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

. (page 4 of 61)
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 4 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

commorantibus Salutem gratiam et benedictionem. Literarum studia, que suorum
fcrtilitate fructuum quos producunt cultoribus agri dominici verbi dei seminaria
ministrare non cessant, quibus ad salutem universis consulitur, merito nos inducunt
ut studentium desideriis favorabiliter annuamus, dum id a nobis petitur, per quod
eorum devotioni prospicitur et divini numinis cultus recipit incrementum. Quamob-
rem fusis in hac parte nobis precibus inclinati ut infra septa domus vcstre memorate
le Stapeltonhalle vulgariter nuncupate oratorium seu capellam construere ct in
constructo seu constructa divina officia per proprium sacerdotem, cui de vite
necessariis teneamini congrue providere, alta voce vel submissa prout temporis
qualitas exegerit cclebranda, cum familiaribus vestris et hospitibus licentiam audire
vobis et successoribus vestris tenore presentium concedimus licentiam et liberam
facultatem. Ita tamen quod de oblationibus et aliis juribus sibi debitis et consuetis
ecclesie parochiali infra cujus parochiam vestra domus situatur paliatis prout jus
exigit integraliter responderi, quodque singuli capellani in hujusmodi oratorio seu
capella celebraturi in primo adventu eorundem de hujusmodi juribus ct oblationibus
. . Vicario seu . . Rectori ecclesie, in cujus parochia dicta domus ut premittitur
existit, fideliter persolvendis ad sancta dei evangelia in ijisius . . Rectoris vel . .
Vicarii presentia sacramcnlum prestent cori)orale, hac nostra conccssionc licentie
non obstante, jure dignitatc ct honorc ecclesie nostre Lincoln' in omnibus semper
salvis. In c. r. t. s. n. p. [In cujus rei testimonium sigillum nostrum prescnlilnisj est
appensum. Dat' ajiud Nevventon' juxta Lond" ix kal' Septembris anno domini
Millesimo ccc".xxj".


similarly turned into a Library. The early College libraries had their
sides facing east and west, the early morning light being so im-
portant ; later on, when early rising was not so much in fashion, they
faced north and south ^ Men were glad to read in the Library, where
there were many books, though chained to the desks, rather than in
their stuffy litde studies, where they had few or no books.

Besides the rectory of Gwincar, Stapeldon 12 April 1322 gave the
College the rectory of Long Wittcnham^ or West Wittcnham or

* Clark's Colleges 268, 428.

^ John bishop of Exeter, to Roger bishop of Sarum, reminding liim of the
appropriation of West Wittenham to the scholars of both dioceses studying at
Stapildon Hall, and asking him to favour the scholars' application to the Chapter
of Sarum. At Chuddelegh i Sep. 1328 (Grandisson's Reg., the Latin of this and
the next letter is printed in ed. i. p. xliii). Roger bishop of Sarum to John bishop
of Exeter. I discussed the matter with your predecessor but we could not agree
about it. We will talk it over in the Parliament summoned at Sarum. At
Remmesbirie Park 27 Sep. 1328. {cC\ John bishop of Winchester ' executor unicus ad
uniendam parochialem ecclesiam de West Wittenham, Sarum diocesis, scolaribus
domus de Stapeldonhall in arte dialectica studentibus ac presbitero in divinis
deservienti eisdem, pro uberiori sustentacione et augmento numeri scolarium dicte
domus, M. Roberto Hereward archidiacono Taunton.' We send you papal letters
for this union and give you authority to carry it out, 6 Dec. 1333. ijj) Robertus
Hereward archidiaconus Taunton M. Thome de Braunton cleiico nuncio nostro.
Give notice to the bishop and chapter of Sarum and archdeacon of Barrocschyre
and to M. Richard Pyn R. of West Wyttenham to appear before us at Wittenham
&c. 8 Dec. 1333. {c) Roberto Hereward Thomas de Braunton, I have given the
notices and I met R. Pyn in Oxford. There were present at Sarum and Wittenham
M. H. Tyvertone clerk of Exon diocese, Walter le Honte of the same diocese, and
at Oxford M. William de Hontyngdone Rector, and M. John Rotour clerk.
{d) M. Roberto Hereward decanus Abendon et Ricardus capellanus ecclesie de
West Wittenham, We have received your letter dated Oxon 17 Dec. 1333 about
the union &c. directing us to summon the rectors of Dudecot, Est Wittenham,
Hakebourne, North Morton, the Vicar of South Morton ; and Robert Lok, Thomas
de Montfort, Simon de Pauleseye, Thomas Stoyl, John Hakkere of the parish of
West Wittenham ; and John Moygne, John Brouns of Sutton, Thomas Payen of
Appleford to give information &c. We have therefore summoned Thomas R. of
Dudecote, Edmund de la Beche R. of Hakebourne, Richard V. of North Mortone,
Robert Lok &c., but John de Appelford R. of Suthmorton, Alexander Hemmyngeby
R. of Est Wittenham were not found at home. Abendon 21 Dec. 1333. {e) To
the sons of holy mother church John bishop of Wynton. Pope John xxii. sent
letters in the following form. Whereas Walter bishop of Exeter &c., We wish the
union &c., a suitable income being reserved to the Vicar. Avignon 8 Aug. in the
17th year of our pontificate. We have therefore after full enquiry carried out the
union. Farnham 31 Jan. 1333. (_/) To all &c. William de Cranthorne canon of
Exeter and official of John bishop of Exeter. Henry de Balrynton clerk, proctor
of the Rector and scholars of Stapeldon hall announced to us the appropriation of
West Witttnham to them. The tenor of their letter is as follows We appoint


