The colleges and halls: Gonville and Caius

Pages 356-362

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.

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Hall of The Annunciation of The Blessed Virgin (Gonville Hall)

Edmund Gonville, (fn. 2) the founder of Gonville Hall, was the younger son of William Gonville, a Frenchman domiciled in England, who was returned in 1295 (fn. 3) as holding the manor of Lerling and other property in Norfolk. William's first son, Sir Nicholas Gonville, married an heiress of the Lerling family, and it was probably as a result of this marriage that part at least of the money was found for his brother's benefactions. Edmund himself was a priest, being successively Rector of Thelnetham (Suff.) in 1320, Rushworth (Norf.) in 1326, and Terrington (Norf.) in 1342, and at various times holding the offices of steward to Earl Warenne and the Earl of Lancaster, and acting as commissioner for the marshlands of Norfolk and commissary to the Bishop of Ely. In 1342 he founded a college of secular priests at Rushworth; after his removal to Terrington he founded, or richly endowed, the Hospital of St. John at Lynn; and in 1347 he founded Gonville Hall at Cambridge.

Gonville and Caius College. Argent on a chevron and two cotises dancetty with three scallops or on the chevron (for Gonville) impaling or sown with gentil flowers in chief a sengreen with two serpents their tails bound together resting on a square of green marble between them a book sable garnished gules buckled gold (for Caius) all within a border gobony argent and sable. [Granted 1575]

Nothing is known of Gonville's motives in planning the erection of a College at Cambridge, but the fact that Pembroke College, Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall, and Corpus Christi College all came into existence within a decade of one another proves that the idea of this type of benefaction was generally current at the time. His friendship with William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich, who had been educated at the University and who was perhaps already planning his own foundation of Trinity Hall, may likewise have had some influence on his action. On 5 March 1347 he purchased three pieces of land on Lurteburghe, now Free School, Lane, at the back of St. Botolph's churchyard, and on 28 January 1348 he obtained licence from the Crown to establish and endow a Hall, consisting of a Master and 20 fellows, on this site. The assent of Thomas Norys and of the Prior and Convent of Barnwell, of whom he held the land in chief, was procured on 6 December 1348, and six months later, on 4 June 1349, in the deed of foundation, John Colton of Terrington was appointed Master of the new Hall. (fn. 4)

Two years later, in the summer of 1351, (fn. 5) Edmund Gonville died. It is probable that he had appointed several fellows to the Hall, to which he had given his own name; he had certainly drawn up draft statutes for its governance, (fn. 6) but as these were never sealed, they never became operative. His will has not survived, but Bishop Bateman was his principal executor, and he left in his hands a considerable sum of money for the enlargement and endowment of the College.

Bateman is justly regarded as the second founder of Gonville Hall; (fn. 7) without his aid it is scarcely likely that it would have survived. On 21 December 1351 he drew up a stabilitio of the foundation, and obtained official confirmation of it from the Bishop of Ely and the Chancellor of the University; as he omitted to secure a royal charter of incorporation, however, he left it in a somewhat precarious legal position, from which it was not rescued till the time of Dr. Caius. He changed its name from Gonville Hall to the Hall of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He issued a series of statutes, (fn. 8) dated 7 September 1353, which, after 1573 in conjunction with those of Dr. Caius, governed the College until 1860. In some respects they are narrower than the draft statutes drawn up by Gonville, for they mark the beginning of the territorial preferences and limitations which were in the future to bring about the close connexion between the College and the eastern counties; in other respects they are broader, permitting, and even encouraging, the fellows to proceed from arts to civil or canon law or to medicine as alternatives to theology, though the study of the latter, as a preparation for parish work, seems to have been Gonville's main intention for his scholars. (fn. 9) Bateman also drew up a 'Treaty of Amity', dated 17 September 1353, between Gonville Hall and his own foundation of Trinity Hall. Finally, and most important, he altered the site of the College and made proper provision for its endowment.

