The colleges and halls: Emmanuel

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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'The colleges and halls: Emmanuel', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge, ed. J P C Roach( London, 1959), British History Online [accessed 21 July 2024].

'The colleges and halls: Emmanuel', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge. Edited by J P C Roach( London, 1959), British History Online, accessed July 21, 2024,

"The colleges and halls: Emmanuel". A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge. Ed. J P C Roach(London, 1959), , British History Online. Web. 21 July 2024.

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Emmanuel College (fn. 1) founded by Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth I, stands on the site of the house of the Dominican Friars. This had been dissolved in 1538, (fn. 2) and the Vice-Chancellor petitioned that the place be given over to the University. (fn. 3) His request was refused, and, after passing through several hands, the former monastery was purchased to be the site of the new College in June 1583 by Lawrence Chaderton, the Master-elect, and his brother-in-law, Richard Culverwell, from one Robert Taylor for £550. (fn. 4) Chaderton and Culverwell were acting on behalf of the founder to whom on 23 November 1583 they conveyed the place. (fn. 5) The site chosen for the new foundation was an admirable one with extensive grounds and considerable buildings. The former chapel, being large and in good repair, was converted into the College hall, the eastern end being partitioned off to form a combination room below with Master's rooms above. (fn. 6) The building to the north-east of the church, possibly originally the refectory, was very extensively repaired and converted into a chapel with an antechapel having rooms over it at the south end. (fn. 7) Any buildings on the north side of the court had been removed and this was left open, apart from a wall and ornamental gateway inscribed Sacrae Theologiae Studiosis posuit Gualterus Mildmaius a.d. 1584; from this gate a path led to a passage between the hall and antechapel and so on to the court beyond. On the St. Andrews Street side a long range with three short projecting wings ran along the west side of the present New and Front Courts and contained kitchens, buttery, library, and sets of rooms.

Emmanuel College. Argent a lion azure holding in his dexter paw a wreath of laureland with a scroll issuing from his mouth inscribed Emmanuel.

On the south side of the present Front Court, on the site of the present Westmorland building, the 'Founder's range' was built, the east side of the court being left open. By the time of the death of the founder in 1589 the College was largely complete. A 'dedication festival' took place late in 1587 (fn. 8) and in the next year the first College order book (fn. 9) and College accounts begin.

The founder was too discreet a man to parade his theological views, but would seem to have been a moderate Calvinist, content to accept the fabric of Anglican settlement though having a soft spot for the now numerous would-be Protestant preachers. (fn. 10) His chief aim in establishing the College was to provide for a perpetual supply of educated clergy for the reformed church in a University where the study of theology had much decayed. This aim he clearly set forth in his Statute XXI. (fn. 11)

We wish all to realise, whether fellows, scholars or even pensioners who are to be admitted into the College, that the one object which we set before us in erecting this College was to render as many as possible fit for the administration of the Divine Word and Sacraments; and that from this seed plot (seminarium) the English Church might have those that she can summon to instruct the people and undertake the office of pastors which is a thing necessary above all others. Therefore let fellows and scholars who obtrude into the College with any other design than to devote themselves to sacred theology, and eventually to labour in preaching the Word, know that they are frustrating our hope and occupying the place of fellow or scholar contrary to our ordinance.

The Master took an oath against 'Popery and other heresies' and like the fellows was normally to be an old member of the College. At least four of the fellows were to be 'Ministers of the Word and Sacraments', attendance at daily prayers and the eucharist was compulsory, and the College was not to have two fellows from the same county at the same time. A supplementary statute of 1587, De Mora Sociorum, (fn. 12) laid down that fellows should vacate their fellowships within a year of taking the D.D. degree; this in effect limited their term to seven years, and for this reason incurred strong criticism from an early date.

The College letter appointing attorneys to take possession of the site is dated 5 June 1584. (fn. 13) The queen had licensed the foundation on 11 January 1584, (fn. 14) and in the following year gave a rent charge of £16 13s. 4d., originally held by Glastonbury Abbey to maintain poor scholars at Oxford. (fn. 15) The first undergraduate entered in November 1584, (fn. 16) and in the following years annual admissions averaged between 30 and 40. The first list of stipends belongs to 1585 and records payments to the Master and seven fellows. (fn. 17)

The first Master was Lawrence Chaderton, who, like the founder, had been at Christ's. (fn. 18) Of Lancashire stock, Chaderton was well versed in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew as well as in French, Spanish, and Italian and had a considerable reputation as a preacher. His piety was allied to great industry but did not prevent his delighting in 'archery, tennis and fives'. He was an acknowledged friend of Puritans, intervening on their behalf on several occasions, (fn. 19) and, perhaps because of his friendship with Archbishop Bancroft, was allowed to be more radical than the Elizabethan Settlement envisaged. Under him Emmanuel was accused of being the only College in Cambridge where Prayer Book forms of worship were not observed; it was said that the fellows there 'do follow a private course of public prayer after their own fashion, both Sondaies, Holy daies and workie days', discarded surplices and celebrated Communion in an irreverent manner. (fn. 20)

At the Hampton Court Conference in 1604 Mr. Chaderton was told of sitting communions in Emmanuel College; which he said 'was so by reason of the seats so placed as they be; yet that they had some kneeling also'. (fn. 21) Whilst it is said that on King James's visit to the University in March 1615, the College was not adorned for the occasion in the usual way. (fn. 22)

Chaderton with three other members of the College was amongst those responsible for the Authorized Version of the Bible (1611). The others were John Richardson, Master of Peterhouse, William Branthwaite, Master of Caius, and Samuel Ward, (fn. 23) whilst Ward and Joseph Hall, later Bishop of Exeter, also attended the Synod of Dort (1619). (fn. 24)

