A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
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41. THE COLLEGE OF DE VAUX, SALISBURY
This was an interesting and unusual foundation, round which legends have gathered. Its founder, Giles of Bridport, Bishop of Salisbury, in a charter issued shortly before his death on 13 December 1262, (fn. 1) stated that 'to the honour of the Lord Jesus and the Glorious Virgin Mary and Blessed Nicholas, for the salvation of our soul, and for the souls of our benefactors, and of all those to whom we are bound', he had decided to build a house for scholars in a meadow by the cathedral church of Salisbury and the king's highway in front of St. Nicholas Hospital. His house was to be called the 'House of the Valley of Scholars of Blessed Nicholas', and its purpose was to maintain for ever one warden, two chaplains, and 20 poor, needy, honourable, and teachable scholars, living there, serving God and Blessed Nicholas, and studying theology and the liberal arts. (fn. 2) His directions for its management were brief. He had already appointed his friend and executor, John de Holtby, Canon of Salisbury and Wells, to be the first warden. The site of the house with its appurtenances were now granted to the warden, chaplains, and scholars and their successors in free alms, quit of all exactions and taxation. The Dean and Chapter of Salisbury were to be perpetual patrons of the house, and after the death or resignation of John de Holtby the warden was always to be a member of Salisbury Cathedral Chapter. The dean and chapter were to have power to appoint and remove the warden for any reason which seemed sufficient to them, and on admission each warden was to swear that he would never appeal against such removal. He was to have powers of correction in both temporal and spiritual matters within the precincts of the college, saving a right to appeal to the dean and no farther.
This charter gives the only known statement of the founder's plans for the work and government of his college. The story of the gradual accumulation of the property with which he endowed it suggests, however, that the idea of some sort of foundation may have lain in his mind for a fairly long time, and that his plans were still incomplete at his death. The property falls into three main groups. The first was in Berkshire, where Giles had been archdeacon before he became Bishop of Salisbury, and comprised 2 hides in Hartley Dummer and Burghfield, bought by the archdeacon in 1249 and 1251-2, (fn. 3) and 1 hide in Wasing, Midgham, and Woolhampton acquired between 1257 and 1259 after he became bishop. (fn. 4) The second was in Dorset and was acquired in 1260-1. It consisted of two chapels, Walditch and Allington, with 1 acre and 12d. rent in Walditch and 2 acres in Allington, (fn. 5) near Bridport, the bishop's birthplace, and the church of Milborne with the chapel of Dewlish and 3 acres there. (fn. 6) The bishop first granted the advowsons of the church and chapels to the warden and scholars; (fn. 7) then on 1 November 1262, with the consent of the cathedral chapter, he appropriated Milborne, Dewlish, and Walditch to their uses, reserving the institution of vicars to himself and his successors as bishop, and gave the scholars authority to appropriate Allington when it should fall vacant. (fn. 8) Thirdly, there were 2 hides in Lavington and Roundway in Wiltshire, acquired between 1256 and 1262, (fn. 9) and £18 rent in Salisbury. (fn. 10) An inquisition taken in 1263 after the bishop's death stated that he had obtained all this property and had assigned it to the House of St. Nicholas de Valle Scholarium. He had appointed John de Holtby as warden to dispose of it, before his departure with the king to France in 1262; and the said John was seised thereof before the bishop's death. (fn. 11) Finally, in 1268 the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury, acting on his executors' instructions, bought the advowson of the church of Chitterne All Saints with 17 acres in Chitterne near the college's lands in Roundway and Lavington, with 120 marks which the bishop had left for the purpose; (fn. 12) and in 1280 a definitive ordinance was made by Bishop Robert of Wickhampton for the disposal of the fruits of Chitterne according to Bishop Bridport's will. They were to be collected by the warden and scholars, who were to pay from them 5 marks a year to the Communar of Salisbury Cathedral for the celebration of the bishop's obit and for the stipends of three chaplains celebrating daily in different places for his soul. (fn. 13)
It is uncertain where these three chaplains were to celebrate. Presumably they were in addition to the two chaplain-fellows named in the foundation charter, who served in the college chapel. Two may probably be identified with chaplains who served the two chantries of Bishop Bridport, one in Bridport parish church and the other in Salisbury Cathedral, and who received their annual stipends from the steward of de Vaux until 1542. (fn. 14) Possibly it was intended that one of these chantries should be served by two chaplains, or the third chaplain may have been the Vicar of Chitterne All Saints. If so, this would explain not only Bishop Wickhampton's ordinance, but also an undated statement in the de Vaux cartulary that the college's lands were intended to support five chaplains in addition to 20 scholars. (fn. 15) In any case the bishop's foundation was clearly meant to be almost as much a chantry college as a house for students, who, with their two chaplains, were to pray for the souls of their founder and his benefactors in the intervals of their studies. Since in this and some other ways its character was similar to that of later medieval colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, it has often been claimed as the first university college in England, (fn. 16) founded two years before Merton, the first Oxford college. Like the Oxford colleges, which were usually called Domus or Aula, not Collegium, in the 13th and greater part of the 14th centuries, (fn. 17) the House of Valley Scholars only gradually came to be called Collegium de Vaus in the course of the later Middle Ages, collegium taking the place of the earlier domus, aula, or lestiel, and de Vaus, Vause, or Vaux replacing the full Latin name de Valle Scholarium, though this name was retained in some documents up to the Dissolution. (fn. 18)
This house or college established in 13th-century Salisbury for scholars studying the university subjects of arts and theology naturally aroused interest among historians of Oxford University from the 17th century onwards, and reasons for its foundation have been much discussed. In 1238 there had been a dispersal of masters and students from Oxford after a quarrel at Osney Abbey between some Oxford students and the papal legate, Otho. Oxford was laid under an interdict, the university was suspended, and the king took action against the offenders. (fn. 19) Among those imprisoned was a student named John of Bridport, (fn. 20) possibly a kinsman or fellow townsman of Bishop Giles. After the suspension some masters and students migrated to Northampton, while others went to Salisbury. (fn. 21) Half the universities of Europe were founded as a result of such migrations, and it is supposed that a kind of university developed at Salisbury, some masters and students deciding to remain there after lectures were resumed in Oxford. Rashdall suggested (fn. 22) that the colony of 1238 may have been reinforced by the troubles of 1264 or by one of the many disturbances which marked the years 1264-78 in Oxford. Moreover, Salisbury seems to have been already a centre of learning before the migration. An exceptionally learned group of men had been promoted to its chapter between about 1217 and 1230, (fn. 23) probably through the influence of Bishop Richard Poore. Its schools, directed by the cathedral chancellor, would form a natural centre for the new students. As in the case of cathedral schools which grew into universities, it seems to have been assumed at Salisbury that the chancellor's jurisdiction over the scholars of the cathedral schools extended also over the newcomers. In 1279 an agreement was drawn up between the chancellor and subdean of the cathedral, defining their respective jurisdictions over the scholars of the city. (fn. 24) This shows that Salisbury then had three main characteristics of a university city: there were a number of masters teaching; there were different faculties; and the scholars were liable to be involved in disputes concerning contracts and money, which were clearly more than the disputes of schoolboys. Doubtless, therefore, it was for students in this nascent university of Salisbury that Bishop Giles founded his college in 1262. (fn. 25) His plans, however, were probably influenced by knowledge of colleges already existing in the University of Paris, of which he was possibly a graduate, (fn. 26) and of which his brother, Master Simon of Bridport, had been a prominent member in 1252. (fn. 27)