The last of these steps seems to have been an afterthought, since in 1352 part of the money left by Gonville was used for the purchase of land from the University and the Hospital of St. John, contiguous to the original site, but on 1 June 1353 the whole of the land owned by Gonville Hall in Free School Lane (fn. 10) was exchanged with the Guild of Corpus Christi for a new site on St. Michael's, now Trinity, Lane and Milne Street, now Trinity Hall Lane, comprising approximately one-half of the modern extent of the College. (fn. 11) The exchange was to the advantage of both foundations, giving each of them room for expansion, and it brought Gonville Hall into close proximity with Trinity Hall. The endowments, which were presumably purchased with the money left by Gonville, consisted of the advowsons and the rectorial tithes of Mutford (Suff.) and Foulden and Wilton (Norf.); to these Bateman contemplated the addition of the manor of Thriplow, but the transfer, for some unknown reason, never took effect. Before his death, on 6 January 1355, Bateman had completed the foundation of the Hall and made what provision he could for its future prosperity.

Two hundred years passed between the death of Bateman and the election of Dr. Caius as Master of Gonville Hall. During the first century there were no important changes in endowments or constitution. The normal number of fellows seems to have been four, (fn. 12) but actually varied with the income of the College, once, in 1426, rising as high as nine, and again, in 1465, sinking to two. Three advowsons, Great Mattishall (Norf.) in 1370, (fn. 13) St. Michael Coslany, Norwich, in 1442, (fn. 14) and Barnby (Suff.) in 1454, (fn. 15) were conveyed to the College during the period. (fn. 16) During the following century no further advowsons were acquired, but the number of fellowships was considerably augmented, additional ones, with the necessary endowments, being founded in 1478 (Smith), 1480 (Clere), 1501 (Willowes), 1503 (Scroop), and 1535 (Bayly). A Latin lectureship was founded by Geoffrey Knight in 1538, a Greek lectureship having been established by the Crown two years before. In spite of the additions made to its endowments (fn. 17) since the time of Gonville the College remained one of the poorest in the University. A report drawn up in February 1546 shows that its income was £120, only three other colleges, Trinity Hall, St. Catharine's, and Magdalene, having less, and that its expenditure exceeded income by £35. (fn. 18) During the first quarter of the 16th century there were normally between 30 and 40 residents in the College: the Master, about 9 fellows, 4 or 5 scholars, from 10 to 20 pensioners, and perhaps 6 servants. The pensioners, from whom the modern undergraduates are descended, were not of the foundation, and paid the College for their board and lodging and for what instruction they might receive.

No specifically collegiate buildings were erected for some time after the foundation of the College; the existing houses, which occupied the north side of what is now Gonville Court, were utilized and adapted as far as was necessary, providing rooms for the Master and fellows and for such communal necessities as kitchen, dining-hall, and treasury. In 1393 William Physwick left to the College a house on the north side of St. Michael's, now Trinity, Lane, facing Gonville Hall up a small passage. This provided additional accommodation for pensioners until 1546 when it was taken by Henry VIII and demolished in the course of clearing the site for the Great Court of Trinity College. The erection of the chapel belongs to the same period as the acquisition of Physwick Hostel. A licence to construct a chapel had already been obtained from the Bishop of Ely on 1 April 1353, before the site of the College had been moved from Free School Lane; the actual building on the new site was due to William Rougham, the second Master, c. 1360–93. A licence to hold divine service in it was granted for a period of three years by the Bishop of Ely on 22 November 1389, and was made permanent by a Bull of Boniface IX, dated 13 November 1393. This chapel, however, was little more than a private oratory, and those resident in the College must normally have attended the parish church of St. Michael, where it seems that the north aisle was reserved for their use. It was not until 5 September 1476 that the bishop's licence for mass to be sung in the chapel was obtained, and the building was not formally consecrated until 25 February 1494. Licence to bury the dead in its precincts was granted by a bull of Pope Alexander VI, dated 25 May 1500.

No changes were made in the College buildings after the completion of the chapel for nearly 50 years. In 1441–4 the sixth Master, Thomas Attwood, erected the buildings to the west side of Gonville Court, joining up the old block of houses on the north with the chapel on the south. These additions consisted of a hall, a new Master's Lodge, a library, and some supplementary rooms. The court was completed in about 1490 by the erection of further sets of rooms on its east side as a result of the benefaction of Elizabeth Clere. No further changes were made before the metamorphosis of Gonville Hall into Gonville and Caius College.

