A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3, the University of Oxford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954.
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Oriel College (fn. 1) had more than one founder. The foundation of the college was first projected by Adam de Brome, a good example of the successful and enlightened medieval civil servant, clerk of the Chancery, under King Edward II; (fn. 2) among other ecclesiastical preferments he held the Rectory of St. Mary's, Oxford; in 1324 he obtained royal licence and confirmation for a small body of scholars, the 'House of Blessed Mary', to be endowed, and housed in Tackley's Inn (no. 106–7 High Street). (fn. 3) Very soon, however, perhaps before this body came into being, Adam changed his plans and persuaded the king to refound the college. The foundation deed and foundation statutes are dated 21 Jan. 1326. Though the initiative had been with Adam, Edward II has a real right to be considered at least cofounder, for he was able to add to the properties already collected by Adam the all-important gift of St. Mary's Church. (fn. 4) Then, a few months later, political events made it necessary to find a new patron for the college in Henry Burghersh, Bishop of Lincoln, in whose diocese Oxford lay, and a second set of statutes were made in May 1326, superseding the previous ones. (fn. 5) It was perhaps about this time that Thomas de Cobham, Bishop of Worcester, wrote to Burghersh, urging him to support and 'consummate' the 'holy work' of appropriating St. Mary's to 'doctors of theology and other scholars', now happily begun by' … clerk of the King', with the king's consent; this seems a clear reference to the foundation of Oriel. (fn. 6)
The first statutes were based, almost verbatim, upon the statutes of Merton (1274), with the Lord Chancellor (as representing the king) as Visitor; the second statutes differed in several respects, notably in substituting the Bishop of Lincoln as Visitor. It was these second statutes that were regarded as in force down to 1726, when as a result of a lawsuit it was ruled that the first statutes were still in force; hence the Crown is now Visitor. Additional statutes, and Injunctions by the Bishops of Lincoln, were made in 1329, c. 1326–40, 1364, 1426, 1441, 1476, 1483, 1504, 1507, 1531, 1545, 1549 (commissioners of Edw. VI), 1611, 1612, 1642, 1674, 1722. (fn. 7)
The official name of the college was, and is, the House of Blessed Mary the Virgin in Oxford; but already by about 1367 it was being nicknamed 'Oriel' College, after the large tenement, Le Oriel, which had stood at the south-west corner of the college site; and it was also sometimes known as the King's Hall or King's College, on account of its royal foundation. Down to the 16th century Oriel, like the other colleges, consisted solely of a body of graduate fellows; it was founded for a provost and ten fellows (called 'scholars'); to these were added four fellowships, for the counties of Somerset, Dorset, Wilts., and Devon, by Master John Frank, Master of the Rolls, c. 1441; one by John Carpenter, Bishop of Worcester, c. 1483; one by William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln, c. 1508; and two by Richard Dudley, a former fellow, in 1529; thus the total of fellows was raised to eighteen. (fn. 8) Besides the provost, there was a dean, who was in charge of discipline, and was if necessary vice-gerent, and two treasurers; these offices passed fairly rapidly in rotation among the fellows. At least three times a year, before Christmas, Easter, and 20 July, college meetings or 'chapters' were to be held, when a Mass for founders and benefactors was to be followed by admission of new fellows, and a general inquiry into the state of the house and the progress of the fellows. The proceedings of these meetings, from c. 1504 onwards, are recorded in the Dean's Register. (fn. 9) The ten original fellows were to study Theology, having already been regents, except that three might be allowed to study Civil and Canon Law; the additional fellows might study Arts. If these regulations had been followed strictly, no one could have been elected a fellow (prior to 1441) unless he had the degree of M.A., but the list of provosts and fellows shows that long before 1441 fellows were elected, as also at Merton, if they had the degree of B.A. only.
At a visitation in 1520 one of the fellows was accused of practising indiciaria astronomica, contrary to the statutes, and at the same time the question was raised whether the study of medicine might come under the heading of philosophy; and a non-resident fellow was told to reside or resign. (fn. 10)
In 1545 a fellow was allowed to study medicine, (fn. 11) and in 1612 one of the three law fellowships was allocated to medicine. (fn. 12) From the beginning, weekly disputations were ordered, in philosophy and theology. (fn. 13) The Dean's Register gives the interesting conditions imposed on Fellows when given leave to incept; these include lecturing and disputing in the college or its annexe, Martin Hall. (fn. 14) One can trace in these graces the growing control of teaching by the college, in place of the University. There survives a statement of 'laudable customs anciently used', made c. 1500; they deal with matters of costume, attendance at services and disputations; and, above all, a very sharp distinction was made between the bachelor fellows and the master fellows, and to a less extent between the junior masters (philosophers) and senior masters (theologians). They were not supposed to fraternize; it was a breach of custom for a master to invite bachelors to his room. (fn. 15)
The college servants were the manciple, cook, subcook, barber (who also washed the fellows' heads), a washerwoman, and the provost's servant. (fn. 16) There was apparently no porter; on one occasion the provost had to rise at midnight to let a fellow into college. (fn. 17) There was a bible-clerk (bibliotista,) who read the Bible to the fellows during meals. (fn. 18)
Towards the close of the medieval period, along with the increase in the number of fellows, two groups of exhibitioners (fn. 19) were attached to the college, though housed in St. Mary Hall: (i) the St. Antony's exhibitioners, founded by Bishop Carpenter; he gave (in 1451) certain lands to the college, which handed them over to the Hospital of St. Antony in London, in return for a fixed annuity. (fn. 20) Apparently this annuity was originally intended to be 25 marks a year, supporting nine exhibitioners, who were to live in Bedel Hall (acquired by Bishop Carpenter and absorbed in St. Mary Hall); but the scheme seems to have been delayed and diminished. (fn. 21) The exhibitions do not appear in the accounts until 1504–5; from that year onwards the college received an annuity of £10 8s. and expended about £8 on six exhibitioners, through the manciple of St. Mary Hall; (fn. 22) and in 1506 the best rooms in Bedel Hall (i.e. the SW. corner of St. Mary Hall) were reserved for them. (fn. 23) (ii) The six Dudley exhibitioners, founded together with two fellowships by Richard Dudley (c. 1525); although the endowment was said to be withheld by litigation as late as 1546, (fn. 24) the first exhibitioners were elected in 1529; (fn. 25) they were lodged in a special building in St. Mary Hall, for which the principal received rent. (fn. 26) The right to nominate two of them seems to have belonged to Richard Dudley of Yanwith and his descendants. (fn. 27)
The Valor Ecclesiasticus (1535) mentions three scholars, not fellows, receiving commons at the second table with the servants, who do not seem to be otherwise known; and there are also mentioned about this time a 'lector and censor of daily disputants' and an organist. (fn. 28) In 1545 the Principal of St. Mary Hall was ordered to provide 'lectors' to teach the scholars of the hall, i.e. the exhibitioners. (fn. 29)