First, the name of his college, de Valle Scholarium, was probably suggested by that of the regular order of Augustinian canons de Valle Scholarium. In 1229 the order began to build a college in Paris where students from its different houses might live while studying at the university. (fn. 28) Bishop Bridport may have adopted this name as being appropriate for his college of scholars living at Salisbury in the Avon valley. There is, however, no foundation for the further suggestion of Moberly and Wordsworth that the bishop wanted his scholars to be trained in the 'Scotist' or 'Biblicist' learning, which they supposed to have been at that time the learning of the Paris Valley scholars. (fn. 29) Nothing is known either of Bishop Bridport's views on theology or of the studies of his scholars in the 13th century, apart from the brief statement in the foundation charter that he wished them to study in sacra pagina as well as in the liberal arts. Sermons of about 1260-80 written by Egidius, Everardus, and Georgius de Valle Scholarium and an early 14th-century treatise on saints headed Jacobus de Valle Scholarium were probably the work of masters of the Paris and not the Salisbury college. (fn. 30) Nor is it likely that Bishop Bridport adopted any plans from the Paris college for the organization of his own. Their college was for regular clergy, and by 1262 there were secular colleges in Paris, to which the bishop would more naturally look for details of organization. Another suggestion is that the Valley College at Salisbury grew out of, or was attached to, St. Nicholas Hospital. (fn. 31) Several early secular colleges at Paris had grown out of hospitals for the sick and aged, which boarded students, gave them alms, and administered their endowments. (fn. 32) There seems, however, to be no evidence proving a connexion between the hospital and the college. The college was built close to the hospital, possibly on its land, and perhaps because of this the bishop obtained its formal consent to the foundation of the college. (fn. 33) But the two institutions were apparently quite separate in their organization with different patrons and wardens. (fn. 34) More convincing evidence of the influence of the smaller secular colleges of Paris on the bishop's plan is to be found in two provisions of his charter: his provision for undergraduates, and for control by the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury. In both these respects his college remained different from typical colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, founded on the model of Merton. His provision for undergraduates is implied in the clause which states that his scholars were to study arts as well as theology. Most English university colleges were founded to enable men who were already graduates in arts to enter on the further long course for a doctorate in theology or law. But at Paris a number of colleges admitted undergraduates wishing to take a degree in arts, while a few also took boys studying grammar, (fn. 35) a practice which de Vaux seems to have followed. Again, the bishop's plan for the supervision of his college would seem to have been adopted from Paris, where a number of smaller colleges were under the control of the dean and chapter or the chancellor of the cathedral. Whereas the fellows of the Oxford and Cambridge colleges normally elected their own heads, the warden of de Vaux was appointed by the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury from amongst their own number.
Little is known of the later history of de Vaux and there has been much speculation. Anthony Wood, the Oxford antiquary, was apparently the first to declare that, in the later Middle Ages, the Valley scholars resorted constantly to Oxford, where they stayed in two halls in Schools Street called Salysurry, Salesury, or Salisbury Hall, and Little St. Edmund Hall, and that the Chancellor of Salisbury had the privilege of recommending them for Oxford degrees. (fn. 36) Leach, building on this and on a statement of Moberly (fn. 37) that in 1325 the cathedral chapter had ordered all the scholars to go to Oxford, declared that, 'in 1325, the embryo university of Salisbury having practically come to an end, the majority of the scholars went to Oxford, where they lived in Salisbury Hall at the cost of the endowment of the college at Salisbury; the scholars who remained in Salisbury apparently spent a period of probation there, attending the cathedral grammar school before going on to Oxford'. (fn. 38) Thus he claimed that the later history of de Vaux formed a precedent for the two St. Mary colleges of William of Wykeham at Winchester and New College, Oxford. These conclusions seem to be almost entirely legends. The name Salysurry Hall has now been shown to be a corruption not of Salisbury Hall but of La Salle Désirée. (fn. 39) One probable fellow of de Vaux, Master John Harnham, was principal of Little St. Edmund Hall in 1428, (fn. 40) but no other known principals or students of either hall seem to have been Valley scholars. Again, no trace has been found of the Chancellor of Salisbury's privilege of recommending for Oxford degrees. The right to confer degrees was a most highly valued privilege, and it seems most unlikely that Oxford would have allowed the chancellor to exercise it. Finally, Moberly was mistaken in attributing the chapter act ordering the scholars to go to Oxford to 1325. There is no trace of the act in that year, but it is clearly entered in the act book under the year 1525-6. (fn. 41)
Thus the later history of the college needs to be re-examined. The records are very meagre, but some evidence is available in a cartulary made about 1447. (fn. 42) The college's organization, constitutional and economic, will first be discussed; then an attempt will be made to investigate the careers of some of the fellows.
In the appointments of wardens, the founder's provisions were apparently carefully observed. There is more evidence for this than for any other aspect of the working of the constitution, because elections were entered regularly in the chapter act books, and from them it has been possible to compile an almost complete list of wardens. All seem to have been residentiary canons, and the majority were graduates, although, as the post was an administrative one, academic qualifications were not essential. The canonical houses of residence in the cathedral close of some wardens and cathedral chancellors are also entered in the act books, (fn. 43) so that there is no truth in the assumption of Tanner that the warden or chancellor lived in the college. (fn. 44) However, since the college was just outside the south gate of the close, the warden can never, when in residence, have lived more than five minutes' walk away from it. On at least two occasions, in 1296 and 1382, a scholar of de Vaux acted as warden during a vacancy, being chosen on the former occasion by his fellow scholars. (fn. 45) In 1407 the dean and chapter laid down that an election must be held within two or three days of the announcement of a warden's death. (fn. 46) Elections were by scrutiny, by compromise, or by unanimous nomination. (fn. 47) A newly elected warden first took the oath prescribed in the foundation charter about not appealing against his removal, and then swore that he would keep the goods of the house faithfully, observe and protect the privileges of the scholars, and the liberties, statutes, and customs of the college. Finally he was inducted into his stall in the college chapel, and received the kiss of peace from the chaplains and fellows. (fn. 48) Towards the end of the Middle Ages the wardenship was apparently a coveted position. In 1397 there was a long-disputed election, as a result of which it was declared in 1407 that absent residentiary canons could not vote by proxy. (fn. 49) Increasingly the appointment was given to a senior residentiary. (fn. 50)
Far less is known about the appointment of the fellows or scholars and the chaplains. Presumably the warden appointed them, for in vacancies of the wardenship the dean and chapter appointed 'by reason of the vacancy', apparently without consulting the fellows. The first known example of such an appointment was in 1296, when the scholars, 'with a certain simplicity, were at first reluctant, but afterwards consented'. (fn. 51) The new scholar was then inducted to his place by commissaries of the cathedral chapter and took an oath of fidelity in the presence of the other scholars. (fn. 52) The absence of any college register of admissions makes it impossible to discover whether the full number of 20 scholars and two chaplains was ever actually appointed. Twenty was a fairly large number for an early medieval college, and may always have proved too many for the resources of de Vaux, whose gross annual income was said to be only £94 15s. 0½d. in 1535. Over a third of the known fellows were found in the ordination lists which began to be entered in the registers of the bishops of Salisbury in 1397. Whilst these give no indication of how many scholars were at the college at one time, they do at least show that fellows were being regularly admitted and ordained during the 15th century. For the 13th century, when the college might be expected to be most flourishing, the evidence is negligible, but a deed of 1346 shows eleven scholars, all graduates, present together in Salisbury as witnesses. (fn. 53) At a visitation in 1454 eight fellows and chaplains appeared and explained that the notice given had been too short for the other fellows, who were studying at Oxford and elsewhere, to attend. (fn. 54) On 2 August 1542, at the Dissolution, pensions were granted to two chaplains and eight fellows, while a ninth fellow, John Goldyng, received no pension. (fn. 55)