Gonville And Caius College


The third founder and sixteenth Master of the College, John Caius (Keys or Kees), was a native of Norwich. Born in 1510, he entered Gonville Hall in 1529 as a scholar, and was elected to a fellowship in 1533, retaining it until 1545. From 1539 to 1544 or 1545 he studied in Italy, chiefly at Padua, where he took his medical degree and lectured on the logical works of Aristotle in Greek. On his return to England he took up his residence as a practising physician in London and on 22 December 1547 was admitted a fellow of the College of Physicians, of which he was to be nine times president. In 1557 he obtained from the Crown his charter of foundation and confirmation of Gonville and Caius College, of which he was elected Master two years later.

This union of the offices of founder and Master is unique in the history of the University, and it cannot be said that the experiment proved a success. Dr. Caius was conservative in his religious outlook, and strongly opposed to the Puritanism which had captured the allegiance of the fellows. This, coupled with his somewhat harsh and domineering temper, made his tenure of the Mastership one of much domestic turmoil. The fellows showed neither regard for his eminence as a scholar nor appreciation of the lifelong affection towards his College and the benefactions which he had showered upon it. Difficulties came to a head in December 1572, when his rooms, in which he had stored 'muchepopish trumpery', were pillaged and sacked by the fellows, who were acting under the supervision of the University authorities. (fn. 19) He resigned his office the next year on 27 June 1573, and died a month later in London. His body was brought back to Cambridge for burial in the College chapel.

The foundation charter which was granted to Dr. Caius is dated 4 September 1557. (fn. 20) It confirmed to the new foundation all the previous possessions of Gonville Hall, conceded it a licence in mortmain to the annual value of £500, declared it to be a corporation with the legal right to sue and be sued, and granted it a common seal. It declared that Dr. Caius was about to add two (fn. 21) fellowships and twelve scholarships to the foundation, and reserved to him during his life the power to appoint or dismiss their occupants; he was also given the right of drawing up statutes for the College, the sole condition being that they should not conflict with those of Bateman. The new foundation was celebrated in College on Lady Day 1558.

The statutes, possibly the second series issued by Caius, are dated 1 January 1573, (fn. 22) and in conjunction with those of Bateman governed the College until 1860. They are much more detailed than those of Bateman, and in their main provisions they probably represent a systematization of established practice rather than a serious attempt to revise the constitution of the College. Apart from the extraordinary and not always judicious minuteness with which they aspired to regulate the normal domestic life of the community, their most important feature was the series of rules they laid down to govern the elections and prescribe the duties of Master and fellows, rules whose general tendency was to accentuate the territorial limitations already in force in favour of natives of the eastern counties, and to provide for the needs of the new class of pensioners which had come into existence since Bateman's time.

Endowments and Advowsons.

So far as his more material benefactions are concerned, Dr. Caius practically doubled the endowments of the College. By a deed dated 1 March 1558 he conveyed to the Master and Fellows the manors of Croxley and Snellshall in Rickmansworth (Herts.), and Runcton Holme and Burnham Wyndham (Norf.); they were old monastic property which he had purchased from the Crown, and brought in at that time an annual income of £51. In 1570 the manor and advowson of Bincombe (Dors.) and the manor of Oborne (Dors.) were purchased, largely with his money. The total sum spent on the five manors and on the advowson of Bincombe was not far short of £1,600. (fn. 23)

Since the days of Dr. Caius the following livings have been acquired: Pattesley (Norf.) in 1576, united to Mattishall in 1743; Weeting, All Saints, with St. Mary (Norf.) in 1632; Hockwold (Norf.) in 1665, united with Wilton since 1666; Bratton Fleming (Devon) in 1667; Broadway (Dors.) in 1692, consolidated with Bincombe in 1738; Hethersett (Norf.) in 1705; St. Clement's, Norwich, in 1705, consolidated with St. Edmund's in 1882 and with St. George's in 1922, the College presenting three times out of seven; Ashdon (Essex) in 1708, exchanged for Chatteris (Cambs.) in 1909; Melton, All Saints with St. Mary (Norf.), in 1713, exchanged in 1896 for Swanton Morley with Worthing (Norf.); Lavenham (Suff.) in 1713; Denver (Norf.) in 1716; Oxborough (Norf.) in 1733, consolidated with Foulden in 1761; Long Stratton (Norf.) in 1725; Wheatacre (Norf.) in 1736, united to Mutford-cum-Barnby between 1789 and 1856, and united in 1922 to Aldeby, the College presenting alternately with another patron; Blofield (Norf.) in 1736, united with Hemblington in 1926; Kirstead with Langhale (Norf.) in 1811; Beachampton (Bucks.) in 1818, united to Thornton with Nash in 1922, the College presenting alternately with another patron; Kittis- ford (Som.) in 1900, united with Bathealton in 1923 and Stawley in 1930, the College presenting twice out of five times; and Stockport (Ches.) in 1910.

