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 18 of 61)
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copy. That of Rector Cole by John Opie the Cornish artist is an
original and good.

In 1833 sermons were delivered in the Chapel every Sunday
evening for the first time, the duty being undertaken by Richards the
subrector, and Sewell. In 1871 the Visitor ratified a shortening of
the week day service in the Chapel. A musical service has been
added on Sundays, Saints' Days, and Eves, and the Organist Scholar-
ships have brought forward several men of mark.

There have been disputes at different times about the respective
rights of the Colleges and the City of Oxford. In 1843 the City
of Oxford endeavoured to rate the Colleges to the Poor Rate and
tried the case with Exeter College. A parishioner of S. Michael's
was found to object to the rate, on the ground that Exeter College
was not rated. The rate was referred to the Recorder to be
amended, and he placed the College on the Rate Book. A distress
was levied and some College plate taken. The College brought an
action of trespass, and the issue was tried at the Summer Assizes, but
a verdict was given for the College on three points, (i) That the
Recorder had no jurisdiction under the Local Act which regulated the
Poor Rate in Oxford; (2) That the Rector's lodgings should have
been rated separately from the College ; {3) That the old foundation
of Exeter College is not in the parish of S. Michael's (see Jackson's
Oxford Journal 20 July 1844). The city was therefore nonsuited;

' Gutch iii. 113. There are few Colleges, except Christ Church, that possess
many original portraits. See list of our portraits p. 274.


but the University felt that the exemption from the Poor Rate was
unfair, and a friendly arrangement was come to on the question.

In 1846 the College settled a suit with the City about some ground
lying on the south side of the old City wall and extending from the
Turl to the wall that divides the College from the Theatre court, about
18 poles in length, and running from north to south about 3 poles
from the City wall to the ancient part of the College (except a bit of
ground called ' The Mount with the two studies,' a part of the free-
hold conveyed by the City to the College about 1780 and known as
Mr. Alderman Wright's house in Prideaux buildings ; this excepted
piece may have been that on which two rooms stood, one above and
one below, which adjoined the north side of the Rector's lodgings and
the south side of Prideaux buildings, uniting the two). The buildings
on that site at this time were a considerable portion of the Rector's
lodgings, nearly the whole of the north aisle of the Chapel and about
nine sets of rooms west of the Chapel. The City stated that the
ground in question was leased to the College for 99 years from 1622 ;
that this lease was surrendered 1682 and a fresh lease taken of 99
years from that date, and the City contended that from 1781 the
College were tenants at will at a quit rent of £1, as it was doubtful if
there was any subsequent transaction. The College now agreed to
pay £2000 to the City for a conveyance in fee of the property, the
£ I quit rent and any other acknowledgment to cease ; the City was
further to grant a new lease for the strip out of the street extending
along the whole of the west and part of the south front of the College
and held under the City for 1000 years from 1698-9. The fine and
fees in 1682 were paid by Mr. Alderman Wright, and this may
account for the absence of such a charge from the Rector's Computus
of that year ; it is explained in some degree by the fact that Alderman
Wright obtained at this time a new lease of Rector Prideaux' house of
North Hall by some arrangement with the College, for which the pay-
ment of the fine and fees may have been a consideration. The lease
of 1682 and that for the 1000 years were however not to be found in
the College archives (see Reg. 1741 ^), and there was great difficulty

* Reg. 6 June 1741 new lease from Mayor and Bailiff of Oxford (see Reg.
1843), 28 June fine of /C12 from them: 10 May 1832 arrangement about the
ground on the Broad Street frontage (see 1839).


about the whole matter. See Reg. pp. 99, 137. In 1849 the College
bought of the City the fee of the site and buildings in Broad Street,
heretofore held under lease, for £2100.

In 1848 the servants were all urged by the Rector to insure their lives
and distinctly informed that, if they neglected to do so, no provision
would be made by the College for them or their families. Nearly all
insured their lives in sums varying from £200 to £500 (Reg. p. 149).

We may here put together a number of detached occurrences. On
9 July 1745 the Rector was allowed to invest £800, taten from the
Common Chest, ' collybo vel trapezitis vel alicui alii mensae publicae
nummariae,' so long had the old custom lasted of keeping money
unemployed. At the same time it was proposed, and carried 8 Nov.
(Bray dissenting) to sell part of the garden near the RadclifFe Library
to the University. Few parts of Oxford have been more altered in
their appearance than those which now form the Radcliffe Square.
In 182 1 Leadenhall was sold to Jesus College for £400. •

On 2 Dec. 1788 a sum of five guineas annually was voted to
Dr. Holmes for collating manuscripts of the Septuagint.

