Michaelhouse, Cambridge

Michaelhouse, Cambridge

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Michaelhouse is the name of one of the former colleges of the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, that existed between 1323 and 1546, when it was merged with King's Hall
King's Hall, Cambridge
King's Hall was once one of the constituent colleges of Cambridge, founded in 1317, the second after Peterhouse. King's Hall was established by King Edward II to provide chancery clerks for his administration, and was very rich compared to Michaelhouse, which occupied the southern area of what is...

 to form Trinity College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

. Michaelhouse was the second residential college to be founded, after Peterhouse (1284). Though King's Hall was established earlier in 1317, it did not acquire actual premises until its re-foundation by Edward III in 1336.

Foundation and early history


Established formally on Michaelmas Day 1324 as a college for scholars in Holy Orders, Michaelhouse is named after the parish church of the same name located on Cambridge's magna strata or High Street (today's Trinity Street
Trinity Street, Cambridge
Trinity Street is a historical street in central Cambridge, England. The street continues north as St John's Street and south as King's Parade and then Trumpington Street....

). Founded by Hervey de Stanton
Hervey de Stanton
Hervey de Stanton was an English judge and Chancellor of the Exchequer.-Origins and early career:...

, Edward II
Edward II of England
Edward II , called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed by his wife Isabella in January 1327. He was the sixth Plantagenet king, in a line that began with the reign of Henry II...

's Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

 and Lord Chief Justice (Chief Justice of the Pleas) of England, the college was established between spring 1323 and autumn 1324. On 28 May 1323, de Stanton obtained from Dera de Madingley the advowson (or right of presentation) to the parish of St Michael as well as her messuage on the High Street 'for a hundred silver marks.' On 16 March 1323/4, de Stanton purchased for another hundred silver marks an extensive property located on St Michael's Lane, complete with walled garden and a quay on the wharves of the river Cam owned by Robert Buttetourte.

Charter and establishment


In May 1324, Edward II granted a royal charter to the new college. On 31 August 1324, the Bishop of Ely
Bishop of Ely
The Bishop of Ely is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Ely in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese roughly covers the county of Cambridgeshire , together with a section of north-west Norfolk and has its see in the City of Ely, Cambridgeshire, where the seat is located at the...

, John Hotham, granted his own charter. The following day, John de Cranden, prior of the monastic foundation of Ely
Ely, Cambridgeshire
Ely is a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire, England, 14 miles north-northeast of Cambridge and about by road from London. It is built on a Lower Greensand island, which at a maximum elevation of is the highest land in the Fens...

, added his agreement under the chapter seal. King, bishop and prior left de Stanton free hand in the appointment of the college’s first Master and the drafting of statutes for his college. On Michaelmas Day that year, Walter de Buxton, priest, was appointed the College's first Master.

Expansion of the College


On 11 November 1324 Hervey de Stanton
Hervey de Stanton
Hervey de Stanton was an English judge and Chancellor of the Exchequer.-Origins and early career:...

 obtained the properties of Adam de Trumpington, rector of Buckland, for his college. At about the same time, he ordered the rebuilding of the parish church in the Decorated style for use as a chapel. Following his death on All Souls' Day 1325, de Stanton was buried in the unfinished chancel. His executors, John de Illegh and Alexander Walsham, continued the expansion of the College by purchasing further properties between St Michael's Lane (today's Trinity Lane), and the river, an area now occupied by the southwest corner of Trinity's Great Court
Trinity Great Court
Great Court is the main court of Trinity College, Cambridge, and reputed to be the largest enclosed court in Europe.The court was completed by Thomas Nevile, master of the college, in the early years of the 17th century, when he rearranged the existing buildings to form a single...

, and Neville Court. These included the purchase, in 1329, of two hostels South of St Michael's lane and Milne Street (today's Trinity Hall lane), Ovyng and Garret Hostel. The latter gave its name to the lane leading to the river.

