Exeter College (University of Oxford).

Registrum Collegii exoniensis. Register of the rectors, fellows, and other members on the foundation of Exeter college, Oxford. With a history of the college and illustrative documents online

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Online LibraryExeter College (University of Oxford)Registrum Collegii exoniensis. Register of the rectors, fellows, and other members on the foundation of Exeter college, Oxford. With a history of the college and illustrative documents → online text (page 14 of 61)
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the terme, and permitted ingenious youthes to be sconced for observe-
ing the Order aforesayd.

12. What summ of monies, for what, and by whome, there hath
been at any time expended by order of the delegates since June 1647.

Wood adds, 'All which questions being proposed by one of the
Visitors (which they framed from the uncharitable information of
John Martin, Robert Hancock, and others of Exeter College, that
were Delegates appointed by the Visitors), M^ Tozer desired time
to give in his answer ; on 2 7 Mch M^ Tozer answered. Those queries
that have been proposed to me concern the discipline and govern-
ment of this College, and I have formerly given in an answer in the
name of the College, that they could not without perjury submit to
any other Visitors than such as their Statutes had appointed. This
being taken as a frivolous answer, and not at all pertinent to the
Queries, M'^ Tozer was condemned as guilty of high contempt. On
17 Ap. the Commissioners required M^ Tozer to admit one Peter
Fiot a Jersey man into the fellowship of Mr John Poingdexter,
pretended to be void by his long absence from the College. But he
refusing to do it, the Commissioners sent their mandatary for the
Buttery Book, into which afterwards Sir Nathaniel Brent, with the

* Wood says, ' this was a Declamation spoken in the public Hall, containing
many reflections on the Visitors and Rebels, &c.'

* Wood says, ' he refused to come to Common Prayer, and spoke against

^ Wood says, ' the health was a Cup of Devils to the Confusion of Reformers.'


consent of the Commissioners, expunged the name of Poingdexter, and
entred Fiot, commanding the Subrector to give him possession of
a chamber and all emoluments belonging to his place : but he refused
so to do. On 29 June they sent for Mr Tozer and forbad him to
meddle with any Election of Scholars (which by Statute was to be
the next day) and to disenable him in that and other matters, turned
him out of his fellowship and then sent him to prison because he
would not deliver up to them the College Books and Keys, which
without perjury he could not do, nor had they any title to pretend
to them, no new Head being put in there. Concerning this matter
I find a farther account, the Subrector refusing to deliver up the
Keys and the Books was imprisoned by the Governour, who sent
a guard of musqueteers to his chamber door, where they continued
to prevent the fetching out of any of the said Books, &c. And
another guard was set at the Chappel door, where they continued till
the Election day was past, to prevent the Election, in which time they
took out of the Chappel all the Common Prayer Books which were
there, and cut the Common Prayer out of such Bibles and Testaments
as they found there. But two days after M"^ Tozer was released from
prison, conditionally that the Keys and Books which he had refused
to give up, should not be conveyed out of the College.'

By an order of 21 Mch 164^ the College debts were to be paid
by not filling up the fellowships of Willett and Gealard, and by
suspending four more fellowships as they should fall vacant, till the
debts were satisfied. The newly-appointed fellows were to take
seniority according to the date of their degrees. There is an
indignant account of the Visitation, from the royalist point of view,
in Thomas Barlow's 'Pegasus, or the Flying Horse from Oxford.
Being the proceedings of the Visitors and other Bedlamites there,
by command of the Earle of Mongomery. Printed at Mongomery,
heretofore called Oxford.' Its tone may be guessed from the opening
sentences. ' Tuesday Aprill the eleventh, the long-legged peece of
impertinency which they miscall Chancellor was to be brought with
state into Oxon; to this end, these few inconsiderable and ill fac'd
saints hired all the hackneyes in towne (which were basely bad, yet
good enough for them). Out they went and met the Hoghen Moghcn
I told you of; what courtship passed between them at meeting, how


hee swore at them, and they said grace at him ; how many zealous
faces and ill leggs they made, and at what distance, I know not ;
a long time they were about it.' Wood gives a full account of the

The Colleges were much impoverished. On 3 Mch 1649 Jo^^"
IMaudit subrector of Exeter College petitions, ' that the College is
greatley distressed for want of the arrears due from some of the
tenants, and especially Simmons of Hamborough and Dr Parsons
principal of Hart Hall ; and God having provided a redress by Parlia-
ment order, by appHcation to this Committee, they beg a summons
to Simmons and Parsons, to show cause for not paying their rents ^.'