The value of the fellowships or commons, even if the number of chaplains and fellows never exceeded eleven, was probably always meagre. The only definite information comes from a papal dispensation of 1453 to John Bate, bachelor in decrees, fellow of de Vaux, to hold an ecclesiastical benefice in addition to his fellowship on account of its poverty. John had explained that fellows resident at his college received only six gold florins a year and their food; whilst if they were studying away at a university they were given 20 gold florins to pay for their food and clothing, and if they were resident neither at the college nor at a university they had six florins without food or clothing. (fn. 56) In the 13th and 14th centuries commons may have been less than this because the college acquired additional property in the later period. In 1379 and 1381, when the clergy were assessed for poll taxes, the two chaplains resident at the college were assessed at the lowest rate for beneficed clerks, as holding benefices worth less than £10 a year. In 1379 no other fellows were mentioned, but in 1381 one other fellow, William Glym, then steward, was assessed at the rate for unbeneficed clerks. (fn. 57) Finally, the pensions granted at the Dissolution probably reflect the fellows' general economic position. They were all well below £5 a year, which Baskerville has calculated was roughly the average pension granted to monks. (fn. 58) The two chaplains were given £4 a year each, three other fellows also had £4, one had £3 6s. 8d., two £2 13s. 4d., and two £2. (fn. 59)
In matters of discipline the dean and chapter maintained their control both by appointing the wardens and by visitations, which they normally carried out during vacancies of the wardenship. Occasionally there are suggestions of insubordination and difficulties, but the evidence is too slight to allow generalizations. In 1319 Bishop Roger Mortival, in his code of statutes for the cathedral chapter, declared that the Valley scholars had been troublesome and rebellious, in refusing to attend processions in the cathedral, in not studying, and in other unspecified ways. He ordered that they must be corrected and compelled to fulfil their duties by their warden or, failing him, by the dean and chapter. (fn. 60) In 1468, at Bishop Beauchamp's visitation, it was proposed that the Valley scholars should again preach in the cathedral as their founder had wished, (fn. 61) but it is not clear whether their recent failure to do so had been due to any opposition from them or from the dean and chapter. More probably it was due mainly to the absence of the abler scholars at Oxford. (fn. 62) Finally, in 1526, when the chapter ordered all the scholars except the two chaplains and two stewards to go to Oxford or any other university, two fellows refused to go and were charged with insubordination and threatened with the loss of their commons until they left the college. (fn. 63) On the other hand, records of visitations of the college reveal little friction or trouble, but these records are usually uninformative, consisting of a bare statement in the chapter act books that a visitation had been carried out by two members of the chapter. On one occasion, however, in 1397, the college, was stated to be 'well and honourably placed and governed in spiritualities, in temporalities, and in persons'. (fn. 64) At this time both chapter and college probably wished to have such a statement recorded, for both were anxious to prevent a second visitation by the bishop: the college, doubtless, because of the expense, the dean and chapter because they were afraid it might injure their rights as patrons. The warden and scholars admitted to having been visited by Bishop Waltham in 1394, (fn. 65) but in 1397 they protested strongly, pointing out that up to 1394 they had been exempt, and quoting the clause from their foundation charter, which gave the warden full powers of correction, saving appeals to the dean and chapter and no farther. They asked the chapter to help in maintaining their rights and privileges. (fn. 66) Later, however, the college was apparently forced to submit both to episcopal and metropolitical visitations. In 1400 it obtained papal confirmation of Archbishop Courtenay's letters of 1390, granting that on future visitations they should not be bound to exhibit their original title deeds, but that these letters should suffice, since exhibition of proof involved great labour and expense, as well as danger of injury on account of the age of the seals and writing. (fn. 67)
The immediate administration of the college and its property was the duty of the warden, who was soon assisted by a proctor or steward chosen from the scholars. From the late 14th century the proctor sometimes acted as warden during a vacancy. (fn. 68) In early years the wardens seem usually to have acted in person in transfers of land and other estate business. This was especially the case with the first warden, John de Holtby, who in the last year of his life appointed Master John Burton, canon and sub-dean of the cathedral, to be his proctor in college business. (fn. 69) His purpose may have been to train and nominate his successor, for Master John was chosen as the next warden. Both he and his successor, Master Thomas of Bridport, perhaps a kinsman of the founder, apparently continued the policy of keeping most of the administration of the estates in their own hands. (fn. 70) In 1283, however, William de Hungerford, steward of the house, sealed a lease in the name of the warden and scholars; (fn. 71) while in 1295 the 5 marks for Bishop Bridport's obit were paid to the cathedral communar by Master William de Sherborne, proctor of the scholars, who, like William de Hungerford, was probably himself a scholar. (fn. 72) During the 14th century the scholar stewards or proctors (the two titles were used indiscriminately) seem to have taken over from the wardens more and more of the work of administering the property, particularly in Salisbury and its neighbourhood. Leases of property in the city were normally arranged by them and sealed by their personal seals, (fn. 73) often in the presence of four or five other fellows; while the names of the wardens appear chiefly in legal actions connected with the more distant property. In 1382, however, William Glym, fellow, proctor, and probably acting warden, recovered the property in Roundway which had been usurped by the farmers; (fn. 74) while in 1440-1 Nicholas Edward, the steward, drew up a terrier of this holding and conducted negotiations with John Nicholas, franklin, about grain and other produce there, which was in dispute between them. (fn. 75) Of the known proctors or stewards none seems to have held office for more than one or two years at a time. (fn. 76) In the early 15th century a student writing to his patron explained that at de Vaux college all the fellows were bound by statute to act as steward for a year if elected to that office. Knowing that the writer desired above everything to study in the schools, the fellows had that year spitefully elected him steward. (fn. 77) By the 16th century the burdens of this office were apparently less onerous. In 1526 and in 1535 two scholar stewards shared them. (fn. 78) In the latter year Robert Hutchyns and William Mantell were drawing salaries of £2 and £2 13s. 4d. in addition to their fellowships, for collecting the rents of the college, one within and the other outside the city of Salisbury. At this time, however, the title of chief steward with a salary for himself and his deputy of £2 a year was given to one of the local gentry, Bartholomew Hussey, an arrangement then common to many religious houses.
In the absence of all medieval accounts and manor court rolls it is dangerous to draw conclusions about the economic policy of the college. Occasional leases suggest, however, that farming of the more distant property began early. In 1267 the manor of 'le Erbyr' in Hartley Dummer and Burghfield was leased to Master Walter called Stainel for life for 6 marks a year. (fn. 79) In 1269 the holding at Roundway was leased for ten years for 2 marks a year, and about 1274-5 the rent was quitclaimed for a longer term of years in return for an immediate payment of 25 marks needed to buy more land in Hartley. (fn. 80) A further lease of land in Burghfield was granted in 1293 to John de la Beche, king's cook, for 20 years. (fn. 81) In Dorset, Walditch chapel was farmed to the prior of St. John the Baptist, Bridport, in 1307 for 12 years at 10 marks a year, and the wardship of an heiress at Allington was sold for 5 marks in 1296. (fn. 82) During the late 13th and early 14th centuries the college encountered much opposition in collecting tithes and other revenues at Dewlish, (fn. 83) and by 1372-3 it was selling the tithes of all its four Dorset churches and chapels for a number of years in advance. (fn. 84) Of the property near Salisbury, tenements in the city were being leased in the 14th century for rents of 7s. to 33s. 4d. a year for periods of ten years, 40 years, two or three lives, or for as long as the tenant could pay the rent and carry out repairs. (fn. 85) No evidence has survived for the farming of land in Britford and Harnham before the 16th century, and it was probably there, if anywhere, that the college attempted direct management of its estates in earlier times. By 1535, however, the entire income of the college was derived from farms and rents. (fn. 86) The first account of the annual revenue of the dissolved college presented in 1542 showed about £11 from assessed rents of customary tenants, £7 from those of free tenants, £20 from tenants at will, and nearly £65 from farms and leases, most of which had been granted for periods of 20, 31, or 41 years, or for three lives. (fn. 87) The farms of tithes of the five churches or chapels brought in about onethird of the total income.