At Michaelmas 1337, de Illegh acquired another hall of residence adjacent to the King's Hall, known as Crouched Hall or Newmarket Hostel. Two properties located on St Michael's lane complete the early expansion: the bequest by Joan de Refham in 1549 of her home and shops led to the establishment of St Katherine's Hostel, and the acquisition in 1353 of a house owned by Archdeacon of Norfolk that gave way to St Gregory's Hostel. The latter almost certainly took its name from the dedication of one of the chapels at St Michael's Church. By the mid-14th century, Michaelhouse took up most of the present south-west corner of Trinity College's Great Court and New Court, further acquiring lands now occupied by Trinity's Scholars' Lawn and the Wren Library. The college's core property included a navigable stream and a ditch which formed a natural boundary with the adjacent common, and the King's Hall. The College benefited from a number of other local properties and further endowments. Indeed, although its buildings were never grand but of a size suitable to the small fellowship (the Hall measured only around 26 metres by 12 metres), by the time of its dissolution Michaelhouse had an annual income in excess of £140, some £50 higher than that of St Peter's Monastery in Westminster (Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

).

Reformation and dissolution


Throughout its existence, the college remained a study house for clergy with a conservative theological ethos. The main exponent of this thinking is probably John Fisher
John Fisher
Saint John Fisher was an English Roman Catholic scholastic, bishop, cardinal and martyr. He shares his feast day with Saint Thomas More on 22 June in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and 6 July on the Church of England calendar of saints...

, who served as Master
Master (college)
A Master is the title of the head of some colleges and other educational institutions. This applies especially at some colleges and institutions at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge .- See also :* Master A Master (or in female form Mistress) is the title of the head of some...

 between 1497 and 1505. As Chancellor of the university, Fisher was instrumental in the foundation of St John's
St John's College, Cambridge
St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college's alumni include nine Nobel Prize winners, six Prime Ministers, three archbishops, at least two princes, and three Saints....

 and Christ's
Christ's College, Cambridge
Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.With a reputation for high academic standards, Christ's College averaged top place in the Tompkins Table from 1980-2000 . In 2011, Christ's was placed sixth.-College history:...

. As Bishop of Rochester
Bishop of Rochester
The Bishop of Rochester is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Rochester in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers the west of the county of Kent and is centred in the city of Rochester where the bishop's seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin...

 he maintained the conservative stance on the royal supremacy and the reformation measures of king Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 shared by much of the Michaelhouse fellowship which, more prominent and vociferous in his case, ultimately led to Fisher's execution in 1535.

Ironically, Henry VIII made use of the same measures challenged by the Michaelhouse fellowship to dissolve the college. Following the dissolution of religious houses
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

 in England, Cambridge university rightly feared for the future of its colleges, many of which were religious foundations or study houses for clergy. The university was able to make use of its contacts to petition the queen, Katharine Parr who, in turn, persuaded Henry to spare most colleges. Indeed, the two colleges facing dissolution, together with vast tracts of land acquired from the dissolution of the monasteries, would eventually endow a new royal foundation befitting his grandeur. Consequently, in 1546 Michaelhouse was dissolved by act of Parliament, and merged with its neighbour King's Hall
King's Hall, Cambridge
King's Hall was once one of the constituent colleges of Cambridge, founded in 1317, the second after Peterhouse. King's Hall was established by King Edward II to provide chancery clerks for his administration, and was very rich compared to Michaelhouse, which occupied the southern area of what is...

 to form Trinity College. Further endowed by Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, Trinity remains the largest and wealthiest college in the university.

Unlike the few remaining remnants of King's Hall
King's Hall, Cambridge
King's Hall was once one of the constituent colleges of Cambridge, founded in 1317, the second after Peterhouse. King's Hall was established by King Edward II to provide chancery clerks for his administration, and was very rich compared to Michaelhouse, which occupied the southern area of what is...

 north of King Edward's Tower, following the building of Great Court
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

 at the end of the 16th century, nothing much remains of the original Michaelhouse buildings, though its stones probably served as ready building materials. While the Hall was adapted for use by the new college in 1547, its walls are now hidden behind the 18th-century ashlaring of the kitchens and combination rooms south of the present Dining Hall.

