Colleges: Towcester

A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1906.

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, 'Colleges: Towcester', in A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906) pp. 181-182. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

. "Colleges: Towcester", in A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906) 181-182. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

. "Colleges: Towcester", A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, (London, 1906). 181-182. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,


William Sponne, rector of Towcester and archdeacon of Norfolk, founded a small college or chantry of two priests, to say mass for his soul in the chapel at the east end of the south aisle of the parish church. Licence was granted for the endowment in 1448, the year after his death. (fn. 1)

In the year 1440 John Lord Clinton sold a messuage in Towcester, called the Tabard, with lands and appurtenances in the fields of Towcester, Wood Burcote, and Caldecote, to William Sponne, and Thomas Lane, clerk. Thomas Lane, by deed dated January, 1451, delivered this messuage and lands to William Hall and Nicholas Germayne, chaplains of Sponne's chantry, and to thirteen other honest men, parishioners of Towcester, according to the request of Master Sponne, the income derived from which should be spent in maintaining the obit of the founder, in keeping the buildings in good condition, in maintaining the pavements of the town, and in distributing alms to the poor. The sum of 40d. was also to be assigned yearly to the chaplains for the repair and renewal of the books and ornaments of the chapel. (fn. 2)

Bishop Chadworth confirmed the foundation of this college in 1457. In 1510 John Godrich, rector of Middleton Cheney, obtained papal dispensation to hold a chaplaincy with his rectory, a rule having been expressly laid down by the founder that the chaplains should hold no other benefice beyond the space of one month. (fn. 3)

The Valor of 1535 gives the clear annual value of 'Towceter Colleg' as £19 6s. 8d., of which sum £12 was assigned to 'Willin Reynolde p'sedens,' and £7 6s. 8d. to 'John Stevenson secundar.' (fn. 4)

The college, part of which still remains, stood to the north-west of the church.

The further history of the Sponne Grammar School is dealt with elsewhere.


  • 1. Pat. 27 Hen. VI. pt. 1, m. 27.
  • 2. Sponne, Evidences, cited by Baker, Hist. of Northants, ii. 334.
  • 3. Bridges, Hist. of Northants, i. 277.
  • 4. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii. 334.