These 16th-century accounts show also that the college still held all the property granted to it by Bishop Bridport in 1262 or bought with his legacy in 1268; and that this with some early additions to the Berkshire and Dorset property, which are not entered separately, accounted for about £72 of its annual income of £95 to £100. Further property in Britford, East and West Harnham, and Salisbury, acquired gradually from about 1284 or 1302 onwards, accounted for the remainder. Thus the general policy of the college was apparently one of careful conservation of its original endowments, combined with one of adding to its property in the immediate neighbourhood of Salisbury.
Additions to the property in Berkshire and Dorset seem all to have been obtained before 1330, and possibly before 1311, though the list may well be incomplete. They included two small pieces of land and rent in Hartley Dummer and Burghfield, the first bought about 1274-5, before the first Statute of Mortmain in 1279, for 26 marks; (fn. 88) the second granted in 1308-9 by William de Nedham and Bartholomew de Burghfield without mortmain licences. In 1363 this was discovered in the course of a general inquiry, the land was confiscated, and the college forced to pay for its return and for a royal pardon. (fn. 89) In Wasing (Berks.) two small grants were probably made in 1282 and 1305. (fn. 90) At Dewlish additional land was apparently obtained during or before the wardenship of Master Gilbert Lovel (about 131132). (fn. 91)
The story of the gradual accumulation of land and rents near Salisbury covers a longer period and throws clearer light both on the part played by fellows of de Vaux in the business affairs of the college, and on various methods adopted by the college to increase its property in face of its own limited resources and the additional expenditure required by the Statute of Mortmain. The first known alienation in mortmain to the college was a grant of land in West Harnham from Richard Wilton, Rector of Compton Chamberlayne, in 1302. (fn. 92) The warden and scholars, however, had already shown interest in the neighbouring manor of Britford, where they leased a small piece of land as early as 1284 and other pieces in 1304, 1337, and 1343. (fn. 93) In 1304 they received a slightly larger piece in perpetuity from John de Wotton called de Opere or atte Werk, in return for a corrody with the status of fellow in their college for the rest of his life. (fn. 94) Their method of receiving this property is interesting. Ten years earlier John had enfeoffed not the college but three cofeoffees, Walter Hungerford, Henry le Rayner, and William Codford, all of whom had been, were, or were to be scholars of de Vaux. (fn. 95) These co-feoffees apparently continued to hold the property after 1304. It was only after the college had obtained a general licence to acquire in mortmain lands, rents, or advowsons to the value of an additional £20 a year in 1317 (fn. 96) that steps were taken to transfer it legally to the college. In 1320 licences to acquire it in mortmain were obtained under the terms of the general licence of 1317, from the king and from the lord of Britford; (fn. 97) and in 1324-5 the three co-feoffees quitclaimed their shares in it to the warden and scholars. (fn. 98) Apparently they had been holding it to the use of the college, which had enjoyed the revenues without a licence since 1294.
John Wotton's corrody seems to have been the first of several burdens for hospitality and spiritual benefits which the college undertook in the early 14th century as a means of increasing its property in Britford and Salisbury. One of the most interesting was a grant in 1317 to Roger Moton, citizen of New Salisbury, and Christine of London, his wife, of the right of receiving their food in the college for the rest of their lives, in sickness and in health, and of having the same privileges of coming and going from the precincts as the rest of the scholars. (fn. 99) The terms of the corrody were given in unusual detail and throw light on the domestic life of the house, in which they must have caused some changes. Roger was to sit at the second table in the hall on the left hand of Roger Fouk, the scholar who had been chosen as acting warden in 1296, and after Fouk's death might succeed to his place at table. Christine might sit wherever she pleased, and might have a chamber with a fireplace built for her at her husband's expense on the east side of the grange near the river. Roger might also build a stable for his horse. After Roger's death Christine was to be paid 1 mark a year, and the warden and scholars promised to celebrate the anniversary of both their obits for ever, paying 2d. a year to each scholar who attended the services. In return Roger and Christine gave the college four tenements in Minster and Winchester Streets, Salisbury, and 43s. annual rent. Like John de Wotton's property, these tenements and rents were not given directly to the college, but were first granted to Master Gilbert Lovel, the warden, as Canon of Salisbury. (fn. 100) He apparently held them to the use of the college until 1325, when having obtained licences to alienate in mortmain, he transferred them to himself as warden and the scholars, with another tenement in 'Tutebelestrete', which had been held by individual members of the college since 1311. (fn. 101)
No more corrodies have been traced, although they may well have existed. (fn. 102) The further known obligations were mostly for the celebration of obits. In 1325 the college received 8s. annual rent from a tenement in Minster Street and another small piece of land in Britford from its senior fellow, Roger Fouk, on condition of celebrating annually the obits of Thomas Radyng, of Thomas's mother, of Roger himself after his death, and of Richard and Maud, his father and mother. (fn. 103) In 1334 a meadow in Salisbury was acquired in mortmain in return for celebrating annually the obit of Master Walter Hervy, Archdeacon of Salisbury. (fn. 104) It was probably in the 14th century also that Gervase the Apothecary, citizen of Salisbury, and Emma, his wife, agreed to pay the college an additional small rent for a tenement in Minster Street to keep two candles burning for ever in the college chapel for their souls. (fn. 105)
Between 1334 and 1392 no evidence has been found that the college acquired further property in mortmain in or near the city, but individual scholars, sometimes with local clergy or other friends or agents of the college, were active, usually in groups of three, four, or five, in buying and holding lands and rents, apparently to the use of the college. Whereas houses of regular clergy had to employ secular clerks to act for them in such business, de Vaux as a secular college was able to employ its own fellows. The objects of de Vaux are not always clear, for the general mortmain licence of 1317 was not nearly exhausted, and in fact was not vacated until 1407, when the college was at last said to have obtained additional lands and rents to the full value of £20 a year. (fn. 106) Property bought in the 14th century could presumably have been alienated quite rapidly to the college under this licence; yet there was often a long delay during which it apparently enjoyed the income without holding the legal title.
Illustration of the activities of some of the cofeoffees is illuminating. In 1336 three co-feoffees, two of them known to be scholars of de Vaux, acquired a further 4½ acres in Britford; in 1352 one of them enfeoffed three other Valley scholars with the same land; and in 1381 one of these three, Master John Corfe, then a Canon of Salisbury and described as nuper scholaris, passed on the same 4½ acres to five more clerks, all scholars of de Vaux. (fn. 107) Again, in the city of Salisbury, scholars set themselves to acquire house property and shops in which the college already had an interest. In 1336 Master Gilbert de Mikelton, scholar of de Vaux, was enfeoffed in perpetuity with a tenement in Minster Street from which 10s. annual rent was already payable to the college. (fn. 108) Another tenement in the same street, from which 28s. annual rent was due to the college, was acquired and held by a succession of individual scholars from 1324 to 1346, when the two scholars who then held it leased it for three lives for 32s. a year, payable, not to them but to the college. (fn. 109) In 1364 20s. rent payable by the college from a third tenement in Minster Street was acquired by two clerks, one of them Master John Corfe, the scholar of de Vaux who later became a canon. (fn. 110) In 1395 113s. annual rent from six tenements in Minster, Winchester, and Endless Streets, and a street opposite the cemetery of St. Edmund's College, was acquired by six chaplains as co-feoffees, of whom one, Master Edmund Enfield, was a scholar of de Vaux. (fn. 111) Whether all this property was ultimately acquired or formed part of the college property at the Dissolution is not known. In 1392, however, the second Statute of Mortmain (fn. 112) apparently caused a change of policy; in that year licence was obtained for the college to accept in mortmain from four co-feoffees, two of them known to be Valley scholars, 2 messuages in New Street and the street now called St. Ann Street, under the general licence of 1317. (fn. 113) Then in 1407 the college acquired in mortmain the most important single addition to its property since the 13th century, the manor of East and West Harnham. It seems to have been gradually accumulated by groups of scholars and clerks in different parcels of land over a period of 50 years or more, and was eventually granted to the warden and scholars in perpetuity by Master John de Sherborne, scholar of the college, and two co-feoffees in full satisfaction of the licence of 1317. (fn. 114)
Knowledge of acquisitions of land by the college and its scholars extends only to 1447, when its cartulary was written. Between 1407 and 1443 further pieces of property in the same neighbourhood were still being accumulated, though only one, in East Harnham, Homington, and Combe Bissett, is known to have been alienated to the college in 1436-7. By this time this property had already been held by groups of scholars for about 30 years. (fn. 115) In 1443 Nicholas Edward, a former steward of the college, granted in perpetuity to five co-feoffees, three of whom were Valley scholars, a toft in Britford, and a messuage in East Harnham, in both of which he had had a share since 1431 and 1438 respectively. (fn. 116) He was named in the Valor Ecclesiasticus as a benefactor of the college, who had given lands for the celebration of his obit, (fn. 117) so possibly these lands formed his gift. It appears, therefore, that neither the legislation of 1391 nor the exhaustion of the general licence of 1317 had stopped the scholars from holding property to the use of the college.