On 22 September 1622 Chaderton resigned. According to Dillingham (fn. 25) he did this spontaneously, feeling conscious of his failing powers. He was by now over eighty, (fn. 26) and there is some evidence that discipline was getting relaxed. (fn. 27) Some attempt at procuring him preferment seems to have been made but he spent his last years in a retirement not free from poverty, dying on 13 November 1640. (fn. 28) He was buried in the old chapel, his body being later transferred to the present one. It is possible that the resignation was urged by at least a section of the fellows anxious for a Master who would 'bring the College into reputation', especially at Court. (fn. 29) His successor was John Preston, fellow of Queens', a distant relative of the Duke of Buckingham, and 'the greatest pupil monger in England'. (fn. 30) He was a moderate Puritan who had recently been made chaplain to Prince Charles and was elected hurriedly on 2 October 1622, to forestall any untoward action by a former fellow Dr. Price, who was lurking at Christ's with the suspected intention of getting the mastership. (fn. 31) But Preston's heart was at Court, not in College. Before he took office he got the fellows to agree that Statute II De Residentia Magistri did not preclude absence in the service of 'the King and Prince', and in the following March the fellows confirmed their order to this effect. (fn. 32) He utilized his right of absence very freely. The fellows, or perhaps only a majority of them, soon after attempted to get permission to suspend the statute De Mora Sociorum on the grounds of its invalidity, its inexpediency, and the abrogation of the similar statute at Sidney Sussex. (fn. 33)

Sir Henry Mildmay, the founder's grandson, and Chaderton, vigorously opposed this grave breach of the founder's plan; (fn. 34) Preston's opposition, (fn. 35) is less understandable and is perhaps not unconnected with his unpopularity with some of the fellows. But on 5 May 1627 (fn. 36) a dispensation from the statute was granted though this was to be revoked if within six years Sir Henry Mildmay gave the College five or six livings worth £100 a year, which he does not appear to have done. This proviso was evidently inspired by the fellows' complaint that when their compulsory retirement arrived they had often to take ill-paid and unsuitable posts. By now Preston's health was failing and he died on 20 July 1628 when only 39 years old.

His successor was William Sandcroft. It seems likely that the salary for the Mastership at this time was inadequate and it was probably because of this that Sandcroft only accepted office on consideration that he was allowed to retain his benefice of West Wickham. (fn. 37)

An encouraging feature of the College's life up to this time had been its steady growth in numbers which was particularly marked under Chaderton. Between 1586, when the College admission book begins, and 1611, admissions varied between 27 and 44, increasing steadily thereafter to reach a peak of 79 in 1622–3, whilst in 1624–5 its total of 74 matriculations was the highest of any college in the University. (fn. 38) It was, therefore, not surprising that the College should find itself under the necessity of 'enlarging our roome which hath been and still is too scant to receive the number of students in the Colledge'; 'for bringing of them all to keepe lodge within the walls', it was decided on 4 February 1633 to 'have a new range of building erected from the founder's chamber to Pits garden'. The result was the present Old Court, the contracts for which were signed in the same month. (fn. 39) Sandcroft seems to have been a conscientious and able administrator and a good disciplinarian. Unfortunately his rule was short, for he died in April 1637.

By this time the College had long been a principal centre of Protestant theology in Cambridge. Not a few of its early members seem to have been content to accept the Elizabethan Settlement, despite what seemed to them certain obvious defects. Among these were Chaderton and Thomas Pierson, pensioner 1589–90, M.A. 1597, who 'though he was generally reputed, as the times then were, a nonconformist . . . yet was never in all his time so much as once silenced or suspended either ab officio or beneficio. He would read the whole of the Liturgy objecting only to the use of the Surplice and of the Cross in baptism, though when any would ask him about the Lawfulness of the Surplasse he would thus answer "have ye any argument against it"; if they said none, then he would tell them again "neither will I put any into your hands", so carefull was he to preserve Unity in the Church. He also zealously and with great Profitt to the Countrey kept the four Ember Fasts yearly.' (fn. 40) Even more moderate was the position taken by William Bedell one of the College's earliest theologians. (fn. 41) He insisted on observance of the Book of Common Prayer 'without the least addition or diminution'. He opposed Arminianism and orchestral music in church but accepted ceremonies 'not taynted with superstition' where ordered by lawful authority. He admired the rich decoration of Roman Catholic churches and incurred some little criticism for being one 'rather to contract the differences between Protestants and papists than to widen them'. (fn. 42) Another Emmanuel bishop, Joseph Hall, (fn. 43) despite early Calvinistic tendencies, went on to suffer not a little in the cause of episcopacy and the Anglican settlement. By this time, indeed, in the College as in the country as a whole, Calvinism was losing ground as Anglican theology expanded. The moderate Puritan, Richard Holdsworth, who succeeded Sandcroft as Master on 25 April 1637 (fn. 44) gradually moved to the view that there was 'more true freedom among the Cavaliers than was expressed in the deliberations of the Westminster divines'. (fn. 45)

The most notable movement away from Puritan thought at this time was that initiated by the 'Cambridge Platonists' and it is among the chief glories of Emmanuel that members of the College were so prominent in the movement. (fn. 46) Apart from Henry More all the early leaders were Emmanuel men, the chief being Benjamin Whichcote, fellow 1633, Ralph Cudworth, fellow 1639, Nathaniel Culverwell, fellow 1642, Peter Sterry, fellow 1636, John Worthington, fellow 1642, and John Smith, matriculated 1636.

