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conception. The gilds of the Middle Ages, while sometimes CHAP. III subserving the purposes of superstition, were mostly societies for the protection of the presumed interests of a class or of a branch of industry; they represented the traditions and prejudices rather than the advanced thought and enlightenment of the time. It is therefore no matter for surprise that the foundation of our colleges was left to the philanthropy of a few illustrious individuals, and that it was not until the example thus set had been six times repeated in our own university, that it occurred to any corporate bodies to combine for a like purpose.

of the Hos

John the

bp. of Ely


So early as the twelfth century, in the year 1135, the Foundation Frosts, an ancient and charitable family in Cambridge, pital of St. founded there a hospital dedicated to St. John the Evan- Evangelist. gelist, under the management of Augustinian Canons. Tradition has assigned to Nigellus, the second bishop of Ely, the honour of the foundation, but in the list of benefactors the name of Eustachius, the fifth bishop of that see, stands earliest, and this must be accepted as conclusive against the claim put forward on behalf of his predecessor. The bene- Eustachius, factions of Eustachius were of a princely character, and the 1197-1215. privileges he obtained for the new foundation added largely to its importance. His example was followed by his suc- Hugold, cessors in the bishopric; by Hugh Norwold, who obtained 9-1264 for the foundation exemption from taxation (a material relief at that period) in respect of two houses near St. Peter's Church; and by William of Kilkenny, the founder of our William of earliest university exhibition. William of Kilkenny was bp. of Elv succeeded in the bishopric by Hugh Balsham. Hugh Bal- Hugh sham was a monk and subprior of Ely, and his election to bp of El the vacant see has a special interest, for it represents the installation of a bishop through local influence in opposition to the nominee of both the Crown and the archbishop,—the representative of a Benedictine community, in preference to the foremost Franciscan of his day. It was the monks of Ely who elected Hugh Balsham; the King quashed the His disputed election and nominated Adam de Marisco'. 'A proceeding,'




1 'Dominus Rex, qui dominum Henricum de Wengham, sigilli sui

CHAP. III. Says Matthew Paris, which excited the wonder of all; for PART I. neither the election nor the elected could be condemned Comparative with justice, nor any fault be found with the elect'.' It was Hugh Bal- only by recourse to the usual bribery, and an expensive jour

sham and

Adam de

ney to Rome, that Hugh Balsham succeeded in obtaining
the papal confirmation of his election. It may possibly
appear to those who have read Professor Brewer's sketch of
the eminent Franciscan, that the friend of Grosseteste and
Simon de Montfort, and the founder of a distinguished
school of thinkers at Oxford, would have added more to the
lustre of the episcopal chair. But we must not forget that
Adam de Marisco was chiefly distinguished in connexion
with the Franciscan party, and we can hardly imagine that
the interests of his order would not have influenced him in
his capacity of diocesan. We may feel assured that he
would never have become, what Hugh Balsham became, the
founder of our first Cambridge college. He was moreover at
this time a worn out man, and died within twelvemonths of
the election; while Hugh Balsham filled the see of Ely for
nearly thirty years. Though therefore the Benedictine prior
might not compare with the Doctor Illustris2 for genius and
varied learning, we can well understand that as a Cam-
bridgeshire man3, with strong local sympathies, and an

bajulum, promovere cupiebat, speci-
ales literas supplicatorias et solennes
nuncios conventui Elyensi direxit;
petens urgenter et instanter, ut dic-
tum dominum Henricum in episco-
pum et suarum eligerent pastorem
animarum. Conventus autem con-
siderans notitiam sui supprioris, se-
cundum illud ethicum:-Ignotum tibi
tu noli præponere notis, ipsum me-
moratum suum Priorem, Hugonem
videlicet de Belesale, in suum episco-
pum elegerunt.' Paris, Hist. Major,
ed. Wats, p. 936.

1 6

Super quo facto mirati sunt cuncti audientes, quia electus nec electio reprobari de jure poterat, nec in eisdem vitium reperiri. Sed prævaricatores, quærentes nodum in scirpo, et angulum in circulo, imposuerunt ei quod simplex claustralis fuit, nec de negociis sæcularibus exercitatus vel expertus, et penitus insuffi

ciens ad custodiendum et tuendum nobilem episcopatum Elyensem, et insulam, quæ ab antiquo asylum extitit refugii omnibus oppressis tempore tribulationis.' Ibid. p. 950.

2 The claim of Adam de Marisco to this title is, Prof. Brewer observes, hardly borne out by his letters, his only extant writings; but he quotes from the Opus Tertium the emphatic testimony borne by Roger Bacon to the attainments of his illustrious brother Franciscan. See Monumenta Franciscana, Pref. p. c.

3 Balsham, a village about ten miles to the east of Cambridge, was formerly one of the manor seats of the bishopric of Ely, and Simon Montacute resided there. Fuller remarks that it was customary at this period for clergymen to take their surname from the place of their birth. In the accounts of the Pre


eminently practical turn for grappling with the defects and CHAP. III. evils which he saw around him, his merits may have appeared to many to outweigh even the fame and influence of the Franciscan leader.

