« PreviousContinue »
CHAP. II. antiquarians like Fuller, when the sceptical demanded evidence respecting charters granted by King Arthur and Cadwallader, and rules given by Sergius and Honorius, gravely to assert that such documents had once existed but had perished in the various conflagrations'.
Another and not infrequent source of disquiet to both
It will not be necessary further to illustrate the presence Cambridge. of those disturbing elements in which Cambridge shared. scarcely less than Paris itself; the mingled good and evil resulting from the influence of the Mendicants were also equally her heritage. It is however to be noted, that while at Paris the Dominicans obtained the ascendancy, The Francis- throughout England the Franciscans were the more numerous and influential body. At Cambridge, as early as 1224, the latter had established themselves in the Old Synagogue*, and fifty years later had erected on the present site of Sidney a spacious edifice, which Ascham long afterwards
1. We have but one true and sad answer to return to all their questions," They are burnt." (Fuller, Hist. of the Univ. p. 84). These forgeries are given in MSS. Hare, I 1-3. What opinion Hare himself had of their genuineness he has not left on record. Baker was perhaps
the first of our antiquarians to perceive their real value. The absurd anachronisms they contain are pointed out by Dyer, Privileges, 1 397–416.
2 Cantabrigiæ primo receperunt fratres burgenses villæ, assignantes eis veterum synagogam quæ erat contigua carceri. Cum vero intole
described as an ornament to the university, and the pre- CHAP. II. cincts of which were still, in the time of Fuller, to be traced in the college grounds. In 1274 the Dominicans settled The Dominiwhere Emmanuel now stands. About the middle of the century, the Carmelites, who had originally occupied an The Carmelextensive foundation at Newnham, but were driven from thence by the winter inundations, settled near the present site of Queens'; towards the close of the century, the Augustinian Friars, the fourth mendicant order, took up The Augustitheir residence near the site of the old Botanic Gardens; opposite to Peterhouse were the White Canons; Jesus was represented by the nunnery of St. Rhadegund, a Benedictine foundation; St. John's College by the Hospital of the Brethren of St. John; while overshadowing all the rest in wealth and importance there rose in the immediate neigh- The Augustibourhood the priory of the Augustinian Canons at Barnwell. at Barnwell. Outline of the zation of the
The general organisation of both Oxford and Cambridge was, as we have already seen, modelled on that of Paris, and it will here be well to point out what appear to have been the main outlines of that organization in the period when the colleges either did not exist or exercised no appreciable influence on the university at large. It is to be remembered that at a time when the Latin tongue was the medium of communication between most educated men, the vehicle of pulpit oratory and of formal instruction, the language of nearly all recognised literature, a knowledge of it was as essential to a student entering upon a prescribed course of academic study, as would be the ability to read and write his mother tongue in the present day. Though therefore the term grammatica, as the first stage of the Trivium, denoted an acquaintance with the Latin language generally, it was customary in the earliest times to delegate to a nonacademic functionary the instruction of youth in the elements of the language. Such, if we adopt the best supported con
rabilis esset vicinia carceris fratribus, quod eundem ingressum habebant carcerarii et fratres, dedit dominus Rex decem marcas ad emendum reditum quod satis fieret saccario suo
pro reditu area, et sic ædificabant fra-
Function of the Magister Glomeric.
CHAP. II. jecture, was the function of the Magister Glomeriæ, an officer whose duties have been the subject of considerable controversy among those who have occupied themselves with the antiquities of our university. It is not necessary to infer that the instruction given by the Magister extended beyond the merest rudiments,-an excerpt probably from the text of Priscian, whose treatise formed the groundwork of the lecture to the university student. The Trivium and Quadrivium formed the ordinary course of study, culminating as it was theoretically assumed in theology, but often abandoned on the completion of the Trivium, (which represented the undergraduate course of study,) for the superior attractions of the civil and canon law.
If we now proceed to consider the formal organization of the university, we shall scarcely be able to offer a more succinct and lucid outline than that contained in the following extract from the treatise by dean Peacock, an account resting entirely on the unquestionable data afforded by the Statuta Antiqua1.