By now the ecclesiastical situation was further complicated by the Laudian attempt to enforce acceptance of the Book of Common Prayer. This was distasteful alike to the Congregationalists, now becoming a force to be reckoned with, and to the more old-fashioned Presbyterians who had flocked to Emmanuel in such numbers and there built up a strong tradition of somewhat un-Anglican worship. Earlier protests against this were now renewed and a memorandum to Archbishop Laud in 1636 attacked the services at Emmanuel as illiturgical and irreverent. (fn. 47) Laud's insistence on Anglican orthodoxy resulted, inter alia, in the famous religious emigrations to America, in the early stages of which Emmanuel played a conspicuous part. It has been shown that of 130 men from English universities who emigrated to New England before 1646 no less than 100 were Cantabrigians of whom 35 were from Emmanuel, the next largest contingent being 13 from Trinity. (fn. 48) Of the pioneers from Emmanuel the most notable were Simon Bradstreet, first governor of Massachusetts, Daniel Denison, major-general of the colonial forces, (fn. 49) Thomas Hooker an important primitive exponent of Congregationalism, and John Harvard, benefactor of the great university which bears his name, who entered Emmanuel as a pensioner in 1627 emigrated in 1637 and died in the following year.

By the time of these migrations the political storms of the time had seriously begun to affect University life. The decrease in University population visible before 1635 became very pronounced after that date, (fn. 50) but it is significant that the early popularity of Emmanuel made its decline much less marked, so that in the academic year 1641–2 its matriculations were the largest in the University. (fn. 51)

Under Holdsworth the problem of the poverty of the College in general and the mastership in particular seems to have caused the fresh 'interpretation' of Statute XIII; this was made on 28 July 1637 and laid down that the Master was not bound to give up any ecclesiastical preferment which he held before election, (fn. 52) whilst another order gave a generous interpretation of the 'violenta detentio' which the same statute accepted as legitimate cause of absence. (fn. 53) Holdsworth was Vice-Chancellor from 1640 to 1642 and rapidly came into ill-odour with Parliament through his support of the royal cause. (fn. 54) He was arrested in May 1643 (fn. 55) and ejected early the following year. (fn. 56) By this time Parliament had taken control of the University and they perhaps nominated Thomas Hill, a former fellow, as Master, but nothing is known as to his mastership here and in 1645 he became Master of Trinity. (fn. 57) His successor was Anthony Tuckney, but there is little sign of his activity in the College. So long as the Commonwealth lasted Emmanuel understandably enjoyed an unusual prominence, no less than eleven of its members becoming heads of Cambridge colleges. (fn. 58)

Though most of the fellows conformed to the Commonwealth, Emmanuel lost one of its most pious and popular members in William Sancroft, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, who was deprived in July 1651. (fn. 59) In the previous year Emmanuel along with Sidney Sussex College was admitted to the proctorial cycle, (fn. 60) a concession confirmed at the Restoration. (fn. 61) In these years the number of pensioners and sizars at Emmanuel notably increased. (fn. 62) Tuckney moved to St. John's in 1653 and was succeeded by William Dillingham, a man mild, conscientious, and learned, but unable to face the difficult situation. He retired in 1662 rather than accept the new ecclesiastical settlement. (fn. 63) Members of a College so closely bound up with Parliamentarianism inevitably suffered heavily at this time; of 1,285 ministers who were university men and became nonconformist no less than 155 were members of Emmanuel. (fn. 64)

The situation of the College at this time was more perilous than most. Chapel worship was chaotic and the fellows were divided on the religious issues. (fn. 65) Learning here, as elsewhere, had greatly decayed and the situation was aggravated by the poverty of the College, its uninviting fellowship tenures, (fn. 66) and the collapse of popular support for the Puritanism with which its early history had been so closely identified. At this serious juncture the eyes of authority turned inevitably towards William Sancroft whose outstanding piety and learning had now made him one of the most prominent ecclesiastics of the day. On 14 August 1662 they elected him Master, and he returned to the College unexpectedly and unwillingly to face the dismal situation. (fn. 67) But Sancroft was marked out for the highest preferment and just before becoming Dean of St. Paul's in May 1665 he resigned the mastership, although a royal mandate had previously dispensed him from the residence demanded by 'the unusual severity of your College statutes'. (fn. 68) His successor, Dr. John Breton, pushed on vigorously with the plan of rebuilding the chapel. (fn. 69) This, Sancroft had conceived. He was a leading contributor to the costs and induced various wealthy friends to subscribe, (fn. 70) and he also seems to have been responsible for the employment of Christopher Wren as architect. (fn. 71) Building of the chapel began in 1668 but it was not finished until 1677, its consecration taking place on Michaelmas Day in that year, a day long after observed as a College feast. (fn. 72) By this time the College had regained its old position as the fourth largest in a much diminished University. (fn. 73) John Balderston, elected Master in 1680, became Vice-Chancellor in 1687 and under him the University's struggle with James II was fought out; Burnet describes him as 'a man of much spirit' who promised on election that 'neither religion nor the rights of the body should suffer by his means'. (fn. 74) A last flicker of the religious problems was the ejection from Emmanuel of one of the most famous fellows of the College, William Law (sizar 1705, fellow 1711), as a Nonjuror. This is recorded in the College order book under 17 January 1616 (recte 1716). (fn. 75) Earlier scholars of note who belonged to the College were Jeremiah Horrocks (d. 1641), 'the pride and boast of British astronomy', John Wallis (d. 1703) mathematician, Joshua Barnes (d. 1712) Greek scholar and antiquarian.

But in the following generations Emmanuel suffered from the marked decline which affected all English university life. Its numbers were greatly reduced (in the middle of the century admissions averaged only ten a year) and the College was much hampered by poverty and rebuilding expenses. In March 1715 owing to various financial embarrassments and to College buildings being 'much decayed and out of repair' five fellowships were suspended, (fn. 76) and soon after it was found necessary to rebuild the founder's range. Nearly £2,400 was raised by subscription (fn. 77) but evidently a burdensome loan was necessary, and for this and other reasons the College was in debt until 1745. (fn. 78) Soon after the butteries and contiguous buildings were said to be 'ruinous', (fn. 79) but no effective action was taken, perhaps because available funds were spent on repairing and fitting up the hall, a process begun in 1760 and finished in 1764. (fn. 80) Soon after this the long western range (fn. 81) of the College running along the east side of St. Andrews Street was rebuilt, having been in a very ruinous condition. Burrough's plans were abandoned for fresh ones by Essex, the work being begun in 1770 and finished in 1775. (fn. 82) Despite considerable subscriptions the financial problem became urgent. Elections to fellowships were again suspended, (fn. 83) and the situation was only eased by a substantial legacy from Henry Hubbard in May 1778. (fn. 84) Within less than two centuries the greater part of the College had been entirely rebuilt and now presented a prospect that was 'elegant without being frivolous and various without being crowded'. (fn. 85)

