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To the sympathetic beholder one of the most potent charms of England lies in the singular diversity of its landscape. To him each district makes its special, its peculiar appeal. He is sensible everywhere of a real, if intangible, genius loci; and he is prone to seek the effect of some such spirit as well in the history of communities and bodies politic as in the lives of individuals. For him, then, there must needs be something of truth in the idea that much of the destinies of Oxford and Cambridge lay written upon the land at their gates. From the hills above Oxford a man may see the whole city at his feet. Generations of men have so seen it, and have so regarded it, subjectively – as a whole. At sundown, when the varied shape of tower and dome merge in a common outline, this impression of unity becomes unforgetably intensified; and but few, probably, of those who have found there the place of their education, will have left it without a sense of having shared in some common purpose. It has ever seemed the aim of Oxford to foster uniformity; of Cambridge, however unconsciously, to encourage the opposite in thought and manners. The sympathies which unite men of a Cambridge education are not therefore less strong, but they are subtler and less capable of expression in a phrase.
Cambridge is no city of spires. She lies belted with woods in the midst of a wide plain. To south, to west, to east stretches a lowland landscape, delicately moulded, rich in pasture and corn-bearing fields. Northwards a man need ride but a few miles across the fens to hear the bells of Ely, or at twilight to see the lantern of that ancient church preserve its solitary vision of the sun. Through this broad tract of country, whose every detail is typical of all which is most beautiful in the Eastern Midlands, winds that gentlest of English rivers, the Cam. Above Cambridge, it still bears its ancient name of Granta; at Ely it is the Ouse. The scenery along its upper reaches, though small in scale, is of singular merit to eyes which are not weary of "Nature's old felicities". Near Grantchester, a lock now marks an ancient bifurcation of the river, and here the stream widens to form a deep sequestered pool, shaded by a veritable arena of tall trees. Poet as well as peasant must often have bathed here and have made it a place of meditation. It was a favourite spot with Byron, and it is still called after him.
Passing from the countryside to within the boundaries of the University itself, nothing, perhaps, will seem more remarkable to the curious observer than the absence of that hard-featured grandeur with which the architecture of the Middle Ages was so deeply impressed. Cambridge goes back eight centuries; but there remains little to remind us of those many vicissitudes of mediaeval life from which neither of the Universities emerged unscathed; for with the disappearance of Feudalism, the advent of the New Learning, and the breakdown of Monasticism, Cambridge assumed a richer dress, and the fine apparel of those days becomes her still. From that string of Tudor palaces whose broad lawns and well-nurtured gardens mark the lazy passage of the Cam, to those more distant Colleges of Jesus and Emmanuel, a grave tranquillity pervades the whole. This sense of peace and of contentment, so precious to the individual mind, seems largely due to that gracious domesticity which the Tudor architect so well knew how to impart even to the meanest of his college buildings. But to those later architects who practised here, while architecture was still an art in England, is owing that conscious, studied stateliness we now prize. The genius of Wren, which at Oxford in his tower of Christ Church with inimitable propriety seized upon and revivified for his purpose the Gothic style of architecture, as easily and as properly adapted itself to the more reticent temper of this University. The examples of his skill which may be seen at Pembroke and Emmanuel; the bridge at St. John's, built by his pupil Hawksmoor apparently from his designs; above all his great Library at Trinity, remain to show with what appreciation he met the contemplative character of the Cambridge mind, with what zest he lent his art to the commemoration of her material prosperity.
The first important period of building in Cambridge was the fourteenth century. Seven colleges were founded and provided with decent accommodation between 1324 and 1352. In the next century four more colleges were set up. While in the sixteenth century, from 1505 to 1595, another seven colleges were added to the University. Two other colleges have since arisen in Cambridge – Downing, built in 1805; and Selwyn, set up originally as a hostel in 1882, but now recognized as a "House" in all but the official sense of that expression. There are also two large and important colleges which are devoted to the higher education of women. Girton College, founded in 1867, is the oldest institution of its kind. Newnham College dates from 1871. That Cambridge should have been the first university in England to admit women to her studies and to her examinations is no more than fitting, when it is remembered that some six of her principal colleges were founded or endowed by great ladies. Members of Clare, Pembroke, Queens', Christ's, St. John's, and Sidney Sussex Colleges may, for this reason, very properly feel a certain debt to the sex.