Earl's Wittenham, in Berkshire, which he had obtained in 1320 from
Philip prior of Longueville-Giffard, a Cluniac monastery in the

M. Simon de Santfort canon of Criditon, William de Br[igge ?] succentor of Exeter,
Henry de Balryntone clerk our proctors &c., Oxon 14 Ap. 1343. We therefore
have had copies made of all the documents lest the originals should be lost. Done
in S. Mary Major church Exeter 2 May 1343, present M.Richard Byschoplegh and
M. Robert de Peyle rectors of Clofely and Bykelegh, M. John Godeman and
M. Walter de Blakebroun examiners of the Consistory at Exeter, John de Northcote
and Walter de Wyke advocates of the Consistory &c. And I John de Piltone
clerk public notary &c. (g) On 9 April 1355 ' in posteca ' of the parish church of
S. Mary at West Wyttenham or Earl's Wyttenham in presence of one John Nikelyer
of Bodmin notary public and of witnesses, Robert de Trethe^vy clerk of the diocese
of Exeter showed that he was proctor for the Rector and scholars of Stapeldon hall
and, after showing the Pope's letters &c., took corporal possession of the church,
now vacant by the death of Richard Pyn the late rector, and celebrated and offered
three silverpennies for John Cerceaux, John Fleming and Nicholas Sapy of Exeter
and Lincoln dioceses. Done in the presence of dominus Nicholas de Aston
presbiter, Thomas Mountfort, William Assedene, Thomas Martyn clerks ; William
Blake, John Horsham, Robert Peyntour, John Birri, and Robert Walke and
Thomas Taylour of Lincoln and Sarum dioceses, {k) On 4 May 1355 in the
hospice of M. John de Letch ofificial of the Court of Canterbury near the old
* piscariam ' London in presence of me Michael Hauville clerk notary public,
Robert de Trethewy clerk of the diocese of Exeter and proctor of the Rector and
scholars of Stapeldon hall appealed against an attempt of the Sarum officials to
take possession of the vacant church of Wittenham, who sent thither as chaplain
Nicholas Mountfortcs prest. Done [before] Richard Chude chaplain of the diocese
of Exeter and Richard de Drayton of the diocese of Ely clerks, (z) To the official
of the Court of Canterbury the Dean of Oxon. Your mandate of 12 May received
of this tenor. The official &c. to the Dean of Oxon and the Rector of Staunton
St. John's. You are to summon the Sarum officials to appear in the church of
S. Mary le Bow London on the second law day after Trinity. London 6 May
1355. I have therefore had them summoned through John Cergeaux clerk. Oxon,
2S May 1355. (J) To all &c. the official of Lincoln. There appeared before us
in Abyndon monastery Roger Cristemasse V. of S. Nicolas Abyndon, executor of
the late Richard Pyn R. of West Wittenham and stated that he had received from
William de Nassynton official of Sarum this letter. The official of Sarum to the
official of the Archdeacon of Berks, the Dean of Abyndon, the Rector of Dodecote,
the perpetual Vicar of S. Nicholas Abyndon, and John Berford lately chaplain of
Wittenham — you are to take into your hands the living and its profits &c. and cite
any that oppose to appear before us. Sarum 20 April 1355. We have added our
seal See, present dominus John de Stapeldon monk of Abyndon monastery and
John Bourtsyate clerk. And 1 Henry de Elsham notary public &c. (>(■) Robert
bishop of Sarum &c. We have seen the letters of Pope John XXII. and John
bishop of Winchester shown us by Robert de Trethewy proctor for the Rector and
Scholars of Stapeldon hall. We confirm the appropriation of West Wittenham,
reserving 3^ 4^/ a year to the bishop of Sarum for the profit he used to have during
vacancies, and 40^ to the Archdeacon of Berks, and 6s 8(/ to the Dean and Chapter
of Sarum for tlic same reason. We also order that tlie College shall within two
years elect two fellows from tiie diocese of Sarum and so on for over. Tlie Cliapter


