garnet, el. 26 Oct. 1560, adm. 6 July 1561; res. 2 Feb. 1563
Robert Hooper, el. 20 Mar. 1563; res. 17 May 1570
John Pierse, el. 12 May 1570; vac. before 13 May 1571
Adam Squier, el. 17 May 1571; res. 1580
Edmund Lilly, intruded 1 Aug. 1580; d. 7 Feb. 1610
Robert Abbott, el. 24 Feb. 1610; res. 18 Dec. 1616
John Parkhurst, el. 6 Feb. 1617; res. 25 Oct. 1637
Thomas Laurence, el. 6 Nov. 1637; expelled July 1648
George Bradshaw, nominated 21 July 1648; res. 20 Feb. 1651
Henry Savage, nominated 20 Feb. 1651; d. 2 June 1672
Thomas Goode, el. 16 June 1672; d. 9 Apr. 1678
John Venn, el. 24 Apr. 1678; d. 8 Oct. 1687
Roger Mander, el. 23 Oct. 1687; d. 21 Dec. 1704
John Baron, el. 20 Jan. 1705; d. 20 Jan. 1722
Joseph Hunt, el. 10 Feb. 1722; d. 15 Mar. 1726
Theophilus Leigh, el. 12 May 1726; d. 3 Jan. 1785
John Davey, el. 3 Feb. 1785; d. 5 Oct. 1798
John Parsons, el. 14 Nov. 1798; d. 12 Mar. 1819
Richard Jenkyns, el. 23 Apr. 1819; d. 16 Mar. 1854
Robert Scott, el. 4 Apr. 1854; res. 26 Aug. 1870
Benjamin Jowett, el. 7 Sept. 1870; d. 1 Oct. 1893
Edward Caird, el. 14 Nov. 1893; res. 4 May 1907
James Leigh Strachan-Davidson, el. 5 June 1907; d. 28 Mar. 1916
Arthur Lionel Smith,el. 29 Apr. 1916; d. 12 Apr. 1924
Alexander Dunlop Lindsay, 1st baron Lindsay of Birker, el. 26 May 1924; res. 31 July 1949
David Lindsay Keir, el. 1 Feb. 1949; (fn. 87) took office 1 Aug. 1949
Visitors (fn. 88)
Buildings (fn. 89)
In 1284 the scholars of Balliol inhabited locum quendam cum Edificiis et omnibus pertinentiis. (fn. 90) This consisted of three tenements stretching back from Broad St. on what is now the western part of the front quadrangle and Fellows' Garden. (fn. 91) It was only in the 15th and early 16th centuries that a sustained building campaign provided the college with a quadrangle round which were grouped the chapel, library, hall, and fellows' rooms. Its external appearance then was virtually the same as it was in Loggan's time, 150 years later, except that the garden behind the quadrangle had grown in size. But since 1700 almost everything has been changed. The only structural remains of buildings earlier than that date are the outside walls of the Upper Library, Lower Library (formerly the hall), and the oriel window of the Master's Lodgings. Everything else has been built or rebuilt, and some of it twice rebuilt, since 1700. The centre of the college has been shifted from 'the' quadrangle (which is now reduced to 'the front quadrangle') to the garden, round which are grouped the 19th-century hall, chapel, and common rooms.
Owing to the number of times that every part of the front quadrangle has been repaired, restored, or entirely rebuilt, it will be necessary to deal with its separate parts in turn. The chapel will be described first, and then the Upper Library, Lower Library, Master's Lodgings, and the south and east sides of the front quadrangle. The history of the garden quadrangle being less complex can then be treated as a whole.
At first the scholars of Balliol had no chapel of their own but attended the parish church of St. Mary Magdalene. It was only in 1293 that they received license from Oliver, Bishop of Lincoln, to build an oratory within the bounds of their own house, since lectures and disputations left them no time to attend services in the parish church. (fn. 92) Since then three successive chapels have been built. Of the first (c. 1309–28) nothing remains. The second (1522–9) was pulled down in 1856, but the stained glass and some of its 17th-century furnishings have been preserved in the third chapel which was built by William Butterfield in 1856–7.