As the small number of fellows and servants would not fill the college buildings, it was the custom here, as elsewhere in the Middle Ages, to take in a few lodgers, called commorantes in the 15th century, (fn. 30) and commensales, communarii, or batellarii in the 16th century. (fn. 31) They paid room rent and ate at the common table—one unruly fellow was accused of frightening away the lodgers, to the great loss of the college; (fn. 32) as their commons do not appear in the Treasurers' Accounts, they probably had separate accounts with the manciple. They were allowed the use of the garden, library, and chapel, and were admitted to the college disputations; the admission of each individual was a special concession made by a college meeting, and an oath of secrecy was demanded. (fn. 33) Their numbers were small; the accounts only mention two or three at a time, or at most seven. (fn. 34) Down to the late 16th century they were apparently all graduates, masters or doctors, in other words, of the same class as the fellows themselves; indeed some of them were ex-fellows, who went on living in college after obtaining benefices. (fn. 35) Thomas Arundel, later Archbishop, is supposed to have been one of the lodgers; (fn. 36) another was the 'abbot' (sic) of Plympton. (fn. 37) A still more distinguished lodger, and benefactor, was Thomas Gascoigne, the theologian; he was ineligible for a fellowship owing to his private fortune, but rented a room in the college from c. 1427 till 1449, when he was granted his room (an upper room at the end of the hall) henceforward rent free. (fn. 38)
The early endowments of the college consisted of (i) house property in Oxford, beginning with Tackley's Inn and Perilous Hall, (fn. 39) and (ii) the appropriated churches of Aberford, Yorks. (1325), St. Mary's, Oxford, with Littlemore (1326), and Coleby, Lincs., (1346), and the appropriated Hospital of St. Bartholomew or Bartlemas, near Oxford (1328, given by the king). (fn. 40) Extensive property in land did not come till later, with the Manor of Wadley, Berks., to support the four Frank fellows (1440), (fn. 41) to which was added Littleworth, Berks. (c. 1478), (fn. 42) Dean and Chalford, Oxon., for the Carpenter fellow, (fn. 43) Shenington, Oxon., for the Smyth fellow (c. 1502), (fn. 44) and Swainswick, near Bath, for the two Dudley fellows (c. 1525). (fn. 45)
Of these properties the Church of St. Mary's was most important constitutionally, if not economically. It was not merely that the college was the rector and appropriator, drew the tithes and offerings, and occupied the rectory house (the nucleus of St. Mary Hall, and the earliest property on the college island site); the college and St. Mary's Church were, so to speak, fused together into a single institution, a kind of collegiate church; the brass (in the chancel) to Provost Hawkesworth (1349) describes him as prepositus huius ecclesie, and the provost, on election, was inducted into his stall in the choir of St. Mary's. (fn. 46) The fellows were bound by statute to attend Mass and the canonical hours in the choir of St. Mary's, in surplices, on Sundays and feasts, and this was insisted on, especially for the bachelor fellows, as late as the 16th century, long after the college had built a chapel of its own; not till 1642 were the fellows dispensed from attendance at St. Mary's. (fn. 47) The college also had to maintain several chantries in St. Mary's: four chaplains, in the original statutes, reduced to two in the second statutes, to say Mass for the founders, in the chapel of St. Anne; (fn. 48) Bishop Carpenter's chantry, (fn. 49) Wylcot's chantry (c. 1483–9), (fn. 50) and Bishop Smyth's chantry (1507), in the Lady chapel; (fn. 51) these five chantries were held by fellows, who received payment; the chantry payments to fellows continued after the Reformation had abolished the Masses. (fn. 52) There were two other, older chantries, appropriated to the college: the Leigh chantry, transferred from St. Michael at Southgate (c. 1350), and appropriated in 1357, which seems to have disappeared; (fn. 53) and St. Thomas's chantry (appropriated in 1392), apparently moved to St. Nicholas chapel, perhaps after the choir was rebuilt; its priest, who was not a fellow, said the Morrow Mass. (fn. 54) The vicar of St. Mary's was paid by the college £6 13s. 4d., later raised to £8 a year. (fn. 55) Very few, if any, of the vicars were fellows of Oriel until 1583, after which the vicarage was regularly held by fellows. (fn. 56)
The college itself exploited the revenues of St. Mary's, about which the Treasurers' Accounts contain much information; first there were the great tithes of Littlemore, then there were personal tithes from the parishioners (sometimes named, including manciples, bookbinders, stationers); oblations, burials, legacies, forgotten tithes, mortuaries (such as a gown of the barber and porter of All Souls, sold to the provost for 20d.); money collected from the 'pyxes'—in the church, before the high altar, the image of the B.V.M. in the Lady chapel, the Rood, the images of St. Gacian and St. Citha, and at Bartlemas; and profits from the dovecote over the choir. The accounts of 1410–12 deal with new stalls. The other appropriated churches, Coleby and Aberford, were farmed.
Together with the appropriated churches, house property in Oxford had from the beginning formed an important part of the college's endowment, but it proved rather disappointing as a source of revenue. Some of the tenements were used to form the site of the college; and the profits from those that were let were seriously diminished by vacancies and the cost of repairs. Thus while the rental, on paper, stood at about £23 in 1363 and over £40 in the 15th century, the net receipts from the rent collectors sometimes sank to about £4 or £5. This was perhaps part of a general decay of house property in Oxford. As a result, the college policy seems to have changed; the benefactions acquired in the 15th and 16th centuries took the form of land, the Manors of Wadley, Littleworth, &c., so that from being mainly an owner of house property, by the 16th century the college came to be mainly an owner of agricultural property, as it remained until the years following the War of 1914–18, when the process was reversed. The manors were farmed out from the beginning.
The earliest Treasurers' Accounts (1409–15) record in detail, week by week, payment of (i) commons to the fellows (fixed by statute at 1s. 3d. a head per week); the number of fellows in residence each week is given; this generally sinks in August and September to about 4, 5, or 6, or even to none at all (in Sept. 1413); the maximum in some years is 8 or 9, but sometimes rises even to 12 or 13 (Feb., May 1415), which suggests that the college was at least temporarily anticipating the benefaction of Frank, by adding to the original 10 fellows; (ii) 'Batells' and 'Journels', paid for the food of the servants and workmen employed (tilers, carpenters, masons, &c.), and of the guests (e.g. at New Year, 1410, 8 persons at the high table and 3 persons at the second, or c. 15 Aug. 1411, 17 persons at high table and 8 at the second); (iii) 'Excrescences', consisting of varying weekly payments, together with 'pittances' and wine on certain feasts. These details are not given in the later accounts (from 1451), which only give lump sums paid to the manciple. All the accounts give much miscellaneous information about repairs within and without the college, its houses and lands, travelling expenses, lawsuits, attendance at funerals at other colleges, gifts and entertainments (under the heading Expense circa amicos or In potacionibus); a breakfast is given in the provost's chamber to the bailiffs of Oxford and their wives; the farmer of Aberford, coming perhaps to pay his farm, receives 6s. 8d., wine, and four pairs of gloves for himself, his wife, son, and servant.