Finally, light may be thrown on the domestic economy and buildings of the college by bequests to the scholars. In 1264 Robert de Kareville, treasurer of the cathedral, left them all his kitchen utensils and spoons, with ½ mark to each scholar to improve his dress. (fn. 118) In 1398 a citizen of Salisbury left them money to buy a new breviary for their chapel; and in 1403 Edward Enfield, a former Mayor of Salisbury, gave them his 'great bowl of oak to drink at the grace after meat'. (fn. 119) Their most munificent benefactor of the 15th century was Master Simon Houchyns, a successful fellow of the college, who paid for the making of the cartulary, which still survives, and for extensive alterations in the college buildings. (fn. 120) He installed a fireplace, two large windows, and three great beams in a room which had formerly been called the dormitory. Possibly this means that a common dormitory had by now been given up, and that the fellows had separate rooms, or smaller rooms shared by two or three, as was happening in the colleges and halls of Oxford and Cambridge. Simon also had the brewhouse and the room above it repaired at a cost of £40. He gave the scholars a great cupboard to stand in the middle of their hall; put a roof on part of their great barn, and made a pond for them at the bottom of their garden. Lastly he made valuable gifts to the college chapel: two glazed windows at the east end behind the high altar, a slab of alabaster for the upper part of the altar, a small altar cloth of gold, and two candlesticks. (fn. 121)
The second approach to the history of the college is through the careers of individual fellows. Only 114 names (fn. 122) of fellows and chaplains have been traced from the 280 years of the college's existence, mainly in lists of witnesses to deeds, in ordination lists of the bishops of Salisbury, which begin only in 1397, and in the act books of the dean and chapter. Four lived in the late 13th century, 38 in the 14th century, 48 in the 15th century, and 24 in the early 16th. Many seem to have been rather obscure men whose names rarely appear in the records of the royal chancery or exchequer, or in ecclesiastical records outside the diocese. Thus the evidence is very incomplete, but a few general conclusions may be hazarded.
First, it seems clear that most of the fellows were local men, chosen from the diocese. Those 43 who appear in the bishops' ordination lists are mostly described as being 'of Salisbury diocese'; while the names of others, such as Stephen of Avebury, Edward and William of Codford, John of Corsham, Robert Deverell, John of Harnham, Thomas of Heytesbury, William Latton, Henry Ludgershall, William of Ramsbury, John of Wilton, Richard of Wittenham, John Corfe, John and William of Sherborne, William of Hungerford, and John of Coleshill suggest places in the three counties of the diocese, Wiltshire, Dorset, and Berkshire, and especially Wiltshire. In this the college was similar to many colleges of Oxford, Cambridge, and Paris, which continued throughout the Middle Ages and beyond to draw their students from a particular locality. Occasionally, however, scholars of de Vaux were drawn from outside the diocese. John Hakehead and William of Bath both seem to have been clerks of the diocese of Bath and Wells; John Stallington was from that of Coventry and Lichfield; William Glym from Worcester, and Master John de Tichemersh from Lincoln Diocese. The explanation in the case of Tichemersh is probably that he owed his fellowship to Gilbert Lovel, warden of de Vaux (1311-32), who came from Titchmarsh in Northamptonshire. Evidence for the social origins of the scholars is much more fragmentary. In only two cases has precise information been found. William Ashley was described on his admission in 1473 as son of William Ashley, esquire, of the parish of Wimborne (Dors.); William Harding, a fellow in 1470, was the bastard son of Master William Harding, B.C.L., a former fellow of de Vaux who had been chapter clerk of Salisbury for about 30 years; he and William's uncle, Thomas Harding, also of the city of Salisbury, held house property there.
Secondly, at least 64 of the 114 known fellows obtained university degrees. Of the remaining 50, enough is known of the careers of a few, such as William Glym, king's clerk, and Roger Fouk, resident fellow, to be fairly certain that they never took degrees. But others occur only once or twice in the records without the title magister, and may well have obtained degrees later in their careers. The faculties in which the magistri graduated are not generally known until the late 14th century. In the later Middle Ages about 19 or 20 are thought to have proceeded to higher degrees after graduating in arts. Only two of these, William Mortimer, D.D. in 1530, and William Kyngman, B.D. in 1534, were theologians. (fn. 123) Two more, John de Tichemersh and William of Bath, were probably doctors of medicine. The remaining 16, most of whom graduated in the 15th or early 16th century, were lawyers, 2 or 3 being bachelors of both civil and canon law, 2 bachelors of canon law only, and 11 or 12 bachelors of civil law. (fn. 124) One of the most interesting points about these figures is the far greater proportion of lawyers, particularly civilians, to theologians in a college founded originally for artists and theologians. The same growing popularity of the more lucrative study of civil law over theology is found in Oxford colleges and halls at the same period; but the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury were clearly uncomfortable about it at de Vaux in the late 15th century. In 1473, when they admitted William Ashley to a fellowship, they specifically ordered that after he had obtained the degree of M.A. he was to proceed if possible to the study of theology, and on no account to civil law. (fn. 125)
Fellows who obtained university degrees after the 13th century must have attended a university, for there is no suggestion in the records that degrees could be granted to scholars studying at Salisbury, at any rate after the brief period when Salisbury may have been a university city. All the graduates, therefore, except the few who graduated before obtaining their fellowships, (fn. 126) must be counted among those fellows who were at some time non-resident at the college but studying at a university. (fn. 127) It has generally been assumed that all these fellows went to Oxford, but some modification of this view is needed now that it is known that there was no Salisbury Hall at Oxford to receive them, and that the dean and chapter did not order all the fellows to go there in 1325. The student who was made steward of de Vaux against his will and so forced to remain in Salisbury for a year, stated clearly in his letter that he had only recently returned from his studies ad partes cismarinas, and that his fellow scholars suspected that he would soon want to be off again. (fn. 128) It seems clear from the phrase ad partes cismarinas that he had been studying overseas. Normally, however, for fellows without benefices or rich patrons, Oxford would seem to have been the obvious choice, and the phrase normally used of fellows studying at a distance from Salisbury is that they were Oxonie et alibi or Oxonie et alibi ubi viget studium generale. (fn. 129) An undated plea, possibly of about 1401, that the scholars' lands in Berkshire were exempt from contributing to an aid, used the argument that the lands had been given to the college for the support of 20 poor scholars studying at Oxford and elsewhere; (fn. 130) and in 1526, when the scholars were ordered to leave Salisbury, they were told to go to Oxford or to any other university. (fn. 131) Three documents mentioned Oxford only. In 1400 Thomas de Bolton, bowyer and citizen of Salisbury, left part of his estate to poor scholars of the college Oxonie scolatizantibus. (fn. 132) In 1468 the dean and chapter told Bishop Beauchamp at his visitation of the cathedral that some scholars were preachers and studied the seven liberal arts at Oxford University, some were also civilists and canonists, while the rest remained at the house at Salisbury. (fn. 133) John Leland, visiting the college on the eve of the Dissolution, wrote, 'Part of these scholars remaine yn the College at Saresbyri. . . . The residew study at Oxford.' (fn. 134) Moreover, Oxford is the only university in whose archives it has been possible to trace a few of the academic careers of the fellows. One probable fellow of de Vaux, Master John of Harnham, B.C.L., has been claimed as a graduate of Cambridge, but he was almost certainly at Oxford as well.