Still more remarkable is the extent of royal benefaction in Cambridge. In Oxford only one College, Queen's, owes its existence directly to the patronage of royalty. At Cambridge there are five houses which can lay claim to the style of a royal foundation: King's, Trinity, Queens', Christ's, St. John's; and of these the first two were founded and endowed by reigning sovereigns. King's Hall – afterwards merged in Trinity – was planned by Edward II and endowed by Edward III; King's College was founded by Henry VI; and Trinity by Henry VIII, who further endowed several professorships in the University; Queen Margaret of Anjou and Elizabeth Woodville, Queen to Edward IV, are co-founders of Queens'; Lady Margaret Tudor was the foundress of Christ's and St. John's Colleges. But the patronage of England's monarchs did not end with the sixteenth century. Mary was a benefactor to Trinity. Queen Elizabeth attached Westminster School to that college by certain scholarships, and sent timber to and completed the chapel there. She also sent building material to Corpus Christi College. James I was always coming to Cambridge; but, like most of the Stuarts, did little for the University, unless a copy of his literary "works" be considered a benefaction. George I purchased the library of Bishop Moore of Ely and gave it to the University. He also founded the regius professorship of Modern History there; while George IV contributed to the building of what is now called the New Court at Trinity College. His brother, the Duke of Gloucester, was the first member of an English Royal family to be educated within the precincts of a university. He was of Trinity, where two portraits of him now hang. The House of Hanover has ever shown favour to Cambridge. Prince Albert, Consort to Queen Victoria, was its Chancellor, and his late Majesty King Edward VII, having himself spent a year at each of the Universities, sent his elder son, the late lamented Duke of Clarence, to Cambridge, where he was entered at Trinity and by his father's special command "kept" in college, attended the usual lectures, and lived the ordinary life of an undergraduate nobleman. The latest member of the Royal family to enter the University is Prince Leopold of Battenberg, whose period of residence at Magdalene College has only recently terminated.
It seems never easy to explain to people unacquainted with English University life, the precise difference between the University and the College. The University, as a corporation teaching and granting degrees, is older than any college, and has its own endowments. Now, however, that the colleges have come and have established a social and domestic tone which could not exist without them, the University shows itself conscious of their value in a great many ways. The Vice-chancellor is elected from the number of Heads of Houses; the Proctors are nominated by each college in rotation, and the University expects and has now the power to exact contributions from each college towards the necessary expenses of the whole academy. Within the colleges themselves there are three grades of inmate: the Fellow, the Scholar, and the Pensioner. The first must be of Bachelor standing at the time of his election, and must shortly afterwards proceed to a higher degree. He draws his stipend from the endowments of the college. From this class are drawn the college Tutors, Lecturers, and Deans, while as many more "dons" devote their time to private study. The scholars on the foundation draw their stipends from the endowments of the college in accordance with the statutes or the terms of some special benefaction; while the term Pensioner comprises all those undergraduates who pay for everything they receive at college.
But the history of the English Universities must be considered as that of communities into whose lives colleges were introduced for a social rather than a scholastic purpose. Cambridge grew into a seat of learning during the latter half of the twelfth century, but the first College, Peterhouse, was not founded till 1284. Till then, the scholars who resorted to the place lodged where they could in the town. This was the practice at every university in Europe; and, even to-day, the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin afford the only exceptions to it.