The university of Cambridge, in the Middle Ages, 'conPeacock of sisted of a chancellor, and of the two houses of regents and constitution non-regents. The chancellor was chosen biennially by the Cambridge regents, and might, upon extraordinary occasions, be continued in office for a third year. He summoned convocations or
1 The body of Statutes from which dean Peacock's outline is derived is not arranged in order of time, and the dates are, as he himself observes, 'in some cases uncertain to the extent of nearly a century.' 'It is not surprising therefore,' he adds, "that they should present enactments which are sometimes contradictory to each other, when we are thus deprived of the means of distinguishing the law repealed, from that by which it was replaced. In the midst however of the confusion and obscurity which necessarily arise from this cause, we experience no difficulty in recognising the permanent and more striking features of the constitution of the university, and the principles of its administration; and though the great
increase of the number of colleges, the changes of the government, and the reformation of religion, necessarily produced great changes in the condition, character, and views, of the great body of students, and in the relation of teachers to those who were taught, yet we can discover no attempt to disturb the distribution of the powers exercised by the chancellor and the houses of regents and non-regents, or even to change materially the customary methods of teaching, or the forms and periods of graduation.' Observations, pp. 26, 27.
2 Regere like legere (see p. 74) was to teach the regents were those engaged in teaching, the non-regents those who had exercised that function but no longer continued to do so.
congregations of regents upon all occasions of the solemn CHAP. II. resumption or reception of the regency, and likewise of both houses of regents and non-regents to consult concerning affairs affecting the common utility, public quiet, and general interests of the university. No graces, as the name in some degree implies, could be proposed or passed without his assent. He presided in his own court, to hear and decide all Authority of causes in which a scholar was concerned, unless facti atrocitas cellor. vel publicæ quietis perturbatio required the assent or cognizance of the public magistrates or justices of the realm. He was not allowed to be absent from the university for more than one month during the continuance of the readings of the masters: and though a vice-chancellor, or president, might be appointed by the regents from year to year, to relieve him from some portion of his duties, yet he was not allowed to intrust to him the cognizance of the causes of the regents or non-regents, ex parte rea, of those which related to the valuation and taxation of houses or hostels, or of those which involved as their punishment either expulsion from the university or imprisonment. A later statute, expressive of the jealous feeling with which the university began to regard the claim of the bishop of Ely to visitatorial power and confirmation, forbids the election of that bishop's official to the office of chancellor.
'The powers of the chancellor, though confirmed and His powers amplified by royal charters, were unquestionably ecclesiastical, in their oriboth in their nature and origin: the court, over which he presided, was governed by the principles of the canon as well as of the civil law; and the power of excommunication and absolution, derived in the first instance from the bishop of Ely, and subsequently from the pope, became the most prompt and formidable instrument for extending his authority: the form, likewise, of conferring degrees, and the kneeling posture of the person admitted, are indicative both of the act and of the authority of an ecclesiastical superior.'
'It is very necessary,' adds dean Peacock, 'in considering the distribution of authority in the ancient constitution of the university, to separate the powers of the chancellor
CHAP. II. from those of the regents or non-regents; for the authority of the chancellor had an origin independent of the regents, from those of and his previous concurrence was necessary to give validity
His powers distinguished
distinction in the powers possessed by the latter bodies.
to their acts: he constituted, in fact, a distinct estate in the academical commonwealth: and though he owed his appointment, in the first instance, to the regents, he was not necessarily a member of their body, and represented an authority and exercised powers which were derived from external sources. The ancient statutes recognise the existence of two great divisions of the members of the second estate of our commonwealth, the houses of regents and nonregents, which have continued to prevail to the present time, though with great modification of their relative powers. The enactments of these statutes would lead us to conclude, that in the earliest ages of the university, the regents alone, as forming the acting body of academical teachers and readers, were authorised to form rules for the regulation of the terms of admission to the regency, as well as for the general conduct of the system of education pursued, and for the election of the various officers who were necessary for the proper administration of their affairs. We consequently find, that if a regent ceased to read, he immediately became an alien to the governing body, and could only be permitted to resume the functions and exercise the privileges of the regency, after a solemn act of resumption, according to prescribed forins, and under the joint sanction of the chancellor of the university and of the house of regents. The foundation however of colleges and halls towards the close of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth century, as well as the establishment of numerous monasteries within the limits of the university with a view to a participation of its franchises and advantages, increased very greatly the number of permanent residents in the university, who had either ceased to participate in the labours of the regency, or who were otherwise occupied with the discharge of the peculiar duties imposed upon them by the statutes of their own societies. The operation of these causes produced a body of non-regents, continually increasing in number and