Unfortunately the registers of Congregation at Oxford are extant for only 51 years of the history of de Vaux: from 1449-63 and from 1505 to the Dissolution in 1542, and for these years they are probably incomplete. However, the names of ten students who were certainly or probably Valley scholars from Salisbury have been traced in them, with four more who may possibly have been at de Vaux. None of these is described as a scholar of de Vaux or of Salisbury in the registers. They supplicated for their graces in the normal way as Oxford scholars. Most of them have been found as students in the faculty of arts. Only two, Robert Cliffe, M.A. in 1455, and Thomas Galeys in 1458 and 1462, appear in the first register of 1449-63. Next a group of four, John Chapman, William Mortimer, Thomas Newman, and Thomas Roche, supplicated for graces to determine as B.A.s in 1511-12, and three or possibly six more between 1513 and 1544; (fn. 135) while six of these and two others (fn. 136) proceeded to the degree of M.A. after a further two to four years' study. Only one very doubtful fellow, John Thompson in 1539, has been found in the lists of admissions to B.C.L.; and two, William Kyngman and William Mortimer, almost certainly fellows of de Vaux, in the graces for admission to B.D. and D.D. The long list of graces and dispensations to William Mortimer, the only probable fellow of de Vaux known to have proceeded as far as D.D., is of particular interest. From them his career at Oxford can be traced from 1511, when he was admitted B.A., until his election as Lady Margaret Reader in Divinity in 1530. From about 1522 he was clearly not relying solely on a fellowship at de Vaux to support him in his studies, if indeed he had not already resigned it for more lucrative employment. From this time a large number of graces allowed him to postpone particular academic exercises, because, for example, he had to attend his master and fellow student, Richard Mawdley, Archdeacon of Leicester, on business of his archdeaconry, or because of his duties as chaplain of the Bishop of Lincoln.
Other graduates among the Valley fellows have been traced in other records at Oxford, bringing the total number up to about 20 who were probably there, with another six possibly there. The first two, Master William de Baa or Bath who rented a solar in Schools Street, Oxford, in 1324, and Master John de Tichemersh, M.A. and Doctor of Medicine, of Lincoln Diocese, who was included in a roll of the University of Oxford for papal graces in 1335, may push back the date at which scholars from de Vaux are known to have gone to Oxford to the first half of the 14th century. The rest of the evidence comes chiefly from the late 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, when the records are fuller. During this period six or seven probable fellows have been found living in six or seven different Oxford halls, four of them as principals. (fn. 137) In 1419-20 de Vaux provided a senior proctor to the university, Master Richard Hethe. Master John Marchaunt, M.A., rented a geometry classroom in Schools Street in 1453-4, and Master John Goolde, a fellow of de Vaux in 1465, acted as arbiter in a case before the chancellor's commissary in 1469. By 1472 he was resident in Magdalen College, where he died after completing transcripts of Bruni's Latin translations of the Ethics and Politics of Aristotle. One or possibly two Valley fellows were also fellows of Exeter College, Oxford. Master John de Sevenash, M.A., fellow of Exeter in 1324, rector in 1325-6, and master of the grammar school in the city of Exeter in 1329, may possibly have retired to de Vaux, where a Master John de Sevenash appeared between 1333 and 1345 as a senior fellow. John Fessard, who was probably a young fellow of de Vaux at the Dissolution since his pension was only £2 13s. 4d. a year, obtained a fellowship at Exeter College in 1543-4, where he took his B.A. degree in 1544, and his M.A. in 1554.
In addition to the fellows living at Oxford or other universities, there were probably, at all periods before 1526, others in residence at Salisbury, who in the mid-15th century received their food and clothing there with six gold florins a year. Their activities in Salisbury were apparently varied. Possibly they included boys attending the cathedral grammar school. William Ashley, for example, on his admission in 1473, was ordered first to complete his training in grammar before proceeding to dialectic. This suggests that undergraduate fellows were being admitted at an early age, unlike the fellows of most Oxford and Cambridge colleges, who had sufficient knowledge of grammar to proceed immediately to more advanced subjects. There is no evidence of where William was to study grammar, but the chancellor's grammar school in the city of Salisbury would have been the obvious place. (fn. 138) Graduates sometimes returned to the college after completing their university courses, and settled down there, doing legal work for the bishop, the chapter, or for local religious houses, serving some of the city churches, or helping to administer the college property. Fellows studying at a university might come into residence for the vacations; a university student sometimes had to interrupt his course to serve as steward in Salisbury for a year, (fn. 139) and there were two chaplains serving in the college chapel. Such fellows might be required to preach in the cathedral church, as well as following in the cathedral processions and attending the services. For these the cathedral school of theology, which seems to have revived in the first half of the 15th century, and the new library built in 1445 over the east walk of the canons' cloister, (fn. 140) would provide facilities.
The evidence is quite insufficient to determine the number of fellows normally resident at the college or how long they stayed there, but it is interesting to notice that a few seem to have held their fellowships for life or at any rate for much longer than was necessary for them to take degrees or to be prepared for the charge of benefices. For example, Roger Fouk, already a senior fellow in 1296, when he was chosen acting warden, still had his place at the second table in hall in 1317 and presumably in 1325, and was expected to remain there until his death; his chief work seems to have been in connexion with the college estates. Two other scholars of the same period, William Hungerford and William Codford, were apparently associated with the college for very long periods, though the evidence is confusing. A William Hungerford was described as steward in 1283 and as scholar in 1343 and 1344, while a William Codford acted with Hungerford in 1293 to 1294 and from 1320 to 1325 in acquiring property for the college, and was described with Hungerford as a scholar of de Vaux in 1343. Possibly there were two William Hungerfords of different generations, and the younger Hungerford and Codford may have obtained their fellowships as corrodies in their old age. Later a William Yate, who was ordained to the title of the college in 1472, may be the same as the Magister Yate, fellow of de Vaux and executor of Master William Elyot, Provost of St. Edmund's College, Salisbury, in 1500. Perhaps after taking his degree he had become one of the resident chaplains of de Vaux, for no other benefices have been traced for him. Master William Harding, B.C.L., held a fellowship or chaplaincy with his offices of chapter clerk and clerk of the cathedral fabric for at least 26 years (1428-54) and probably longer, though he did not remain to die at the college; in 1467 he was living, presumably as a corrodarian, at Beaulieu Abbey in Hampshire. Two new fellows, however, in 1296 and 1421, are known to have been admitted to scholars' places in the college void by the deaths of two magistri; (fn. 141) while Master John Draper, B.C.L., fellow or chaplain for at least four years, and chapter clerk at the cathedral from 1402, left instructions on his death in 1432 that he should be buried in the college chapel. This caused a lively dispute over his body between the college and the cathedral chapter, which, for the sake of the wax candles and the burial fees, wished him to be buried in the cathedral church or cemetery. In the end the college won, and it was clearly laid down that in future, whenever a scholar chose to be buried in his college chapel, his wish was to be carried out, and all the wax and oblations were to remain with the chapel. (fn. 142)
These cases of fellows who appear to have settled down at the college for life or for very long periods suggest that in some ways life at de Vaux in the later Middle Ages was coming to resemble that of a chantry college or collegiate church, with some of the fellowships taking on the character of prebends which might be held with other ecclesiastical or legal offices, or even of corrodies which might ensure a comfortable old age. However, the contrasts with a university college must not be pushed too far, for the medieval colleges of Oxford and Cambridge were also chantries and there are instances at them of fellows holding their fellowships for many years. Their lawyer fellows also usually engaged in professional work in the local law courts, as lawyers of de Vaux did in the courts of the Bishop and Chapter of Salisbury. Moreover, the rule about the tenure of fellowships seems to have been the same at de Vaux as at Oxford and Cambridge: namely, there was no compulsion to resign on obtaining a university degree, but the fellowship normally became vacant as soon as a fellow received an ecclesiastical benefice sufficient for his support. (fn. 143) Most benefices were more valuable than fellowships, and it was a chief aim of students to obtain them. As with almost every rule of the medieval church, however, it was possible to obtain dispensations. (fn. 144) In the case of parttime offices in the city of Salisbury, such as those of chapter clerk, clerk of the cathedral fabric, advocate in the bishop's audience, which were apparently often held in conjunction with fellowships of de Vaux, it was probably argued that the income from them was insufficient to support the clerk. There was a special reason which made the tenure of a fellowship with such offices or with a city church or chantry desirable: that is, the clerk could continue to live in the college, and to draw the full value of his fellowship in lodging, food, and clothing. There would seem to have been little point in obtaining a dispensation to hold a Valley fellowship with a benefice at a distance from Salisbury, unless the fellow intended either to continue studying at a university or to live at his college, for otherwise fellows received only six gold florins a year without food or clothing.