diocese of Rouen, but difficulties were made and the College did not
get actual possession of it till 1355 and then only on condition that
henceforth two fellows should be elected from the diocese of Sarum.

Stapeldon's Statutes bear date 24 April 13 16 when they were
accepted by the Rector and Scholars. There were to be thirteen
Scholars, i. e. Fellows, — a mystic number which appears at several of
the Colleges. Twelve were to study philosophy ; the thirteenth was
to be a priest and chaplain studying scripture or canon law. Eight of
the twelve were to be from Devon, four from the Archdeaconry of
Cornwall, either born in the diocese or settled there. The Chaplain
was to be appointed by the Chapter of Exeter and, if he should be
declared unfit by two-thirds of the fellows, the Chapter was to appoint
another. He was to celebrate and say the services and manage the
choir. Candidates for fellowships were to be at least sophists, i.e.
students in arts. They were to 'determine as B.A.^' within six years;
to determine meant disputing in the schools the Lent following the
degree of Bachelor. Within four years of that time, or at least in
the summer term next after the end of four years, they had to
' incept' as M.A. Then they were to ' read,' i. e. lecture, two years ; and

house of Sarum i Aug. 1355. The consent of the Rector and Scholars is dated
Oxon 9 Aug. 1355. And we Edmond de la Beche archdeacon &c., Bradefeld
24 May 1 356. (De la Beche and John Polyng had helped to procure the confirma-
tion.) (/) Robert bishop of Sarum ordains thus. The Vicar of West Wittenham
is to have the * Aula ' with the chambers annexed belonging to the Rectory and the
open space on the east next to the ground of Richard le Skynnere extending in
length from the public road on the south to the garden of Robert Kempe on the
north, and in width 6 roods of i6| feet each; and further the open space near the
former on the west near the gardens of Robert Kempe and extending to the
Cemetery (so that the Vicar may construct a ' posticum ' or ' posterna ' for his
entry to the church), containing in width from Kempe's garden to the ground
remaining to the Rectory 4 roods less 3 feet ; and further 60 acres of arable,
2 acres of meadow, and pasture in ' le hurst ' ; and further a tithe of mills, lambs,
wool, calves, geese, flax, hemp, and oblacions — all in fact except the tithe of corn
and hay. The Vicar is to keep up the books, vestments &c., and pay procurations
sinodals &c., and a part of the tenth for Legates and Nuncios and voluntary
Subsidies. Sarum 20 July 1358. See Ashmole's Berkshire i. 69, iii. 385-6,
Clarke's Wantage 117, Peshall 47.