Site and Buildings.

Since Gonville Hall had been moved from Free School Lane to Trinity Lane, only one addition had been made to its site; in 1498 a garden on part of the ground which is now Caius Court was purchased from Anglesey Priory. It was due to Dr. Caius that the area of the College was increased to almost its present dimensions. In 1563 he purchased from Trinity the northern two-thirds of the site of Tree Court; (fn. 24) this site consisted of several gardens and houses facing Trinity Lane and Trinity Street, together with the old rectory of St. Michael's Church, which had been leased to Michaelhouse since 1337. In 1565 he acquired from Robert Lane an orchard on the site of part of the buildings on the east side of Caius Court and what was formerly the president's garden. Finally in 1566 he purchased from Corpus Christi College a narrow strip of land to the south of Caius Court to enable him to build the boundary wall in a straight line between the two wings of his new buildings.

These buildings were designed by Dr. Caius to form a new court to the south of the existing one. In their design he introduced a novel principle, that the court should be left open on one side, in this case the south, and not be completely surrounded by buildings; his example was generally followed in the plans of subsequent additions to their structure made by other colleges in the University. (fn. 25) The buildings on the west side of the court were begun on 5 May 1565, the materials having been collected beforehand, and completed on 1 September; the digging of the foundations on the east side was begun a fortnight later, and the sets of rooms were probably finished fairly quickly, though the 'Gate of Virtue' bears the date 1567 and was not actually completed until 1569. A passage connecting the two courts was made through part of the Master's Lodge. In addition to these buildings, Dr. Caius erected the 'Gate of Humility' opening on Trinity Street, a wide passage between high walls leading from it to the 'Gate of Virtue'. Part of the site north of this passage was walled off to form the fellows' garden, the smaller president's garden being established to the south of it. The 'Gate of Honour', in the wall which formed the southern boundary of Caius Court, was erected in 1575 after his death in accordance with his designs. The arrangement of these gates is an illustration of Dr. Caius's love of symbolism; the student entered the College through the Gate of Humility, proceeded by the Gate of Virtue, and finally left the College by the Gate of Honour on his way to the schools. Besides these quite new constructions Dr. Caius repaired and made various additions to the older buildings, spending altogether during his lifetime upwards of £2,000 on architectural changes in the College.

In 1594, owing to the increase in the number of students, the houses on Trinity Lane and Trinity Street acquired in 1564 were adapted for use as College rooms. In 1617 and 1619 they were demolished and replaced by two buildings, known respectively as the Perse and Legge Buildings, which formed a new court, known as Brick, later Tree, Court. In the succeeding century various changes were made in the buildings around the kitchens to allow for further accommodation; in 1637 the chapel was lengthened eastwards and repaired, and between 1718 and 1726 was encased in freestone, partly rebuilt, and entirely redecorated. In 1751–5 much the same operations were carried out in Gonville Court.

The middle of the 19th century saw the greatest changes to the external appearance of the College. In 1853–4 the block of buildings to the west of Gonville Court was entirely reconstructed by Salvin; a new hall and library were built, and the Master's Lodge, already enlarged in 1795, was extended backwards to Trinity Hall Lane. The library dates from the earliest days of the College; the first gift of books was made to it by Bishop Bateman. The greater part of the medieval collection is still intact, and the library is particularly rich in incunabula and 16th-century books and bindings, many of them being Cambridge work.

The front of the College was next to be changed. The houses on the south-east portion of Tree Court had been acquired in 1782, and in 1854 were partly converted into rooms and incorporated in the College. In 1868–70 all the buildings in Tree Court were demolished and rebuilt by Waterhouse in French Renaissance style; the east side of Gonville Court, facing Tree Court, was also rebuilt, and an apse was added to the chapel. At the same time the walls separating the fellows' and president's gardens from Tree Court were removed. A new fellows' garden was laid out near Newnham in 1885–6, but the old gardens were not fully incorporated in the court until after 1918. The completion of the buildings in Tree Court left the College no more room for expansion on its old site, and for further development it was necessary to acquire land on the east side of Trinity Street, facing the front of the College. The houses along the south side of Rose Crescent were purchased in 1887, and rebuilt as St. Michael's Court in 1901–3. In more recent years a number of houses between this court and the Market Square have been acquired, and in 1934–6 a considerable block of these was demolished and rebuilt as a continuation of the existing court.