The first chapel was built of stone and had a leaden roof. The building had been begun by 1309, but progressed slowly since the scholars had difficulty in extracting from the executor of Hugh de Vienne (d. 1296) the whole sum of 100 marks which he had bequeathed for its erection. (fn. 93) It must have been nearing completion in 1328 when Nicholas de Quappelade, Abbot of Reading, gave £20, a glass window worth £10, and timber and lathes, for the soul of Adam le Politer, burgess of Reading. (fn. 94)
Of this chapel nothing remains. There has even been speculation as to its site. But despite the speculation, it is certain that the first chapel was on the present site, which is known to have been part of four tenements acquired by the college between 1303 and 1310. (fn. 95) The reason for our certainty is the curious manner in which the second chapel was built.
The second chapel (1522–9) was built round the outside of the first chapel. The operation was carried out in two 'campaigns'. First the college made a contract with William Eist, mason of Burford (3 April 1522), to make the south wall and three windows in it for £8, some of the stone being provided by the college. Six years later (20 Feb. 1528) a second contract was made with John Lobbens, 'mason of my Lordes wark' (i.e. Cardinal College), and William Jonsons, freemason, to make the heads of four windows on the north side of the east window, 'every window to be wrowghte with wovsers (voussoirs) and chawmerantes (chamfers, or mouldings)' for the price of 21 marks, 3s. 4d., exclusive of the carriage of stone. (fn. 96) This piecemeal operation enabled the college to use the chapel while it was being rebuilt; a college meeting was held in it on 15 November 1525. (fn. 97) But some inconvenience must have been caused in the (upper) library (built c. 1478) where the East Window no longer admitted light, since it now looked into the new ante-chapel.
Both of the master-masons involved in the second chapel are well-known figures. William Eist had been one of the master-masons of Corpus Christi College in 1514–16. He seems to have died c. 1526, so the change of master-masons would have been forced on the college. His successor, John Lobbens, was Wolsey's mason for Cardinal College (1525–9). He was not the only link between the second chapel and Cardinal Wolsey. For four of the donors of stained glass windows in 1529 and 1530 were intimately associated with Wolsey.
These four donors were Richard Stubbs (Master of Balliol 1518–25), Laurence his brother who in the inscription is described simply as 'sacre theologie professoris', Thomas, subdean of York, and John Hygdon, one-time president of Magdalen. Richard Stubbs was the link that bound to Balliol the other three donors, all of whom were presidents or ex-presidents of Magdalen. Thomas, the subdean of York (1508–29), alias Thomas Knolles, was president of Magdalen from 1528 to 1536. We know that he had some connexion with Wolsey since he owed him 20s. at the time of his disgrace. (fn. 98) The man to whom he had succeeded as president was Laurence Stubbs, who had been elected in 1525 at the direct instance of Cardinal Wolsey and who had resigned in 1528 when his position had become untenable. (fn. 99) He had then been employed in the household of the Cardinal, disbursing money for his building works. But even as early as 1525 he had been handing over money from Wolsey for the building of Cardinal college to John Higdon (alias Hygdon). (fn. 100) This John Hygdon, the third of our trio, had been Stubbs's predecessor as president of Magdalen (1518–25). He had resigned that office in order to become first dean of Cardinal College, and as part of his new duties was in charge of the building works there. (fn. 101) But in 1529–30 Cardinal Wolsey was in disgrace, and his college had ceased to exist, the very site being threatened by the king. Hygdon was not then to know that in 1532 his college would be refounded and that he himself would be reappointed dean. Did he, in his despair, pass on to Balliol College glass that had been ordered for Wolsey and was no longer required ?
The style of the east window and of the Catharine window certainly suggests such a solution. For the style of the glass is very like that of James Nicholson, the king's glazier, who certainly worked for Cardinal College in 1528. (fn. 102)
The East window originally showed 12 scenes from Gethsemane to the Ascension with a lower row of 6 panels, 4 of which showed angels and 2 the donor, Laurence Stubbs, kneeling before St. Catharine. From the panels of the bottom row, two angels and the donor are missing; the figures of Laurence and Richard Stubbs now in this window belong properly to the Catharine window. (fn. 103) Of the scenes one, the Deposition, is lost; another, the central panel of the Crucifixion is mainly modern; (fn. 104) and a third, the Arrest of Christ is badly patched. Of the remaining four, the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging, the Crowning with thorns and the Ecce Homo are taken from Dürer's engravings of the Passion (1512). James Nicholson, it may be added, was in origin a Fleming; it might be expected therefore that he would have known Dürer's works.
