Colleges: Wye

A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1926.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


'Colleges: Wye', A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2, (London, 1926), pp. 235-236. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

. "Colleges: Wye", in A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2, (London, 1926) 235-236. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

. "Colleges: Wye", A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2, (London, 1926). 235-236. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

In this section


Henry VI on 27 February, 1432, granted licence for John Kemp, archbishop of York, to found the college of Sts. Gregory and Martin in the parish of Wye, in which he had been born; and for the master or provost and chaplains of the college to acquire in mortmain lands, rents, and churches to the value of 100 marks yearly, and also to acquire the advowson of the vicarage of Wye from the abbot of Battle, and to appropriate the vicarage. (fn. 1) The design was not carried out at once, and on 28 March, 1439, in consideration of a deduction of £200 from a debt owing to the archbishop, the king granted to him the advowson and rectory of Newington by Hythe with the grange of Brenzett and lands in Newington and Broomhill, lately belonging to the abbess of Guines in Artois, with licence for him to grant the same to the master and chaplains of the college, when founded, and for them to appropriate the church. (fn. 2)

The archbishop founded the college accordingly by the cemetery of the parish church, and appointed Richard Ewan the first provost on 14 January, 1448. (fn. 3) The vicarage of Wye was appropriated to the college by the archbishop of Canterbury on 9 November, 1449; (fn. 4) and the master and chaplains had licence in 1450 (fn. 5) to acquire and appropriate the church of Boughton Aluph, and in 1451 (fn. 6) to acquire lands and rents in Canterbury, Wye, Boughton Aluph, Crundale, Godmersham, Bethersden, and Postling. Edward IV in 1465 granted to them the churches of Newington, Brenzett, and Broomhill, formerly of the abbess of Guines. (fn. 7)

The prior of Christchurch made a visitation (fn. 8) of the college during the vacancy of the archbishopric in 1454; when everything was found in good order except for a hole in the churchyard wall and a few other trifling matters. The statutes could not be produced, as. the copy belonging to the college was still in London, but they were explained to the visitor. The foundation consisted of a provost, two fellows, a minister or parochial chaplain, seven choristers, and two clerks. At each vacancy of the provostship the fellows submitted several names to the abbot of Battle, who selected one; and no one was eligible unless a doctor or scholar of theology and a member of Merton College, Oxford.

Archbishop Warham made a visitation (fn. 9) of the college on 25 September, 1511, when John Goodhew was master and Thomas Rogers fellow. Thomas Penycoke, curate, William Gowlaw (a Scotchman), and Thomas Martin also belonged to the house, as well as four clerks and four choristers. The master showed his letters of institution to the parish church of Staplehurst, but Had no papal dispensation for two incompatible benefices. He frequented in a suspicious way the house of John Stephens of Herne Hill in the deanery of Ospringe, and it was noted that there were other charges against him.

The oath of acknowledgement of the royal supremacy was taken in December, 1534, by Richard Waltare, provost, and three others. (fn. 10) In the Valor of the next year the gross income of the college was given as £125 15s. 4½d., and the net income £93 2s. 0½d.; the deductions including £3 6s. 8d. in payments to poor people, and £3 3s. 4d. in obits for the founder and other benefactors. (fn. 11)

The college was surrendered on 19 January, 1545, and an inventory of its goods was taken on the same day, these being valued at £7 1s. 10d., besides a silver salt and its cover, weighing 18 oz. and valued at £3; ten silver spoons weighing 8¼ oz. and valued at 27s. 6d., and two old masers valued at 6s. 8d. The debts owing to the college amounted to £21 6s. 11¼d., and it owed £51 6s. 2½d. to the king for firstfruits and tenths. Pensions of £26 13s. 4d. to Edward Bowden, master, £6 each to William Dodding and Thomas Sotheby, fellows, and £10 to Richard Clyfton, master of the grammar school, were given. (fn. 12)

The site and most of the possessions of the college, including the manors of Perycourte and Surrenden, and the rectory and advowson of the vicarage of Broomhill, were sold on 13 March, 1545, for £200 to Walter Bucler, the queen's secretary. (fn. 13)

Masters or Provosts of Wye

Richard Ewan, appointed 1448 (fn. 14)
Thomas Gauge, occurs 1450, (fn. 15) resigned 1462 (fn. 16)
Nicholas Wright, appointed 1462, (fn. 16) occurs 1470 (fn. 17)
John Goodhew, occurs 1511 (fn. 14)
Richard Waltare or Walker, occurs 1525, (fn. 18) 1534, (fn. 14) 1535 (fn. 19)
Edward Bowden, surrendered 1545, (fn. 20) the last master.

The seal (fn. 21) of the college is a pointed oval measuring 2⅜ in. by 1½ in. In two carved niches, with heavy double canopies and tabernacle work at the sides, on the left St. Gregory with triple tiara, seated, lifting up the right hand in benediction, and holding in the left a cross or crosier; on the right. St. Martin, seated, lifting up the right hand in benediction and holding in the left a pastoral staff. In base, under a round-headed arch, between masonry, the master or provost, three-quarter length, turned slightly to the left, in prayer. Legend:—



  • 1. Pat. 10 Henry VI, pt. I, m. 6; pt. 2, m. 9; Dugdale, Man. viii, 1340.
  • 2. Pat. 17 Hen. VI, pt. 1, m. 12; Dugdale, Mon. ut supra.
  • 3. Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i, 3 80. A copy of the statutes is preserved among the archives of Merton College, Oxford.
  • 4. Lit. Cant. (Rolls Ser,), iii, 198.
  • 5. Pat. 28 Hen. VI, pt. 1, m. 5; Rymer, Foedera.
  • 6. Pat. 29 Hen. VI, pt. 2, m. 4; Dugdale, Mon. viii, 1432.
  • 7. Pat. 5 Edw. IV, pt. 1, m. 8.
  • 8. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. ix, App. pt. i, 105.
  • 9. Cant. Archiepis. Reg. Warham, fol. 40.
  • 10. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vii, 1594 (9).
  • 11. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 38.
  • 12. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xx (1), 68.
  • 13. Ibid. 465 (37).
  • 14. See above.
  • 15. Pat. 28 Hen. VI, pt. I, m. 5.
  • 16. Cant. Archiepis. Reg. Bourchier, fol. 84b.
  • 17. Harl. Chart. 45. A. 54.
  • 18. a Ibid. 86. H. 29.
  • 19. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 38.
  • 20. L. and P. Hen. Vlll, xx (1), 68.
  • 21. B.M. Seals, lxvi, 22.