By this time the complexion of College life had very greatly changed. As elsewhere the general level of scholarship much decayed and on various occasions elections to fellowships were left in abeyance because no suitable candidate was known, (fn. 86) whilst earlier in the century the interest shown in the feasts to be provided by various College officials (fn. 87) is perhaps significant. Probably since Sancroft's time the College had been Tory in its views, and as time went on it became one of the strongholds of the party. That it also became socially fashionable is equally clear. There are signs of this in the College orders of 10 July 1724 and 20 October 1730 which provided that fellow commoners were to present the College with a piece of plate 'not less than six pounds value' within six months of joining the College. (fn. 88) The very large amount of 18th-and early19th-century plate which the College now possesses is the result of these orders. William Richardson, Master 1736–75, and chaplain to George I and George II, was in close touch with Frederick Prince of Wales (d. 1751) and the fellows were wholeheartedly Tory. (fn. 89) When, in 1773–4, an unsuccessful attempt was made to introduce compulsory examinations, the College took a highly conservative line. 'At Emmanuel it was said that the public examinations proposed would be the ruin of the University. The explanation of which as I understand it is that such noblemen and fellow commoners as were not distinguished in the examination would conceive a disgust against the University and be its enemies for ever after, and that the partialities which would probably be exercised in the examinations would be of very great detriment.' (fn. 90) Forty years later a member of the College wrote of it 'it has one of the best livings; it is remarkable for its genteel society'. (fn. 91)

It is in such a setting that we must see one of the most colourful of the College's Masters, Richard Farmer 1775–97. (fn. 92) He early made a name by his essay on The Learning of Shakespeare (1776) and it was his knowledge in this field which lured Dr. Johnson to Cambridge. (fn. 93) Farmer was a member of several exclusive London literary clubs and a famous collector of books, (fn. 94) as well as of pictures. (fn. 95) But his interests were as much social as academic. Under him the College became a famous centre 'as Sunday was the usual day for visiting the University, persons of any station or literary acquirement would have considered their visit incomplete unless they shared in the hospitalities of Emmanuel Parlour after having dined with the Vice-Chancellor'. (fn. 96) The younger Pitt delighted in Farmer's company and attended the bi-centenary feast over which the latter presided. (fn. 97) But Farmer was equally at home at Sturbridge Fair and regularly took his visitors to the dramatic performances there—'in the mirth which the fairies of those days never failed to produce the hearty and very peculiar laugh of the Doctor [Farmer] could easily be distinguished'. He took his parochial duties most conscientiously, taking services regularly, and combining the drinking of punch with his parishioners of Swavesey in the local inn between morning and afternoon worship, with 'a deep-rooted dislike of Dissent'.

The mastership of his successor, Robert Towerson Cory, 1797–1835, was chiefly remarkable for the improvements in the College's finances, which Farmer had left in some disorder, (fn. 98) and for a fire which destroyed the interior of the Westmorland Building on 15 October 1811. (fn. 99) In 1807 stipends were increased as a result of 'the progressive improvement of the College' property, (fn. 100) and again in 1810, 'particularly in the case of the Pinchbeck enclosure'. (fn. 101) In April 1837 there was 'considerable surplus of income over expenditure', (fn. 102) and in the following years a very large sum was expended in the purchase of advowsons. The social tendencies of the College seem to have been little altered and few of its members in Cory's time were of any eminence. Thomas Young (fn. 103) the physicist and Egyptologist was given a monument in Westminster Abbey. Amongst others may be noted Wordsworth's schoolmaster, William Taylor, who earned a warm tribute from Dyer, (fn. 104) and Charles Manners Sutton, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1805–28.

The recent history of the College followed in most particulars the outlines of reorganization and reform general in English university life at this time. The need for revision of statutes was apparent and, after taking legal opinion on the point in 1838, (fn. 105) a committee was set up on 9 February 1843 'to effect a greater degree of conformity between the wording of the statutes and the actual practice'. (fn. 106) The proposed alterations were ready by April. (fn. 107) Further revisions followed in 1861, under the Act of 1856, 1882 under the Oxford and Cambridge Act of 1877, with amendments in 1893, 1898, 1908, 1925, 1939, and later. (fn. 108) At the same time a series of College orders revised the teaching arrangements and stiffened the College's educational demands. (fn. 109) In politics the College remained highly conservative, petitioning against Roman Catholic relief without 'measures of effectual security' in 1829, (fn. 110) against the projected Cambridge waterworks in 1851, (fn. 111) and the 'new station' in 1870. (fn. 112) Towards the end of the century some notable outside scholars were brought to the College, of whom F. J. A. Hort was one of the earliest (1872), whilst the establishment of the Dixie Professorship of Ecclesiastical History (1884) from College resources brought a line of distinguished scholars.

