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HISTORY OF THE COLLEGES.
treating of particular colleges, those which take precedency in the order of time, naturally claim priority in our attention: we should begin, then, with Peter House. There are, however, those--this should be just hinted --who speak of St. John's as the oldest endowed a institution in Cambridge: and, considered as an endowed religious house, St. John's Hospital certainly existed, and on the present site of St. John's College, in what was called the Jewry, before the present literary foundation of St. Peter's: Michael House, also, had statutes before
• Both Mr. Baker and Mr. Cole, I think, speak thus.--Mr. B. also observes, that Will. de Kilkenny, Bishop of Ely, gave the priory of Barnewell £.200 to found two divinity lectures, and therefore he calls it the first endowment for exhibitions. MS. Hist. of St. John's.---Will. de Kilkenny was Hugh de Balsham's predecessor in the bishopric of Ely.
Peter House. But as a literary institution, incorporated by royal charter-the more modern sense of the word college--the most ancient is undoubtedly St. Peter's.
The founder, then, of this college, was Hugh de Balsham, bishop of Ely. Parker a dates the foundation 1280, (as does Dr. Caius,) and is followed by Carter, who is corrected by Smyth, with the following additional hints :
“ The charter of foundation was in 1283, and it was not founded till the
after. Mr. Wharton speaks of this foundation as begun before the founder became bishop; and it was so plainly, if that is exact that he adds, that a charter of the king's is extant, to the master and scholars, dated May 15, 1274; but 74 I take to be a mistake for 84.” It should be observed, that Balsham had placed students here several years before, and, that his election to the bishopric was confirmed by the Pope in 1257. The commemoration paper of Peter House has its date 1284.
I almost incline to believe, and I humbly submit it for consideration, as this state of the business would reconcile the contradictory accounts, mentioned in the note",
a Mr. Richard Parker's History of Cambridge, p. 34.
d The passage in Wharton is as follows: Prima autem ejusdem quæ occurrit mentio indubia habetur in carta regia data custodi et scholaribus Domus Petri, 1274 15 Maii. Anglia Sacra, vol. i. p. 637. Nor is Wharton in a mistake; there does exist a public instrument of that date, addressed, Castodi & scholaribus domus Petri, and dated, anno regni 2ndo nempe (Edw. Imi.) which is certainly 1974. Teste meipso apud Westmonasterium, quinto decimo die Maii, anno regni nostri secundo. Per ipsum Regem.
From the Archives of Peter House.