Hugh Bal

as an admini

Some three and twenty years elapsed before the new bishop of Ely founded Peterhouse,-years during which he was acquiring a real knowledge of the state of the neighbouring university; and it would be difficult to point to any patron of learning either at Oxford or at Cambridge who has combined with such enlightened activity such generous self abnegation. Other founders have equalled Hugh Bal- sham's merits sham in munificence and in earnestness, but mostly where strator. they have established a claim to gratitude they have sought to assert a corresponding authority. It was this prelate's distinguishing merit that he could at once voluntarily surrender his powers of interference and increase his benefactions; be more a helper and yet less a dictator; could cede the ancient claims of his predecessors to control and command, and yet labour on in the same field where those claims had been asserted; preferring rather to survive as a fellow-worker than as a lawgiver in the memory of a grateful posterity. Of this spirit a signal instance is afforded us He consents in the letters which he issued in the year 1275, whereby he distinctly limited the jurisdiction claimed by former bishops, and extended that of the chancellor of the university, by requiring that all suits in the university should be brought before that functionary, and restricting his own authority as bishop to the power of receiving appeals'.

to the limita

tion of his

own jurisdiction.

table decision

archdeacon and the uni

In the following year, when he was called upon to adjust His equia dispute between his own archdeacon and the authorities of between his the university, his decision was given in the same spirit. versity. The archdeacon, it appears, not only claimed jurisdiction over the churches in Cambridge as lying within the diocese, but also, through the Master of the Glomerels, whose nomination

centor of Ely Cathedral, in the year 1329, we have the following entry:'The Precentor, going to Balsham, to enquire for books, 65. 74.' See

supplement to Bentham, Hist. of Ely
Cathedral, pp. 51, 86.

1 Dyer, Privileges of the Univ. 1 8.


CHAP. III. was vested in the archdeaconry, laid claim to other authority which threatened to encroach upon the rights of the chancellor. The Glomerels, as we have already seen, constituted a body distinct from the scholars of the university, and it became necessary definitely to mark out the limits of the jurisdiction exercised by the heads of the two bodies. Hugh Balsham's decision was clear and equitable. He decided that the Magister Glomeric should be arbiter of all disputes confined to the Glomerels themselves, or between Glomerels and townsmen, but that whenever a dispute had arisen between Glomerels and scholars there should be a power of appeal from the decision of that functionary to the chancellor'. On other points, such as the jurisdiction over university servants, over priests resident at Cambridge merely as celebrants, and priests resident for the purpose of study, the bishop's decisions are equally clear and deserving of commendation; but the most important is undoubtedly that in confirmation of a statute previously passed by the chancellor Scholars not and masters, 'that no one should receive a scholar who has

under a mas

ter forbidden not had a fixed master within thirteen days after the said

the univer


scholar had entered the university, or who had not taken care that his name had been within the time aforesaid inserted in the matriculation book of his master, unless the master's absence or legitimate occupation should have prevented the same.' To this commendable and wholesome' statute, as he terms it (statutum laudabile et salubre), the bishop gives his hearty sanction. In fact,' he further adds, 'if any such person be found to remain under the name of a scholar, he shall be either expelled or detained, according to the King's pleasure.' It will be readily allowed that the

1 It appears from the perusal of these very remarkable documents, that the master of glomery received his appointment and institution from the archdeacon of Ely, to whose jurisdiction the regulation and collation of the schools of grammar of the university prescriptively belonged; that he was required to swear obedience to the archdeacon and his officials: that it was his duty to preside

over and read (to have the tutela et regimen) in those schools, receiving from the scholars or glomerelli the accustomed collecta or fees; that he was also attended by his proper bedell (now said to be the yeoman bedell), and that he exercised over his glomerells the usual jurisdiction of regent masters over their scholars." Dean Peacock, Observations on the Statutes, Appendix A.


arbitrator in matters requiring such careful investigation as CHAP. III. the foregoing, must have had ample opportunities for a clear insight into the defects and wants of the university, nor can we doubt that the knowledge thus gained found expression in the design which he shortly afterwards carried into execution. His affection for learning, and the state of the poor scholars who were much put to it for conveniency of lodging from the high rents exacted by the townsmen,' being the causes assigned by the chronicler as weighing with Hugh Balsham in his new endeavour'.

duces secular scholars into the Hospital of St.

If we adopt the account accepted by so trustworthy a He introguide as Baker, his efforts were first directed towards a fusion of those two elements which Walter de Merton had the Evangelist. striven to keep distinct. 'Having first obtained the King's license and the consent of the brethren, he brought in and engrafted secular scholars upon the old stock (the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist), endowing them in common with the religious brethren, as well with the revenues of the old house, as with additional revenues, granted with regard to, and in contemplation of his new foundation; and so the regular canons and secular scholars became unum corpus et unum collegium, and were the first endowed college in this university, and possibly in any other university whatever?. The attempted combination was not successful. The scholars,' observes Baker, were too wise, and the brethren possibly over good;' and Hugh Balsham, after vainly endeavouring to allay the strife that sprang up between the two bodies, was compelled to take measures for their separation.

1 Additions to Camden, col. 412, quoted in Bentham, p. 150.

2 Hist. of the College of St. John the Evangelist, by Thomas Baker, edited by John E. B. Mayor, M.A. 1 22. The precise time when this was done, or how long they continued together, does not so clearly appear; for though the license to this purpose was obtained from Edward the First an. regn. nono, Decembr. 27, and there might be no full and thorough settlement till this time, yet I am apt to believe they were placed here (though not fully settled) much

sooner, and my reason is this, be-
cause they are said by Simon Mon-
tacute (who knew very well) to have
continued here per longa tempora,
which in no construction of words
can be understood otherwise, than
that they were placed here very early,
and towards the beginning of Hugh
Balsham's prelacy at Ely: for that
they were here before he was bishop,
I can hardly imagine, he having no-
thing to do with the government of
the house before he was bishop.'
Ibid. 1 22, 23.

Failure of theme.

this combination as a

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