St Michael's Church


The parish church of St Michael probably dates back to the foundation of the city of Cambridge itself, though no written records survive prior to a valuation of the living in 1217. Substantially rebuilt by Hervey de Stanton
Hervey de Stanton
Hervey de Stanton was an English judge and Chancellor of the Exchequer.-Origins and early career:...

 in the Decorated style, the Church was designed to serve both the parish and the college. The chancel is three bays long, a bay larger than the nave; both chancel and nave have sizeable side aisles. In 1324, de Stanton had suggested to the bishop of Ely
Bishop of Ely
The Bishop of Ely is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Ely in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese roughly covers the county of Cambridgeshire , together with a section of north-west Norfolk and has its see in the City of Ely, Cambridgeshire, where the seat is located at the...

 that the master and fellows, who were all members of the clergy, could provide daily worship for the parish, since they already used the church as their chapel. Consequently, on 18 March 1324/5, the first Master of Michaelhouse, Walter de Buxton was inducted as vicar of St Michael's Church.

Parish church and chapel for three colleges


The church's nave would have been used for parish worship, regular preaching, university debates and lectures. Until the completion of a chapel for neighbouring Gonville Hall in 1396, both Michaelhouse and Gonville shared in the use of the two aisles; Gonville making use of the north aisle of the church, Michaelhouse using the south. Since Gonville Hall was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the north aisle altar was also dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The south aisle altar was known as that of "St Gregory of Pity", indicating that it would have been surmounted by an image of the Pity, that is, Christ and the instruments of the Passion. Its association with St Gregory derives from a vision by Pope Gregory the Great when celebrating mass of Christ's real presence and sacrifice in the eucharistic bread. One of the later Hostels of Michaelhouse shared the dedication of the College chapel. While the altarpiece may have survived the reformation, it certainly would not have survived local Cromwellian iconoclasm, and was most likely destroyed, alongside other images in St Michael's, on Boxing Day 1643. However, a late-medieval scutum sancti Trinitatis (Shield of the Trinity
Shield of the Trinity
The Shield of the Trinity or Scutum Fidei is a traditional Christian visual symbol which expresses many aspects of the doctrine of the Trinity, summarizing the first part of the Athanasian Creed in a compact diagram...

), in the middle ages widely believed to be the Shield of St Michael and probably used as the College's coat of arms, has survived in the chapel's stained glass window.

Michaelhouse clergy served the parish until the dissolution of the College in 1546. From the time of the demolition of the King's Hall Chapel in 1550, until the completion, on the same site, of Trinity College chapel under Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 in 1565, the scholars of Trinity made use of St Michael's Church as their chapel. In the process of establishing a new chapel, 36 scholars' stalls created in 1485 by 'John Day, Carvar' for the King's Hall
King's Hall, Cambridge
King's Hall was once one of the constituent colleges of Cambridge, founded in 1317, the second after Peterhouse. King's Hall was established by King Edward II to provide chancery clerks for his administration, and was very rich compared to Michaelhouse, which occupied the southern area of what is...

 Chapel, some with carved misericords, were removed to St Michael's, where they remain to date. As successor of Hervey de Stanton's foundation, Trinity College continues to hold the patronage of the living of St Michael's and, during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, fellows in Holy Orders at Trinity College ministered as clergy (so-called 'chaplains') of St Michael's. The present minister retains this title.

Diocesan church


From the middle of the 17th century until the middle of the 19th century, the church was used as a venue of the episcopal and archidiaconal visitations for the Diocese of Ely
Diocese of Ely
The Diocese of Ely is a Church of England diocese in the Province of Canterbury. It is headed by the Bishop of Ely, who sits at Ely Cathedral in Ely. There is one suffragan bishop, the Bishop of Huntingdon. The diocese now covers Cambridgeshire and western Norfolk...

