Houses of Benedictine monks: Canterbury College, Oxford

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.

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, 'Houses of Benedictine monks: Canterbury College, Oxford', in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907) pp. 68. British History Online [accessed 27 May 2024].

. "Houses of Benedictine monks: Canterbury College, Oxford", in A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907) 68. British History Online, accessed May 27, 2024,

. "Houses of Benedictine monks: Canterbury College, Oxford", A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 2, (London, 1907). 68. British History Online. Web. 27 May 2024,

In this section


As early as 1331 a hall near the church of St. Peter-in-the-East was bought by the priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, and four monks were sent to study at Oxford. (fn. 1) But in 1362 Simon Islip, archbishop of Canterbury, founded in the parish of St. Edward a college for twelve students, of whom four were to be monks and the rest secular clerks, and endowed it with the church of Pagham, Sussex; it also had at first rents from eight houses in Oxford, and something from the manors of Woodford, Northants, (fn. 2) and Worminghall, Bucks. (fn. 3) The first warden, a monk, was appointed in 1362, (fn. 4) but the charter of endowment is dated 1363, (fn. 5) and the licence to acquire land for building was not given until 1364. (fn. 6) In 1365 the founder, at a time when it was said he was in weak health, ousted the monks and appointed a secular, John Wiclif, to be warden; (fn. 7) but the next primate reinstated the monks, and after a struggle all the seculars were expelled by decision of the pope in 1370. (fn. 8) More land was bought in 1373, 1380, and 1392, (fn. 9) and in 1383 the number of monks was increased by five, who were to receive their maintenance from Canterbury, at the rate of 10d. a week. (fn. 10) Monks from other Benedictine houses were allowed to rent rooms, and we hear of inmates from Rochester, Coventry, Battle Abbey, Peterborough, and Evesham (or Eynsham). (fn. 11) To some extent they were all subject to the 'prior studentium,' the head of Gloucester College, and in 1426 he made complaint that the monks of Canterbury College did not observe in eating meat the same rules as the other Benedictine monks. (fn. 12) The endowments, which originally were about £86 a year, gradually disappeared. (fn. 13)

The heads of the college, generally called wardens, but occasionally priors, (fn. 14) were chosen from the monks of Canterbury by the prior of Christ Church, and admitted by the archbishop. (fn. 15) Shortly after the dissolution of the monasteries, the buildings, including a hall and chapel, were acquired by Christ Church. (fn. 16)

Priors of Canterbury College (fn. 17)

Henry Wodhull, appointed 1362

John Wyclyve, appointed 1365

Richard de Hatfield, occurs 1367 (fn. 18)

John Radington, appointed 1367

Henry Wodhull, reappointed 1367

John Bydington, appointed 1370

William Richmond, appointed 1371

William Dovorre, appointed 1380

John Aleyn, c. 1382

William Chert, occurs 1396

William Hadley, occurs 1400

Thomas Tokynham, occurs 1401

Thomas Wyking, appointed 1401

Richard Godmersham, appointed 1403, occurs 1410

John Langdon, occurs 1411 (fn. 19)

John Waltham, occurs 1440

Robert Lynton, occurs 1444

John Wodnesburgh, occurs 1447

William Thorden, occurs 1449

Richard Gravene, recalled from Oxford in 1454

William Hadlegh, occurs 1459

Reginald Goldston, occurs 1466

Thomas Goldston, occurs 1473 (fn. 20)

William Chichele, appointed 1473 (fn. 21)

Thomas Umfrey, occurs 1475

Robert Estrie, occurs 1494

Thomas Chandler, occurs 1495

Robert Holyngborne, occurs 1501-6

William Gyllyngham, occurs 1508-9

Edward Bocking, occurs 1512 and 1518 (fn. 22)

Richard Thorney or Thornden, occurs 1529-34

William Sandwych, occurs 1536


  • 1. Lit. Cant. (Rolls Ser.), i, 392.
  • 2. Lit. Cant. ii, 447; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. v, 450; Wood, City of Oxford (ed. Clark), ii, 276.
  • 3. Lipscombe, Hist. of Bucks. i, 574.
  • 4. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. ix, 89.
  • 5. Wood, City of Oxford (ed. Clark), ii, 276.
  • 6. Ibid. 277.
  • 7. Not to be identified with the reformer, according to Mr. Rashdall, Universities of Europe, ii, 498. The best account of the struggle is in Maxwell Lyte's Hist. of the University, 177–80.
  • 8. Lit. Cant. ii, p. xxviii. But the case was still proceeding in 1371. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. viii, 342.
  • 9. Wood, op. cit. ii, 277, and Pat. R.
  • 10. Wood, op. cit. ii, 285.
  • 11. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. v, 451.
  • 12. Reyner, Apostolatus, App. 188.
  • 13. Wood, op. cit. ii, 289.
  • 14. Rec. of the City of Oxford, 178 n.
  • 15. Wood, op. cit. ii, 285.
  • 16. Ibid. ii, 289.
  • 17. Ibid. 287–9.
  • 18. According to Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. ix, 89.
  • 19. Ibid. 112. Given by Wood, on the authority of Twyne, as occurring 1478.
  • 20. Lit. Cant. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 262.
  • 21. Ibid. 272.
  • 22. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. ix, 120.