Housed in dwellings mean enough to the eye and as certainly ungracious to the nose, the young scholars of those early days lived a life of what we should now call intolerable discomfort. Coarse vesture, scanty food, long hours in the "common schools", such were the dominant features in the student life of every youth who sought to acquire the book learning of his day. Nor did the foundation of the first few colleges sensibly alter these unhappy conditions. The aim of their founders was the removal by benefaction of some of the worst hardships to which the young scholar was then subjected. Thus provision was made for the bare necessaries of life – lodging, food, and raiment. Poverty was, of course, the first statutory qualification for membership. That the prosecution of certain studies was enjoined upon the beneficiaries, testifies less to a desire to further this or that branch of knowledge than to a not unnatural anxiety lest these young men should fall into idleness or other evil habits.
What was the town and what the university into which this new element of scholastic life now entered? Cambridge had a navigable river pouring its waters into the North Sea at the natural port of Lynn. Moreover, the town marked the junction of two Roman roads. It was a fertile spot; and its situation had struck the Conqueror as one of strategic importance. Here, therefore, he built a castle, the mound of which remains to this day. The structure itself was dismantled gradually during the fifteenth century. Some of the stone was used for the building of King's Hall, and some for King's College. "Hereby", writes Fuller in 1655, "that stately structure, anciently the ornament of Cambridge, is at this day reduced next to nothing." But during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries men might still look at that Norman keep and take heart of grace. Under its shadow had grown up a prosperous market town. On the one hand it was the greatest Fish Mart, on the other a town noted for one of the most important Fairs in the country. This Fair was held in a field hard by the village of Barnwell, that is to say, within two miles of the University town itself; it began on the feast of St. Bartholomew and lasted until the fourteenth day after the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (Aug. 24 – Sept. 14). It still survives as the principal pleasure show and Horse Fair of the shire.
With these advantages Cambridge, as a town, rose rapidly in importance. The Jews appeared in 1106; and during that and the succeeding century most of the religious orders had established themselves in the place. The Templars were the first to appear. They built their church sometime between 1120 and 1140. It is the earliest of the four round churches which have come down to us.
Our universities, like most other English institutions, were not made – they grew; and all we can say of the origin of Cambridge is, that before the thirteenth century was far advanced references to it as a "studium generale" or University creep into the state documents of the time. A migration from Oxford took place in 1209, and in 1231 a letter from King Henry III to the Mayor and bailiffs makes mention of a great influx of scholars "both from the regions near home and from beyond the seas". This document is also interesting as showing that the finding of lodgings was a matter of no little difficulty to the scholars. The King has to request the townspeople to deal properly with the students in all such transactions. When, therefore, Walter de Merton, the founder of the College in Oxford which bears his name, bought land at both Universities and endowed students in those schools, his benefaction came none too soon. His house and scholars at Cambridge are mentioned in a document as early as 1259; and it was not till 1274 that he removed these scholars to the other University. Ten years later was founded the first exclusively Cambridge College. It was to consist of a Master and fourteen Fellows, together with a number of "bible clerks" – young men whose duty it was to read to the Society at meal times. This College was dedicated to St. Peter, and was known as "the House of the scholars of St. Peter", or Peterhouse. The founder was Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely.
The reasons which dictated Merton's change of policy can only be conjectured. To attempt to set up a stable society in an obviously unstable community must have seemed to many a risky project. A university was a body of students who possessed in actual property little more than the gowns upon their backs. At a word of plague or rapine they could, and indeed did, migrate elsewhere. A college with buildings and land could not as easily or as profitably take flight. From the point of view of a would-be benefactor, Cambridge, standing as it did "on the edge of the great wild" – to use Mr. J. W. Clark's words – might well seem to possess a less favourable situation than Oxford. It had, in the past, suffered a great deal from attack; and if the educationists of those days thought twice before running the risk of seeing their good works brought to nought in Cambridge, the subsequent history of the University very nearly bore out their worst fears; for the revolting peasants who followed the celebrated Wat Tyler entered Cambridge in considerable numbers, and, being joined by the great mass of the townsfolk, broke into Corpus Christi College. They burnt its archives, together with every other book and paper they could lay their hands on; and not content with this damage "done and committed", they repaired to St. Mary's and the Common Schools, where, seizing the University chests, they destroyed the muniments and made away with the funds.
