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Cambridge University (Medieval)

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Cambridge University (Medieval)

  • Peterhouse is the oldest college in the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely. Peterhouse has 284 undergraduates, 130 graduate students and 45 fellows, making it the smallest College in Cambridge, except for certain colleges that admit only women, graduates, or mature students and which are smaller because of their restricted membership.
    • The foundation of Peterhouse dates to 1280, when letters patent from Edward I dated Burgh, Suffolk, 24 December 1280 allowed Hugo de Balsham to keep a number of scholars in the Hospital of St John,[1] where they were to live according to the rules of the scholars of Merton.[2] After disagreement between the scholars and the Brethren of the Hospital, both requested a separation.[3] As a result, in 1284 Balsham transferred the scholars to the present site with the purchase of two houses just outside the then Trumpington Gate to accommodate a Master and fourteen “worthy but impoverished Fellows”. The Church of St Peter without Trumpington Gate was to be used by the scholars.[3] Bishop Hugo de Balsham died in 1286, bequeathing 300 marks that were used to buy further land to the south of St Peter's Church, on which the college's Hall was built.
  • Clare College is the second oldest surviving college after Peterhouse.
    • The college was founded in 1326 by the university's Chancellor, Richard de Badew, and named University Hall. Providing maintenance for only two fellows, it soon hit financial hardship. In 1338, the college was refounded as Clare Hall by an endowment from Elizabeth de Clare, a granddaughter of Edward I, which provided for twenty fellows and ten students.