Two of the windows given in 1530 were given by donors outside Wolsey's circle. Sir William Compton, builder of Compton Wynyates and friend of Henry VIII, was considered by Wolsey as a rival. (fn. 105) Mr. Thomas Leson was Compton's clerk and executor of his will. (fn. 106) Both these windows are now in a fragmentary state. But there is an illustration of Compton's window (drawn by O. Jewitt in 1841) showing it as it was after it had undergone restoration in the 17th century. (fn. 107)
There are several water-colours and drawings of the chapel as it was in the 19th century. Most of them are in the possession of the college, and one of the interior is reproduced here. (fn. 108) In that picture it will be seen that the chapel had been refurnished in the 17th century. The work was done partly in 1637–8 and partly in 1685–9.
In the first campaign the windows were repaired, (fn. 109) and two new windows by Abraham van Linge, showing Philip and the Eunuch and the illness of Hezekiah, were set up; they were the gifts of Richard Atkyns and Peter Wentworth in 1637. Both of these windows survive, although both are now divided into two. The chapel had been repanelled in the previous year at a cost of £267, £100 of which was given by John Popham of Littlecote, formerly a fellow commoner. The pulpit and lectern belong to the same period, the latter the gift of Edward Wilson, vicar of Bampton (Oxon.), and a former fellow.
In the second campaign the chapel floor was laid with black and white marble by Thomas Wood, lapidary or stonecutter, in 1685 and 1688, at a cost of £186 16s. 10d. A new ceiling of Flanders oak was built by John Wild, joiner, in 1689 for £55 and it was painted by Daniel Webbe for £9. (fn. 110)
In 1841 a new plaster roof, imitative of a lierne vault was erected by Basevi. His design for it is in the library. (fn. 111)
At first the intention was only to enlarge the chapel, so as to accommodate the whole college and at the same time provide a memorial for Dr. Jenkyns, the late Master. The architect consulted was William Butterfield, and by 3 June 1854 he had produced two alternative plans, one to extend the chapel westwards at the expense of one bay of the library, the other to extend it northwards. In either case he reckoned to accommodate 100 persons. It was suggested to him that extra accommodation could be provided more easily by throwing the ante-chapel into the chapel proper. But this Butterfield refused to do: 'I should feel so much this departure from the universal plan of a college chapel, that I should have seriously to consider whether I ought not to resign the work you have kindly entrusted to me if the arrangement were decided on by the college.' (fn. 112) When the college proposed to retain the old walls and windows 'so as to preserve the ancient appearance, raising the pitch of the roof', Butterfield replied that 'we ought I think to raise the upper part of the walls and insert some kind of clerestory in addition to raising the pitch of the roof. But by this plan we should not gain any enlargement of the area of the chapel.' In his letter of 7 November 1854, which the Master endorsed as 'acquiesced in, though not quite approved', he wrote 'I really have not the least fear of the extra height of the chapel above the library. I am sure it will give great life and effect of a good kind to the quadrangle.'
The demolition of the old chapel was begun in the Easter week of 1856. The new chapel was finished by October 1857. (fn. 113) The external colour scheme became apparent as early as 27 August 1856: 'you must not judge of that red doorway such as it now stands. There is a great plain wall of white coming above it which would have looked badly unless there had been some strong color below to give a strong and not toy like look to that arch. I have little doubt about it when finished. I like, however, to hear your views from time to time.'