On 19 Jan. 1644 there is a petition about the Channel Island
fellowships at Exeter, Jesus, and Pembroke, stating that the Com-
mittee for the King's Revenues had stopped the payments due from
the London tenants, as taking them for part of the King's Revenues.
As this was a mistake, and contrary to the Articles of the Surrender
of Oxford, the Committee order the tenants to pay.

Dr. Hakewill was so much respected that no Rector was elected till
he died, then John Conant was chosen by the new fellows ^. Conant
was a good scholar and such a master of Greek that he many times
disputed publicly in the schools in that language. Prideaux once said
of him Conattit nihil difficile. He was also a good oriental scholar,
knowing Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic as well as Hebrew. He quitted
the College in 1642 but, hoping peace might be made, left his books
behind him and they were all stolen. Books were by no means safe
at Oxford during the Civil War. When Sir Thomas Fairfax recovered
Oxford he took much pains in restoring the Bodleian Library, which
had suffered during the Cavalier regime. Conant served a cure
sometime at Lymington in Somerset and then at S. Botolph's Alders-
gate, afterwards he lived several years as chaplain to Lord Chandos at
Harefield near Uxbridge in Middlesex at a salary of fourscore pounds,
most of which he gave away. He resigned his fellowship in 1647
from conscientious scruples about the Visitation of Oxford by the
Parliamentary Commissioners. But the fellows having suffered from

^ Burrows 218, 224 (suppression of fellowships to pay debts).
^ Life, by his son John, published 1823 by Rev. William Stanton M.A., and
dedicated to John Edward Conant, the Rector's descendant.


the non-residence of the Rector pressed Conant to take the Rector-
ship, knowing that he would reside. The headship was valued by
the Commissioners at £45 in 1649. Conant was a leader of
the Presbyterian as opposed to the Independent party in the
University^. He soon restored the system for which the College
had been famous under Holland and Prideaux and the numbers
increased to two hundred and upwards ^. ' Once a week he had
a Catechetical lecture in the chapel in which he went over Piscator's
Aphorisms and Woollebius' Compendium Theologiae Christianae
(Basle 1638); and by the way fairly propounded the principal
objections made by the Papists, Socinians, and others against
the orthodox doctrine, in terms suited to the understanding and
capacity of the younger scholars. He took care likewise that the
inferior servants of the College should be instructed in the principles
of the Christian religion and would sometimes catechise them in
his own lodgings. He looked strictly himself to the keeping up
all exercises and would often slip into the hall in the midst of their
lectures and disputations. He would always oblige both opponents
and respondents to come well prepared and perform their respective
parts agreeably to the strict law of disputation. Here he would often
interpose, either adding new force to the arguments of the opponent
or more fulness to the answers of the respondent, and supplying
where anything seemed defective or clearing where anything was
obscure in what the moderator subjoined. He would often go into
the chambers and studies of the young scholars, observe what books
they were reading, and reprove them if he found them turning
over any modern authors, and sent them to Tully, that great master of
Roman eloquence, to learn the true and genuine propriety of that
language. His care in the election of fellows was very singular.

^ Francis Howell was one of the Independents, Wood's Life i. 147-S : for other
notices of this time, and especially of Conant, see i. 221 opponent to Henry Hick-
man, 257 forbidding books, 290 hats kept on in church, 298 entertainments, 302
Anabaptists, 317 maypoles, 359 University dress, 360 and 445 silenced at All
Saints ; 268, 312 refused to let Wood see the Registers; 369, 489.

^ Few names occur resembling those supposed to be peculiar to the Puritans.
There is nothing strange in such names as Thcophilus, Samuel, Malachi. Most of
the Puritan nicknames were invented by their ojiponents as a joke after the
Restoration. A few occur such as Pczalccl Burt, Cananiel Bernard, Elias son
of Abdias Birch.