The later careers of some fellows may serve to illustrate further the life and work of the college. About 113 benefices and 19 ecclesiastical offices have been traced for only about 48 of the 114 known fellows. Of these 48, at least 39 were probably graduates. Evidently, therefore, the faith of the medieval undergraduate in the power of a degree to get him a benefice was well founded. This conclusion is supported by a comparison of the proportion of graduates amongst the fellows who busied themselves in the administration of the college property with that amongst the fellows who gained benefices. Only 15 of the 29 known stewards, proctors, or attorneys seem to have been graduates, and only about 13 of 27 fellows who acted as co-feoffees.
Secondly, 38 of the 48 apparently obtained all their benefices or offices after they had held fellowships, which would seem to be the expected and normal course of events. In one case, that of Master Philip Curtyngton in 1311, collation to a subdeaconry at Wilton Abbey was made conditional on the scholar resigning his place in the college. Seven or nine fellows, however, held benefices or other offices before they are known to have been fellows, (fn. 145) and mostly continued to hold them after they became fellows; while two or three others, who obtained benefices after their admission as fellows, continued to hold their fellowships with their benefices. (fn. 146) Two fellows, Master John Wilton in 1349 and Master John Bate in 1453, received papal dispensations to hold their fellowships with one or more benefices, in the case of John Bate on account of poverty; and more may have done so, for the evidence is very incomplete. The names of Master Nicholas Blakemore and Master Henry of Ludgershall, with the description 'scholar' or 'fellow', appear only by chance in the college cartulary when they were already graduates and senior fellows helping to administer the college property, and their admission to the college may well have been years earlier; therefore they may have obtained their benefices after, not before, their fellowships. William Codford, however, and the younger William Hungerford may have been corrodarians who obtained fellowships in their old age after a long life as parish priests and agents of the college in acquiring lands; and the same may be true of some of the four or five chapter clerks (fn. 147) who held Valley fellowships in the late 14th and 15th centuries. All these appeared as notaries public and chapter clerks, three with degrees in civil law, for from 4 to 26 years before they were mentioned as fellows of de Vaux. Chapter clerks are naturally mentioned in the registers of the dean and chapter more frequently than Valley scholars, and so quite possibly Master Simon Houchyns, Master John Corfe, and Master William Harding, who appeared with the description 'fellow of de Vaux' only four, seven, and nine years after their first mention as chapter clerks, may have been fellows and taken their degrees with the help of a Valley fellowship before they obtained the office of chapter clerk. Master Simon Houchyns certainly showed a special feeling of gratitude to his college. But Master John Draper was mentioned as a fellow only four years before his death at the college and some time after his long and active career in the service of bishop and chapter had apparently come to an end. This suggests that his fellowship may have been intended by the chapter to be not an additional source of income to support him in his work as chapter clerk, but a corrody for his retirement.
The geographical distribution of the fellows' benefices is interesting. Seventy-four were in Salisbury Diocese, and 39, of which 10 are doubtful, outside the diocese. Of those within the diocese 57 were in Wiltshire, 10 in Dorset, and 7 in Berkshire. The distribution of the ecclesiastical offices was similar, 10 being in Wiltshire, 2 in Dorset, 1 in Berkshire, and 6 outside the diocese. Moreover, 26 of the Wiltshire benefices or offices of 13 fellows were in or near the city of Salisbury. Of the 111 benefices traced, 85 were rectories or vicarages and only 4 were chantries. One was a choral vicarage at Salisbury Cathedral, and two fellows held the college livings of Milborne and Dewlish, and Chitterne All Saints, which were of very meagre value. On the other hand, a few fellows rose to positions of some importance. Five or six became canons and prebendaries of Salisbury Cathedral, (fn. 148) and a seventh, William Glym, made determined but apparently unsuccessful efforts to do the same. Master John Wilton and William Glym also tried unsuccessfully to obtain the dignities of chancellor and treasurer there. Master Nicholas Godfrey held the sub-deanery of Salisbury and Master John Corfe, Master John Hakehead, Master Robert Hutchyns, and William Glym obtained canonries and prebends in the neighbouring cathedral at Wells. A tenth fellow, Master John Sherborne, was promoted to the Archdeaconry of Essex in London Diocese. A small group of about seven ended their lives as fairly wealthy pluralists. (fn. 149) Analysis of the ecclesiastical offices of the fellows leads to similar conclusions. The majority were fairly humble. Four or five fellows were chapter clerks at Salisbury Cathedral; one was also clerk of the cathedral fabric; one registrar and scribe of the bishop's consistory court, and two scribes of the papal sub-delegates investigating the miracles of St. Osmund. Master John Wilton began as an advocate in the bishop's audience; Master Richard Mershton was a commissary of the dean and chapter to visit a chapter farm in Dorset in 1348; Master John de Coleshulle became official of the Archdeacon of Berkshire in 1345, and Master Simon Houchyns official of the Archdeacon of Dorset in 1464. Again, a few held more important offices, some outside the diocese. Master William Mortimer entered the service of the Archdeacon of Leicester, became chaplain to the Bishop of Lincoln, and was present as a theologian at meetings of convocation in Henry VIII's reign; Master John Corfe, while Canon of Salisbury, acted as the bishop's vicar general; Master John Harnham became commissary general of the Bishop of Ely; Master John Sherborne was a commissary of Archbishop Chichele. The work of which we know most is that of Master Simon Houchyns at Rome in 1442 and 1452-4, when he acted as proctor of the Bishop and Dean and Chapter of Salisbury in their efforts to obtain the canonization of St. Osmund. The long series of letters which he wrote to the bishop and chapter, explaining his difficulties and the progress of the business, were entered in the Register of the Canonization kept at the cathedral. At first he was sent as a younger colleague of Master Andrew Holles the Chancellor, and later of Master Nicholas Upton, Precentor of Salisbury, the chapter's principal proctors. But he proved to be a more tactful and successful, and certainly less expensive, proctor than Upton, and in January 1453, to Upton's anger, the chapter appointed Simon its sole proctor. It continued to stint him in money and in clothes suitable for mixing with high ecclesiastical society in Rome, but as a result of perseverance in his long and wearisome task, he was rewarded with a prebend of Salisbury and the rectory of Stour Provost (Dors.).