Butterfield's own views were multifarious. He replanned the garden, discoursed on the virtues of yewtrees, hollies and low shrubs, and designed the 'private terrace for the Fellows with a low wall'. He lowered the floor of the passage west of the chapel by 4 or 5 in. in order to make step up into the chapel, and had a new arrangement for kneeling in chapel, the virtues of which he was willing to prove to Mr. Riddell. (fn. 114)
At first the old stained glass was put up in the chapel. Butterfield had Laurence Stubbs's east window reerected (with the addition of the new crucifixionscene), but did not like it: 'The east window looks more and more glaring as the side ones get fixed.' (fn. 115) He set to work therefore with enthusiasm to design a new window, which would not only be modelled on the 'best old glass in various places', but would also keep up 'the banded character of the walls'. 'We must', he wrote, 'have the best window which has yet been done.' (fn. 116) He made the designs himself and had the work executed by Wailes of Newcastle. To match it he had the iron screen between the ante-chapel and chapel gilded. (fn. 117)
But Butterfield's enthusiasm died with him. In 1911 his window was judged to contribute more than anything else to the 'dreariness' of the chapel, and in 1912 it was taken down and replaced by Laurence Stubbs's window. (fn. 118) The banded character of the walls was concealed with plaster. His stalls were ejected in 1937 and were sent to Duloe Church in Cornwall. The new stalls are of walnut and were designed by Walter Tapper. Even Butterfield's iron screen was thrown out; it was last seen in 1940 on top of a truck-load of scrap-iron near Oxford station.
But Butterfield should be grateful that even the exterior of his chapel, which Freeman described as 'a personal injury to me and to every Trinity man' has survived. (fn. 119) For in 1912 Walter Morrison offered the college £20,000 to pull the whole chapel down and rebuild a copy (as near as was possible) of its predecessor, and the offer was at first provisionally accepted. Strachan-Davidson, the Master, was enthusiastically in favour but opposition was encountered. Many of the fellows felt that the destruction of a serviceable chapel would be a flagrant waste of money, when the college was intent on using every penny of its resources to help the admission of poor students to the university; and after an appeal to all the Honorary Fellows and trustees of college trust-funds, their opinion prevailed. The college refused Walter Morrison's offer and in consequence lost the money which was given instead to the university to provide a retiring fund for professors and to promote the study of Egyptology. (fn. 120)
It is perhaps remarkable that in this great debate
only one honorary fellow defended Butterfield's chapel
on aesthetic grounds. He was Lord Francis Hervey,
and his letter has all the enthusiasm of Butterfield
My dear Master,
A boon! A boon! Spare your chapel! It is a building of great beauty, … this innocent poem in stone.
The Upper Library
The Upper Library occupies the first floor of the greater part of the north side of the library. The five west bays were built in 1431, largely at the expense of Thomas Chace, a former Master of the college and one-time chaplain of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. (fn. 121) The four eastern bays were built by Robert Abdy (master 1477–94), presumably to house the books bequeathed to the college by William Gray, Bishop of Ely who died in 1478. (fn. 122) But the building has suffered many subsequent alterations.
Externally, only the walls (which have been considerably refaced) and the library windows are original. The low-pitched roof and battlements are apparently the work of Wyatt (c. 1794) and replace a steeppitched roof with no parapet at all. The windows and doorways of the ground floor are all subsequent to J. C. Buckler's time and are most likely the work of either Basevi (1826) or Salvin (1853). (fn. 123) The chimney in the middle of the north side is the work of Butterfield (1857). (fn. 124)
Internally the changes are greater. The plaster vault, plaster on the walls, and bookcases are the work of Wyatt who in 1794 produced a plan and estimate 'to fit up the library with clapboard'. (fn. 125) In 1643–4 there had been eight 'formes' of books in stalls. The books were chained at least as late as 1767. (fn. 126) So far as Wyatt's plaster makes measurements possible, the dimensions of the bays were identical with those of the contemporary library of Durham College. (fn. 127)
Until 1794 there was a window in the east wall of the library. After 1522–9 this window looked into the ante-chapel. In this window was the glass showing Thomas Chace and the fellows kneeling before St. Catharine. Thomas Chace and the fellows were releaded into one of the ante-chapel windows in 1800 (and are now in the chapel) but St. Catharine 'was lost or broke to pieces in taking down'.