The following is a summary of the college's budget for the year 1451–2:
|Balance in hand||35||8||6|
|Tithes, offerings (St. Mary's and Bartlemas)||17||4||4|
|Mortuaries and legacies (St. Mary's)||3||3||2|
|Churches of Coleby and Aberford||17||13||4|
|City Bailiffs (for Bartlemas) (fn. 57)||32||0||11|
|Land at Stowford, Littlemore, Waterperry, and Cowley||6||0||0|
|Manor of Wadley||44||8||0|
|Salaries of Provost, Dean, and Treasurers.||15||1||0½|
|Vicar of St. Mary's and chantry priests||12||6||8|
|Expenses of St. Mary's (wax, altar breads, &c.)||2||14||0|
|Manciple (in 10 instalments: for commons)||48||1||2|
|Priest and brethren at Bartlemas||19||9||0|
|Repairs in College||2||0||6|
|'Minute expenses' outside College (travelling, legal)||12||17||4|
|Rents and pensions paid (fn. 58)||30||13||1|
|Paid to Collector of Rents||0||6||8|
|Repairs on estates||4||4||3|
|In potacionibus (entertainment)||0||1||11¼|
|Balance in hand||33||14||4¼|
Oriel took a prominent part in the resistance to Archbishop Arundel's attempted visitation of the University (c. 1409–11); two Oriel men, John Roote, the dean, and John Byrche, then proctor, were ringleaders, and the archbishop was shut out of St. Mary's. The disturbances produced a large crop of documents, disciplinary inquiries, &c., very valuable for the college's history. (fn. 59) The extent of Wycliffite sympathies at Oriel, as elsewhere, has been much exaggerated; two fellows, Dissey and Hunteman, were suspected of favouring Wycliffism in 1382, but another fellow, Landreyn, joined in the condemnation of 1381, and Oriel supplied two out of the twelve theologians who examined and condemned Wyclif's works in 1411. (fn. 60) In any case, the issue against Arundel was not doctrinal, but constitutional, the upholding of the papal privilege of exemption.
There followed in the 15th and early 16th century a period of growing prosperity and distinction. Three provosts were promoted to bishoprics, Carpenter (to Worcester), Lyhert (to Norwich), and Hals (to Lichfield); two fellows, Richard Praty and Reginald Pecock, became Bishops of Chichester, and Thomas Gascoigne was a lodger. (fn. 61) Between c. 1446 and c. 1529 the fellowships increased from 10 to 18, and with them came large acquisitions of land (as described above). It speaks well for the college's prestige that it attracted 'nongremial' benefactors like Gascoigne and John Frank.
The 16th century brought the important religious and social changes involved in (1) the Reformation and (2) the influx of undergraduates.
(1) During the Reformation struggles the college seems to have been predominantly conservative in its sympathies; three fellows are thought to have left the college, as Protestants, during Mary's reign; (fn. 62) on the Catholic side, three Oriel men suffered death, (fn. 63) and half a dozen fellows were deprived, resigned, or went into exile under Elizabeth, (fn. 64) including William Allen, later Cardinal and founder of Douay, through whom Oriel made an important contribution to the CounterReformation. In 1550, when the provostship fell vacant, the government tried unsuccessfully to impose an outsider; the college got in first by speedily electing John Smyth. In 1565 an outsider (the only one in the history of the college), namely Roger Marbeck, was elected, perhaps with government support or pressure, but resigned next year. The long reign of Provost Blencowe (1574–1618) really marks the transition from the old to the new order.
(2) The influx of undergraduates came in the reign of Elizabeth, especially after the matriculation statutes of 1565 and 1581; in time it gradually but fundamentally transformed the college from a small, exclusive body of graduate fellows (like All Souls) into a large body, mainly a place of education for undergraduates. The new-comers differed from the old types commorantes or commensales; they were undergraduates, less clerical, and more numerous; and the college became responsible for their education and discipline. They were divided into three classes: (i) the Commensales (or fellow commoners), sons of noblemen, knights, and esquires; they were admitted to the fellows' table, and paid higher fees, which were allocated at various times to the purchase of plate, to the library, and to the new buildings; (ii) the 'Commoners', sons of the ordinary gentry and clergy, forming the bulk of the undergraduates; (iii) the 'Servitors' or 'Batellers', including the bible clerks and exhibitioners. (fn. 65)
For a long time the numbers were small, judged by modern standards; in 1552, the college contained 7 M.A.s, 8 B.A.s, 10 undergraduates; (fn. 66) in 1572, 16 M.A.s, 4 B.A.s, 19 undergraduates; (fn. 67) in 1667, the Provost and 9 fellows, 5 fellow commoners, 8 graduate commoners, 10 undergraduate commoners, 9 servitors, and a bible clerk. (fn. 68) A yearly average of about 14–16 commoners and commensales were admitted in the late 16th and 17th centuries; the number drops a little at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century, and then rises, but there is little marked rise until the middle of the 19th century.
The life of the fellows was probably very little affected by the introduction of undergraduates; down to the 19th century only a small minority were employed as tutors. The history of college tuition is obscure. (fn. 69) There were tutors in the medieval period, e.g. in the halls. (fn. 70) The Oriel accounts of 1464–5 mention John Torner scolaris Magistri Spryngbet, no doubt either a pupil or servitor to Spryngbet (who was a fellow, and Principal of Bekes Inn). (fn. 71) By 1518, certainly, fellows have scholars, quibus legunt, (fn. 72) and in 1594 each fellow is allowed one poor scholar or servitor sub nomine Batler, who may have shared his room. (fn. 73) In 1585 fellows have to see that their scholars are regular communicants and well disciplined; and a public catechist and praelector in logic were appointed. (fn. 74) Fellows were also responsible for paying their pupils' battels. (fn. 75)
In the early 18th century we find the provost personally making detailed arrangements for the admission and tuition of undergraduates:
I have enquired after a Room and I find the young Gentleman may have a very good One. I have spoken to ye Person whom I design for his Tutor, a very honest worthy man of my Society, and he hath promised to take a more than ordinary care of him, both as to his behaviour, particularly in instructing him in such parts of learning as are most useful for One yt is to apply himself to ye Study of ye Common Law. I can depend upon him for what he undertakes. However I shal likewise myself strictly enquire what improvements the young Gentleman makes, and do my utmost toward his improvement. (fn. 76)
A hundred years later the well-known controversy between Provost Hawkins and the tutors (c. 1828–32) throws some light on the tutorial system then existing. (fn. 77)
The century after the rebuilding of the college (c. 1640–1740) was marked chiefly by two periods of political trouble. First the Civil War brought, with the siege of Oxford, great financial stress to the college, c. 1643–6, owing to the difficulty of collecting revenue, the weekly levies on the colleges, the surrender of plate to the king; commons were reduced to half, timber was felled at Bartlemas, elections to fellowships were suspended. (fn. 78) The Parliamentary Visitation followed in 1647; seven fellows were expelled, and among those who took their places were six or seven Cambridge men. (fn. 79) In spite of these troubles, the college was able to rebuild Bartlemas after the siege, (fn. 80) and made a new ball court in 1652. (fn. 81)
Secondly, there were violent personal and constitutional struggles under Provost Carter (1708–27), which lose nothing in the telling by Hearne. Carter was a notable benefactor to the college, and a 'worthy ingenious sober gentleman, and a good scholar', (fn. 82) but he tended to be despotic; trouble arose over the elections of fellows in 1721, 1723, and 1724, when on each occasion Carter claimed to override the majority of fellows by a 'negative voice'. It is probable that political differences lay behind all this, that Carter was a Whig and the opposition fellows Tories; Hearne says that Carter wanted to fill the college with Bangorians. (fn. 83) In the course of the quarrels one of the fellows committed suicide, there was an unsuccessful appeal to the Visitor (the Bishop of Lincoln), and finally, c. 1724–6, a rejected fellowship candidate, Henry Edmunds, got a ruling in his favour from the Court of Common Pleas, which also ruled that the statutes in force were those of January 1326, not those of May 1326 (which had been accepted for the last 400 years); and therefore that the Visitor was the Crown through the Chancellor, and not the Bishop of Lincoln. (fn. 84) Thus this rather sordid squabble had an important constitutional result. (fn. 85)
Among the fellows and alumni of various types of the college during the post-Reformation period outstanding personalities were Sir Walter Raleigh (c. 1572); (fn. 86) William Prynne (1616–21); John Robinson, diplomatist, Bishop of London, and benefactor (fellow 1675–86); Joseph Butler, the philosopher (c. 1715); Gilbert White, the naturalist (fellow 1744–93).
