Colleges: College of Lambeth

Page 127

A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1967.

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Archbishop Baldwin (1185-90) proposed to found a college of secular canons, dedicated to the honour of his predecessor St. Thomas the Martyr, at Haddington, near Canterbury. But the project met with such strenuous opposition from the monks of Christ Church that he was forced to abandon the attempt. Desirous however of fulfilling his intention elsewhere, he obtained a site at Lambeth from the bishop and chapter of Rochester, and there the archbishop built himself a house and a church in honour of St. Thomas. In 1188 Baldwin began to build a fine chapel, intending to make it collegiate, with houses for the canons in an adjoining quadrangle; but soon after he went to the Holy Land, where he died. His successor, Hubert Walter (1193-1205), completed the chapel in 1199 together with the buildings for some of the canons; but the opposition of the Canterbury monks was so strenuous and their influence at Rome so great, that Innocent III. in April 1198 ordered the demolition of the chapel and the suspension of the clergy there officiating. The matter was referred to arbitration, and in 1202 the archbishop was allowed if he willed to form at Lambeth a foundation of not less than thirteen nor more than twenty canons regular of Prémontré. But this permission was never acted upon, and the short-lived project of a college at Lambeth came to an end. (fn. 1)


  • 1. Manning and Bray's Hist. of Surr. iii. 469-70; Tanner's Notitia, under Lambeth, Surrey; Twysden's Decem Scriptores, 705, 708, etc.; Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 77-8.