Thus it is neither surprising if Merton should have felt doubtful of the continued prosperity of Cambridge, nor remarkable that twenty-eight years should have elapsed before Hugh de Balsham's venture in founding a college there should have met with the flattery of imitation. But the next college, that of Michaelhouse (merged afterwards, as was King's Hall, in Henry VIII's great College of the Holy Trinity), was followed in quick succession by five other foundations: Clare Hall, 1326; King's Hall, 1337; Pembroke Hall, 1347; Gunvil Hall (now Gonville and Caius College), 1348; Trinity Hall, 1350; and Corpus Christi College, 1352.
Perhaps a word concerning the nomenclature of Cambridge Colleges may fittingly find a place here. "College" is a late expression, as things go in Cambridge. The earliest words are domus and aula, respectively "house" and "hall": thus Peterhouse, Michaelhouse, and God's House (now Christ's College); and Clare Hall, Pembroke Hall, and Catharine Hall. This use of the word "hall" is ancient and honourable in Cambridge, and the fact that it has a different signification in Oxford, where it is used to denote a licensed lodging-house under a Master of Arts, should never have operated to prevent its retention in our University to-day. "The Hall of the Holy Trinity of Norwich" is perhaps forced by circumstance to preserve its ancient name; but when it calls itself "The Hall", it does so, one must hope, rather as a protest than in pride of singularity. Some popular errors or misapprehensions may here be noted under this head. The college styled in the Cambridge Calendar "Gonville and Caius" was originally founded by one Edmund Gonville, who pronounced his name "Gunvil". It was later re-endowed and much enlarged by the celebrated Dr. Keys, who, conformable to the fashion of his day, latinized his name for literary purposes into "Caius". The latinized form of the one and the more correct spelling of the other founder are now used in writing down the name of the college; but, colloquially, traditional usage still preserves the English names in the pronunciation of their time. The members of Queens' College, in virtue of two royal foundresses, write the apostrophe after the final "s"; while Magdalene men insist on preserving the final "e" in the name of their patron saint. Perhaps, however, the most curious example of a wrong name clinging to a House is presented by Jesus College. This, the popular appellation, is no better than a nickname. The college is not dedicated to Our Saviour, but to "The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Evangelist, and the Glorious Virgin St. Rhadigund". It happens to stand in the now obliterated and forgotten parish of Jesus; but this nickname from a past age continues to serve its old and useful purpose. Another example is that of Pembroke College, founded by Marie, widow of Aylmer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke. The foundress wished her college to be styled "The Hall of Valence Marie", and such is its proper name. Lastly, King's College was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Nicholas.
Before turning to the more modern aspect of Cambridge, the subject demands that something should be said of those notable periods of prosperity, the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The evidence of the growth and power of the University during those years lies, for the visitor, in the number and magnificence of the buildings then undertaken which have survived till our own day the dual tests of time and taste. Of the original buildings of those early colleges to which reference has already been made next to nothing remains. The shell of the old court at Corpus is still standing; but this part of the college has been re-roofed, most of the windows in it are of a late period, and it is almost wholly covered with ivy. Some of the masonry forming the south wall of the Peterhouse kitchen is perhaps as old as anything in Cambridge; and this quaint corner of the oldest college is the subject of an illustration to the present volume. The Chapel of this college is of the seventeenth century. The Library is late Tudor. The Hall and Combination Room are part restorations and part a matter of fresh designing. The work was undertaken between 1866-70. Gilbert Scott, William Morris, Burne-Jones, and Ford Madox Brown had each a hand in it. Trinity Hall has been almost entirely rebuilt. All save the Library, which is late Tudor and which lies beyond the main quadrangle, is of late eighteenth-century design. The lodge and certain newer buildings are said to be commodious. They are none the less ugly. The rebuilding of Clare Hall began during the reign of Charles I and was continued during the interregnum; but it was not finished until the eighteenth century had entered upon the last quarter of its course. As it stands to-day, it is perhaps the most perfect example of the Carolian style in England. The little bow window over the gateway is remembered as the favourite seat of a certain fellow of the College, who lived and died more than a hundred years ago, and of whom it is recorded that, being at feud with the Master of his College, he chose this particular set of chambers, because of the chance it afforded him of successfully spitting at that unlucky dignitary as he entered or left the college precincts.