For some reason not easily explicable, the College seems to have been out of favour for some time. In the first half of the century numbers had increased here as elsewhere, but thereafter for a whole generation they ceased to advance rapidly, as was general at the time, even declining somewhat. They recovered only from the 1880's onwards when the increase was such that by 1910 the College was the fourth largest in the University, as it had so often been before. Whatever the cause of the decline it was not finance; the College minute book shows that in December 1861 the Master's salary was £1,280 a year, those of the fellows varying from £268 to £318; (fn. 113) at the end of the century the value of the College's London property had greatly increased. (fn. 114)

The early part of the century saw little building but in 1824–5 the range on the north side of the New Court was put up, (fn. 115) and in 1828 the kitchen range extended to meet it. (fn. 116) The Master's Lodge, built 1873–4, was the next addition. (fn. 117) In 1885–6 the central block of the Hostel was built on the site of old buildings at the east end of the Paddock (fn. 118) and between 1892 and 1894 wings were added to it and Emmanuel House built. (fn. 119)

Negotiations with the Corporation to close Emmanuel Street went on between 1902 and 1907, (fn. 120) but finally broke down. The North Court was built on the far side of the road from the design of Leonard Stokes and was opened in 1914. (fn. 121) Meanwhile in 1909–10 a set of lecture rooms had been set up on the south side of the Paddock also from Mr. Stokes's designs; in 1929–30 this block was enlarged and converted into a capacious library with reading room above. The old 17th-century bookcases have been incorporated in the new library, together with an interesting bust of Archbishop Sancroft. The College has 264 manuscripts, including some of outstanding interest amongst which are a fine East Anglian copy of St. Gregory's Moralia, the original letters of the Oxford martyrs, and Harpsfield's Life of Sir Thomas More, and also some hundred incunabula, (fn. 122) and an important collection of theological works of the 16th and 17th centuries which include a number of volumes of which no other copy is known.

Advowsons and Endowments.

The College possesses the following advowsons. (fn. 123) Stanground with Farcet (Hunts.) was given in 1588 by the founder, (fn. 124) Little Melton (Norf.) in 1584 by Mr. Francis Chamberlain, Thurcaston (Leics.) in 1585 by Sir Francis Walsingham. In January 1586 Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, gave the advowsons of Loughborough (Leics.), (fn. 125) North Cadbury and Aller (Som.), and Puddletown (Dors.) but the legality of the act was questioned, title to the first three only being obtained after some years; the fourth was lost. (fn. 126)

Brompton Regis and Winsford (Som.) were given by William Neal in 1588 and North Luffenham (Rut.) by William Romney in 1591. After this the flow ceased until 1621 when Robert Ryce gave the advowson of Preston (Suff.) and in 1656 John Wells gave Clopton with Thurning (Northants.); a little later John Breton (d. 1676) gave Wallington (Herts.). (fn. 127) In 1685 the advowsons of Fressingfield and Metfield with Withersdale (Suff.) were given by Archbishop Sancroft and in 1704 Henry Mildmay bequeathed nomination to the vicarage of Twyford and Owslebury (Hants). (fn. 128)

In the great prosperity of the 19th century no less than £36,850 from surplus Dixie funds was spent on the purchase of the following advowsons: Boddington (Northants.) in 1823, Brantham (Suff.) and East Bergholt (Suff.) in 1836, Little Bentley (Essex) in 1839, North Benfleet (Essex) in 1841, Lechlade (Glos.) in 1852, Winteringham (Lincs.) in 1854, Whitestone (Devon) in 1870, and Bletchingley (Surr.) in 1876. (fn. 129) In 1925 the advowson of Farnborough (Kent) was given by W. H. Dines.

The College's most valuable properties are in Cambridge, the City of London, Sutton Coldfield (Warws.), Great Gransden (Hunts.), and Ash (Kent); it owns the manor of the last two.


The College possesses upwards of 70 portraits. Among them are several contemporary likenesses of the founder and of members of his family, the most notable of which is a full-length canvas of his son, Sir Anthony Mildmay, in the style of Marcus Gheeraerts. There is also a portrait of the Tudor architect, Ralph Symons, of a somewhat later date; a fine altar-piece in the chapel of The Return of the Prodigal, by Giacomo Amigoni; three portraits by Mary Beale, two by Gainsborough, three by Romney, and one each by Allan Ramsay, Gilbert Stuart, and Henry Walton.


The College possesses two important examples of foreign plate; the founder's 'greate guilte boule' with cover, regarded by Cripps as 'the best of all' surviving college and corporation cups of the Renaissance period in this country, now believed to be of Antwerp workmanship of the years 1545–7, and an early-17th-century cup and cover bearing the mark of Schemnitz in Hungary, presented by the future bishop, H. W. Yeatman-Biggs. Amongst the English silver there is the Mildmay Fane steeple cup of the year 1618–19, with two altar candlesticks, richly chased, of the year 1763–4 and a pair of small 'Litany' sconces, for a reading-desk, of 1687–8; three fine caudle cups, or porringers, of 1660–1, 1677–8, and 1708–9, presented by Henry Fane, 3rd Earl of Westmorland, Sir William Temple, and the Hon. John Fane respectively; a notable series of tankards ranging in date from 1675 to 1713–14, and a monteith of 1705–6.


The College seal is oval and bears a lion rampant supporting a laurel wreath and having a label inscribed emmanuel coming from its mouth, surrounded by the legend: sacrae theologiae studiosis posuit gua.m.1584.

Masters of Emmanuel College (fn. 130)

Lawrence Chaderton: 25 May 1584.

John Preston: 2 Oct. 1622.

William Sandcroft: 5 (?) Aug. 1628. (fn. 131)

Richard Holdsworth: 25 Apr. 1637, ejected 1644.

Thomas Hill: 1644 (?). (fn. 132)

Anthony Tuckney: 11 Apr. 1645. (fn. 133)

William Dillingham: 1653. (fn. 134)

William Sancroft: 14 Aug. 1662. (fn. 135)

John Breton: 22 May 1665. (fn. 136)

Thomas Holbech: 1676. (fn. 137)

John Balderston: 1680. (fn. 138)

William Savage: 26 Sept. 1719. (fn. 139)

William Richardson: 10 Aug. 1736. (fn. 140)

Richard Farmer: 21 Mar. 1775. (fn. 141)

Robert Towerson Cory: 15 Sept. 1797.

George John Archdall (-Gratwicke): 30 Apr. 1835. (fn. 142)

Samuel George Phear: 2 Oct. 1871.