In 1793, 16 Colleges employed Bolton of Witney as brewer, as the
Oxford brewers had raised the price per barrel from 30J to 32^- by
a combination: only three Colleges brewed for themselves, Merton,
Queen's, and S. John's.

In 1794 the College gave £50 towards the Home Defence of the
country. The Funds were so low that in 1797 the College bought
£1000 consols at 50 J per cent., thus giving only £503 15^, including
commission of £1 ^s.

On II Ap. 1 81 8 £100 was voted to the Public Fund for building
churches and chapels.

But who will give us a history of the social changes during this
century', and tell us how constitutionals came in, just before Arnold's
time, and have since been largely superseded by athletics; how the
change of the dinner hour from 5 to 7 made afternoon teas a necessity
and, more generally, how the habit of rising later and going to bed
later has altered so many things in our daily life. This change

' Wordsworth 170 constitutionals, 180 and 365 bowls, 177 football, 408 and
172 reading-parties, 548 lecture-rooms, 510 (and Burgon 4) gutters (see Boswell's
Johnson ed. 1887 v- 22, 268, Clark i. 157, Boase's Oxford ^% 193)-


brought in Sunday evening services', though the clergy at first
opposed them as Methodistical. But the Evangelicals, as usual, led
the way in this movement. Bowls used to be played in the College
gardens after dinner, from 7 to 9 in the summer evenings ; but, w'hen
the dinner hour moved on to 7, it was too late to play, as it got
dark and the dew began to fall. For the same reason the custom of
taking a walk in the summer evening has ceased. All games have
altered. Football, which in Laud's time was played in the streets,
and was therefore forbidden, has now reached a dignity which
assimilates it to the tournaments of the Middle Ages. And Golf has
conquered England as well as Scotland, and become a fanaticism.
Cricket was always played, but was not such an institution or such
a show as at present. The poet says truly : —

Then cricket rules the noontide hours.

And maidens in and out of teens
Peruse each other's lace and flowers,

And wonder what on earth it means.

But the maidens now know all about cricket, and Miss K. Gent
reports^ that it is sometimes played at the Ladies' Halls. The
benighted Londoner who thinks these Halls are frequented by long
rows of pale heavy-eyed girls bending over books on a lovely summer
afternoon, would be astonished to see the energy and animation which
they devote to all sorts of games on the lawn.

The way in which men dressed in Keble's and Arnold's time now
seems strange to us ^.

The order of gentlemen-commoners* has disappeared. They
dined at High Table with the fellows, and only attended such lectures
as they liked. For these privileges they paid somewhat higher fees ;
and often bequeathed their silver tankards when they left to the
College, or requested that their caution-money might be laid out in
tankards for the use of the Hall ; and some tankards still preserve
their names. They at last objected to the fees, and were abolished.
But the system suited some men who came up at a more advanced
age, and wished to reside for a time at the University.

* Overton, The English Chw-ch in the Nineteenth Century 141.
- Wells, Oxford and Oxford Life 160.

^ Burgon's Twelve Good Men 200.

* Wordsworth 646, 6S0.


With the coming in of the Examination system, reading ceased to be
contemptible, the Scholars of a College were no longer looked down
on by the Commoners, and the greater facility of travel made reading-
parties common, commoner at one time than they are now. In
olden days tutors taught their classes in their own rooms, now every
College has lecture-rooms. Of course, as soon as the system of
inter-collegiate lecturing came in, more space was required. And
now there are not a few lady-students. The men's rooms too now
boast sometimes of sofas and easy chairs, comforts unknown to the
primitive age. The Indoor has grown with the growth of the Outdoor
life. The sanded floors and spittoons of the common rooms gave way
to carpets in the early part of this century. Dr. Lightfoot told us that,
when it was first proposed to have a carpet, the then senior Fellow
put his back against the door and said, ' Gentlemen, if you will intro-
duce such a monstrous luxury, I will never enter this room again.'
And he never did. One great modern improvement is the abundance
of artificial light for reading in the evenings. Men once had not
the genial inspiration of good candle-light or lamplight. The quite
modern institution of tubbing in the mornings made it necessary to
lay water on every floor of every staircase. The paving and lighting
of the streets has been a great benefit. In 1770 there was no pave-
ment in the High except before S. Mary's. The streets were paved
with small pebbles, a depressed gutter ran down the middle of
each street to collect the rain, and it was difficult to avoid being
splashed with the filthy mud. Johnson used to stand astride over
these kennels wrapt in meditation. It was the Commissioners' Act of
1 77 1 that enabled some active-minded men in the University and
City to effect valuable changes.