Pembroke College possessed till quite recently a really beautiful example of a fourteenth-century Dining-hall. The late Mr. Waterhouse alarmed the society by reporting it to be in danger of falling about their ears. He was commissioned, therefore, to take it down and to build them another. In executing the first part of these instructions he was observed to have recourse to dynamite. Less drastic methods might avail to remove the building which now occupies the place of that fine old Hall. In speaking of it the present writer is tempted to borrow the words of the learned Provost of King's in noticing the Library building by the same hand: "It could only suffer", says Dr. James, "by any description of it that I might write". Gonville Hall was another college destined to undergo a complete remodelling. Fortunately the rebuilding took place in the sixteenth century, and much of the work then undertaken remains to this day. It marked the munificence of its refounder, and devoted master, the celebrated Dr. Caius. This extraordinary man was born in Norwich in 1510. He was of Gonville Hall, and, after taking the usual degrees, proceeded Doctor at Padua, where he lectured in Greek. His learning was prodigious and his reputation European. He lived to translate some Erasmus into English, to write numerous treatises of his own, to preside over the College of Physicians, to carry out various antiquarian researches, and to serve with distinction as Physician to Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth. He ended his days Master of his beloved College in Cambridge, where he lies buried. In his last illness he endeavoured to sustain life by a return to the natural nourishment of infancy; and divers dames of the town were privileged to minister to his wants in this respect. Being observed to be now "froward, peevish, and full of frets", and now tractable, docile, and of an amiable countenance, his moods and tempers were considered to vary with the individual source of his curious refreshment. Gonville and Caius College, as it is now called, possessed till recently three gateways of the time of Caius. That leading on to the street was inscribed the Gate of Humility; that between the first and second court, the Gate of Virtue; and the last, as leading to the hall where degrees were conferred, the Gate of Honour. Of these gates the two last mentioned have fortunately survived; but the first has given place to a large block of buildings designed by the late Mr. Waterhouse in his best Provincial Assurance manner. The visitor will be startled to read the words Porta Humilitatis above the doorway of this amazing pile.
The fifteenth century saw four more Colleges added to the list of Cambridge Houses: King's, 1441; Queens', 1448; St. Catharine's, 1473; Jesus, 1495. The first of these was designed to eclipse every other collegiate foundation in England. As finally settled by the will of Henry VI, its founder, the society consisted of seventy souls under the headship of a Provost. It is bound by sisterly ties to King Henry's other foundation, the College of St. Mary at Eton. Eton, indeed, was and is to King's College what Winchester has been to New College in Oxford. Till 1857 the scholars of Eton proceeded by right to scholarships and fellowships at King's. None but Etonians could come upon the foundation, and Kingsmen enjoyed the further privilege of proceeding to their degrees without any University examination. The Society ceded these privileges in the year named, and by its present statutes consists of a Provost, forty-six Fellows, forty-eight Scholars, of whom twenty-four hold "close" scholarships attached to Eton, two Chaplains, an Organist, and a Master of the Boys. The choristers on the foundation are required to be of gentle birth, and they have their education in an admirably equipped school under the special government of the College. Of, the buildings which the founder not only contemplated but specified in a document drawn up by himself, nothing but the Chapel was so much as set out. The Gatehouse, the great Quadrangle, the Hall and Butteries, the Library, the Provost's Lodging, the Cloister with its garth, the Bell Tower, and the bridge across the river were planned and specified, but never undertaken on the lines which the founder so carefully laid down. The King died before he could sufficiently endow his college. His immediate successors in the Crown of England, to whom in language unforgetably solemn he commended the care of his foundation, did something for it; but egotism being stronger than piety in princes, those royalties of a later age who cared to patronize learning preferred to initiate rather than complete. The Chapel of King's College, however, owes a great deal to the munificence of the Sovereigns of England. It took more than a century in building, and cost for the stonework alone about £160,000, according to the