The most famous period of the college history was between the years 1781 and 1850; it began with the great Provost Eveleigh (1781–1814), who, with Jackson of Christ Church and Parsons of Balliol, led the reform and revival of the University, with the institution of the Honours Examinations in 1802; (fn. 87) it was under his rule, too, that Oriel threw its fellowships open to all, by examination, irrespective of the old restrictions to men of certain localities. (fn. 88) The result was soon seen in two brilliant groups of fellows; first, the Oriel 'Noetics', Copleston, Whately, and Hawkins, to whom may be added Hampden and Thomas Arnold; secondly, the Tractarians, Keble, Newman, Richard Hurrell Froude, Pusey, R. I. Wilberforce, Charles Marriott, R. W. Church. Their history has been told, unforgettably, by themselves and their contemporaries; there is no need to repeat it here. (fn. 89)
(i) Before 1640. The dispute between Oriel and the University over Bishop Thomas de Cobham's books is well known; Cobham had placed the books in the building on the north side of St. Mary's, for the use of the scholars of the University; Adam de Brome bought them from Cobham's executors (or rather redeemed them from pawn) for Oriel, c. 1327; and the University forcibly carried them off in 1337 or 1338. (fn. 90) Cobham was apparently keenly interested in the foundation of Oriel, and in fact seems to couple it with his projected library, in his letter to Burghersh (above, p. 119); (fn. 91) so perhaps de Brome's purchase of the books was less a violation of his wishes than it might appear.
By 1375 the college possessed 98 books, of which about 52 were arts books, 37 theological, and 9 legal—thus reflecting the bias of the statutes. (fn. 92) The few surviving manuscripts from this list are now outside the college; many were no doubt lost by pawning and selling, especially in the troubles of the early 15th century. (fn. 93) On the other hand, of the 83 manuscripts now in the college library, probably about 72 manuscripts (including 42 theological and 14 philosophical) come from the medieval library. (fn. 94) During the Middle Ages, and indeed down to the 18th century, the college seems to have relied mainly on gifts and legacies for its books, rather than on purchases.
As elsewhere, the Oriel books were divided into classes: (1) a lending library, the electiones, and (2) a chained library. As regards (1), a lending library is envisaged in the statutes; every year, on 2 Nov., all books are to be returned, and each fellow, in turn, is to make a fresh choice of books. (fn. 95) The accounts refer to a cista librorum in camera prepositi, (fn. 96) to custodes librorum, (fn. 97) and to the communis electio, (fn. 98) electio Kylvynton (a 14thcentury donor), (fn. 99) and the electio of an individual fellow. (fn. 100) As regards (2), there are references to a chained library as early as 1409–10; (fn. 101) and about 1449 a new library was built on the first floor of the east side of the quad, which lasted till the 17th century. To judge from the marks on the manuscripts, they were probably chained so as to lie flat on a series of lecterns, no doubt at right angles to the walls, with seats between. (fn. 102) The junior fellows were expected to study regularly in the library, especially at night. (fn. 103) By the early 17th century the 'stall system' of shelves seems to have been introduced. (fn. 104)
(ii) c. 1640–1788. In the rebuilt quad the library was a room about 49 ft. 6 in. X 18 ft. 6 in. on the top floor of the north side (now sets 3 and 4 of staircase V); it must have been entered from Staircase VII, and it had a row of 7 windows on each side (3 are now blocked). Its roof is separated from the adjoining buildings east and west by a stone gable, for protection against fire. It was probably divided by projecting bookcases between the windows into 7 bays on each side, and there were 'archives' and 'claustra'—lock-ups for manuscripts and valuable books. (fn. 105) The books were chained down to 1755, (fn. 106) and stood on the shelves with their fore edges showing. Persons admitted had to take an oath; B.A.s and fellow commoners had to keep to 'those seates, where the humanity and philosophy bookes are placed'. (fn. 107) About 1755, chaining stopped, and a balance was steadily accumulated (£217 by 1776); perhaps a new library was already being projected.
(iii) Since 1788. In 1786 Lord Leigh died, leaving the whole of his fine library to the college; this nearly doubled the stock of books, and precipitated the need for the new library. The present Senior Library (designed by Wyatt) was begun about 1788; and the books were moved in 1794–6. (fn. 108) The 'Cedar Room', on the top floor at the west end, contains late 17th-century panelling said to have come from New College Chapel (which was being restored by Wyatt c. 1789–93). The old chapel of St. Mary Hall has, since the union with Oriel in 1902, been fitted up as a 'Junior Library', and is connected with the Senior Library by a bridge.
Only three medieval pieces survive:
College Plate (fn. 109)
(1) The so-called 'Founders Cup', a silver-gilt beaker and cover, decorated with the letter E and a chain of SS; French make, c. 1460–70 (fn. 110); perhaps made for Edward Prince of Wales in Paris, c. 1462; it is apparently the piece bought by the college in 1493 for £4 18s. 1d.; (fn. 111) it is already called the 'Founders Cup' in the inventory of 1596.
(2) The Cocoa-nut Cup, with silver-gilt mounts; late 15th century; traditionally the gift of Bishop Carpenter (d. 1476); it may be 'ly nutt' which was given a new cover in 1516–17; (fn. 112) or perhaps in reality it is the 'cup commonly called a Nutte', with cover, left by Richard Dudley (d. 1536) for the use of the two fellows of his foundation. (fn. 113) It does not appear in the inventory of 1596.
