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The Late Medieval English College and its Context

The Late Medieval English College and its Context

Clive Burgess
Martin Heale
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 310
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  • Book Info
    The Late Medieval English College and its Context
    Book Description:

    Secular colleges stand as the most characteristic late medieval religious foundation, with hundreds established across fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Europe; but they remain by far the least studied. This volume provides the first scholarly overview of the late medieval college and its place in English religion, society and culture. The contributions survey and reflect the wide influence of the college. They consider the religious, political, intellectual, educational, charitable, musical and artistic contributions of these foundations, and combine detailed case studies with broader surveys placing the English college in its wider British and European context. The volume thus offers an unrivalled introduction to English secular colleges, demonstrating why these foundations were so important to late medieval religion and society. CONTRIBUTORS: CLIVE BURGESS, JEROME BERTRAM, HELEN BROWN, MARTIN HEALE, A.K. MCHARDY, JULIAN M. LUXFORD, P.H. CULLUM, JAMES WILLOUGHBY, MAGNUS WILLIAMSON, ANNE F. SUTTON, WINIFRED A. HARWOOD, DAVID SKINNER

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-652-6
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    Appraisals of the late medieval Church rarely escape the agenda imposed by the Reformation. given that we are presently acclimatised, for instance, to an ecclesiastical landscape in which the parish looms large, and to spiritual criteria in which pastoral care takes pride of place, it is worth reflecting on the way in which the ecclesiastical history of the fifteenth century has habitually been dominated both by this institution and its success – or otherwise – in fulfilling the said principle. The outcome has been a peculiarly restricted view both of the pre-Reformation Church and of the extent of change resulting from the...

  7. The Late Medieval English College in Context

    • An Institution for all Seasons: The Late Medieval English College
      (pp. 3-27)
      Clive Burgess

      Where is the historian who has not felt, at least while immersed in protracted labours, that his or her favoured subject has hitherto been strangely neglected? Avoiding the obvious question of how many feel much the same even after publishing, it will tempt more than a few wry smiles to suggest that this all too familiar lament has a certain justification where the medieval college is concerned. In the half-century or more since alexander hamilton Thompson laid down his pen, few english historians have done much to continue the work he pioneered delineating the constituent parts of the medieval ecclesiastical...

    • The European Context: Collegiate Churches on the Continent
      (pp. 28-43)
      Jerome Bertram

      If saint Chrodegang can be called the father of episcopal colleges, it was the emperor Charlemagne who began the great tradition of dynastic college foundations that would eventually descend the social scale from emperor to country squire. The innumerable collegiate churches of Latin Christendom derive ultimately from one or other of these prototypes. The Rule of Chrodegang, which has attracted so much attention, does not indeed claim to be original, nor was it to have much direct influence.¹ Chrodegang composed his rule, based on that of st Benedict, for the benefit of his clergy at Metz, stating that his intention...

    • Secular Colleges in Late Medieval Scotland
      (pp. 44-66)
      Helen Brown

      Like their English counterparts, secular colleges in Scotland have long been recognised as a prominent part of the late medieval landscape without having benefited from much focused attention. Again as for England, considerably more has been published on individual colleges than on the institution as a type, in the form either of publication club document collections or studies of particular foundations. Surveys of late medieval Scotland habitually make reference to college foundation as a significant feature of ecclesiastical life, but cannot say much more.¹ The existing studies of Scottish colleges as a category are useful, but limited. David Easson’s articles...

    • Colleges and Monasteries in Late Medieval England
      (pp. 67-86)
      Martin Heale

      The medieval college has long remained in the shadow of the monastery. Historians have devoted much more attention to communities of monks and nuns, even for the late medieval period when the college was a conspicuously more popular kind of foundation. This relative neglect results in part from the perception that the college was an inferior kind of monastery. David Knowles considered that ‘both in its religious and material framework it [the college] was, so to say, the lowest term to which the monastic idea could be reduced’, adopting ‘liturgical and other regulations which were neither so strict nor so...

  8. The Role of the Late Medieval English College

    • Patronage in Late Medieval Colleges
      (pp. 89-109)
      A. K. McHardy

      Humdrum and unglamorous as the subject of patronage might appear, it was important to contemporaries and so must be of concern to historians. Although the foundation of colleges demonstrated success and prestige, the exercise of patronage – the choosing of canons and prebendaries¹ – endured long after the first excitement of foundation, or the commissioning of new buildings, decoration and furnishings, had faded. Colleges, and their ‘little brothers’, chantries – and there was no hard-and-fast demarcation between the two – were a valuable, and growing, source of patronage to be exercised by those at the top of society in the later Middle ages. They...