present value of money. To the completion of this magnificent structure Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VII, Henry VIII, and Queen Elizabeth subscribed on a liberal scale. The window glass and the woodwork belong wholly to the sixteenth century, with here and there additions of a later date. The roof, had it been carried out by the first set of masons employed, would certainly have been "lierne" vaulted; but by the time the walls were ready to bear a roof at all, "fan" vaulting had come into vogue. The Chapel as it stands to-day presents without doubt one of the most beautiful interiors to be seen in England. The choir-screen and stalls are of Renaissance design, executed with a subtlety not to be matched on this side of the Alps. The Lectern is of the first quarter of the sixteenth century and is therefore nearly contemporaneous with the greater number of the stained-glass windows. In one of the side chapels is preserved an interesting specimen of a fifteenth-century pulpit, which on March 25 of every year, being the Annunciation of the Virgin, is brought forth into the church. From this pulpit a Fellow of the College preaches before the University on the day named: a departure from the usual custom of meeting in Great St. Mary's which serves to mark the founder's wish that his college should occupy a pre-eminent place in Cambridge.
The sixteenth century saw the foundation and endowment of the two great colleges of Trinity and St. John's, the sister college to the latter, Christ's, and the rise of Magdalene, Emmanuel, and Sidney Sussex. Of these, St. John's was the first to attain eminence. Bishop Fisher, Cecil the great Lord Burleigh, and Archbishop Williams successively lent her their aid. She became par excellence an aristocratic college, and by the first decade of the nineteenth century could boast that she included among her alumni more men of note in the social and intellectual life of the country than any other college in either University could lay claim to. The first Court of this College has been much disturbed. The gateway is one of the finest examples of its period to be found anywhere; but, on entering the College, the eye is at once offended by a poor eighteenth-century range of buildings on the left, and a vast effort by the late Sir Gilbert Scott, by way of Chapel, on the right. The second Court, however, is well-nigh faultless. Here is late Tudor at its best; and in this small rosy-red brick of the period it finds the happiest material for the expression of its aims.
The further or third Court is Carolian. It is quaint and charming in its own rather odd fashion, and as seen from the river, whose waters here touch the very walls of its western range, contrives to bear a strangely impressive appearance. The Cam is here spanned by two bridges: one, a very beautiful example of Sir Christopher Wren's style – it was built by his pupil Hawksmoor – the other a Cockney Gothic affair commonly called "The Bridge of Sighs". This last connects the old Carolian building with a huge range built during the years 1827-31, which cost the college £78,000. Of the bridge itself, which is part of this dreadful building, it will be noticed that a certain decency of proportion – its one merit – renders it some degrees less detestable than the main structure to which it belongs.
Christ's College, the other "Lady Margaret" foundation, has undergone a great deal of rebuilding and not a few additions. The gateway from the street and most of the chambers to right and left of it are of the sixteenth century. The finest architectural possession of the college is its block of Fellows' buildings towards the garden. It would seem to be by a pupil of Inigo Jones, if not actually by the Master himself.
Magdalene is the only college in Cambridge which, in a sense, is of monkish origin. It was originally a cell of Croyland; and being endowed by Henry, second Duke of Buckingham, it soon came to be known as Buckingham College. In 1483 it is styled "Bokyngham College" and its inmates are described as "monachi". Lord Chancellor Audley, who changed the foundation into Magdalene College, refounded it for an ordinary academical society, after the house, as a cell of Croyland Abbey, had escheated to the Crown. This college does not elect its Master: the headship of the House being in the gift of the "owner of Audley End". At present, therefore, the Lords Braybrooke present to the Mastership. Magdalene is a picturesque and commodiously arranged college, and, though small, has many attractive features. The most interesting building is that erected in the seventeenth century, primarily with the idea of providing suitable accommodation for the library of Samuel Pepys the diarist. The latest addition, a range brought close to the riverside, is perhaps the most successful in design and colour of any of the more recent buildings in the University.
