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WINCHESTER (continued)


FOR a clear statement, in his own words, of William of Wykeham's desires in regard to his poor scholars at Winchester and Oxford, it may be useful to quote the following:

Extracts from the Statutes of New College, 1400. "Liber Statutorum of the college of the Blessed Mary of Winchester in Oxford," commonly called New College. (The original is in Latin.)

"In the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, also of the most Blessed Mary the glorious Virgin, and of all the Saints of God, We, William of Wykeham, by divine permission bishop of Winchester ..., out of the goods of fortune, which the grace of His fulness has given us most abundantly in this life, have with apostolic and royal authority ordained. . . and established: 2 everlasting colleges, [unum collegium perpetuum pauperium et indigencium scolarium clericorum], of poor and needy scholars, clerks, who are to study and become proficient in divers sciences and faculties in the school of the University of Oxford, in the diocese of Lincoln, commonly called Seinte Mary College of Wynchestre, in Oxenford."

RUBRIC I. . . The college

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As regards the rights and protection of its rule, needs learned men of divers sciences and faculties, who may have the knowledge and ability to resist those wishing to attack the college itself, its spiritual and temporal possessions, liberties, rights, etc." So that the 70 poor scholars were "to study... the sciences and faculties, namely, philosophy, civil and canon law, and beyond all, holy theology.'



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RUBRIC 2. Quales et qui sunt eligendi in Collegium Oxonie supradictum. (What sort and who are to be elected into our Oxford college aforesaid.")


According to divine and human law and the custom of the realm a founder's heirs ought to inherit the property which he acquired, and of which he has made Christ his heir by giving it to the college. So that if they feel aggrieved in one respect, they may be relieved in another, not inflicting on them a double penalty."

Therefore such founder's kin, "if competently instructed in grammar," were to have the preference over other candidates in election to the New College.

And because among the works of mercy Christ enjoins the reception of the poor in hospitals . . . we decree, ordain, and will that all who are to be elected into our college at Oxford, for years of probation, next to our kin, shall be poor and needy scholars, clerks, having the first clerical tonsure, adorned with good character and behaviour, sufficiently instructed in grammar, upright in conduct, and able and fit for studies and desiring to become proficient therein.'


"... Desiring, moreover, that no one who has passed his 20th year or who has not completed his 15th year shall be elected into our college at Oxford, except those of our blood and kin whom we wish admitted into our said college at Oxford, as long as they have not passed the 30th year of their age, if they are of good conduct and learned in grammar. No one who is suffering from an incurable disease, or from some great and evident mutilation of limbs or other bodily defect, or any coming from his own act or fault, which renders him wholly incapable of taking holy orders, shall be elected or admitted to the Oxford college.


Also we decree, ordain and will that no one having lands, tenements, possessions, or yearly incomes, spiritual or temporal, the rents and profits of which exceed the yearly value of 5 marks sterling shall be elected or admitted into the said college at Oxford; except our kin, whom we will shall be admitted into our said college . . . as true fellows, as aforesaid, even if they have spiritual or temporal possessions, the rents and profits of which, all charges borne, do not exceed the yearly value of 20 marks sterling" [i.e., £13 6s. 8d.].*

RUBRIC 3. ("Of the time and manner of the survey and the scrutiny to be held in our college near Winchester, and the form of election from the same to an Oxford college.")

"Also, we ordain that every year between the Translation

*Contemporary value.

of St. Thomas the Martyr* and the 1st October following, the warden of our college at Oxford, and one of the discreeter fellows . . . and another of the degree of doctor or bachelor in the faculty of civil and canon law . . . shall at the cost of our Oxford college, with not more than 6 horses, go to our college near Winchester, . . . and there hold a scrutiny of the government of the warden of the same college, . . . the master teacher in grammar, the ushers under him, and the scholars and other persons living in the same, and on the teaching and progress in school of the scholars of the same college, and the quality of the food provided, and the same and other articles contained in the statutes of the Winchester college; and shall correct and reform whatsoever needeth correction or reform. . . . Immediately after the survey and scrutiny aforesaid [they] shall diligently and faithfully examine the poor scholars of our said college near Winchester . . . and shall elect to our college at Oxford so many of the most fit of the same scholars as shall be enough to supply the number wanting therein."

The Oxford electors were to swear to do their duty " without fear or favour, prayer or price." The Wintonian choristers, sufficiently instructed “in reading, plain song, and old Donatus," were to be elected to fill the places of those scholars superannuated to Oxford.