    • The Collegiate Church as Mausoleum
      (pp. 110-139)
      Julian M. Luxford

      For the historian of later medieval european art, the idea of the collegiate church is immediately associated with fashionable gothic architecture and exciting concentrations of funerary monuments. These surviving aspects of collegiate material culture are,mutatis mutandis, common to France, germany, the netherlands and scotland as well as england, and it is in this international context that the material presented here is ultimately situated.¹ discussion of tombs, both independently and collectively, and their role within late medieval england’s colleges encompasses some of Britain’s most important medieval sculpture and micro-architecture. While a detailed art historical survey of this material is beyond...

    • Medieval Colleges and Charity
      (pp. 140-153)
      P. H. Cullum

      In their magisterialMedieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, handbook of the researcher into the religious institutions of medieval England, Knowles and Hadcock categorise the hospital and the college as separate species.¹ They are placed after the main religious orders, followed only by academic secular colleges and various anomalous institutions: relatively insignificant, not organised into orders and thus not collectively powerful. Where the monastic orders have had continuing members to recover and proclaim their self-evident importance, like Dom David himself, and his predecessors the Maurists, the colleges have not. The university colleges have had their individual historians, but not, saving...

    • The Provision of Books in the English Secular College
      (pp. 154-179)
      James Willoughby

      The troublesome taxonomy of the secular college asserts itself, as naturally it would, in any discussion of the nature of the book collections held by these widely disparate institutions.¹ A small college of three chantry priests, one of them serving as prior, would hardly have been supplied with, or perhaps had call to use, a collection containing more than service books, perhaps a sermon collection, one of the common manuals of pastoral instruction, and sometimes a book of canon law. Chantry colleges that were raised on a more ambitious scale by gentry, such as the Cobham family, had rather more...

    • The Will of John Boraston: Musicians within Collegiate and Parochial Communities
      (pp. 180-196)
      Magnus Williamson

      The starting point for this essay is a wholly unremarkable document, the will of John Boraston.¹ The testator was lay clerk andinformator choristarumat Eton College between 1473 and his death twenty years later, in the winter of 1493.² As one of the college’s five lay clerks, his duties revolved around the daily cycle of worship that took place within the college chapel. Asinformator choristarum, or instructor of the choristers, he was also responsible for the training and oversight of the college’s boy choristers. He was therefore a central figure in the choral foundation of one of fifteenth-century...

  9. The Late Medieval English College:: Case Studies

    • The Hospital of St Thomas of Acre of London: The Search for Patronage, Liturgical improvement, and a school, under Master John Neel, 1420–63
      (pp. 199-229)
      Anne F. Sutton

      The hospital of St Thomas of Acre on Cheapside, London, consisted of a small group of secular canons and an impressively large church, the counterpoise to St Paul’s at the other end of the main market thoroughfare of the city. As the magnificent memorial of the birthplace of one of London’s patron saints, Thomas Becket, it was the centre of much civic ritual, yet it struggled against under-endowment. These contradictions of size and wealth dominate the house’s history, of which only the outline is known. For the fifteenth century the hospital benefits briefly from the visibility of one charismatic master,...

    • The College as School: The Case of Winchester College
      (pp. 230-252)
      Winifred A. Harwood

      Winchester College was founded in 1382 to fulfil at least four objectives: intercession for the founder’s soul; provision of residential education for some eighty pupils; the pupils’ preparation for further study at new College, oxford; and provision through the two facilities of well-qualified recruits to the clergy. Fulfilment of these objectives required the erection and maintenance of the extensive stone buildings that still survive in Winchester, a lavish endowment to sustain running costs, and access to large quantities of food, drink, wax and communion wafers, among many other commodities. This essay aims to illuminate the various contexts of the institution,...

    • Music and the Reformation in the Collegiate Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay
      (pp. 253-274)
      David Skinner

      In May of 1601, Robert Hicks, rector of Tansor church in Northamptonshire, had reached his sixty-sixth year and was a dying man. On a beam situated over the fire in his bedchamber rested his divinity books, some of which may have been given to him by his predecessor, William Pollard. in the days of King Henry VIII, Pollard had been a fellow of the collegiate church in nearby Fotheringhay, now in ruins. In Hicks’s church at Tansor were twelve choir stalls from Fotheringhay (which are still there); he had almost certainly purchased these in, or just after, 1574 when the...

    (pp. 275-290)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 291-293)