Ecclesiastical work, as their founder would probably have wished, was apparently the kind of career most often followed by Valley scholars. Only a few seem to have made their careers in the royal service. (fn. 150) Master William Mortimer, D.D. and Lady Margaret Reader in Theology at Oxford, was in Queen Katharine of Aragon's service on the eve of her divorce, and was among the members of her household who agreed to take the oath to the king and against the queen in December 1533. William Glym, scholar in 1380-2, soon became a pushing and, on the whole, successful king's clerk. Possibly he first discovered his talent for administration in looking after the college's property as steward in 1382. His name appears fairly frequently as a royal commissioner from about 1384. From 1389 to 1390 he was receiver of North Wales with the powers of chamberlain. He travelled to Ireland and Rome on the king's service, but suffered a period of disgrace about 1407 for delaying in Rome on his own business of trying to secure the treasurership of Salisbury Cathedral. Other fellows who did work for the king were more often graduates holding benefices or other ecclesiastical offices in Salisbury Diocese, who sometimes acted as royal commissioners and received additional benefices or other grants as rewards. In 1362, for example, Master John Wilton, already a Canon of Salisbury, was appointed controller of the works in the king's manor and park of Clarendon. About the same time Master John Corfe, who had begun in 1348 as chapter clerk, received grants of wardship and marriage in Dorset, the custody of the temporalities in the bishopric of Winchester in the vacancy of 1366, and several benefices in Wiltshire on the king's presentation. In 1349 Master John Corsham acted as a royal commissary to survey the chapel of Wimborne Minster (Dors.), and in 1354 was allowed to keep a 20-years' lease of the manor of Winterbourne Dauntsey, which he had been granted by the Prior of Avebury in 1353, notwithstanding that the grant was made to him after the priory had come into the king's hands on account of the war with France. Such fellows were active in the diocese in a number of other ways, investing their savings in lands and rents, lending money, acting as executors of bishops and clergy, and as proctors, agents, and co-feoffees of the lands of local religious houses as well as of their own college. Master John Corfe, John Parke, and William Codford were agents in the alienation of estates to the abbeys of Milton Abbas and Shaftesbury and to the warden and scholars of Winchester; John Stone was a proctor of the Abbess of Lacock in the appropriation of the parish church of Clyffe Pypard in 1399.
It thus appears that the founder's intentions were never really abandoned, although there had to be important modifications. When it became clear in the early 14th century that Salisbury was not to develop into a university city, the college remained there in the position, apparently unique in medieval England, of a university college more than 40 miles from the nearest university. A few fellowships were at times used as prebends or corrodies rather than as university scholarships. Some of the older fellows settled down to live at the college. But at all periods undergraduate fellows were admitted according to the foundation charter, and a fair proportion of them took university degrees. The later careers of some of these fellows show that while the majority were probably undistinguished, many were doubtless competent and did useful work in their own and neighbouring dioceses. Thus the college fulfilled its main function in helping to provide a more learned clergy for the church.
Two problems remain, which are possibly related; the apparent change of policy of the cathedral chapter in 1526, when, on the death of the warden, Thomas Martin, it ordered that all the scholars should go to Oxford or some other university, and none should remain in Salisbury except the two chaplains, two stewards, the cook, and the butler, on pain of losing their commons; (fn. 151) and the dissolution of the college in 1542. The suddenness of the change of policy in 1526 must not be exaggerated. A number of fellows were apparently already in Oxford, and the chapter may merely have wished to regulate and make uniform an existing practice. On the other hand, the decision may have been part of an unsuccessful attempt to avert the dissolution. There would seem to have been no very obvious reason for the dissolution either in the wealth of the college, which was negligible, or, according to surviving records, in scandalous living. But the college was almost as much a chantry as an educational institution, and fears were being expressed even at Oxford that the ecclesiastical character of some colleges might lead to their downfall. Moreover, in the case of de Vaux, critics might urge that 16th-century Salisbury was not the best place for university masters and students to have their permanent home. Yet the chapter by allowing only the chaplains and stewards to remain at the college may have emphasized the chantry character of the Salisbury foundation, and so have contributed to its dissolution.
Whatever the motives of the chapter or others, the college was dissolved on 2 August 1542, (fn. 152) later than most of the monasteries, but before the chantries. The Treasurer of Augmentations received from it only the small haul of 11 oz. of silver parcel gilt from a chalice and 38½ oz. of pure silver from the college's domestic vessels. (fn. 153) The bulk of the property was sold in 1543. The house and site of 1½ acre with gardens and orchards, (fn. 154) the manors of West and East Harnham, and Britford, the holdings in Lavington and Roundway, and the rectories and advowsons of vicarages of Milborne and Dewlish were sold for £437 10s. 10d. to Sir Michael Lister, king's servant; (fn. 155) the manor of 'Herbar' or 'le Erbyr' to Sir John Williams, Master of the Jewels, and Anthony Stringer; (fn. 156) that of Wasing to Sir Humphrey Forster, king's servant; (fn. 157) and, in 1545, 15 messuages and gardens in Salisbury to John Pollard, king's servant, and William Byrte, yeoman. (fn. 158) The rectory of Allington formed part of the spiritualities granted by Mary to Cardinal Pole and the clergy. (fn. 159) The buildings and site of the college changed hands several times before they were acquired in 1555 by Thomas Bayley of Salisbury, tanner. (fn. 160) Some at least of the buildings remained until 1826, when a drawing of them was made by Robert Benson, Deputy Recorder of Salisbury. (fn. 161) By 1834 they had been demolished, and a row of modern houses, known as De Vaux Place, built in the grounds. (fn. 162) Two buttresses, a flint wall more than 3 feet thick, and some encaustic tiles built into the walls of two of the houses probably represent all that survives from the medieval college. (fn. 163) A tradition that a 15th-century tomb, richly carved with figures of saints and a bishop, against the north wall of Britford church, was brought there from de Vaux college about the time that the college buildings were demolished seems to rest on unreliable evidence. (fn. 164)
Wardens of de Vaux (fn. 165)
Master Thomas de Bridport, D. Can.L. occurs from 1289, died by 23 July 1296. (fn. 170)
Stephen de Ramsbury, occurs from 1296 to 1303. (fn. 171)
Roger, occurs 1306. (fn. 172)
Master Gilbert Lovel, occurs from 1311, died by June 1332. (fn. 173)
Master Robert de Worth, resigned 1348. (fn. 179)
Master Philip de Codford, D.C.L., occurs 1364. (fn. 184)
Master Roger Cosyn, occurs 1373. (fn. 185)
Master John Turk, occurs from 1383, died by 7 Sept. 1397. (fn. 186)
John de Chitterne, appointed 1407, died by 8 July 1419. (fn. 189)
Master John de Tidelyng, elected 1419, resigned 1428. (fn. 190)
Master John Symondesburgh, B.C.L., B.Can.L., elected 1428, died by 4 Dec. 1454. (fn. 191)
Master John Cranborne, B.C.L., elected 1454, died 1474. (fn. 192)
Master William Ive, S.T.P., elected 1473, occurs 1477. (fn. 193)
Master Henry Sutton, Dr of Medicine, occurs 1491. (fn. 194)
Geoffrey Ellys, occurs 1504, died 1506. (fn. 195)
Master George Sydenham, B.C.L., elected 1507, died by 20 Feb. 1524. (fn. 196)
Master Thomas Martin, died by 3 Mar. 1526. (fn. 197)
Master Richard Dudley, S.T.P., occurs from 1527, died by 5 June 1536. (fn. 198)
Master John Bigge, occurs from 1541 until dissolution of college, 2 Aug. 1542, died 1544. (fn. 199)