William Chawner: 14 Oct. 1895.

Peter Giles: 8 May 1911.

Thomas Shirley Hele: 28 Oct. 1935.

Edward Welbourne: 27 Nov. 1951.


  • 1. The writer wishes to express his thanks to the late Dr. T. S. Hele, Mr. H. S. Bennett, Professor G. R. Owst, and especially to Mr. R. Gardner who has afforded the greatest assistance in the utilization of the College archives.
  • 2. V.C.H. Cambs. ii. 275.
  • 3. Cooper, Annals, i. 392.
  • 4. For previous owners and deeds of purchase see, Emman. Coll. Deeds, Box 9, A. 1–7.
  • 5. Ibid. A. 11. The long gap between the suppression of the friary and the creation of the College goes far to explain why so few relics of the former have survived. Several manuscripts from the friary are now in the Vatican Libr.: Brit. Soc. for Franciscan Studies, v. 124–36. A fine statue of Our Lady, now in the R.C. Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, is said to have been discovered at Emman. about 1850, but this is doubtful—P. S. Wilkins, Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Camb. 1955, App. 1. The statue is probably 16th cent. and may be foreign.
  • 6. On the early buildings see Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 687, et seq. In 1950 the panelling in the College parlour and the room above was removed for repairs, but no clear signs of an east window were found.
  • 7. The screen of the antechapel was rediscovered in 1930: C.A.S. Comm. xxxiv. 84–85.
  • 8. See the Vice-Chancellor's letter to the founder in 'Bennett's Register' (a collection of 18th-cent. notes on College history, recently catalogued as COL. 9. 1.), ii. 67; cf. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 692.
  • 9. It goes down to 1745. The second covers 24 Nov. 1738 to 4 Mar. 1839, and the third 24 Apr. 1839 to 30 Oct. 1888.
  • 10. It is said that the queen, on meeting him soon after the opening of Emman., remarked 'Sir Walter, I hear you have erected a Puritan foundation', to which the founder discreetly replied: 'No, madam, far be it from me to countenance anything contrary to your established laws; but I have set an acorn which when it becomes an oak, God alone knows what will be the fruit thereof.' Fuller, Hist. 278.
  • 11. The original statutes, dated 1 Oct. 1585, are printed in Comm. Doc. iii. 483–526. They closely follow those of Christ's, the founder's own college. The Emman. statutes are remarkable for making no provision for fellowships in law and medicine: Mullinger, Univ. Camb. ii. 312–13, 361. The original is Emman. Coll. Deeds, Box 9 EE/1.
  • 12. Comm. Doc. iii. 524–6. A number of documents on the controversy over this statute are given in 'Bennett's Reg.' i. 200–9, 242–3, ii. 58, 105–6.
  • 13. Emman. Coll. Deeds, Box 9, A. 12.
  • 14. Comm. Doc. iii. 479–82.
  • 15. E. S. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. (1904), 209.
  • 16. Coll. Admn. Bk. (Emman. Coll. CHA. 1. 42) and Univ. Matric. Bk.
  • 17. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 5n. The first College orders of Dec. 1588 were signed by the Master and 12 fellows.
  • 18. William Dillingham, Vita Laurentii Chadertoni (1700); an abbreviated translation of this was published by E. S. Shuckburgh (Camb. 1884). He also wrote the article on Chaderton in D.N.B.
  • 19. Shuckburgh, Life of Chaderton, App. iii. On the strength of Puritanism in the College in the late 16th cent. and early 17th, see also above, pp. 186, 197.
  • 20. Mullinger, Univ. Camb. ii. 313, quoting Baker MS. vi. 85–88.
  • 21. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 35.
  • 22. But the pure house of Emmanuel Would not be like proud Jezebel Nor show herself before the King An hypocrite or painted thing; But that the ways might all prove fair, Conceiv'd a tedious mile of prayer. (Mullinger, Univ. Camb. ii. 517 from J. Nichols, The progresses of James the First (1828), iii. 67.)
  • 23. A. W. Pollard, Records of the English Bible (1911), 51– 53; Richardson and Ward had matriculated elsewhere.
  • 24. A portrait of the latter at Emman. shows him wearing the Synod of Dort medal, now in the possession of the College.
  • 25. Op. cit.
  • 26. His memorial in the chapel recorded that he was 103 when he died in 1640. (Dyer, Hist. Univ. and Coll. Camb. ii. 353).
  • 27. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 34–35.
  • 28. Diary and Correspondence of John Worthington (Chetham Soc. 1847), ed. J. Crossley, i. 8.
  • 29. John Ball, Life of John Preston, ed. E. W. Harcourt (1885), 80.
  • 30. T. Fuller, Church Worthies, ed. P. A. Nuttall, ii. 517. I. Morgan, Prince Charles' Puritan Chaplain (1957); see p. 204.
  • 31. Ball, Life of John Preston, 86–87; Heywood and Wright, Camb. Univ. Trans. ii. 312–13.
  • 32. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 59, from Coll. Order Bk., p. 27; Ball, op. cit. 91.
  • 33. Mullinger, Univ. Camb. ii. 315; cf. J. Ball, op. cit. 81–82; see also Emman. Coll. Deeds, Box 9, B. 12.
  • 34. Mullinger, Univ. Camb. 315–16; Coll. Deeds, Box 9, B. 5d.
  • 35. Ball, Life of John Preston, 162.
  • 36. Coll. Deeds, Box, 9 B. 7, cf. Bennett's Reg. i. 242–3.
  • 37. See the Coll. Order of 5 Aug. 1628, given by Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 74, from Order Bk., p. 29, wherein the fellows agreed that Stat. XIII permitted one already beneficed to retain his living 'for a convenient time' on election to the mastership.