Historical Sketch.

The fortunes of the College during the last four centuries have followed fairly closely those of the University. In the early part of the 16th century Gonville Hall was one of the poorest foundations in Cambridge. The Dissolution of the monasteries, and the consequent removal of the monastic element amongst its students, brought about a serious decline in numbers, a decline which was accompanied (1546) by the loss of Physwick Hostel, which had accommodated perhaps half of those in residence. In the early period of the Reformation the College was a stronghold of advanced religious views; as early as 1530 Bishop Nix declared that 'no clerk that hath ought lately of that College but saverith of the frying panne, tho he spek never so holely', (fn. 26) and John Skipp, Master 1536–40, re- peatedly suffered imprisonment on charges of heresy. With the disappearance of the monastic element the reformers were left in possession of the field, and the life of Dr. Caius during his mastership was made a burden to him by their ill-timed fanaticism.

Caius had been granted the right of nominating his successor, and the next Master, Thomas Legge 1573–1607, who had been a fellow and a very successful tutor at Jesus College, was no more a friend to the Puritan movement than his predecessor. In consequence the quarrels between Master and fellows continued, but Legge had established a reputation for energy and ability at Jesus, and it followed him to his new College, where the numbers rapidly increased and the views of those in residence as rapidly changed. Whatever might be the opinions of the fellows, those of the students were plain enough. Of those who were at the College during the first fifteen years of Legge's rule, four were afterwards executed by the government for their religious views, and a fifth for complicity in Babington's Plot; seven became members of the Society of Jesus, seven others, besides those executed, seminary priests; and over 20 of the remainder suffered by way of fine or imprisonment for their religion. It was only in about 1590 that the Catholic element in the College disappeared as a result of increased activity on the part of the government and the University authorities.

The College, as a result of the benefactions of its third founder, from being one of the poorest had taken a secure place amongst the first half dozen of the University, and the years 1590–1640 mark the highest point of its prosperity under the old dispensation. The number of residents was increasing rapidly, and many of them attained high distinction in different branches of learning. The reputation which the College has always enjoyed in the field of medical studies dates from this period. The existing 12 fellowships, 9 dating from the days of Gonville and 3 more founded by Caius, gradually separated off as senior fellowships, whose holders alone were entitled to take any part in the government of the College, while further fellowships of a rather lower standing were being founded. In 1587 Mrs. Frankland left by her will endowments for 6 fellowships, a chaplaincy, and 12 scholarships; in 1615 Dr. Perse founded 6 fellowships and 6 scholarships; the Wendy and Stokys fellowships date respectively from 1610 and 1635. The number of scholarships was also very greatly augmented, an important consideration in view of the fact that there were now no monasteries to support students at the University.

The general feeling in the College at the outbreak of the Civil War was moderately royalist but by no means Laudian in character, and the changes which occurred in the College during the period of the Civil War and the Commonwealth were less considerable and less drastic than might be supposed. The chapel services had over many years been conducted with great laxity and irregularity, and it did not prove difficult to make them conform to the standards of dogmatic Puritanism. Dr. Batchcroft, the Master, retained his post until 1649, when he was expelled. His successor, William Dell, an extreme Puritan, educated at Emmanuel College, was an unamiable and unpopular character who held strong views as to the unchristian character of universities. He was intruded into Batchcroft's place by the Parliamentary authorities, and resigned on 11 May 1660, three days after the proclamation of Charles II as king. At least twelve of the fellows were expelled at different times, but those who replaced them were for the most part men of learning and ability, and with three exceptions retained their posts after the Restoration; five of the expelled fellows were later restored. Taking the period as a whole, there was but little falling-off in the numbers of the students, and, despite the occasionally vexatious interference of the Parliamentary committee for regulating the universities, life in the College went on much the same as usual. It is possible that the close connexion between the College and the eastern counties, which were one of the strongholds of the Parliamentary party, secured it from any serious molestation during the period.