' The determining bachelors chose two collectors among themselves, who (i)
arranged them into groups, so that each bachelor might dispute twice at least,
(2) collected the fees. Determining ceased in Lent 1821 : see Ayliffe ii. 120,
Gutch ii. 225, 254, 270, 291; Wordsworth 217,317; Rawlinson MSS. class C.
no. 421 ful. 66 ; Cox 143, 22S ; Wood's Life ii. 5 ; W. W. Phelps' Life i. 337 rule
at Corpus; Clark i. 50-63, Reminiscences of Oxford {O. U.S.) 95.


after one year more vacate the fellowship within fifteen days. The
fellowships were therefore, at the outside, only tenable for rather less
than fourteen years. They also ceased as soon as a fellow inherited
or obtained sixty shillings a year, or any ecclesiastical benefice ; and
any one absenting himself five months in the year, or refusing to take
the office of Rector, also lost his fellowship. Bishop Fox, the
founder of Corpus, thought it sacrilege for a man to tarry any longer
at Oxford than he had a desire to profit. Besides this, the fellow-
ships in most Colleges were so poor, and the fellows were so crowded
together, two in a room, with one or two students on truckle beds
beside them, that they naturally left on any chance of promotion, and
hence the suc(;ession to fellowships w'as often rapid.

The Rector was elected at the beginning of October, after the
annual audit ; the previous Rector was re-eligible and was not seldom
re-elected once or twice. He was more like the Bursar than the
Rector of our days; he looked after the money and rooms and
servants but, if any two fellows demanded the removal of a servant,
the Rector was to appoint another in his place. He was Janitor,
as at most Colleges, and his rooms were over the Gateway.

Fellows were to be elected ' without regard to favor, fear, relation-
ship or love, the electors naming men apter to learn, better in character,
and poorer in means, or at least those who best come up to these
three conditions.' The fellows were bound to dispute twice a week,
but questions of natural science were to take the place of logic every
third time. While sophists or bachelors, the fellows were also to read
* abstracciones, obligaciones, cynthategrammeta \ circa signa (?), necnon
logicalia et naturalia'. Men were not educated in College. They lived
there, under proper discipline, and certain disputations took place
there, but the College tutor was as yet undreamt of, and education
was conducted by the Regent masters who lectured at the Schools.
Osney alone had 14 out of the 32 schools in School Street, Exeter 4.
All such schools were let out, when not wanted by the owners them-
selves. The statutes then relate mainly to domestic matters. They

' Perhaps syncategorcm.-ila, on which Robert or Rojjer liacon wrote; Gutcli
i. 344, Grey Friars 197, Nal. Bio<,'. ii. 374. The earliest existing copy of the
statutes is of much later date than Slai-eldun's lime ami the copyist lias miswritten
some words.


do not go into such minute detail as those of other Colleges, e.g. at
Queen's in 1340 the use of musical instruments is forbidden because
they lead to levity and distract men from their studies'.

Under Stapeldon's system, the Rector and other officers were
always young men. The fellowships, as in most colleges, were
distinctly given for the children of the poor, and the number of the
fellowships should have been increased as the revenues grew. But
the Colleges did not carry out their Founders' wishes in this matter.
In some it was ruled that personal property to any amount did
not vacate a fellowship, and livings were estimated at the old value in
the King's Books. And in most Schools and Colleges the richer
classes have appropriated what the Founders gave to the poor-
Students corresponding to servitors and battellars are now few, while
in 1 6 16 16 colleges educated between 400 and 500 poor students'^.