It is difficult to collect information about College Clubs. There
was a Debating Society at Exeter in 1793 (Wordsworth 587). Sewell
founded a Moral Philosophy Society that had some vogue. About
1839-41 there was a good Essay Club in Exeter, of which Powles,
King, Morton, Langhorne, Northcote, Cowburn, Crosse, and Ewart
were members. Powles published an Essay on Greek Banquets, and
R. J. King two Essays, ' On the Supernatural Beings of the Middle
Ages,' and ' On the origin of the Romance Literature of the xii and
xiii centuries, chiefly with a reference to its Mythology.' Ernest


Hawkins was connected with the Oxford Club of Uio Ram/'hrs, wliich
was kept up in London at his rooms in Vernon Place under the title of
the P'ernon (C. H. O. Daniel, Our Memories, 89).

I\rost Colleges have their debating club, Exeter has its Stapeldon
Club, which also acts as a committee of the Junior Common Room.
Not to speak of Shakespeare clubs and chess clubs, the Musical Society
is of repute, even beyond our College walls, as are also the Dialectical
Society and Theological Seminar. These Societies and Seminars
take the place of the mediaeval Dispidaliones in Aula. Not that they
are descended from them, but that similar needs produce similar
institutions. For there is something in the collision of intellects, in
the living sparks struck out in conversation and discussion, that
supplies a stimulus not given by merely reading books; and the
recluse student misses a good deal by not mingling with his equals,
and hearing their objections and opposing views. Almost more than
anything else, this tends to clear up a man's mind and, even if he
does not succeed in convincing his opponents, he often succeeds in
gaining some access to fresh vistas of thought.

But Oxford has a social as well as an intellectual side, and athletics
take a very leading place \ Mark Patdson once said, as he was walking
round the Parks, that the main business of the University consisted in
cricket and croquet, varied, occasionally, by a little reading and writing.
Exeter College was the first to start an athletic gathering ; some even
ventured to say, the first in the world, since the Olympic Games.
The following is an authentic account ^ 'The year was 1850. It was
the evening after the College Steeplechase (vulgarly called the College
Grind). Some four or five congenial spirits were sipping their wine
in the rooms of R. F. Bowles (brother to John Bowles, the well-known
coursing squire, of Milton Hill). Besides the host there were James
Aitken, George Russell (now Sir George Russell, of Swallowfield),
Marcus Southwell, and Halifax Wyatt. The topic was the event of
the day, and the unsatisfactory process of negotiating a country on
Oxford hacks. " Sooner than ride such a brute again," said W}'att,

^ See the amusing article in the Revue des Deux Mondes Feb. 1S94, p. 882,
L'Education en Angleterre. — Education Physique et Morale.

'^ Shearman's Athletics and Football (Badminton Library 1887), p. 41 ; see the
first programme, p. 45; and short memoirs of the leading men, pji. 43-6.



whose horse had landed into a road on his head instead of his legs,
" I 'd run across two miles of country on foot." " Well, why not ?" said
the others, " let 's have a College foot grind ; " and so it was agreed.
Bowles, who always had a sneaking love for racing — born and bred
as he was near the training grounds on the Berkshire Downs —
suggested a race or two on the flat as well. Again the party agreed.
The conditions were drawn up, stakes named, officials appointed, and
the first meeting for Athletic Sports inaugurated. On the first afternoon
there was to be a chase, two miles across country, twenty-four jumps,
£i entry, los forfeit; and on a subsequent afternoon, a quarter of
a mile on the flat, 300 yards, 100 yards, 140 yards over ten flights of
hurdles 10 yards apart, one mile, and some other stakes for "beaten
horses," open to members of Exeter College only. Notice of the
meeting, with a list of the stakes, was posted in the usual place —
a black board in the porter's lodge. Plenty of entries were made, in
no stake less than ten ; for the steeplechase there were twenty-four
who started.