(3) The Mazer bowl, of maple wood with silver-gilt mounts, with enamelled print and inscription: 'Vir, racione bibas; non quod petit atra voluptas Sic caro casta datur, lis lingue suppeditatur'; late 15th century; traditionally the gift of Bishop Carpenter.
The loss of early plate was not entirely due to the melting down of the plate for the king in 1643; earlier generations had felt no compunction in 'changing' or even pawning plate from time to time. (fn. 114) An inventory of plate taken 21 Dec. 1596 (fn. 115) records only a few pieces now lost, such as a double gilt covered cup given by William Cannyngs (d. c. 1551), a 'hye standeing cupp called a monsieurs boule' given by Robert Pierrepont in 1596, a similar cup given by Henry Michell c. 1595, some salts and a set of apostle spoons.
The later pieces include: two very fine Grace Cups, one given by Martin Sanford, commensalis, in 1654, the other given in memory of John Heywood, fellow, in 1669; the great 'Lion' tankard (the largest in Oxford, holding a gallon), given by Richard Wenman (later Viscount Wenman), commensalis, 1679; a two-handled cup with cover, from the bequest of Provost Carter, 1727; Bishop Butler's claret jug, 1733–4; and a punch bowl given by the City of Bristol to Henry Edmunds, and left by him to the college in 1746. A large number of beakers, mugs, and tankards were given by commoners and commensales in the 17th and 18th centuries as a form of admission fee. (fn. 116)
The earliest college seal (No. 5268 in W. de G. Birch, Catalogue of Seals in the Department of MSS. in the British Museum) probably dates from the time of the foundation: it is a pointed oval, 21/8 in. by 1¼ in., containing the Annunciation of the B.V.M., under a canopy of two trefoiled arches, with the B.V.M. on the right, the Archangel Gabriel on the left holding a scroll inscribed Ave m', and a jar with a lily in the centre; over the canopy on each side, a small bird; on the left an estoile of six points, on the right a crescent, and in the centre, rays descending from above; in the base, under a round cinquefoil arch, the figure of Adam de Brome, in gown and hood, kneeling in prayer; the frieze above his head inscribed Adam de brom. Round the edge of the seal is inscribed s. Commvne domvs scolarivm beate marie oxon[e?] The original matrix, cracked at the top, is in the possession of the college, and was in use until January 1949. The design of this seal has some resemblance to the seal of Adam de Brome, which depicts the Coronation of the B.V.M., with a figure of Adam de Brome below (Oriel College Records, Plate IV (2)).
There is a later heraldic seal (No. 5270 in Birch), circular, 1 in. in diameter, containing the arms of Oriel College (by error the bordure of the arms is represented as invecked instead of engrailed), within a beaded rim from which spring three trefoils; the seal is dated by Birch as 15th century, but may be later.
A new college seal, replacing the 14th-century seal, was made in 1948 and came into use as from 12 January 1949; it is circular, 17/8 in. in diameter, similar in design to the earlier seal, showing the Annunciation with Adam de Brome beneath; the inscription round the edge runs Sig. Com. Dom. Schol. Beatae. Mariae. Oxon. voc. Oriel. Coll. It was made by G. T. Friend, of 9 Dyers Buildings, Holborn, E.C.I.
The college portraits are described in Mrs. R. L. Poole's Catalogue of Oxford Portraits, vol. ii (Oxford Hist. Soc., lxxxi, 1926), pp. 79–108. The most notable are the portraits of Provost Blencowe, dated 1601; Provost Tolson, dated 1637; Provost Say, c. 1660–91; Bishop John Robinson, dated 1713; Provost Eveleigh, c. 1781–1814, by Hoppner; Provost Copleston, c. 1819, by Thomas Phillips; Provost Hawkins, c. 1855, by Sir Francis Grant; Cardinal Newman, c. 1880, by W. W. Ouless, and 1844, by G. Richmond; Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan, 1745, by Arthur Pond.
Provosts of Oriel College (fn. 117)
Adam de Brome, appointed under charter, 21 Jan.
1326, died 16 June 1332.
William de Leverton, confirmed 27 June 1332, d. 21 Nov. 1348.
William de Hawkesworth, confirmed 20 Dec. 1348, d. 8 April 1349.
William de Daventre, elected 1349, d. June 1373.
John de Colyntre, elected 8 July 1373, d. c. 1385.
Provostship in dispute between Thomas Kirkton and John de Middleton, 1385–6.
John de Middleton, confirmed 26 Feb. 1387, d. 27 June 1394.
John de Maldon, elected 3 July 1394, d. c. Jan. 1402.
Provostship in dispute between John Paxton and John Possell 1402.
John Possell, confirmed c. 1402?, d. Sept. 1414.
John Rote, election confirmed 17 Nov. 1414 resigned 14 Feb. 1415.
William Corffe, confirmed 16 Mar. 1415, d. (at Constance) 1417.
Provostship in dispute between Richard Garsdale and Thomas Leyntwardyn 1417–19. (fn. 118)
Thomas Leyntwardyn, c. 1419, d. c. 1421.
Henry Kayle, confirmed 3 Dec. 1421, d. 1422.
Provostship in dispute between Nicholas Herry and another, 1422.
Nicholas Herry, confirmed 3 July 1424, d. 1427.
John Carpenter, c. 1428, resigned 1435.
Walter Lyhert, elected 1 June 1435, resigned 28 Feb. 1446.
John Hals, elected 24 Mar. 1446, resigned 4 Mar. 1449.
Henry Sampson, elected (c. March?) 1449, resigned 1476.
Thomas Hawkyns, elected c. Oct.-Nov. 1476, (fn. 119) d. Feb. 1479. (fn. 120)
John Taylor, elected 8 Mar. 1479, d. 23 Dec. 1492.
Thomas Cornysh, elected Feb. 1493, resigned 26 Oct. 1507.
Edmund Wylsford, elected 30 Oct. 1507, d. 3 Oct. 1516.
James More, elected 14 Oct. 1516, resigned 12 Nov. 1530.
Thomas Ware, elected 16 Nov. 1530, resigned 5 Dec. 1538.
Henry Mynne, elected 6 Dec. 1538, d. 13 Oct. 1540.
William Haynes, elected 18 Oct. 1540, resigned 17 June 1550.
John Smyth, elected 17 June 1550, resigned 2 Mar. 1565.
Roger Marbeck, elected 9 June 1565, resigned 24 June 1566.
John Belly, elected 25 June 1566, resigned 3 Feb. 1574.
Antony Blencowe, elected 4 Feb. 1574, d. 15 Jan. 1618.
William Lewis, elected 21 Feb. 1618, resigned 29 June 1621.
John Tolson, elected 29 June 1621, d. 16 Dec. 1644.
John Saunders, elected 19 Dec. 1644, d. 20 Mar. 1653.
Robert Say, elected 23 Mar. 1653, d. 24 Nov. 1691.