The regard paid to poverty brought forward some eminent men.
Such for instance was Walter Lihert, a miller's son from Lanteglos by
Fowey in Cornwall, who after being fellow of Exeter became bishop of
Norwich and built the sculptured roof of the Cathedral ; he supported
in his troubles Reginald Pecock the author of 'The Repressor of
over much blaming of the clergy,' whom he had probably known in
his undergraduate days, when Reginald taught in one of the schools
in School Street belonging to Exeter College ^ Similarly long after-
wards John Prideaux, Rector 161 2, used to say ' If I could have been
parish clerk of Ubber (Ugborough), I should never have been bishop
of Worcester '; on his faihng to become parish clerk, he had been
advised to come as a poor scholar to the University. Benjamin
Kennicott was master of a charity school at Totnes till by the
assistance of some friends he was able to enter the University where

^ Stapeldon's statutes were printed (with those of Sir W. Petre) in 1855 for the
use of the Royal Commissioners. They were printed afresh from the MS. in
Hingeston-Randolph's Register of Walter de Stapeldon 1S92 p. 303, together with
his two later ordinances — these last somewhat abridged from what I printed in
ed. i. p. xl.

^ Gutch Coll. Curiosa i. 196, Burrows 159, Heywood 14. Reg. 16 July 1656
' constitutum est ne numerus pauperum scholarium deinceps excedat viginti, ac
praesentem eorundem numerum minuendum esse donee eo deventum fuerit; et
interea temporis neminem in conditionem pauperis scholaris admittendum esse.'

^ Autumn 141S ' xj a M. Regenaldo Pecok pro pensione scolarum suarum pro
anno prcterito,' Tanner 583.



he became a distinguished Hebrew scholar. Still later William
Gifford, after being a cabin boy on board a coasting vessel and then
at the age of 15 an apprentice to a shoemaker at Ashburton, was
helped to go to Exeter College by Mr. Cookesley a local surgeon and
gained a bible clerkship. This assisted him to complete the education
which gave him a leading position in the literary and political world.
He remembered his own rise in life and founded two Gifford exhi-
bitions at Exeter College for poor boys from Ashburton school.
There was some narrowness in the old system, but the way to rise
was not closed to the poor, and the Universities had the character of
popular bodies in which learning and study were recommendations.

The Universities were a kind of High School, more like the Scotch
universities at present. The education given was practical and suited
to the wants of the country. Latin was necessary at a time when even
the accounts of a manor were kept in that tongue ; it was the common
language of Europe and almost the sole language of literature, since
the vernacular tongues were as yet very imperfectly developed. The
number of boys or men at this High School was large, and the
chance of advancement was considerable. There was therefore as
keen an ambition among the small landowners to send one of their
sons to the University as there is now in Ireland to send a boy to
Maynooth. The number of ordinations in the Bishops' Registers is
very large. In Stapeldon's first ordination, 21 Dec. 1308 at Crediton,
he ordained 1,005 persons, viz.: 155 subdeacons, 77 deacons, 15
priests, beneficed clergy 42 (30 as accolites, the rest subdeacons,
deacons, or priests); 273 received the first tonsure, and there were
443 accolites. All the names are given. Mediaeval wills show that
almost every man whose circumstances made a will necessary had
sons or near kinsmen in orders. Livings are often given to mere
boys, who then have leave of absence for some years to study at the
University. Dispensations are often necessary on account of illegiti-
mate birth ; some of them may be due to the extension of the degrees
within which marriage was prohibited to as distant relationships as that
of fourth cousins ; while the births from ' a priest and an unmarried
woman ' may represent what were really half-allowed marriages of the
clergy (Collier a. 1128, 12 15, &c.). Of grown-up students there were
probably never so many as at present. The boys were brought up by


carriers, who had a regular route, which they took every year, about the
beginning of October, when the University year commenced ; and this
journey only cost 5^/ a day for each boy, and perhaps not more than
^d for the very poor. The boys could not go home so often as now,
but had lectures in the Long Vacation on natural science. The rent
of a room was about 2^ 6d a term. INIany of the students walked
both ways. In modern times we hear of Thomas Carlylc walking 100
miles to Edinburgh. The Universities were Liberal in the Middle
Ages, now they are largely Tory ; the reason is that then most of the
students were poor, now they mostly belong to the well-to-do
classes. As to the age of taking the degree, Cavendish ed. Singer
1827 p. 66 says that Wolsey taking his B.A. at 15 was a rare thing
and seldom seen.