The century following the Restoration, in the College as in the University as a whole, was marked by a short epoch of quick recovery followed by one of steady decline, which set in just before the close of the century. The exclusion of the nonconformists impoverished the whole University; the decline in importance of the East Anglian counties, whose natives more and more came to monopolize every position on the foundation, served to accentuate the depression in the College. During the 18th century, over seven-eighths of the students came from the two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and any fresh endowments went towards the purchase of livings, whose acquisition was the goal of every scholar and fellow during that period.

After 1750 a few signs of improvement began to appear. A Mickleburgh scholarship in chemistry was founded in 1756, the four Tancred studentships in 1762, and three new fellowships by Benjamin Wortley in 1771. From 1780 onwards progress was steady, though still very slow, and it cannot be said that conditions during the first half of the 19th century were radically dissimilar from those of the 18th. Tuition and teaching, the latter still a college rather than a university function, were much improved, the East Anglian element was no longer in a position of unchallenged dominance, the students were beginning to look outside the Church for a career and their numbers were undergoing a marked increase; but in general the old régime continued to operate. There was growing dissatisfaction, however, with such of the more restrictive provisions of the statutes as were still observed, and the appointment of the University Commission of 1850 was regarded with less hostility than was exhibited in some other colleges. The commission reported in 1852, but it was not until 30 June 1860 that the new statutes for the college, completely superseding those of Bateman and Caius, were sanctioned by the Crown.

By one sweeping provision in the preamble to the new statutes all restrictions on candidates for College offices, mastership, fellowships, and scholarships, 'in respect of such person's place of birth or of his being of any particular name, lineage, kindred or consanguinity, or of his being or having been a scholar in any particular school', were abolished, and all the advantages previously enjoyed by the natives of East Anglia were swept away. The prohibition on the marriage of fellows was removed, but a timelimit on the tenure of fellowships, unless held with a lectureship or with certain specified College offices, was introduced as a compensatory measure. The obligation on fellows to take holy orders, though this had never been universally compulsory in the College, was also repealed. The offices of tutor and lecturer were placed on a more permanent footing, the former office being no longer conferred on each fellow in turn regardless of his personal competence. The whole financial administration was revised, and special reserve, building, and endowment funds, separate from the general College account, were created, so that the College should in future live in a less hand-to-mouth fashion than in the past. Related to this reform was another still more sweeping. The value of the junior fellowships and the scholarships was very variable, depending on the size of the endowment from which they derived their name. Under the new statutes the whole of the College income, except the Davy Trust, was consolidated, and payments of fixed proportions were paid to the holders of fellowships and scholarships quite irrespective of the value of the original endowment. The separate titles of the benefactions were also abolished, but this change aroused a good deal of criticism, and subsequent benefactors have been generally careful to preserve the individuality of their endowments.

The statutes of 1860 have been frequently amended and revised. The most important change has been the abolition of religious tests for fellowships by Act of Parliament in 1871, which threw open all College offices save that of dean to persons who were not members of the Church of England; this change, though immediately operative, was first officially incorporated in the new statutes issued in 1882. These same statutes revised the composition of the governing body by introducing the elective element, reduced the tenure of unofficial fellowships (i.e. fellowships not held in conjunction with a College office) from ten to six years, and arranged for a regular contribution from the College to the University chest. The next change of importance in the statutes was made in 1890, when as a result of Dr. Drosier's bequest, Drosier Fellows became members of the foundation.

The statutes under which the College is now governed came into force on 30 September 1926, having been made by the Statutory Commission appointed to give effect to the recommendations of the Royal Commission of 1919 on the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. These statutes which made fundamental changes in the relations between the College and the University have been described elsewhere. (fn. 27) Subsequent changes have either been consequent on further alterations in the University statutes, such as the increased use of stipendiary fellowships, or have been of a minor character, such as the reduction in the normal tenure of unofficial fellowships and the creation of a number of byefellowships carrying with them no share in the government of the College.


The College possesses paintings of all the Masters since the time of Dr. Caius, with the possible exception of William Dell, 1649–60. Two of the portraits of Dr. Caius, one of them a remarkably fine work of art, are contemporary, and the portrait of John Smith, 1764–95, is by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Other notable portraits are those of Mrs. Frankland, a benefactress, and her parents Robert and Joan Trapps, which date from the 16th century, and a very fine 17th-century portrait by an unknown artist, given to the College in 1798 as being of William Harvey, but this ascription is disputed.