' The course chosen was on a flat marshy farm at Binsey, near the
Seven Bridge Road ; it was very wet, some fields swimming in water,
the brooks bank high, and a soft take-off, which meant certain
immersion for most, if not all, the competitors. Twenty-four went
to the post, not twenty-four hard-conditioned athletes in running
toggery, but twenty-four strong active youngsters in cricket shoes and
flannels, some in fair condition, some very much the reverse, but all
determined to do or die. Plenty of folk on horse and foot came to
see this novelty, for in modern as in ancient Athens men were always
on the look out for some new thing ; and in this instance, judging
from the excitement and the encouragement given to the competitors,
the novelty was much appreciated.

' As about half of the twenty-four starters left the post as if they were
only going to run a few hundred yards, they were necessarily soon
done with. Aitken, gradually coming through all these, had the best
of the race until one field from home, where Wyatt and J. Scott, who
had been gradually creeping up, ran level. They jumped the last
fence together. Wyatt, who landed on firmer ground, was quickest
on his legs, and ran in a comparatively easy winner. There was
a tremendous struggle for the second place, which was just obtained


by Ailken. The time, according to the present notion of running,
must no doubt have been slow, but the ground was deep, the fences
big, and all the competitors were heavily handicapped by wet flannels
bedraggling their legs.

' Of the flat races, which were held in Port Meadow^, on unlevelled
turf, no authentic record has been preserved of all the events. The
hurdle-race was won by E. Knight, R. F. Bowles being second.
The I CO yards by Wyatt, and he also won one or two of the other
shorter races ; but for the mile he had to carry some pounds of shot
in an old-fashioned shot-belt round his loins, and was second to
Aitken, who won. Listen to this, ye handicappers of the present day !

'In 1851 Exeter followed up the autumn meeting of 1850 with
a summer meeting on Bullingdon, and we think that both a high and
broad jump were introduced in the programme. Lincoln was the
next to take up the idea, then a college in Cambridge in 1855.
Balliol, Wadham, Pembroke and Worcester followed the example in
1856, Oriel 1857, Merton 1858, Christ Church 1859, and in 1861
separate college meetings had become general. At the close of i860
the Oxford University Sports, open to all undergraduates, owed their
foundation to the exertions of the Rev, Edwin Arkwright of Merton.
After this, the thing went like wildfire, spreading simultaneously on
every side ; but after colleges and schools, we believe that the Civil
Service was the first association formed for the promotion of Athletic
Sports, in 1864.'

Exeter was the third club to have a cricket ground of its own.
Brasenose and the Bullingdon club had grounds in 1835, and Exeter
in 1844.

It may be interesting also to give a brief summary of the boat races,
for the latter part of which I am indebted to Falconer Madan Esq.

In 1824 Exeter was at the head of the river in the famous White
Boat, of which there is a picture. The boats at that time were
crowded into Iffley Lock and got away in regular order, thus allowing
each in turn a considerable start. There were only three boats on
the river that year, Christ Church, Brasenose and Exeter. Exeter
bumped Brasenose the first night, and then Christ Church took off.
The crew were J. T. Wareing, W. D. Dick, S. Parr, Douglas (? Thomas
Douglass), J. C. Cluttevbuck (fellow 1822), J. G. Cole (fellow 1S25).


Roger Pocklington, stroke H. E. Bultccl (fellow 1823). The
coxswain was Joe Pocklington (who took the name of Sonhousc).
Outriggers were not yet invented, and the men rowed in tall hats ^
The stroke's son and coxswain's son were both afterwards strokes
of the University Eight. The original stroke was Henry IMoresby,
but he was displaced. He came from Plymouth and persuaded them
to let him get a boat built there. It was brought round by sea to
Southampton, and old Davis at Oxford arranged for bringing it up on
a carriage, supposed to be the first time a boat travelled by land.
When that genial old geologist, so well known in Torquay, Edward
Vivian, was up at a Gaudy some years ago, and went in to see the
junior Common Room, he looked up at the picture of the White Boat
and said, ' Ah ! that was the year I matriculated.' The men crowded
round him as if he was a survival from prehistoric times, and he
had to tell the whole story. He told them too that when he and
William Pengelly explored Kent's Cavern, the Torquay book club
expelled him, geology being then looked on as heretical ^.