The glass showing Thomas Chace may indeed date from c. 1431, in which case Abdy must have moved it from a window in the west end of the library. But the rest of the library glass is work of varying dates. As it is, there are shields and tracery lights, patched with little pieces of van Linge glass. Originally every window had two coats of arms, one in each light, and round each coat of arms was a verse which rhymed with the verse in the next light. At the bottom of each light was portrayed a 'saint' sitting in a chair. Wood reported that these saints survived the Commonwealth during which they were obscured with black paint, but now only two prophets and the Virgin and child survive, set in shields. The symbols of the Passion and Trinity which also survive, should probably be numbered among Wood's 'saints'. (fn. 128)
From the inscriptions as recorded by Symonds, Wood, and Savage it is clear that the library was not glazed immediately it was built, for there are clear references to the chilliness of an unglazed library. (fn. 129) But it must not be imagined that all the persons commemorated in the windows were donors specifically to the library. Some had died before the library was begun. They were the benefactors who had made possible the whole great building campaign of the fifteenth century.
Some of them were fellows of the college. The earliest of these was Thomas Barry (1395), the latest, if correctly identified, John Burton (c. 1495). (fn. 130) The bishops commemorated are Walter Skirlaw of Durham (d. 1406), Richard Clifford of London (d. 1421), Roger Whelpdale of Carlisle (d. 1423), John Carpenter of Worcester (d. 1476), John Alcock of Rochester, Worcester, and Ely (d. 1500), and of course William Gray of Ely (d. 1478). George Neville (Archbishop of York 1465–76) was more a political figure. (fn. 131) The arms of his brother Warwick, the King-maker, are also to be found. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, is also represented, though his interest may have been vicarious through John Patrick, his 'valette de wardrobe', and Thomas Chace who had been his chaplain. (fn. 132)
The latest benefactor to be mentioned was Thomas Harrope who left lands in the north of the county in 1522. (fn. 133) The glazing of the library, therefore, cannot have been finished before that date, some ninety years after the library had been begun.
The Lower Library and Salvin's Tower
The lower library which is on the west side of the quadrangle was originally the college hall and was converted to its present use in 1877. It is a building of four-bays with double-light Perpendicular windows. Originally it had no external parapet, and its roof had a steep pitch and was surmounted by a louvre. The south bay was originally the screens passage with doorways at its east and west ends,—the latter of which survives, now leading into the Master's Lodgings. The kitchen was south of the hall, next to Broad St. (fn. 134)
The hall would seem to have been built early in the 15th century, and was finished by 1430 at least, since Thomas Chace gave it glass windows (since destroyed) in that year. (fn. 135)
The first major alterations to the hall were probably made by Wyatt c. 1792. The pitch of the roof was lowered, and a crenellated parapet was added to increase the 'Gothick' atmosphere. The kitchens, and consequently the screens passage also, were moved from the south to the north end of the hall. (fn. 136)
By 1853 it was necessary to increase the size of the hall in order to accommodate the increased numbers of undergraduates. Accordingly the college instructed Mr. Salvin, its architect, 'to enlarge the hall by taking in the adjoining (i.e. screens) passage and to construct a new kitchen and offices partly under the Hall and partly on ground taken from the Fellows' Garden'. (fn. 137) These instructions involved the building of the present passage round the north end of the old hall, the excavation under it of the cellars that are now used as bicycle sheds, and the erection of 'Salvin's tower' at the northwest corner of the quadrangle. At the bottom of the tower were some of the kitchen offices. The room at the top of it was eventually put to use as a muniment room. (fn. 138)
Salvin's enlargement of the old hall was insufficient for the needs of the college. In 1876–7 Alfred Waterhouse built the new hall at the north end of the garden. The old hall was then put to its present use as a library. The sum of £2,049 15s. was spent on giving it a new floor and fitting it with bookcases, and on converting the kitchen offices in Salvin's tower into a set of fellow's rooms 'with special accommodation for his servants'. (fn. 139)
The Master's Lodgings
South of the Lower Library, and completing the west range of the quadrangle is a building on the first floor of which is the oriel window of the Master's Lodgings. The corbels of the oriel window have carved on them the arms of Bishop Gray of Ely (d. 1478), and it would therefore seem that this building was due to his generosity. The stonework of the window was (faithfully) renewed by Waterhouse in 1867–8, and the windows of the ground floor (which had previously been the college buttery) are entirely his work. The interior also, was completely remodelled by him, at the same time as he rebuilt the rest of the Master's Lodgings.