Comparatively little of the early plate which was once possessed by the College has survived. It escaped being melted down at the time of the Civil War, but a large part of it was stolen in two successive robberies in 1800, and still more was disposed of at different times and replaced as it became old and worn. The most remarkable pieces are two coconut cups, with silver-gilt mountings, dating from the 15th century; the silver rod, or caduceus, presented by Dr. Caius; a chalice and cover, and a flagon, all of silver-gilt, presented by Archbishop Parker; and four silver cups, fitting into one another, which formed part of the camp plate of Lord Hopton during the Civil War.


Old Seal, granted by Gonville or Bateman. The Annunciation. In base a bishop with mitre and pastoral staff, kneeling, between six other kneeling personages: s' coe' aule ān[n]unciacōis' b[eat]ē' marie cantebri. New Seal, granted by Caius. The Annunciation, different design. In base an oval shield with carved work, between the letter b on the left and a mitre on the right: sigill' colleg de gonevil et caius fund ī' ho an b ma vir I' un'ite cātab.

Masters of Gonville Hall

John Colton, of Terrington: (fn. 28) 4 June 1349.

William Rougham: c. 1360.

Richard Pulham: 1393.

William Somersham: 1412.

John Rickinghale: 1416.

Thomas Attwood: 1426.

Thomas Boleyn: 1454.

Edmund Sheriffe: 1472.

Henry Costessey: 1475.

John Barly: 1483.

Edmund Stubb: 1504.

William Buckenham: 1513.

John Skipp: 1536.

John Styrmin: 1540.

Thomas Bacon: (fn. 29) 1552.

Masters of Gonville and Caius College

John Caius: 24 Jan. 1559.

Thomas Legge: (fn. 30) 27 June 1573.

William Branthwaite: 14 Dec. 1607. (fn. 31)

John Gostlin: 16 Feb. 1619.

Thomas Batchcroft: 22 Oct. 1626, expelled 15 Apr. 1649, returned 1660, resigned 1 Dec. 1660.

William Dell: 4 May 1649, resigned 11 May 1660.

Robert Brady: 1 Dec. 1660.

James Halman: 24 Aug. 1700.

John Ellys: 1 Jan. 1703.

Thomas Gooch: 29 Nov. 1716.

James Burrough: 27 Feb. 1754.

John Smith: 17 Aug. 1764.

Richard Fisher (Belward): 1 July 1795.

Martin Davy: 31 May 1803.

Benedict Chapman: 11 June 1839.

Edwin Guest: 4 Nov. 1852.

Norman Macleod Ferrers: 27 Oct. 1880.

Ernest Stewart Roberts: 16 Feb. 1903.

Hugh Kerr Anderson: 2 July 1912.

John Forbes Cameron: 23 Nov. 1928, retired 30 Sept. 1948, died 21 March 1953.

Sir James Chadwick: 1 Oct. 1948.