A true love of learning and a good share of it in a person of untainted
morals and low circumstances ^ were sure of his patronage and
encouragement. He would constantly look over the observator's roll
and buttery book himself, and whoever had been absent from the
chapel prayers or extravagant in his expenses or otherwise faulty was
sure he must atone for his fault by some such exercise as the Rector
should think fit to set him, for he was no friend to pecuniary mulcts,
which too often punish the father instead of the son. The students
were many more than could be lodged within the walls, they crowded
in here from all parts of the nation and some from beyond the
sea. On his receiving the insignia of the office of Vice-chancellor
there was such a universal shout of a very full convocation as has
hardly ever been known. The first Lent he made a surprising reform
in their public disputations which for some years had been managed
with such vehemency and disorder as had created several unhappy
divisions in the University. The antipathy of his predecessor Dr.
Owen to caps and hoods and his attempt for taking them away
as Popish relics will not soon be forgotten. But he could never
effect it, being opposed by many of the University, and among others
by Dr. Conant, who could never discern any shadow of hurt in these
decent habits, or any more of- Popery in these distinctions of degrees
than in the degrees themselves. He opposed Cromwell's plan of
giving the College at Durham the privileges of a University, setting
forth the advantages of large Universities and the dangers which
threaten religion and learning by multiplying small and petty acade-
mies. He was instrumental in moving JMr. Selden's executors to
bestow his prodigious collection of books, more than 8000 volumes,
on the University.' In this period of Puritan ascendancy the disputa-
tions in the schools for M.A. were often in Greek. Conant was one of

^ The poverty of some of the candidates for fellowships at this time may be seen
from the case of Peter Fiott (Hist. Comm. vi. 150), ' Petition of Peter Fiott,
a distressed yonng scholar of the isle of Jersey to the Earl of Manchester.
Petitioner, who had formerly a desire of advancing himself in the study of good
letters, is now capable of entering the University, but his mother's means are
insufficient to enable him to go there by reason of her exile from her native country,
her adherence to Parliament, and her having received no help, though long since
ordered. Petitioner therefore prays the Earl to further his journey to Oxford, to
enter his name there by liberal contribution, that so his endeavour may not be
frustrated by want of means.'


those who advocated the Restoration, and was appointed one of
the Committee which met at the Savoy to revise the Book of Common
Prayer. But when no alteration in the ceremonies was allowed
he felt it his conscientious duty to give up the Rectorship. Yet
he refused to lead a party in the separation, and in fact had so little
real objection to the Prayer Book that he soon after conformed,
and was even reordained priest 20 Sep. 1670 (though he had been
previously ordained at Salisbury 28 Oct. 1652), and was instituted
Vicar of All Saints in Northampton 15 Feb. i6'7^ on the presentation
of the Corporation. When most of Northampton perished in the
disastrous fire of 20 Sep. 1673 the neighbouring gentry paid him
his salary of £100 for that year which his parishioners were not able
to raise. John Robartes Earl of Radnor, who had been his con-
temporary at College, asked a prebend of Worcester for him of Charles
II with the words ' Sir, I come to beg a preferment of you for a very
deserving man, who did never beg anything for himself.' In his
declining age he could scarce be prevailed upon by his physician
to drink now and then a little wine. He slept very little, having been
an assiduous and indefatigable student for above threescore years
together. Whilst his strength would bear it, he often sat up in
his study till late at night, and thither he returned very early in
the morning. An eminent and early instance of Dr. Conant's con-
tempt of the world was his passing over to his younger and only
brother then living (who married young, had many children, and was
not so well provided for) his interest in an estate left him by his father,
when he had but little more to live upon himself than his fellowship.
He was highly esteemed by Bishop Bull and Archbishop Tillotson ^.

'Exeter College flourished much under his government. In his
time it afforded a Vice-chancellor, a Proctor, a Doctor of the Chair in
Divinity, a Moral Philosophy and Rhetoric Reader to the University,
a President of S. John's, a Principal to Jesus, and a Divinity Professor
to Magdalen College ; not to mention such as were transplanted
thence to scholarships and fellowships in other colleges, many of
whom were men of eminency afterwards.' Some of these names are
those of Francis Howell, Thomas Brancker the mathematician, and

* Abbey and Overton, The Evglish Church in the Eighteenth Century i. 124.


Narcissus Marsh afterwards Archbishop of Dublin, who gave ten
thousand volumes to the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.

Exeter sent preachers twice a month to the Tuesday lectures at
S. Mary's (Wood's Life i. 159).

In 1657 it was proposed that Edmond Prideaux, Attorney General,
and his successors, should be visitors of the College instead of the
Bishop of Exeter, but this Act did not pass ^

On 18 Feb. i66| the great storm ' blowed down a chimney at the
corner of Exeter next Lincoln, and if the schoUers in the cottle-loft
had not perchance rose had bin sorely bruised ; both the crosses at the
west end of their chappell also downe ' (Wood's Life i. 432).

