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French, finely decorated with curious Paintings, given by General Oglethorpe, who was a Member of this Col. lege; and also a very valuable Collection of the first Editions of the Classics.
They shew here also the genuine Crofier 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 King Henry VII, and Henry 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 Uni. versity: 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 Charter of Foundation was dated at the Castle of Wolvelly, on the Calends of March 1516.
He assigned a Body of Statutes for the Government of this Society, whereby he appointed, that the Fellows should be elected out of the Scholars, who are to be chosen from the Counties or Dioceses following, viz. two Surry, three Hampshire, one Durham, two Bath and Wells, two Exeter, two County of Lincoln, two Gloucesterspire, 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 Oldhain, Chaplain 10 Margaret Countess of Richmond, and afterwards Bi
shop of Exeter, who gave 6000 Marks towards the building of this College, besides several Estates for the Endowment of it. i William Frost, Steward to the Founder; John Claymond, the first President of this College; and Robert Morwent, second President, gave to the College several Portions of Lands; And in 1706, Dr. Turner, when Prefident, gave the New Buildings, and his Collection of Books.
The present Members of this Society are a President, 20 Fellows, 2 Chaplains, 20 Scholars, 4 Exhibitioners, and 6 Gentlemen-Commoners,
Visitor. The Bishop of Winchester.
MERTON COLLEGE. . M ERTON College is situated East of Corpus Chrifti,
and consists of three Courts. The largest, or in. * ner Court, is about 11o Feet long, and 100 broad,
The Chapel is at the West End of the first Court, and is likewise the Parish Church of St. John Baptist de Merton. It is one of the largest and best proportion'd 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, ard from the Form and Manner of the Arches closed up in the Wall of the Weit End, on each Hand of the great Window, to have been built with a View to a farther Addition of a Nave and Side-Iiles; the present Building being no more than the Choir, and Cross- Ifle. Such a Design was more easy to be made than executed, and after all, most likely reached no farther than to the carrying on the Building, as far as it went, in the Cathedral Manner, In the Chapel are the Monuments of Sir Thomas Boda ; H 2
ley, ley, Sir Henry Saville, Bishop Earle, and some others. In the Ante-Chapel, besides the rest, by the North Door, is that of Mr. Anthony Wood, the famous Antiquarian. And near the Entrance into the Chapel is a very neat though small one, for the late Warden Dr. Wyntle and his Sister.
The Hall is between the first and the inner Court; and the Library in the small old Quadrangle, South of the Chapel, and is well furnished with ancient and modern Books and Manuscripts.
The Gardens are very pleasant, having the Advantage of a Prospect of the adjacent Walks and Country from the South Terras.
This Society, consisting of a Warden and about the same Number of Scholars or Fellows as at present, was first placed at Maldon in Surry, (but with a Provision for the Abode and Residence of the chief Part of them here in Oxford) Anro 1264, the 48th Year of King Henry the Third, by Walter de Merton, sometime Lord Chancellor of England, and then after Bishop of Rochefter: The Instrument of Endowment, with the Statutes under the Broad Seal, the Founder's, the Bifhop of the Diocefe’s, and that of his Chapter, being at this Time in the College Treasury, and deemed to be the first Charter of the Kind in Europe. Not long after, viz. the Year 1 267, he gave the Statutes in their present Form, transferring the whole Society from Maldon to St. John Baptist's Street, in Oxford, and placing them in a House or College he had built there. The Sta. tutes then given were superseded for a short Time by an intermediate Charter with others in 1270, but were replaced and finally established under the Broad Seal and his own, Anno 1274, the second of the Reign of King Edward the First.
Such was the Original of this ancient Society, by these Charters, five hundred Years since, incorporated, and endowed with almost all the Lands they at this