  • 1. The manuscript materials for the history of the College are in the treasury and the library. Dr. J. Venn published the 'Annals of Gonville and Caius College', by Dr. Caius, in C.A.S. Publ. (1904), vol. xl; and in conjunction with S. C. Venn, Admissions to Gonville and Caius Coll. Camb., Mar. 1558–9 to Jan. 1678–9 (1887). His Caius College (1901, repr. 1923) in the series of College Histories, and his Biographical Hist. of Gonville and Caius Coll. (3 vols. 1897–1901, with supplementary 4th and 5th vols. 1911 and 1949, by E. S. Roberts, E. J. Gross, and F. E. A. Trayes) form a complete and accurate guide to its history, various aspects of which are also dealt with in his Early Collegiate Life (1913).
  • 2. The name is spelt in various ways, Gonvile, Gonevyle, &c.
  • 3. E 106/3/17, quoted in E. K. Bennet, Historical Memorials of the College of St. John the Evangelist, Rushworth (1887), reprinted from Proc. Norf. and Norw. Arch. Soc. x. 85. An early deed of Edmund Gonville (4 May 1318), unknown to Bennet, is printed by M. Stephenson and Z. N. Brooke, 'Notes on an Early Deed with the seal of Edmund Gonville', The Caian, 1933, xli. 59–65.
  • 4. The various documents mentioned are printed in Venn, Biog. Hist. iii. 325 et seq. Several leases connected with the original site in Free School Lane, with the deed of exchange with Corpus Christi, are printed in Josselin's 'Historiola Collegii Corporis Christi', ed. J. W. Clark in C.A.S. Publ. (1880), xvii. 58–61. For the history of the site and buildings see Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. i. 157–208.
  • 5. Between 20 Mar. and 18 Oct., exact date unknown.
  • 6. Venn, Biog. Hist. iii. 341–5.
  • 7. Dr. Caius in his 'Annals' always regards Bateman as the second founder, and the University statute of 21 Oct. 1354, ordaining the celebration of exequies for Bateman, gives as the reason his foundation of the Hall of the Annunciation, and does not mention Trinity Hall: Venn, Biog. Hist. iii. 330–1.
  • 8. Venn, op. cit. iii. 345–52.
  • 9. Mullinger, Univ. Camb. i, strongly condemned Bateman for 'frustrating' Gonville's intentions in this matter, but Venn, Biog. Hist. iii. 6, has shown that his views have little or no justification.
  • 10. The original site at its greatest extent (1353) corresponded fairly closely to the present site of the chapel, Master's Lodge, and Master's garden of Corpus Christi College.
  • 11. The site acquired in 1353 comprised the area now formed by Gonville Court, the hall and kitchens, the Master's Lodge and garden, and west side of Caius Court.
  • 12. Gonville's licence allowed for the foundation of 20 fellowships, but the funds he left were presumably quite insufficient to maintain such a number. In 1354, when details are first available, the number was 4.
  • 13. It is generally understood that this gift by Sir Ralph Hemenhale, in memory of Lady Mary Pakenham and her son, was intended for the foundation of a fellowship, but in fact no additional one was created. From 1395 when the living first fell vacant one of the fellows of the earlier foundation was set aside as Pakenham fellow, with an additional stipend and the duty of carrying out Hemenhale's will. Pattesley, given in 1576, was united with Mattishall in 1743.
  • 14. Sold in 1869.
  • 15. Barnby had been united to Mutford in 1431, the College presenting alternately with Butley Priory, but it was again independent, 1471–1582. After 1583 it was reunited with Mutford, until in 1922 it was united with North Cove and Mutford with Rushmere, the College presenting alternately with other patrons to each living.
  • 16. Three parts of the advowson of Capel rectory (Suff.) were conveyed to the College by Sir John Fitzralf in 1353, and reconveyed in 1467, but the College is only known to have appointed twice, in 1473 and 1477, and subsequent attempts to present met with no success.
  • 17. The College acquired 5 manors before 1887: Mortimer's in Newnham (Cambs.) 1498; Thornham (Norf.) 1504; Bansteds in Cowling (Suff.) 1505; D'Enghaynes in Stow-cum-Quy (Cambs.) 1521, received in exchange for the manor of Pattesley (Norf.) which had been given in 1520; and Aynell's in Westoning (Beds.) 1540.
  • 18. Comm. Doc. i. 227–35; Venn, Biog. Hist. iii. 338–9.
  • 19. See p. 185.
  • 20. Comm. Doc. ii. 215–25; better edition in 'Annals', by Dr. Caius, in C.A.S. Publ. xl. 43–56.
  • 21. He actually added 3.
  • 22. Venn, op. cit. iii. 353–89.
  • 23. Four manors have been acquired since the time of Dr. Caius: Dabernons in Duxford (Cambs.) 1611; Buristead in Shelford (Cambs.) 1614; Frating (Essex) 1618; and Carles in Wilton, 1681.
  • 24. The agreement between the two Colleges is dated 1 June 1563, but the royal licence was not granted until 1 Aug. 1564.
  • 25. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. iii. 275 et seq.
  • 26. Strype, Memorials of Archbp. Cranmer (1822), ii. 696. The passage has been frequently quoted.
  • 27. See above, p. 293.
  • 28. Nominated by Edmund Gonville.
  • 29. Nominated first Master of Gonville and Caius by Dr. Caius's foundation charter, admitted 4 Sept. 1557.
  • 30. Nominated by Dr. Caius.
  • 31. Date of admission. He was appointed by the Chancellor, after the fellows had irregularly elected Dr. Gostlin.