Home  »  Volume II: English THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGES  »  § 14. Queen Margaret

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume II. The End of the Middle Ages.

XV. English and Scottish Education. Universities and Public Schools to the Time of Colet

§ 14. Queen Margaret

In Cambridge, queen Margaret was stirred up by the labours of her husband to lay the foundations of Queen’s College (1448), where her good work was preserved and completed by Elizabeth Woodville (1465). Robert Woodlarke, third provost of King’s College and chancellor of the university, founded St. Catharine’s (1473). John Alcock, bishop of Ely, who resembled Wykeham in being at once skilled architect and prominent statesman, erected Jesus College round the chapel of the dissolved priory of St. Radegund (1496). In Oxford, Richard Fleming, bishop of Lincoln, having repented the Wyclifite errors of his youth, endowed Lincoln College as a special bulwark against heresy in his diocese (1429). When Thomas Wolsey, papal legate and archbishop, suppressed monasteries in order to rival with his linked foundations of Cardinal College and Ipswich the creations of Wykeham and Henry VI, men might have foretold the coming of a peaceful church reform. Kings, noble dames and princes of the blood now contended with prelates and grateful scholars in college building. At Cambridge the Lady Margaret, countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of Henry VII, claimed the honours of foundress, not only of Christ’s College (1505), in which was merged Henry VI’s grammar foundation of God’s House (1439), but of the larger college of St. John (1511). Thomas Lord Audley, chancellor of England, under licence obtained from Henry VIII, completed, under the name of Magdalene, the college of which the erection and endowment were begun by the unfortunate Edward Stafford, duke of Buckingham. It remained for Henry VIII himself to combine Michaelhouse, Edward III’s foundation of King’s Hall and an unendowed hostel in the magnificent college of Trinity (1546). In the same England in which the supporters of rival houses were wreaking mutual destruction on the battle-fields of the Roses, men were thus actively engaged in building colleges. It was fitting that in the monarch who united the contending claims, and in his son, should be found active patrons of the learning of the renascence.