In 1662 Conant and six of the fellows were deprived'^, and Lord
Petre tried to nominate to the vacant Petrean fellowships (but in vain)
Christopher Harris, and John Prince the author of * The Worthies
of Devon'.' The ejection on 24 Aug., S. Bartholomew's Day,
deprived Oxford and the Church of some of their best men, and
was quite contrary to the spirit of the union of the two great parties
which had brought about the Restoration. Through the stringent
nature of the new Act of Uniformity, she lost the services of
some of the most devoted of her Puritan sons, men whose views
were no way distinguishable from those which had been held
without rebuke by some of the most honoured bishops of Elizabeth's
time. An attempt was made by John Walker, a fellow of Exeter
College, in his book called ' The Sufferings of the Clergy in
the Great Rebellion,' to justify the ejection by showing how many
royalist clergy had been ejected previously, so that the Act of 1662
might be considered a sort of legitimate revenge. But the episcopa-
lians did not return in 1660 after a victory. They returned by virtue
of a union between the twQ great parties analogous to that which had
closed the Wars of the Roses, and by the military predominance
of Monk's presbyterian army ; and, though the Declaration of Breda
reserved the whole of the religious question for the consideration
of Parliament, yet that Declaration was certainly not carried out

* Gutch ii. 680, Conanfs Life 29, State Papers 1660 p. 301, Heywood 481.

* Wood's Life i. 453. On i Sep. 1662 Rector Conant was deprived ; on 4 Sep.
Whitway, S. Conant, Brancker and Inglett of Devon, Sainthill and Heame Petrean
fellows — but Heame was re-elected 30 June 1663.

^ IVorthics 633, Petre's letter in Reg. 14 July 1663.


fairly when the bishops used their influence in Parliament to prevent
any toleration. The king himself complained of their conduct. The
result of their action was disastrous, and Ken, grieving at the orgies
of the Restoration, sadly anticipated some new visitation of God's
wrath \ The new Rector Joseph Maynard, brother of Sir John
Maynard, held office less than four years ; Wood says of him {Life
i' 455) ii- 56), 'Exeter College is now (1665) much debauched by
a drunken governor ; whereas before in D"^ Conant's time it was
accounted a civil house, it is now rude and incivil ; not respecting
the magistracy of the University but soe bold as to clap him on the
back and cry for new parks when Exeter and Queen's fought Feb. 15
or 16, 1 664. The quarrell was between Exeter and Queen's, viz.
North and West [possibly arising out of a football match -J. The
rector is goodnatured, generous, and a good scholar; but he has
forgot the way of a college life, and the decorum of a scholar. He is
given much to bibbing; and, when there is a music-meeting in one of
the fellows' chambers, he will sit there, smoke, and drink till he
is drunk, and has to be led to his lodgings by the junior fellows ^.'
Maynard wrote in favour of his native place Tavistock (INIrs. Bray's
Borders of the Tamar and Tavy, 1879, ii. 240),
' Go to our Oxford University,
Ask who is best skilled in divinity,
Who hath the fathers or the schoolmen read,
They'll single out a man at Tav'stock bred.'

* Wood's Life i. 230, 231, 233, 326, ii. 95 ; Clark's Colleges 49.

2 Penalty for playing football in 1666 inflicted on William Breton of Queen's
Coll., John Hortop of Exeter Coll., and William Trevethick, B.A. of Exeter Coll.
Probably the football had ended in a free fight (Wood's Life ii. 97).

^ On 19 Aug. 1665 Joseph Maynard rector, John Hearne sub-rector, William
Painter dean, of Exeter College, signed the permission for Wood to peruse the
muniments and records of that college. ' On 24 Aug. he began to peruse the
evidences. These are well ordered, and methodically digested, and are reposed
in a lower rome neare to the gatehouse looking northwards. They were taken
out of the said roome and carried to the lodgings of the rector of that college
called Dr. Joseph Maynard, and in his dining roome A. W. perused them in 4 or
5 dayes ; in which time the said doctor was exceeding civil to him. This Dr. was
an old standard, had much of a true English temper in him, was void of
dissimulation and sneaking politicks, and at leisure times he would entertaine A. W,
with old stories relating to the universitie and the learned men of his time. He
also then perused some of the registers. On Aug. 29 he began to peruse the
catalogue of fellowes of Exeter Coll. which is reposed in the library there, and
soon after transcribed it all for his owne use.' Wood's Life ii. 44 : Wood's excerpts
are in his M.S. D. 2, pp. 71-106.


