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


(i) Manuscripts.

Vast stores of documents referring to the early history of Oxford and Cambridge are to be found in the treasuries or muniment rooms of the several colleges, and in the registries of the two universities.

Thomas Baker (1656–1740), sometime Fellow of St. John’s, a laborious and accurate antiquarian, left extensive writings, which are preserved in the Harleian collection in the British Museum and in the Cambridge University Library. In the antiquarian collections made by William Cole (1714– 82), vicar of Milton, Cambridgeshire, and bequeathed by him to the British Museum, is much useful material extracted by him from original sources.

(ii)Printed Books.


Documents relating to the University and Colleges of Cambridge. 3 vols. 1852. These volumes contain the Statuta Antiqua of the university, together with charters, statutes and other records furnished to the university commission of the time by Cambridge authorities and by the custodians of various national collections.

Statuta Academiae Cantabrigiensis. Cambridge, 1785.


Statutes of the Colleges of Oxford, with the Royal Patents of Foundation, Injunctions of Visitors, etc. 3 vols. Oxford and London, 1853.

Corpus Statutorum Universitatis Oxoniensis (with Appendix). Oxford, 1768. Anstey, Henry. Monumenta Academica, or Documents illustrative of Academical life and studies at Oxford. 2 vols. Rolls Series. 1868.


Fasti Aberdonenses, Selections from the Records of the University and King’s College of Aberdeen (1494–1854). Spalding Club. 1854.

Munimenta Alme Universitatis Glasguensis. Records of the University of Glasgow from its foundation till 1727. Ed. Innes, C. Maitland Club. 3 vols. Glasgow, 1854.

Royal Commission on the State of the Universities and Colleges of Scotland. Evidence taken before the Commission, Papers, etc. 4 vols. 1826–30.


Report of Her Majesty’s Commission appointed to enquire into the Revenues and Management of certain Colleges and Schools. 1864.

Valuable occasional references to university history and life are made by contemporary chroniclers and poets, amongst whom particular note may be made of Giraldus Cambrensis, The Vision of Piers the Plowman, Matthew of Paris and Richard of Devizes. The following editions may be distinguished;

Giraldus Cambrensis. Opera. Ed. Brewer, J. S., Dimock, J. F. and Warner G. F. 8 vols. Rolls Series. 1861–91.

Matthaei Parisiensis Monachi Sancti Albani, Chronica Majora. Ed. Luard, H. R. 7 vols. Rolls Series. 1872–83.

Chronicon Richardi Divisiensis de Rebus Gestis Richardi Primi. Ed. Stevenson, J. Eng. Hist. Soc. 1838.

For Piers Plowman, see Chapter I of present volume, and bibliography.

Mention need hardly be made of rich material to be found in the Prologue of The Canterbury Tales, and in The Prioress’s Tale. Among early Scottish chroniclers may be singled out John Major, whose De Historia Gentis Scotorum Libri Sex appeared at Paris in 1521, and was republished at Edinburgh in 1740. For Direct personal observation of Scottish university life in the middle of the sixteenth century reference may be made to:

Melville, James, Minister of Kilrenny, The Diary of, 1556–1601. Bannatyne Club. Edinburgh, 1829.

The Autobiography and Diary of the Rev. James Melville, Minister of Kilrenny. Wodrow Soc. Edinburgh, 1842.



Maitre, L. Les ècoles èpiscopales et monastiques de I’occident (768–1180). Paris, 1866.

Rashdall, H. The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages. 2 vols. Oxford, 1895. An excellent general account of the beginnings and life of the medieval universities. The history of Oxford and Cambridge is dealt with in vol. II, part 2. The author prefixes a useful list of authorities.


Baker, T. History of the College of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge. Ed. Mayor, J. E. B. 2 vols. Cambridge, 1869. The belated issue of the work of an early labourer thoroughly alive to the requirements of critical history.

Brodrick, Hon. G. C. A History of the University of Cambridge. 1841. An excellent outline history.

Cooper, C. H. Annals of Cambridge. 4 vols. Cambridge, 1852.