George Royse, elected I Dec. 1691, d. 23 Apr. 1708.
George Carter, elected 6 May 1708, d. 30 Sept. 1727.
Walter Hodges, elected 24 Oct. 1727, d. 14 Jan. 1757.
Chardin Musgrave, elected 27 Jan. 1757, d. 29 Jan. 1768.
John Clarke, elected 12 Feb. 1768, d. 21 Nov. 1781.
John Eveleigh, elected 5 Dec. 178, d. 10 Dec. 1814.
Edward Copleston, elected 22 Dec. 1814, resigned 29 Jan. 1828.
Edward Hawkins, elected 31 Jan. 1828, d. 18 Nov. 1882.
David Binning Monro, elected 20 Dec. 1882, d. 22 Aug. 1905.
Charles Lancelot Shadwell, elected 4 Oct. 1905, resigned 5 Nov. 1914.
Lancelot Ridley Phelps, elected 7 Dec. 1914, resigned 1929.
William David Ross, elected 1929, resigned 1947. George Norman Clark, elected 1947.
(i) Before the 17th-century rebuilding. Nothing is left of the medieval buildings (except for the SW. corner of the St. Mary Hall Quad), but they can be partly reconstructed from documents and from Bereblock's view (1566). (fn. 121) The main part of the college site was acquired gradually between 1329 and 1392 (spreading northwards from 'La Oriole' in the SW. corner); this was linked up with St. Mary Hall by the acquisition of Bedel Hall in 1455; and the addition of St. Martin's Hall, in 1503, practically completed the occupation of the 'island', (fn. 122) The medieval quadrangle stood on the same site as the present one, but was probably smaller. It was presumably butilt it the late 14th and early 15th century. A vaulted gateway with a room above it was being built c. 1410–11; (fn. 123) this is perhaps the gate shown in Bereblock, on the west side, rather to the south of the present gate, with no tower; there was also a gate on the east, into Magpie Lane. (fn. 124) The first chapel was probably built c. 1373, (fn. 125) and apparently stood on the north side of the quad; (fn. 126) if so, the site must have been moved subsequently, perhaps at the time of a fresh consecration recorded in 1420, (fn. 127) for it is known to have stood on the south side, opposite Corpus gate, in the time of Bereblock and Wood. Wood describes the windows surviving in his time giving the arms, and an inscription to the effect that the chapel was built by Richard Earl of Arundel (d. 1376) and his son, Thomas Arundel, Bishop of Ely (1374–6); (fn. 128) this obviously refers to the first chapel, so that one can only suppose that, if there was a removal c. 1420, some glass from the original windows was preserved. There are references to the 'high altar' of the chapel (perhaps implying side altars, e.g. in the antechapel); (fn. 129) to a western window (presumably looking out over the roof of the adjoining building); (fn. 130) to the 'lower part' of the chapel, i.e. the antechapel, used for college meetings, and to the 'nave' and 'chancel'; (fn. 131) the chapel contained chests, a scrinium librorum, and painted hangings. (fn. 132)
As regards the hall, it is known to have been rebuilt c. 1534–5, when subscriptions from former fellows were invited. (fn. 133) As shown in Bereblock it stood on the north side of the quad, roughly on the site of the present provost's house, ending with a great west window looking on the street, and an oriel at the NW. corner; the screens must have been at the east end, with a large porch shown projecting into the quad, and, farther east, the kitchen, indicated by three large chimneys. The hall was panelled in 1593–4, and had a sundial on its wall in 1607–8. (fn. 134) The medieval hall probably stood on the same site; (fn. 135) it too was panelled, (fn. 136) and had hangings, and a cupboard (ciphorium) which for some reason served as a rendezvous for college meetings. (fn. 137) This hall, in turn, seems to have superseded a still older hall. (fn. 138)
The library, built c. 1449, with the help of Gascoigne, stood on the first floor, on the east side of the quad, on the site of the present hall; (fn. 139) according to Bereblock it was lit by a row of transomed windows on the west (and no doubt also on the east). Its history is dealt with above. The documents refer to a bursary or treasury, called domus thesaurariorum, and later staurum, auditorium, or domus publicis calculationibus destinata, where college meetings were sometimes held; but its position is not indicated. (fn. 140)
As regards the chambers of fellows and lodgers, their position is sometimes described: the upper chamber at the end of the hall, the large and the small chambers in the garden, the two chambers in Martin Hall (at the SE. corner, where the chapel now stands); (fn. 141) but they are generally called by their occupants' names. They were evidently on two floors only, (fn. 142) with cock-lofts, and were probably arranged in pairs, with stairs between. (fn. 143) In accordance with the usual plan, each chamber had one or more studies (one for each occupant), called studia and later musaea, (fn. 144) and woodhouses are also mentioned. The early statutes implied that several fellows would share a room; (fn. 145) this may have remained true of the bachelors (fn. 146) and of some lodgers, (fn. 147) but from the way in which the rooms are referred to (camera magistri), it seems that each M.A. fellow had a room to himself. The provost's lodging may have consisted at first only of a chamber and study like the rest, but in time it became more elaborate and included a dining-room and a hall. (fn. 148) Its position is not clear, except that in 1602–3 seems to have adjoined the chapel. (fn. 149)
To the north of the quad lay the garden. There are references to the 'inner garden' and the 'Bachelors' garden', (fn. 150) to a vine, a pear tree, an orchard (and the provost's orchard) and a domus pomorum; (fn. 151) to garden seats and an arbour; (fn. 152) to a tumulus or raised terrace (made in 1590–1) and a sphaeristerium or Ball-court (made in 1597–8), (fn. 153) some of which things can be seen in Loggan's view. This also shows a late-16th-or early17th-century timber-framed house on the west side of the garden.
(ii) The 17th-century rebuilding, and after. Oriel College was entirely rebuilt c. 1620–42; (fn. 154) this was no doubt due partly to the state of the medieval buildings, (fn. 155) partly to the need for more accommodation, especially since the influx of undergraduates. The work of rebuilding, though no doubt from the first planned as a whole, had to proceed piecemeal, both for financial reasons and because it was impossible to close the whole college and demolish all the buildings at once. The arrangements of the old quad may well have determined the order of rebuilding; thus, since the north and east sides contained the old hall, kitchen, and library, it would be convenient to leave these as long as possible, and so begin work on the west and south sides. Even this involved pulling down the old chapel, and so from c. 1620 to 1642 a large room on the north side was used as a temporary chapel. (fn. 156)
(a) West and south sides, c. 1620–22: on 10 April 1619 the college ordered nine oaks at Bartlemas to be cut down, and stone from the college's quarry to be transported to the college that summer, in order to rebuild the western part of the college in the following spring; (fn. 157) and by 1621–2 the 'new tower' (gate-tower) is already referred to. (fn. 158) On 25 Oct. 1622 the college ordered the raising of money for rebuilding the south side; (fn. 159) it is not clear how soon this was completed. (fn. 160) The west and south sides contained the bulk of the college rooms. There followed a lull of some years.