Ayliffe ii. 243 quotes two cases of attempts to check the claims of
privilege during this century. In 1628 Fryer v. Dews (in the King's
Bench), ' Dews, being sued, prayed his privilege, because at the time
of the suit commenced he was a commoner in Exeter College in
Oxford, and brought letters under the seal of the Chancellor certifying
their privilege : and he certified that Dews was a commoner of Exeter
College, as appeared by the certificate of Dr. Prideaux, Rector of the
College ; whereas he ought to have certified, that he was upon
his own knowledge a commoner of the said college, and not upon the
certificate of another : and afterwards a certificate was made of his
own knowledge, and then it was allowed to be good.' Was this
Thomas Dewe, pleb. of Oxford, who matriculated 13 Dec. 1615
age 16?

Again in 1674, ' Prat being plaintiff exhibited a bill in Chancery
against the defendant Taylour, to have an account of several sums
of money, which the defendant, a fellow of Exeter College, and
a tutor to the plaintiff's son, received towards the necessary occasions
of his son. The Chancellor by an instrument in writing set forth the
privilege of the University granted by Charters and confirmed by Act
of Parliament: and the defendant was a scholar and resident in
the University, and that they had a Court of Equity, and thereupon
prayed that Taylour might be dismissed. But the Lord Keeper
did not allow the claim, for that cognizance of pleas in Equity could
not be granted, tho' precedents were shewn of the same claim
allowed in Queen Elizabeth's time. He asked whether any could
be shewn in my Lord Ellesmere's or my Lord Coventry's time ; but
none could be shewn ; and thereupon he disallowed the claim and
said that it must be put in by way of Plea : but withal declared that
it should not be on oath, but it should be sufficient to aver the
defendant to be a scholar resident within the University.' Was
this Isaac Tayler B.A. 19 June 1666, M.A, 27 Ap. 1669?; he was
not a fellow.

A rather curious notice occurs Reg. 19 Dec. 1668 ' decretum
est ne dies sabbati deinceps pisculentus sit. Ut autem damnum
eis inde emergens resarciatur, pecuniae ad finem cujuslibet termini
coquo stipendii nomine solvi solitae pars quinta subrectori, partes
quatuor bursario solvantur. Ut autem Collegio pro decrementis


plenius quam hucusque factum est satisfiat, socio-commensales dena-
rios tres, suggenarii et batellarii duos addant. Liberentur autem
battellarii onere suas sibi quadras pecunia propria coemendi.' Decre-
ments at first meant deductions from a scholar's endowment, for fuel,
candles, salt &c., and then any one's payment for these. For fish
days see Hallam's Const, i. 398, ed, 6.

Wood {Life i. 274) notices that music flourished at this time,
and mentions, among other musicians, Narcissus Marsh of Exeter
College, who ' would come somtimes among them, but seldome
play'd, because he had a weekly meeting in his chamber in the said
Coll. where masters of musick would come, and some of the company
before mention'd. When he became principal of S. Alban's hall,
he translated the meeting thither, and there it continued when that
meeting in Mr, Ellis's house was given over, and so it continued
till he went into Ireland and became Mr. of Trin. Coll. at Dublin.'
Wood's Life iii. 52, on 21 May 1683 the Duke of York visited
Exeter, among other colleges, * they went on foot into Exeter College
back-gate which joyns on the west side to the [Ashmole's] musaeum,
where, in the quadrangle, they were received with an English speech
by Dr. Bury the rector, with his fellowes and the rest of the societie in
their formalities by him ; afterwards seing their chappell, where
the duke complained that the communion table stood contrary to the
canon (viz. east and west).' Bury was not a successful ruler. He was
a strong royalist, and was recommended for the Rectorship by Arch-
bishop Sheldon and the Bishop of Exeter, and by a letter from Charles
II requesting his election 'notwithstanding any statute or custom
thereof to the contrary, with which we are graciously pleased to
dispense in this behalf.' The Visitor in the Visitation of 1675 found
serious fault with Bury's management of the College property and
general laxity \ In the election of 1669, when there was a dispute
about the number of fellows on each foundation. Bury suspended five

• The following curious entries occur, Wood's Life ii. 18 '25 July 1664 about
II o'clock at night one Richard Kastlecke [i.e. Carslake] of Exeter Coll., bible
clerk, was killed over against Wilcokses the barber by the Star, by [? John] Turner
commoner of Wadham son of Sir Will. Turner, civilian. He held up his hand
at the next assizes and downe upon his knees for his life. By means of his father
Sir William Turner, Dr., his life was saved. Richard Karslak, pauper scholaris,
came to Exeter Coll. 6 Ap. 1661 ' [son of Richard, of Sidbury, Devon, matric.

Online LibraryExeter College (University of Oxford)Registrum Collegii exoniensis. Register of the rectors, fellows, and other members on the foundation of Exeter college, Oxford. With a history of the college and illustrative documents → online text (page 14 of 61)