The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, though inheriting much from the earlier college – King's Hall – which was set up by Edward II and his son Edward III, owes almost everything to King Henry VIII. It was typical of this monarch that, after somewhat maltreating Wolsey's foundation at Oxford and paying not too much attention to Henry VI's or King's College at Cambridge, he should have set about founding Trinity with the plain intent of eclipsing both. The College as we see it to-day, is the largest and wealthiest in either University. It is founded for a Master, sixty Fellows at the least, and eighty Scholars. In full term the resident members number nearly eight hundred souls. From the first, the buildings were set out to accommodate an unusually large society. The Great Court, with its Chapel, Gatehouse, Hall, Master's Lodge, and rows of chambers, broken here by a tower, there by a turret, occupies over two acres of ground. The character of its architecture is for the most part Tudor; for the restorations and alterations which have from time to time taken place have not been permitted to stray far from the traditional style of the Court. A further court – the Cloister or Neville's Court – consists of two ranges of Jacobean design, modified by later hands so as to fare better than they otherwise would beside Sir Christopher Wren's great Library building, which here occupies the entire western side of the quadrangle, even projecting above and beyond it on either side. In addition to these two spacious courts there are three other quadrangles, all of recent date. These are fortunately so situated that the sightseer can easily avoid looking at them.
Emmanuel College possesses one court of the founder's time, and beautiful it is. It is rarely shown to the ordinary visitor, but those who care for simple unpretending work of this period (1584) have only to ask for the dovecot garden. The main Court of the College is of the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Wren made the design for the Chapel, which was built between 1668-78. The Court is finely proportioned and has always been admired.Sidney Sussex College, the last college to belong to the sixteenth century, has been harshly dealt with. A charming Elizabethan college has been ruthlessly turned into a thoroughly bad stucco dwelling gothicized in the Wyatt manner. It has its treasures: a fine garden, good pictures, and some handsome plate.
We have now traced the main periods of Cambridge building. We have said very little of the life of the University or the growth of the town during these four hundred years. It is, indeed, hard to contemplate the visible memorials of those days without imagining a social life grander and happier for the individual man than could ever have been the case. Almost everything which makes for the amenities of college life as we see it to-day is comparatively speaking modern. To picture the life of scholars young and old even so late as the sixteenth century, we must be prepared to learn strange things. Fireplaces were few and far between. Folk gathered as much as possible in the Common Hall of the College. Here was set a brazier of charcoal, its fumes poisonous and disagreeable finding their way through a lantern or louvre in the roof. Rushes were upon the floor, if it were not tiled or paved. Windows having glass in them were not common before the fifteenth century. The sanitary arrangements were primitive, ill-managed, and consequently wretched. Street lighting was unknown. Scholars slept two and often more in a bed; and went, as did everyone else, naked to their beds. The advantages of a bedfellow in those bitter winters were obvious. It was equally obvious that those who shared a chamber, and so often a bed, should be well suited to one another; and parents expressed a not unnatural anxiety on this head. Letters exist in which the Tutor, who usually occupied a bed apart in a chamber for five persons, of whom four would be his pupils, is asked to choose carefully a bedfellow "gentle and virtuous" for the youthful freshman. The average age of entering was about fourteen during the earlier periods, but rose to sixteen during the latter centuries of which we have been writing. Most college offences were punishable by whipping, graver imprudences meeting with public chastisement executed by a menial in the Common Hall of the College. Fellows of M.A. standing could be put in the college "stocks", and often were so handled. The pedagogic notion that intellectual advancement is furthered by the application of physical pain was not confined to the grammar schools, and parents were often eager to place their sons under the care of a strong-armed college tutor. "Prey Grenefield", wrote a certain lady to a Cambridge Tutor in the time of Henry VI, "to send me faithfully worde ho Clemit Paston hathe do his dever i' lernyng, and if he hathe nought do well nor wyll nought amende, prey him that he wyll trewly belash him tyll he wyll amend, and so did ye last maystr and ye best en he had att Caumbreg." As time went on, however, the life of the ordinary pensioner became comfortable enough; but, unhappily, the scholar on the Foundation and the Sizar, or poorest of the juniors, one who paid for his education by the performance of menial offices, remained objects of contempt with the more wealthy undergraduates. Before the end of the fifteenth century, pensioners "in Fellows' Commons" had made their appearance in Cambridge. They were allowed to dine with the Fellows at the High Table, wore richly embroidered gowns and enjoyed many other privileges and distinctions. A higher order still was that of persons who entered as "Noblemen". Many of the latter class lived in College and "kept" there in some state. For example, in 1624 Lord Maltravers and his brother William Howard, sons of the then Earl of Arundel and Surrey, came up to St. John's College with a retinue of servants. It was requested that the brothers might occupy one room "with a pallett for the groome of their chamber"; while "the rest of his lordship's company, being two gentlemen, a groome of the stable, and a footman, might be lodged in the town near the College".