Owing to this general poverty a number of c/ies/s were founded in
the University for making loans to poor students. The money was
lent on security of books, plate, or other property ; it was, in fact, a
pawnbroking business which charged no interest. Thus in 131 6
Ralph Germeyn founded a chest of £10 for making loans to poor
scholars in the College ; Masters of Arts might borrow a pound,
Bachelors a mark (13J 4^, and Sophisters half a mark, provided that
they deposited pledges of greater value. The College was also
allowed to borrow for its corporate needs. But all loans had to be
repaid within 12 months. Some years afterwards Richard Grenfield
founded a similar chest ^ ; and Robert Rygge did the same towards
the end of the century. In 1589 we hear of Bosisto, Helme and
Eveleighe being appointed ' Keepers of the Germin Chest.'

We have occasionally a mention of the books that were studied.
Thus Henry Whitefield, a former fellow, left the College money to
buy books, with which ' Burley on the Ethics, on the Topics, and on

* See a. 1362; computus autumn 151 1, Reg. 1645; Anstey pp. xxxvi-xliii and
index; Gutch i. 374 a theft from S. Frideswide's chest; Merton Statutes p. 56
chests of Thomas Bodley and William Read ; New College Statutes p. 86 ; All
Souls Statutes p. 51. MuUinger 347, Ashley 203, Turner p. xix, Huber i. 169,
Floras Historiaru7n i. p. xxi, Boase's Oxford 26, 79, 150. Germeyn was arch-
deacon of Barnstaple, then precentor of Exeter 1308, Stapeldon's Reg. 164, 210:
Oliver's Bishops 50. Grenfield, 2 son of Sir Bartholomew, was 1^. of Kilkhampton
1308-24, Bytton's Reg. 426, Stapeldon's Reg. 168,226, 385 — had leave of absence
from his living (then M.A.) 3 Feb. 132J, and see 21 May 1324. The College
kept his obit.

d 2


Logic ' were bought and chained to desks in the Library. The two
former cost i4d and i^d respectively for their binding. In summer
1389 £4 were given for the Problems of Aristotle and five marks for
Boicius (Boethius) de Disciplina Scolarum and de Consolacione
Philosophiae, and 2od for the stationer's services; while in winter
1445 fourteen pence were paid for repairs to a Concordance and to
Boethius, and sevenpence for repairs to the book called Catholicon^.
We also hear of the Liber Decretorum and the ' Sextum ' and other
law books, and even more frequently of medical books. Tullius in
Rethorica occurs Lent 1391, a Corpus Juris Civilis winter 1375, the
Clementines a. 1372, Gorham super Lucam Lent 141 7, and autumn
1445. Other books mentioned are the Destructorium Viciorum'^, or
Liber definitorius Viciorum, a Liber de Profetis, Liber de Proprie-
tatibus ^, Liber de nomine Jhu ; the names of many other books are
quoted further on. The Library still possesses a splendid copy of
Hugo de Vienna (d. 1263) in 18 volumes, given i Jan. i4f|- by
Roger Keys *. A curse is inserted at the beginning on any who shall

^ The Catholicon of friar Johannes Balbus Januensis was printed at Mainz 1460.
(Joannis) ' Balbi de Janua Summa quae vocatur Catholicon, sive Grammatica at
Lexicon Linguae Latinae,' 2 vols, in 1 folio. Letters from Bodleian ii. 84, Tanner
118, supra p. V, Coxe no. iii. There were 4 stationers Gutch i. 441, Wood's Cify,
i. 72, 139 &c., Anstey 52, 148-52, 176, 233, 253, 383, Ayliffe ii. 181, Hallam Lii.
Eur. i. 243 ; A. Kirchhoff, Die Handschnftenhdndler des Mittelaltc7-s td. 2, 1853.
The Ex. Coll. MS. no. 28 is Whatley's Commentary on (Pseudo-)Boethius de
Disciplina Scolarum, perhaps by Thomas de Cantompre, from which Twyne made
an excerpt on the behaviour of bachelors about to incept.

^ See Waters' Geneal. of the Chestcrs p. 64. Coxe no. vii. Winter 1452
' \\s y\\\d a M. Johanne Eggecomb ex dono pro copia libri vocati Destructorium

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 4 of 61)