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neral Oglethorpe, who was a member of this College; and also a very valuable collection of the earliest editions of the Classics, particularly of the Aldine, many of which belonged to the Founder, and are well preserved. Among the most curious are Cicero de Officiis on vellum, 1466; the Florentine Anthologia, Euripides, Apollonius Rhodius in capital letters; and a vellum copy of the splendid edition of Aristotle and Theophrastus, from the press of Aldus.
They shew here also the genuine Crosier of the Founder, a piece of curious workmanship, little impaired by time.
This College was founded in the year 1516, by Dr. Richard Fox, a native of Ropesley, near Grantham in Lincolnshire, who was successively Bishop of the sees of Exeter, Bath and Wells, Durham, and Winchester, and was likewise Lord Privy Seal to Kings Henry VII. and VIII. He first intended it only as a seminary for the Monks of the priory or Cathedral Church of St. Swithin at Winchester, and obtained a charter for that end; but altered his mind by the persuasion of Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, who engaged to be a benefactor to the House, on condition that he would convert it into a College for the use of secular students, after the manner of other Colleges in the University. Whereupon Bishop Fox caused the first charter to be cancelled, and obtained another, whereby he was permitted to found a College for the study of Divinity, Philosophy, and other liberal Arts.
The statutes for the government of this Society ordain, that the Fellows should be elected out of the Scholars, who are to be chosen from the counties or dioceses following, viz. two Surrey, three Hampshire, one Durham, two Bath and Wells, two Exeter, two county of Lincoln, two Gloucestershire, one Wiltshire, or (in defect of a candidate) the diocese of Sarum, one county of Bedford, two county of Kent, one county of Oxford, one Lancashire.
Among the benefactors was Hugh Oldham, Chaplain to Margaret Countess of Richmond, and afterwards Bishop of Exeter, who gave 6000* marks towards erecting the College, besides several estates for the endowment of it. William Frost, Steward to the Founder; Joha Glaymond, the first President of this College 5 and Robert Morwent, second President, gave to the College several portions of lands. Arthur Parsons, M. D. some time Fellow, gave 3000*1. towards purchasing Advowsons.
The endowment of the College, according to Tanner in his Not. Mon. amounted 26 Henry VIII. anno 1534, to the yearly value of 3821. 8s. 9d.
The present members of this Society are, a President, twenty Fellows, two Chaplains, twenty Scholars, four Exhibitioners, and six Gentlemen Commoners.
Visitor. The Bishop of Winchester,
M ERTON College is situated east of Corpus Christi, from which it is separated by a small grove of elms, and consists of three courts. The largest or inner court is 110 feet long, and 100 broad, and was erected in 1610, from the apartments of which on the south there is a pleasant prospect over the meadows. The Terrace in the gardens, formed on the city wall, is no less well situated for a prospect. , The Chapel, built in 1424, at the west end of the first court, is likewise the Parish Church of St. John Baptist. It is one of the largest, most ancient, and best proportioned Gothic structures in the University, 100 feet in length and 30 in breadth, and has a very capacious Tower and Ante-chapel. But large as it is at present, it has been thought from its whole appearance, and from the form and manner of the arches closed up in the wall of the west end, on each hand of the great window, to have been built with a view to a farther addition of a nave and side ailes, the present building being no more than the choir and transept.
In the Chapel are the monuments of Sir Thomas Bodley, Sir Henry Saville, Bishop Earle, and some others. In the Ante-chapel, by the north-door, is that of Mr. Antony Wood, the famous antiquary. And near the entrance into the Chapel is a very neat, though small one, for the late Warden, Dr. Wyntle.
In the Hall, to which we ascend by a flight of steps, is a well-imagined picture, by the late Dr. Wall, representing the expulsion of idle monks to make room for the liberal education of youth, designed by the Founder.
The Library, supposed to be the oldest in England, and built in 1369, is in the small old quadrangle, south of the Chapel, and is well furnished with ancient and modern books, and some manuscripts.
This Society, consisting of a Warden and about the same number of Scholars or Fellows as at present, was first placed at Maldon in Surrey, (but with a provision for the abode and residence of the chief part of them here in Oxford,) anno 1264, the 48th year of King Henry III. by Walter de Merton, some time Lord Chancellor of England. The instrument of endowment, with the statutes under the broad seal, the Founder's, the Bishop of the diocese's, and that of his Chapter, are at this time in the College Treasury, and deemed to be the first charter of the kind in Europe. The statutes were finally established under the broad seal and his own, anno 1274, the second of the reign of King Edward I.
Such was the original of this ancient Society, by these charters, above five hundred years since, incorporated, and endowed with almost all the