But the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, for all the patronage of learning affected by prince and peer alike, were troublous times for the scholar. Much wit was needed to guide him through those political and religious conflicts which at times threatened to bring the University to dissolution. Doctors and Masters were for ever being ousted, driven overseas, or thrown into prison. No man knew when he might not be called upon to exchange a deanery for a dungeon. Let one example suffice. On the death of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey was at once proclaimed Queen by order of Northumberland. On 16 July the Lady Mary was but five miles from Cambridge, at the house of Sir Robert Huddlestone. There she heard Mass and pushed on into Suffolk, where she met her supporters. The Duke of Northumberland with his army arrived in Cambridge five days later. He was Chancellor of the University and a man zealous in promoting its prosperity. How far the residents believed in his cause we know not; but there seemed little apprehension of the fate which in reality awaited him. The Vice-Chancellor and many of the Heads supped with him that night, and on the morrow he set off for Bury. His return was speedy. And here in the Market-place, bereft of his former supporters, he was obliged, in the presence of the Mayor, Vice-Chancellor, and the rest of the Cambridge notables, to proclaim Mary Queen. He then repaired in some state to King's College, where, at a late hour that night, he was arrested by one Roger Slegge, the sergeant-at-arms, who was permitted to enter the gates unmolested, though, as Fuller says, "that College was fenced with more privileges than any other foundation in the University".
The Popish reaction burst out at Cambridge with almost incredible swiftness. On a certain day "Doctor Sandys, the Vice-Chancellor, on the ringing of the Schools' bell, went according to his custom and office, attended with the Bedells into the Regent House and sat down in the chair according to his place. In cometh one Master Mitch with a rabble of some twenty Papists, some endeavouring to pluck him from the chair, others the chair from him, all using railling words and violent actions. The Doctor, being a man of mettle, groped for his dagger and probably had despatched some of them had not Dr. Bill and Dr. Blyth by their prayers and entreaties persuaded him to patience." He was, in due course, despoiled, deprived, and cast into prison. But there were other losses which the University was called upon to suffer during these two hundred years: direct loss of treasure, and damage to those fair fabrics which the piety of benefactors had bestowed upon the community. Association of ideas is strong, and the Reformers were probably justified by circumstances in most of their destructive operations. Yet the finer spirits must have felt keenly the demolition of many objects irreplaceable by the hand of man. Good Dr. Caius kept what he dared of Mass books, vestments, and antique church ornaments, and seems to have hidden them away; but they were discovered and destroyed; and probably nothing but the degree of eminence to which he had then attained as a physician saved him from sharing the fate of his treasures. As for the Puritans under Cromwell, they did less damage than they might have done. King's College Chapel, the glory of the University, they wholly spared; and the various Colleges were called upon for less tribute than the experiences of other corporations and the rough usage of those times might have prepared their inhabitants to expect.