The South and East Ranges of the Front Quadrangle
These were entirely rebuilt by Alfred Waterhouse in 1867–8. If we look at Loggan's drawing to see the appearance of this part of the quadrangle, we see two ranges of 15th-century buildings. The east range indeed might even have been built as early as the end of the 14th century; Wood described it as 'the oldest part' of the college. (fn. 140) The south range 'was not, as it seems, built till the time of Henry VII'. (fn. 141) Wood thought that he could make out the arms of Thomas Kempe, Bishop of London (1450–89), and a bell which he took to be the rebus of William Bell, (Master 1483–95).
The east part of the south front, between the gatetower and the corner next to Trinity College, and also the east range itself were rebuilt early in the 18th century. (fn. 142) They would appear to have been built as part of a grand design to rebuild the whole college in the classical manner, a design which can be seen on the University Almanack for 1742. But nothing of these classical buildings remains; they were demolished by Waterhouse in 1867. The college possesses drawings, water-colours and photographs which show what they were like, and it cannot be said that they were inspiring.
Consequently, the quadrangle was a hybrid in the latter part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century. One corner was classical and the rest Gothic. Moreover the Gothic portion at least was in poor repair. In 1775 the fellows complained of the ruinous condition of the buildings 'not to be repaired at any expense if at all'. (fn. 143) In 1826 Mr. Hudson, the builder, was called in to inspect the buildings. But he was more optimistic, reporting of the gate-tower that 'although the parapets and cornices and mouldings are in a very decayed state, the walls are as good and substantial as when first built, and that the adjoining buildings to the west, though not in a good state of repair are likely to last fifty years and upward'. Encouraged by this report the college left the quadrangle alone and embarked on the Basevi buildings in the garden.
Fifteen years later, in December 1841, George Basevi surveyed the south front himself, and reported that 'the expense of rebuilding the front of the college from the tower inclusive to John Fisher's building' would be from £9,000 to £10,000. Although his buildings in the garden had been in the classical style, his plans for the south front were Gothic. (fn. 144) When taxed with the extravagance of this he replied that 'the cost of a house in the Italian style of architecture would not be much less than one built in plain but handsome Gothic'. (fn. 145) On 3 June 1842, the college issued an appeal for funds, and Basevi made no secret of the fact that he was to be the architect of the new South Front. Suddenly, in February 1843, the fellows rejected his design. (fn. 146) Basevi, highly indignant, considered that his professional reputation had been damaged. So indeed it may have been, for the fellows, apparently led by Frederick Oakley, were approaching Pugin. The college on 6 March 1843, 'agreed that Mr. Pugin be requested to furnish a design for a new façade towards the Broad St., but at the same time resolved that under the peculiar circumstances of the case, even if Mr. P's plan shall eventually be approved and be thought worthy of being carried into effect, he himself be not employed in the execution of the work'. (fn. 147) The peculiar circumstances were that Pugin was a Roman Catholic; and on this ground, as well as from a desire to protect Basevi's reputation, the Master, Dr. Jenkyns, refused to consent to employ Mr. Pugin or any other party rebuilding the part of the college in which his house was. He would refuse to affix the college seal to any such proposal. (fn. 148) This was on 13 March. On 4 April the college decided to 'decline availing themselves' of the liberality of subscribers to the new buildings, and ordered the roofs of the south front to be repaired.
But the college retained Pugin's drawings which are still preserved in the library. They were even lent to Waterhouse when he was producing his own designs in 1866. It would seem that they influenced his design in one respect; for the row of sharp gables facing Broad St. echoes the Pugin drawings. But Waterhouse himself was of a different stamp from Pugin. His letters to the Master were severely practical. He asked if the Master wished to collect the rain water from the roof of his house 'the town water is hard I believe'. Or 'The enclosed is a sketch of the fittings in a scout's room. May I ask if they would be satisfactory?' (fn. 149)
The college took an interest in the appearance of the new front. When first shown the new designs the fellows reported that they did not like the pyramidical roof of the tower, nor the dormer windows in his design, nor the staircase windows west of the tower. They also minuted that 'Mr. Waterhouse be requested to consider whether the groining of the archway under the tower may not be retained'. (fn. 150) Obviously, he must have reported that it could not be retained, but he had the grace to build the ancient bosses into the wall between Trinity and Balliol whence some have been removed to the 'cenotaph' in the Fellows' Garden.