  • 38. Univ. Matric. Reg.
  • 39. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 695–700. According to Fuller, Hist. 279, in 1636 the total population of Emman. was 310 which included the Master, 14 fellows, 50 scholars and 10 poor scholars. In the same year it was alleged that Emmanuel admitted many more than the College could accommodate, Cooper, Annals, iii. 283.
  • 40. B.M. Lansd. 721, ff. 89a–133a (A life of Pierson).
  • 41. Two Biographies of William Bedell (1902), ed. E. S. Shuckburgh. He was admitted to Emman. in 1584, became fellow in 1593, and was Bishop of Kilmore, 1629–42.
  • 42. Ibid. 323, 153, 216, 229.
  • 43. Admitted 1589, M.A. 1596, Bp. of Exeter 1627–41.
  • 44. Diary and Corres. of J. Worthington (Chetham Soc. 1847), ed. J. Crossley, i. 5.
  • 45. Emman. Coll. Mag. ii. 154.
  • 46. See F. J. Powicke, The Cambridge Platonists; J. Tulloch, Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy in England in 17th Cent.
  • 47. 'Their chapell is not consecrate. At surplice prayers they sing nothing but certain riming Psalms of their owne appointment instead of the hymnes (i.e. canticles) between the lessons. And lessons they read not after the order appointed in the Callendar but after another continued course of their owne. All service is there done and performed (psalmes and hymnes and all if they read any) by the minister alone. The students are not brought up, nor accustomed to answere any verse at all. Before preyers begin the boyes come in and sitt downe and put on and talke aloude of what they list. Their seates are placed round about and above the communion table. When they preach or commonplace they omit all the service after the first or second lesson at the furthest.' Cooper, Annals, iii. 283.
  • 48. S. E. Morison, The Founding of Harvard College (Harvard Univ. P. 1935), App. B. The chief period of emigration was 1630–9 after which a reverse movement brought back 40 of these emigrés between 1641 and 1659: ibid. 360; see also p. 197.
  • 49. An interesting letter on him and his descendants is printed in Emman. Coll. Mag. (1892), iv. 16–23.
  • 50. See Dr. Venn's graphs of University admissions in the Univ. Regy.
  • 51. They were 37 against 29 for Trinity and 27 for St. John's, Univ. Matric. Bk.; College admissions in the following years were: 1641, 43; 1642, 62; 1643, 37; 1644, 81; 1645, 67.
  • 52. Coll. Order Bk. 45.
  • 53. Ibid. 47. The following year the Order Bk. notes action against a very severe outbreak of the plague, p. 49, but after this no entry occurs until 29 Oct. 1651.
  • 54. Mullinger, Univ. Camb. iii. 223, 246, 248, 256–7, 261.
  • 55. Ibid. 246.
  • 56. He was released in 1645 and died in 1649: ibid. 257. He left a valuable library to which the College made reasonable but unsuccessful claim: see Ann Cox-Johnson in Trans. C.B.S. ii (1955), 120–5; see also p. 314.
  • 57. See p. 467.
  • 58. See the list in Cooper, Memorials ii. 359.
  • 59. George D'Oyley, Life of Sancroft (1821), i. 61.
  • 60. Cooper, Annals, iii. 434.
  • 61. Ibid. 495.
  • 62. E. S. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 101.
  • 63. A. G. Matthew, Calamy Revised, 164; he had accepted the Restoration: Cooper, Annals, iii. 480.
  • 64. Matthew, op. cit. lxi.
  • 65. George D'Oyley, Life of Sancroft, i. 123.
  • 66. The statute De Mora Sociorum had been revived under the Commonwealth: E. S. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 112; cf. D'Oyley, op. cit. i. 129–30.
  • 67. See his long and interesting comments in a letter of 17 Jan. 1663; D'Oyley, op. cit. i. 125–31. Sancroft was nominated by royal mandate as were 9 out of 12 fellows elected between 1660 and 1668: Bennett's Reg. ii. 55; see also p. 210.
  • 68. Coll. Order Bk. 70.
  • 69. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 703–9. The old chapel was to be converted into a library, partly necessitated by a bequest of books by Holdsworth. Sancroft objected to the 'unusual prospect and dress of the Chapel', it faced roughly north, and Evelyn described it as 'meanely built': Diary, 31 Aug. 1654. On the library see Emman. Coll. Mag. ix. 99 et seq.
  • 70. For a list of subscribers see Cooper, Memorials, ii. 363–4; documents concerning the building are given ibid., and in Emman. Coll. Mag. viii. 95–113.
  • 71. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 703.
  • 72. Cooper, Memorials, ii. 383–4.
  • 73. See the survey of 1672 in Cooper, Annals, iii. 553–4. It had a total population of 170 which included the Master, 14 fellows and 50 scholars.
  • 74. Cooper, Annals, iii. 633.
  • 75. p. 124.
  • 76. Coll. Order Bk. 121–2.
  • 77. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 712. The chief subscriber was Thomas Fane, 6th Earl of Westmorland, whose title was given to the reconstructed range and whose arms were set up over its central doorway in 1723. For a College appeal for funds see Coll. Deeds, Box 9, Gg. 7.
  • 78. Coll. Order Bk., 15 Apr. 1745, notes 'the College is now entirely out of debt'. Cf. ibid. 25 Oct. 1726 and 5 Feb. 1737.
  • 79. Burrough was invited to draw up plans to conform with those of the founder's range: Coll. Order Bk., 22 June 1752, 34b.
  • 80. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 714; cf. Emman. Coll. Mag. xxxv. 21 ff.
  • 81. For these buildings see plate facing p. 465.