(b) North and east sides, c. 1637–42: on 14 Oct. 1636 the college again ordered the raising of money for completing the rebuilding. (fn. 161) The work may have begun on the north side and finished on the east side with the chapel, which was consecrated in June or July 1642, by John Prideaux, Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 162) It is not clear whether the chambers at the NW. corner (now the provost's dining-room) were built c. 1620 or c. 1637; they should belong structurally to the western range (1620), but they would have involved the premature destruction of the west end of the old hall. (fn. 163)
The quad thus completed resembles Wadham (c. 1611) in its regard for symmetry (the chapel entrance is made to balance the hall oriel), and in its grouping of hall and chapel on the east side. It has three full stories, though the top story may perhaps be regarded, structurally, as an attic with a continuous row of large dormers on each side; (fn. 164) it thus represents a compromise between the medieval type of two stories with cock loft and the Wadham type of three stories and attic. The square staircases are even farther removed from the medieval type than those of Wadham. The outer walls are of stone, but many of the internal partitions are timber-framed.
The provost's lodging originally only occupied about half of the northern side of the quad (three rooms on each principal floor, with a fine staircase); it did not reach west to the street. It gradually expanded west and north-west. The rooms to the west (now the provost's dining-room) were originally college rooms, entered from staircase VI; they were rented by the provost in 1730–1, (fn. 165) and later permanently annexed. About 1815–17 the provost's lodgings were extensively remodelled by Henry Hakewill, the entrance hall and staircase (on NW.) were added, and the south groundfloor room of the Carter building fitted up as the provost's study. (fn. 166) On the other hand, the provost's stables and garden, adjoining Christ Church on the other side of Oriel street, were given up in 1874. (fn. 167) East of the provost's lodging, on the top floor, was the library (now sets of rooms); (fn. 168) and at the NE. corner, immediately north of the hall, on the first floor, was the senior common room, which was wainscoted with a bequest of £30 from Samuel Short (d. 1676). (fn. 169)
On the east side was the hall and buttery, with the kitchen beneath (new kitchens were built at the back in 1920). The statues of the two kings over the hall door probably represent Edward II and Charles I (or James I); (fn. 170) the statue of the B.V.M. above was removed in 1650–1 and replaced in 1673–4. (fn. 171) In 1710 the hall and buttery were decorated with panelling, which remains in the buttery, and the fine hammer beam roof was hidden by a plaster ceiling. (fn. 172) At that date or in 1777–8 a fire-place was installed; (fn. 173) the hall had previously been heated by a brasier under the louvre. In 1827 there were extensive alterations, (fn. 174) which no doubt included the 'Gothic' panelling, which preceded the present panelling designed by Comper in 1911.
In the chapel the screen originally stood under the chancel arch, and no doubt the antechapel was open to the roof; the screen was moved westwards, and the gallery built, in 1884. (fn. 175) The woodwork of the stalls (except for those inserted at the extension) is original. The black-and-white marble pavement was given in 1677–8 by Samuel Short and Charles Perrot. (fn. 176) The interesting painted window of the Presentation in the Temple, by William Peckitt, was given in 1767 by the Duke of Beaufort and others; it was originally in the east window, but now in the south window of the antechapel. (fn. 177) There is a small fragment of medieval glass in the NW. window of the antechapel.
Wood refers to the 'room under the Treasury, called the Accompt House'; (fn. 178) this perhaps means that the room on the first floor of the gate tower, with a good fire-place and ceiling, was designed as a bursary and audit room; it was used in later times (early 19th century) for college meetings and fellowship examinations. The room above, where the clock (dated 1820) now is, was fitted up as a muniment room or treasury.
Nearly all the college chambers, as originally designed, consisted each of one large and two small rooms, the latter being either the studies of two occupants or the bedroom and study of a single occupant. (fn. 179) Before the 18th-century additions there would be about 30 sets of rooms available: how were these allotted? The 18 fellows no doubt by this time were given whole sets to themselves; they would probably occupy most of the first and second floors. (fn. 180) The rest of the sets must have been let to undergraduates. From 1658 the Style specifies 4 rooms only as being regularly let: the chamber over the buttery; that next the kitchen (in the NE. corner); the chamber next the provost's lodging (now the provost's dining-room); and the one opposite (room VI. 1); (fn. 181) down to about 1700 each of these rooms is shared by two or more persons; after that they begin to have single occupants. There must have been other rooms let, to accommodate the undergraduates (there were 25 in 1667), but they do not appear in the Style; possibly they were sublet by the fellows.
About a hundred years after the rebuilding, two new blocks of rooms were built to the north, transforming the garden into an open quad; they were the Robinson building on the east side, erected by Bishop Robinson (d. 1723), the foundation stone being laid 6 March 1720; (fn. 182) and the Carter building on the west side, erected with the bequest of Provost Carter (d. 1727), the building being begun 11 March 1729. (fn. 183) The two blocks originally stood quite detached from the main quad, and each contained six sets (comprising one large and two small rooms). (fn. 184) Increased accommodation was needed partly owing to increasing numbers, partly owing to the growing standard of comfort and the gradual cessation of sharing or 'chumming'. All the rooms in the Robinson building were at first let to undergraduates, except the first-floor north room, which is not mentioned in the Style, and was perhaps reserved for the Robinson Exhibitioners; after c. 1752–3 only the rooms on the south side were let. In the Carter building only the top south room is mentioned as being let.
Again, after nearly a century, additions were made, though on a less lavish scale; 8 sets of rooms (on four floors) were added to the back of the Robinson building in 1818, at a cost of £1,803; and about 1819 7 sets (on 4 floors) were erected at a cost of £1,857, 'adjoining the old library staircase', i.e. the present Staircase VII, thus joining up the Robinson building with the main quad. (fn. 185)
In the meanwhile the north side of the garden quad was filled in with the building of the new library, designed by James Wyatt; the contract with Edward Edge of the city of Oxford, mason, is dated 29 April 1788; the senior common rooms, on the ground floor, were finished c. 1795–6. (fn. 186) In more recent times the annexation of St. Mary Hall was followed by the erection of the Rhodes building in 1909–11 (B. Champneys, architect).
ST. MARY HALL
St. Mary Hall was the most important of several academic halls which were acquired by Oriel during the Middle Ages. These halls became the property of Oriel at different dates: St. Mary Hall (the former rectory house of St. Mary's), when St. Mary's was appropriated in 1326; (fn. 187) Bedel Hall (adjoining St. Mary Hall to the south) was given by Bishop Carpenter in 1455; (fn. 188) St. Martin's Hall, or Little Martin Hall (at the SE. corner, in Merton St.), was acquired from St. Frideswide's in 1503. (fn. 189) All three halls had perhaps become in some sense annexes of the college by the early 15th century; the principals of all three were generally fellows of Oriel. (fn. 190) There were, however, non-Oriel inhabitants; in 1454 Master Henry Lambert (of Balliol), deceased, is described as formerly 'lector in aula beate Marie Virginis'. (fn. 191) In the early 16th century the St. Antony and Dudley exhibitioners of Oriel were lodged in St. Mary Hall and Bedel Hall, and about the same time the two halls became finally united. (fn. 192) Martin Hall was used for lectures and for rooms for lodgers.