. Similarly, Diocesan confirmation services would be held at St Michael's, rather than in Ely Cathedral. On 11 November 1849, as the congregation was gathering for Sunday worship, the heating system caused the church roof to catch fire, resulting in the careful rebuilding of the roof by George Gilbert Scott
George Gilbert Scott
Sir George Gilbert Scott was an English architect of the Victorian Age, chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches, cathedrals and workhouses...

 and the restoration of the church the following year. Scott's renovation did not extend beyond introducing a new stone porch at the north side of the church, the major restructuring of the church fell to Scott's son, George Gilbert Scott Junior
George Gilbert Scott Junior
George Gilbert Scott, Jr. was an English architect. He was the son of Sir George Gilbert Scott, brother of John Oldrid Scott and father of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and Adrian Gilbert Scott, all also architects....

.

Scott's refurbishment


From 1870–72, George Gilbert Scott Junior
George Gilbert Scott Junior
George Gilbert Scott, Jr. was an English architect. He was the son of Sir George Gilbert Scott, brother of John Oldrid Scott and father of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and Adrian Gilbert Scott, all also architects....

 was asked to design a fine new East Window in memory of one of the parish clergy, William Beamont. In the process, Scott proposed the complete remodelling of the sanctuary, including the creation of an ascent of four steps to match the levels of the 14th century sedelia, and the creation of a tall new altarpiece that would extend 'up to three feet above the window cill [sic] level'. For his three-tiered new reredos, Scott made use of parts of the existing, much smaller, altarpiece created between 1864–1868 by Louvain woodcarver Michiel Abeloos. Abeloos had previously collaborated with George Gilbert Scott
George Gilbert Scott
Sir George Gilbert Scott was an English architect of the Victorian Age, chiefly associated with the design, building and renovation of churches, cathedrals and workhouses...

 on the carved choir stalls at Ely Cathedral. Abeloos' figures of the archangels Michael and Gabriel, the Last Supper and the College motto were all incorporated into a much grander piece, the work of local carpenters Rattee & Kett and artist F.R. Leach. In Cambridge, Leach also collaborated with George Frederick Bodley
George Frederick Bodley
George Frederick Bodley was an English architect working in the Gothic revival style.-Personal life:Bodley was the youngest son of William Hulme Bodley, M.D. of Edinburgh, physician at Hull Royal Infirmary, Kingston upon Hull, who in 1838 retired to his wife's home town, Brighton, Sussex, England....

 on the ceiling and frescoes of All Saints' Church, Jesus Lane, the ceiling of Jesus College Chapel, and the dining hall ceiling at Queens'. In 1874, Leach painted the Chancel ceiling and arches of St Michael's to designs of Scott as a thank-offering, without accepting any payment. Parts of the north aisle had been painted previously to designs by Holman Hunt.

The Michaelhouse Centre


Ultimately, the parish proved too small to be sustainable. Indeed, from as early as 1550, when it was suggested that it should be united with the parish of All Saints in the Jewry, St Michael's parish was threatened with fusion with neighbouring parishes. It was finally united with that Great St Mary
St Mary the Great with St Michael, Cambridge
St Mary the Great is a Church of England church at the north end of King's Parade in central Cambridge, England. It is known locally as Great St Mary's or simply GSM to distinguish it from "Little St Mary's". It is one of the Greater Churches....

's in 1908. Substantially refurbished in 2001-2002, the church now bears the College's name, Michaelhouse Centre Cambridge. It serves as a lively weekday church, community centre, art gallery and a café managed by a charitable trust on behalf of the church council of the united parish. The chapel adjacent to de Stanton's grave is named in his memory and now, as then, forms the focal point for daily devotions at the church he built.

Cultural references


Michaelhouse is the setting for the Matthew Bartholomew Chronicles, a series of Mediaeval mystery novels by Susanna Gregory
Susanna Gregory
Susanna Gregory is the pseudonym of Elizabeth Cruwys, a Cambridge academic who was previously a coroner's officer. She writes detective fiction, and is noted for her series of mediaeval mysteries featuring Matthew Bartholomew, a teacher of medicine and investigator of murders in 14th-century...

.