  • 82. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 715.
  • 83. Coll. Order Bk., Mar. 1776, 79a.
  • 84. Hubbard was tutor 1736–67; various of his records concerning the College have survived; E. S. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 138–51.
  • 85. Dyer, Hist. of Univ. and Coll. of Camb. ii. 344. One result of the rebuilding was to replace the ancient main entrance by the present one.
  • 86. Coll. Order Bk., 12 Dec. 1745, 14 Oct. 1748, 27a, 22 Oct. 1799, 123b, 20 Jan. 1803, 132b, and 7 July 1804, 136b.
  • 87. Ibid. 9 Mar. 1699, 2 Oct. 1722, 16 Mar. 1723, 9 May 1747.
  • 88. Ibid. 159; this revived an old custom.
  • 89. Winstanley, Univ. Camb. in 18th Cent. 38, 41, 47–48, 233.
  • 90. Plumptre in B.M. Add. MS. 35628 f. 194, quoted in Winstanley, Unref. Camb. 325; for the attempt to create a reformed examination system, see p. 222.
  • 91. Dyer, op. cit. ii. 344. In 1788 it had 130 names on the College Boards being then the third largest college in Camb.: Bennett's Reg. i. 255.
  • 92. Much notice of Farmer is given in Gunning, Reminiscences; see also D.N.B. and the short sketch by E. S. Shuckburgh (Camb. 1884). Farmer was elected Master 21 Mar. 1775; Coll. Order Bk. ii. 77b.
  • 93. The visit is not recorded by Boswell but an account of it by Dr. John Sharp is given in the Gents. Mag. (1789), 173. Farmer also compiled materials for a history of Leics., later utilized in Nicholls, Hist. of Leics.
  • 94. At his death his library sold for over £2,000 and is said to have included 12 Caxtons and a first folio Shakespeare.
  • 95. G. R. Owst 'Bibliomania in 18th Cent. Camb.', C.A.S. Comm. (1949), xiii. 67–91.
  • 96. Gunning, Reminiscences, i. 181. A fine portrait of Farmer by Romney is now preserved in the parlour.
  • 97. Ibid. 173, 177, 179–80. He held canonries successively at Lichfield, Canterbury, and St. Paul's and is said twice to have refused a bishopric. He was Vice-Chancellor in 1775–6 and Principal Librarian from 1778 until his death in 1797.
  • 98. A College Order of 20 June 1799 awarded a piece of plate of 20 guineas value to the fellow who had sorted out the financial tangle with 'extraordinary trouble': Coll. Order Bk. 121.
  • 99. Gunning, Reminiscences, ii. 277–8.
  • 100. Coll. Order Bk. 143b.
  • 101. Ibid. 149a.
  • 102. Ibid. sub 21 Apr. 1837.
  • 103. A. Wood, Thomas Young (1954).
  • 104. Dyer, Hist. of Univ. and Coll. of Camb. ii. 392–3. He was elected fellow 9 June 1780 and is buried at Cartmel (Lancs.).
  • 105. Coll. Deeds, Box 9, Ff. 1.
  • 106. Coll. Order Bk. 21.
  • 107. Ibid. 25.
  • 108. For the texts see Coll. Deeds, Box 9, Ee. 2, 6–12. On the results of the changes of 1861 and 1882 see E. S. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 177–81.
  • 109. Coll. Order Bk. 11 Apr. 1818, 23 May 1827, 29 May 1830, 29 Oct. 1861, 28 May 1870.
  • 110. Ibid. 14 Feb. 1829.
  • 111. Ibid. 69.
  • 112. Ibid.
  • 113. Ibid. 149.
  • 114. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 181–3.
  • 115. Willis and Clark, Archit. Hist. ii. 716.
  • 116. Ibid. In 1792 and 1838 small areas were added to the north-east side of the College: ibid. 687 and 776.
  • 117. Coll. Minute Bk. 242.
  • 118. Ibid. 425.
  • 119. Emman. Coll. Mag. i. 1–2.
  • 120. Coll. Deeds, Box 9, E. 17, E. 18.
  • 121. M. R. James, MSS. of Emman. Coll. Camb.
  • 122. P. W. Wood, Early printed books to 1500 in the Libr. of Emman. Coll. Camb.
  • 123. The following particulars are based on College Deeds.
  • 124. They were separated in 1882. Queen Camel was also given but the gift revoked a few months later: Coll. Deeds, Box I, E. 4.
  • 125. Divided in 1848.
  • 126. So Shuckburgh Emman. Coll. 228.
  • 127. This living was sold in 1899.
  • 128. To this the donor's heir presents; from Henry Mildmay also came presentation for 3 terms to the living of Henstead (Suff.): Bennett's Reg. ii. 75–76.
  • 129. After 1880 the heir of Sir Wolstan Dixie had right of nomination to North Benfleet, Boddington, and Brantham.
  • 130. Authorities for dates of election already mentioned are omitted.
  • 131. Shuckburgh, Emman. Coll. 74, cf. 66.
  • 132. Shuckburgh, 94, 196, points out that Hill claimed to have been Master of Emman. but no official trace of this has been found. He became Master of Trinity in 1645.
  • 133. This was the date on which he was nominated Master by the Westminster Assembly, of which he was a prominent member: Minutes of Westm. Assembly, ed. A. F. Mitchell and J. Struthers, 79. He had taken up his duties by July: Diary and Corres. of J. Worthington (Chetham Soc.) i, 21–22; cf. C.J. v. 564.
  • 134. So Bennett's Reg. i. 166.
  • 135. G. D'Oyley, Life of Sancroft, 79. He resigned 26 Apr. 1665: Bennett's Reg. i. 76.
  • 136. The royal mandate to elect is dated 4 May 1665 (Coll. Order Bk.) but he was evidently elected and admitted on 22 May; see his letter to Sancroft in Bennett's Reg. i. 218. Previously an unsuccessful attempt had been made to elect one William Wickins whom the fellows found highly unsuitable: ibid. i. 230.
  • 137. Bennett's Reg. i. 166.
  • 138. Ibid.
  • 139. So D.N.B. He is said to have resigned in 1720 to take a living and then been re-elected: Bennett's Reg. i. 166.
  • 140. So D.N.B.
  • 141. From this time the Coll. Order Bk. records the dates of election of Masters.
  • 142. The name of Gratwicke was added in 1863.