Waterhouse started the demolition of the old work early in April 1867. His new buildings (excepting the tower) were ready for occupation by October 1868. The building contractor was W. M. Brass of London, and the total contract was for £19,994, of which the Master's House and study cost £4,704. (fn. 151) In 1870 Waterhouse produced plans for altering Fisher's building to his own particular brand of Gothic, making a complete façade. (fn. 152) But the college preferred to reface Fisher's buildings without altering the design.
The Garden Quadrangle
The garden quadrangle has developed over a period of two hundred years. At the end of the 17th century, as can be seen in Loggan and the Ichnographia, it was not a quadrangle at all. It had the air of appendent tenements and outhouses.
Facing Broad St., on the eastern part of the site of the present Fisher's buildings, there was an Elizabethan cottage known as 'Hammond's castle' or 'the Rat's castle'. (fn. 153) Farther north, lying behind the gardens of the houses facing St. Mary Magdalene was a long halftimbered building which was partly a 'Trencher House' and partly stables. The back gate was opposite the chancel of St. Mary Magdalene, at the south-west corner of that part of the garden known as 'the Grove'. North of it was a ball court and brew-house, and north of these was 'Caesar's lodging', on the site of the present back gate. This house had been acquired by the college in 1610 and derived its name from Henry Caesar who resided here while studying for his D.D. (fn. 154) As it was called Caesar, the building opposite it (on the east) was known as 'Pompey' which had been the residence of a Mr. Ellis who had enlarged it in 1675. (fn. 155)
The development of the garden as a quadrangle started with the erection of the Bristol Buildings, supposedly in 1714, at the south end of the west side. (fn. 156) Possibly the fellows already had ideas about making a courtyard open to the garden on the north, for such a design appeared on the University Almanack in 1742. But there is no evidence that that grandiose design was any more than an opulent dream. The college could raise new buildings only when it was given funds, and when it was given £3,000 by John Fisher in 1767, it had no premeditated schemes. The Fisher buildings were designed as an individual work by Henry Keene, who had already done work at Christ Church and Worcester College. (fn. 157)
Next were built the Basevi buildings north of the Bristol buildings in 1826–7 at a cost of £3,946. (fn. 158) The college had some trouble with Basevi. His first design included Ionic columns and pilasters, and was consequently rejected. (fn. 159) The college desired 'that the intended building be neat, plain, and substantial, it being the object of the Society to afford additional accommodation in the present great demand for admission into the college, without attempting architectural embellishment which would ill account with the situation itself and the character of the adjoining buildings'. (fn. 160)
The next building, however, was more ambitious. Mr. Salvin, the expert on medieval military architecture, was employed in 1852–3 on the range of buildings which includes the present back gate facing St. Giles and Beaumont St.—where formerly had been Caesar's Lodgings and the Master's stables. The new buildings, though Gothic, lived up to the college's traditions. They were utilitarian and contained among other things a chemistry laboratory. 'There is a sort of baldness about the building, but there is nothing positively ugly' wrote Freeman. (fn. 161) Most strikingly in accord with the college's policy was its decision to furnish the undergraduates' rooms in the building itself' with a view to adopting some mode of checking the expensive and luxurious habits of young men in the fitting up of their rooms'. (fn. 162)
Salvin's buildings did not stretch far enough south to meet Basevi's buildings (the gap between them containing, until 1912–13, only that celebrated convenience known as Periham), but the idea of a garden quadrangle was apparent when his buildings were completed, and it was but a short step to building along its north side. This was done by Alfred Waterhouse in 1875–7. He built the hall, the buildings east and west of it, and one staircase of rooms east of Salvin's buildings, incorporating the half-timbered faç of a small 17th-century house. The hall has been subsequently altered by his son, Paul Waterhouse, who panelled it and blocked up the lower part of the windows, and the kitchens were remodelled in 1948.
The last buildings of the college show a reversion to a quiet Georgian style by E. P. Warren, who built the staircase at the very north-west corner of the college (1906) and the block between Basevi's and Salvin's buildings (1912–13). The garden quadrangle was then complete on three sides, and the building of the fourth side remained, as it still remains, an exercise for visionaries.