Fuller, Thomas. The History of the University of Cambridge. 1655.

Leathes, S. M. Grace Book I, containing the Proctor’s Accounts and other Records of the University of Cambridge from the Years 1454–1488. Luard Memorial Series. Cambridge, 1897.

Mullinger, J. Bass. The University of Cambridge from the earliest Times to the Royal Injunctions of 1535. Cambridge, 1899. A work of indefatigable industry, free and critical, and particularly valuable on the literary and educational side.

Peacock, G. Observations on the Statutes of the University of Cambridge. 1841.


Brodrick, Hon. G. C. Memorials of Merton College. Oxford Hist, Soc. 1885.

Edmund, bishop of Nelson. Sketch of the Life of Walter de Merton. 1859.

Fletcher, C. R. L. and Burrows, M. Oxford Collectanea, series I and II. Oxford Hist. Soc. 1885 ff. (Catalogue of Oriel College Library, 15th cent., the university in the 12th cent., Friars in Oxford, Jews in Oxford. Linacre’s catalogue of Grocyn’s books, John Dorne, the Oxford book-seller, etc.)

Maxwell-Lyte, H. C. A History of the University of Oxford to 1530. 1886.

Wood, Anthony. History and antiquities of the University of Oxford. Ed. Gutch, J. 5 vols. Oxford, 1786–96.


Herkless, J. and Hannay, R. K. The College of St. Leonard. Edinburgh, 1905. A useful work, containing original documents.

Lyon, C. J. History of St. Andrews, episcopal, monastic, academic and civic. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1843. Utilises original documents, but unfortunately these are usually translated in a abridged form.

Rait, R. S. The Universities of Aberdeen. Aberdeen, 1895.


Chandler, R. Life of William Waynflete. 1811.

Creasy, E. S. Some Account of the Foundation of Eton College. 1848.

Cust, L. History of Eton. 1899.

Heywood, J. and Wright, T. The Ancient Laws of the 15th century for King’s College, Cambridge, and for the Public School of Eton College. 1850.

Knight, S. The Life of Dr. John Colet, Founder of St. Paul’s School. 1724.

Leach, A. F. History of Winchester. 1899.

Lowth, R. Life of William of Wykeham. 1758.

Lupton, J. H. A Life of John Colet. 1887.

Maxwell-Lyte, H. C. A History of Eton College. 1873.

Moberley, G. H. Life of William of Wykeham. Winchester, 1887.

Seebohm, F. The Oxford Reformers. 3rd edition. 1887.

Reference may also be made with advantage to

Anstey, Henry. Epistolae Academicae Oxon.: a Collection of Letters illustrative of academic life and studies at Oxford in the 15th century. Pt. 1. Oxford Hist. Soc. 1898.

Bateson, M. Medieval England. 1903.

Brewer, J. S. Monumenta Franciscana. 1858.

College Histories Series, published by Hutchinson & Co. (formerly F. E. Robinson). The writers usually indicate the works of earlier college historians, which are in some instances (e.g. Queens’, Gonville and Caius, and St. John’s Colleges, Cambridge) of considerable historical importance.

De Montmorency, J. E. G. State Intervention in English Education. Cambridge. [See chap. 1, Education and the State from Saxon times to the end of the 14th cent.]

Denifle, F. Heinrich S. Die Universitäten des Mittelalters bis 1400. Berlin, 1885.

Heppe, Heinrich. Das Schulwesen des Mittelalters und dessen Reform im sechszehnten Jahrhundert. Marburg, 1860.

James, M. R. A Descriptive Catalogue of the MSS. in the Library of Peterhouse. With an Essay on the History of the Library by J. W. Clark, M. A. Cambridge, 1899.

Kaufmann, G. Die Geschichte der Deutschen Universitäten. 2 vols. Stuttgart, 1888.

Poole, R. L., in Traill’s Social England. Vol. 1.

Sandys, J. E. A History of Classical Scholarship from the 6th century B.C. to the end of the Middle Ages. 2nd edition. Cambridge, 1906.

Specht, F. A. Geschichte des Unterrichtswesen in Deutschland. Stuttgart, 1885.