About the middle of the 16th century St. Mary Hall became more of a distinct and self-contained Society; it was destined to be one of the few halls which survived the Elizabethan alterations. In 1545 the Visitor of Oriel, Bishop Longland of Lincoln, ordered the communicating door between the hall and the college to be blocked up, and scholars and lecturers to be provided in the hall. (fn. 193) The principals, however, with one exception, continued to be fellows of Oriel, down to 1656; (fn. 194) in 1565–6 Oriel paid for the repairs to the hall, and allowed commons to the principal. (fn. 195) Some details about the hall in the early 17th century are given in the presentments at a Visitation in 1613 and in the 'customs of the Hall' (mainly concerning fees) in c. 1632 and 1649. (fn. 196) In 1613 morning prayers were between 5 and 6, except on Thursdays and in the vacation, when they were between 7 and 8; three persons are presented for having failed to communicate at Easter; there were logic lectures, disputations for scholars and bachelors, themes and corrections weekly, and sometimes declamations, 'and noe other exercise of lerninge publique'; there were two beneficed ministers in the hall, one a B.A., the other an undergraduate (aged 30); it is complained that 'it is a generall fault amongst the undergraduats of our Hall to be covered in the presence of a master of Arts', that 'the commoners generallie in our Hall doe spend weeklie upon their names about sixe or seaven shillings', and that it is 'a generall fault for the scholars to goe abroade without the leave of the Principall or their tutors'. The customs of c. 1631 record 'what things have bin altered by the principall that now is [J. Saunders, 1632–44]: Disputations kept constantly twise every day by the commoners except Thursdayes and Satterdayes in the afternone, and lectuers in the Hall twise every weeke. Two declaymations every weeke in terme kept constantly by them. Batchelors declaymations once every fortnight in terme time. … The principall that nowe is repaireth all chambers at his owne charge, which formerly were repaired by commoners in each chamber.' There is mention of master-commoners, commoners, and semicommoners (the latter not to exceed six); of a Bible clerk and servitors; of a manciple, butler, cook, porter, under-butler, under-cook. In numbers the hall for a time equalled or exceeded Oriel; in 1552 there were 18 members in addition to the principal; (fn. 197) in 1572, 2 M.A.s, 10 B.A.s, 34 undergraduates; (fn. 198) in 1613, 4 M.A.s, 11 B.A.s, 25 undergraduates; (fn. 199) in 1667, 3 M.A.s, 11 B.A.s, 25 undergraduates. (fn. 200)
During the 18th and 19th centuries the outstanding figures at St. Mary Hall were William King, Principal 1719–63, a leading Oxford Jacobite, and a friend of Swift; (fn. 201) R. D. Hampden, Principal 1833–48, the subject of the 'Hampden controversy'; (fn. 202) and D. P. Chase, Vice-Principal 1848–57, and Principal 1857–1902, on whose death the hall was united to Oriel. To the University Commissioners in 1867 and 1877 Chase gave some interesting evidence about the hall; about the difficulties of the hall system in general, such as the lack of endowments and the fact that 'no man ever enters at a Hall who can gain admission into or remain at a college'; and about his own reforms and projects at St. Mary Hall, its possibilities of enlargement, its economical standard of living, its advantages for certain types of students (such as more elderly men). Chase took the courageous and apparently unusual line of refusing to admit 'involuntary immigrants', men dismissed from colleges. (fn. 203) In 1875 the hall was the largest of the surviving halls, having 60 undergraduates, at a time when Oriel had only 62.
The buildings of St. Mary Hall have a longer and more variegated history than the surviving buildings of Oriel. Loggan's view of the hall (1675) and the plan in Williams's Oxonia Depicta (1733) are specially valuable. The nucleus of the hall was the 'manse' or rectory house of St. Mary's, consisting of six shops on the High St., with a hall lying behind (to the south); (fn. 204) this hall seems to have survived down to the 17th century as the 'refectory' of the hall, perhaps until the building of the later hall in 1639–40. (fn. 205) Its site was afterwards occupied by the principal's house, and now by staircase XV in the Rhodes Building. The western range of the hall, on Oriel Street, fell down c. 1446, when a subscription was asked from Bishop Carpenter for its rebuilding; (fn. 206) the western wall of staircases XVIXVII seems ancient and may be a survival of the range of chambers then rebuilt (c. 1446). The adjoining south-west corner of St. Mary Hall quad (staircase X) has perhaps never been entirely rebuilt since medieval times; it may substantially represent a range of chambers built when Bedel Hall (on this site) was acquired in 1455, that is, as regards the shell of the ground and first floors, with their stone outer walls and timber-framed partitions and straight steep staircase. Loggan's view seems to show these 15th-century west and south-west ranges of the hall in much their original state, with two stories and an attic (with large dormer windows added); and Williams's plan shows the old disposition of chambers and studies. The room on the first floor of the south range, nearest the hall of 1639–40, in Loggan's view has large transomed windows, which suggest an important room, perhaps the library. (fn. 207) In medieval times the eastern half of the site of the hall was probably garden, though Wood speaks of 'certain chambers on the east side, some of which were pulled down an. 1664'. (fn. 208)
At the end of the 16th century the principal's lodgings were built on the east side of the quad, as shown in Loggan; (fn. 209) and in 1639–40 the finest surviving architectural features of the hall, the hall and buttery with the chapel above, were built in the south-east corner of the quad. (fn. 210) A new principal's lodging was built by Principal Hudson (1712–19), on the northwest side of the quad, on the site of the old 'refectory'; (fn. 211) it is shown in Williams's view. On the east side of the quad, on the site of the old principal's lodging, the present picturesque timber-framed building, known as 'Dr. King's Building', was erected by Principal King about 1743; (fn. 212) and the Oxford Almanack for 1746 shows a fanciful project for rebuilding the whole quad (except for the hall and chapel) in the same style.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the whole of the western half of the quad underwent much reconstruction; first, c. 1776–91, under Principal Nowell, the south-west angle (Bedel Hall) had a top story added, and internal alterations made, and new windows, &c., inserted in the ground and first floors; (fn. 213) next, about 1826, the rest of the western side was even more drastically rebuilt, with an interesting early Gothic revival façade on to the quad, designed by D. Robertson, Principal Nowell having left a fund for this purpose; (fn. 214) the northernmost part of this range contained the principal's drawing-room (now the room of the Regius Professor of Modern History). Finally, c. 1833–, Principal Hampden at his own expense rebuilt the principal's house, together with three sets of rooms for scholars, adjoining (on the north side of the quad), all in the 'Gothic' style to match the western range; (fn. 215) there is a view of this work, by Hollis, in 1838; it was afterwards pulled down for the present Rhodes Building. (fn. 216) In 1877 the hall contained 25 sets of rooms. (fn. 217)