RUBRIC 5. De juramento scolarium admittendorum in collegium Oxonie ad annos probacionis. ("Of the oaths of scholars admitted to years of probation in the Oxford colleges.")

". . . I will not be a back-biter, scandal-monger, mischiefmaker, or provoker of hatred, anger, quarrels, envy, insults, strife or discord, or asserter of preferable prerogatives of nobility, family, sciences, faculties or riches; and that I will not in any way, express or implied, make any comparisons which are odious between the fellows of the same colleges and other scholars of the University of Oxford, southerners or northerners, or of science with science, or faculty with faculty, country with country, good birth with good birth or for the want of it, or any comparisons whatsoever in word or deed.

. Also that I will not unlawfully make any associations, conspiracies, confederacies, or compacts, anywhere in the kingdom of England, or outside, against the statutes of the said colleges, or against the estates of the colleges themselves the wardens or sub-wardens, or any fellow of the same • Archbishop Becket, July 7th.

colleges, nor . . . permit any such to be made by others, so far as in me lies in any way in the future."

RUBRIC 24. Vel postquam, &c. ("As soon as any of our scholars aforesaid, our kin excepted, shall acquire spiritual or temporal possessions of the value of 100 shillings a year (solidi), let them be expelled from our said college.")

The last rubric, End and Conclusion of the Statutes, is a vain attempt (as events subsequently showed) to perpetuate the status quo of his foundations, by imposing the most stringent oaths and penalties upon any one altering the statutes.

When the "Select Committee on the Education of the Lower Orders," under the chairmanship of Henry (afterwards Lord) Brougham, visited Winchester College, on May 28th, 1818, the warden and fellows of the college experienced some very curious, not to say convenient, twinges of conscience-the sort of conscience that resides in the breasts of corporate peculators of long standing, who want no questions asked. The headmaster sent a deputy, as it was "inconvenient for him to attend." The college treasurer, James Ralfe, first put in a paper solemnly warning the Select Committee of "moral and religious difficulties" troubling the souls of warden and fellows at the advent of the Committee. They quoted rubrics 6 and 8 of Wykeham's statutes, which forbade them to "reveal the secrets of the college to outsiders."

Brougham pointed out that Wykeham had qualified this inhibition with the words "unless for any useful or necessary purpose.


"Had the warden and fellows as scrupulously observed others of the founder's statutes?" he asked. Ralfe countered this direct question with the evasive reply that he minded his own business. Further pressed by Brougham, Ralfe showed his teeth, and defiantly said he did not consider that "a mere branch of the legislature," such as a Select Committee, had a right to call on him to reveal the secrets of the college.

Another witness (a reverend fellow of Winchester) told the Committee that the "Poor Scholars" were principally

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gentlemen's sons." He thought the founder's restriction to 5 marks a year applied merely to the property held by the boys personally, and not to their parents' means. Reluctantly, he was driven to admit to Brougham, who pressed his enquiries, that "he certainly supposed it was not the intention of the founder to take the sons of the nobility and the most opulent gentry as poor scholars."

Then a bursar of the college (also a reverend fellow) protested that he gave evidence under compulsion. He refined upon the "moral and religious scruples," by asserting that the founder's permissive rubric applied merely to showing the statutes in public, and not to the production of college accounts in Latin.

Nevertheless, not one of these shifty apologists for old abuses could be induced to state the exact share of plunder which went into the warden's pocket, although it appeared that, in 1817, out of a total income of £14,433, including at least some of the fines upon renewals of leases, considerably more than half was divided by the warden and fellows.

According to the evidence given before the Clarendon Commissioners in 1865, the nominally poor and needy scholars were, at that date, well boarded, lodged and educated without any expense to their parents beyond the payment of 30s. a year to the French master (with an additional two guineas per annum if learning German), and unless prefects, a further payment of two guineas to a "Boy Tutor."

The college of Winchester appears to-day to be under the jurisdiction of two visitorial authorities in the persons of the Bishop of Winchester and the warden and two fellows, specially elected for the purpose, of New College, Oxford, who hold the statutory "scrutiny" every year at the July election, when an opportunity is, or was, afforded to all members of the college to ventilate their complaints. The boys, elder and younger, are examined separately touching the diet, comforts, or other matters. The Bishop of Winchester may hear any appeals respecting the college management, and by the thirty-seventh clause of the

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