Beginning with 1837, Exeter has been at the head of the river thirty-
seven days, viz.: during all 1838 (6 times), all 1857 (8), all 1858 (8),
1859 (i), 1882 (2), all 1883 (6), all 1884 (6), keeping her place once
during three years, and again during two. In the Torpids, beginning
with 1852, she was at the head fifty-nine days, viz.: 1854 (2), all
1855 (6), all 1856 (6), all 1857 (6), 1858 (4), 1859 (4), all i860 (6),
1863 (2), all 1864 (6), all 1865 (6), 1866 (5), all 1868 (6). In
number of days (59) she is second only to Brasenose (103), but who
can match Brasenose ? There is a tradition that whenever the great
chesnut tree in Exeter garden stretches out its boughs so as to touch
Brasenose, Brasenose is fated that year to lose her place on the river ;
this happened in 1892, but usually her oarsmen have 'gained the
weathergage of fate.' The Exeter colours are : Jersey, white trimmed
with magenta ; Jacket, magenta trimmed with black ; Hat, black straw
with magenta ribbon.

The 5th of November seldom troubles the present authorities, but
it was not so in 1843. Some of the men who had bought oxitlosives
which they could not let off on the regular day stored them up until

' Wordsworth 174, 176.

2 Vivian d. 30 Mcli 1893, Pengelly d. 17 Mch 1S94.


tlie I 2th, when they exploded two small barrels of them in the quad
at 2 in the morning, causing some damage and a noise that was
heard far over Oxford. The * dons ' failed to discover the culprits.
One of the conspirators, George Seton, now a Scotch advocate, famed
for heraldic and genealogical lore, published (in London) ' The
College Lark ' in three cantos, now a very rare work. Another of the
conspirators was E. H. Kittoe, V. of Boldmere, Birmingham (just
dead, 22 Feb. 1894).

The Library contains about 40,000 printed books, and 184 manu-
scripts. Among the latter are two parchment Latin Psalters, finely
gilded and illuminated. One is unique, in that it was the family bible
of the Lancastrian and Tudor Houses \ From the joint occurrence
of the Royal arms and those of Bohun, and the words Donmte salvum
fac Hunfridum servum luum in a collect at the end, it was probably
written for Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, grandson of
Edward I, who died 1361 ; and its probable date is about the time of
the battle of Crecy, 1346. It may have passed to the royal family
through his grandniece Mary, who married Henry IV in 1380 and
died 1394. Her sister Eleanor married Edward Ill's son, Thomas of
Woodstock, after 1374. It seems specially to have belonged to the
Queens, for on the first leaf we have This boke ys myn Elysaheth ye
qwene ; and below T/iis hoke is vyn Kaiherine the qwene, i. e. Elizabeth
of York and Catherine of Aragon : and it may have been the book
from which the royal children learnt their Latin.

In the Calendar are births, deaths and marriages of the royal family
up to the time of Henry VIII, and no doubt it passed to Ehzabeth,
who gave it to Sir William Petre, and he gave it to the College which
he had refounded. It is the sole source for the date of the birth of
Henry VII, i.e. 28 Jan. i45y, * ^he noble king Harry the vii was borne
festo Agnetis secundo^ a. d. 1456, and wedded queen Elisabeth festo
Sancte Prisce virginis [i.e. 18 Jan.] a.d. 1485, after the compteng of
England.' The initial letters give the Biblical History of Genesis
and Exodus, and at the end many figures of Saints. Folio 34 is

* Coxe, no. 47, p. 17; F. Madan, Books in Manuscript, 1893, p. no.
- It is true that Bernard Andre {^Vita HcnHci VII, Rolls Series) meant to give
tliis date, but the MS. is so confused that the editor could not make it out.


a beautifully coloured double page, wilh two large and several small
medallion pictures, and in the left hand margin musical instruments \
dulcimer, rebeck, recorder, &c. At the end of the book is a metrical
version of the Commandments —

i Love God aboven alle thing ii Swere nat fals nor in vayn bi hym.

iii Kepe the holy dayes devoutely iiii Obeye thy fadirs reverently.

V Slee noo man bi worde nor dede vi Bere noo false witnesse I the reed,
vii Steel nat but paye thi detts truely viii Doe thou never noo lychery.
ix Thyn neyboures spouse or goods worldly desire nat in hert consentengly.

The other Psalter^, written more towards the end of the 14th century,
has a series of very fine Initial Letters, of English work (the Calendar
too contains English Saints, e. g. S. Swithin), and several large
illuminations. One of them represents David dancing before the
Ark, while Michal is pointing her finger at him in scorn from the
balcony of a fortress, just by the portcullis. Another shows Absalom
caught in a tree, and Joab in the garb of a medieval knight is running
him through with a lance. On Joab's golden shield is a black lion
rampant. Below, David, seated on an uncomfortable looking gate, is
tearing his hair as the messenger brings him the news. The first

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 18 of 61)