CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE
Corpus Christi College. Gules a pelican in her piety argent quartered with azure three lilies argent. [Granted 1570]
The College of Corpus Christi
and the Blessed Virgin Mary (fn. 1) is unique among Cambridge colleges in the circumstances of its foundation. It came into being in the 14th century as a
result of the generous desire of one of the most
flourishing of Cambridge guilds,
the Guild of Corpus Christi, to
establish an institution in which
persons might be trained in academical learning and fitted to
make 'supplications to God for
the souls of every one of the
Fraternity as he departed out of
this life'. (fn. 2) Shortly after it had
made this resolve the guild united with another similar society,
the Guild of the Blessed Virgin
Mary. Their joint efforts and
resources enabled the building of
the College to begin, and Henry,
Duke of Lancaster, who consented to become alderman of the
united guild, secured a royal
licence for the new foundation. It is from 1352,
the year in which this licence was granted, that the
foundation of the College officially dates. Alone
among Cambridge colleges it was the creation of a
corporate body; and the connexion of parent and
child was so close that the College can claim a continuous history with religious guilds, the existence
of one of which, the Guild of St. Mary, can be traced
back at least as far as 1285. (fn. 3)
The Guild of Corpus Christi appears to have
been housed near St. Bene't's churchyard and it was
on a square piece of ground adjoining the south side
of the churchyard that the first buildings of its
College arose. Brethren who had houses in Luthburne, now Free School Lane, pulled them down to
make room for the new foundation, and two neighbouring hostels, the 'Long Entry' and the Hostel
of the Holy Cross, were acquired by exchange of
property with Gonville Hall. Gradually during the
next two centuries the greater part was acquired of
the existing site, between the churches of St. Bene't
and St. Botolph to north and south and between
Free School Lane and Trumpington Street to east
and west; and though there were frequent exchanges
or sales of property in other parts of Cambridge this
land was always carefully preserved as the proper
area for the improvement and development of what
its alumni came affectionately to call 'the Old
Endowments and Property.
endowments of the College were inadequate to support more than a Master and two fellows, but the
numbers speedily increased as the result of various
benefactions of the 14th century. The guildsmen
took a lively interest in the fortunes of their nursling.
It was natural that, largely through their generosity,
the advowson of St. Bene't's church, in which they
held their services, should be the first to be purchased for the College; indeed the College was so
closely connected with St. Bene't's that for some
350 years it was commonly known as Bene't College.
The exchange of property with Gonville Hall,
already mentioned, also secured for the College
the advowson of St. Botolph's, which was sold to
Queens' in 1460. Other important 14th-century
acquisitions were the manors of Barton, St. Andrew's
Chatteris, and Landbeach, together with the advowson of the last-named, and the advowson of Grantchester.
The next two centuries saw the purchase of two
more Cambridgeshire manors, Over and Ricottes,
and of the advowson of Little Wilbraham; while
Archbishop Parker presented that of St. Mary Abchurch in the City of London, which after the Great
Fire was united with that of St. Laurence Pountney.
In 1706 another Corpus Archbishop of Canterbury
added to his gift of the living of Stalbridge (Dors.)
the rectory of Duxford St. Peter which was sold to
Clare College in 1868. In 1719 Dr. Thomas Tooke
bequeathed the two Essex livings of Lambourne and
Great Braxted, and in the preceding year the two
Norfolk advowsons of Thurning and Fulmodestoncum-Croxton were acquired by purchase. There
were no further additions to the College patronage
until the 20th century when the livings of Norton
(Derb.), Ashingdon with South Fambridge (Essex),
and Rockland All Saints with St. Andrew (Norf.)
were obtained by gift, and that of Strensham (Worcs.)
was purchased with the Strensham estate. (fn. 4)
These centuries also witnessed several additions
to the College's landed property. In 1687 the then
Master, Dr. John Spencer, gave the manor of
Elmington (Northants.), which was sold in 1929.
In 1789 the Holton Hall estate (Norf.) was bought
with money bequeathed for the purpose by another
Master, Dr. Matthias Mawson, and in 1833 Norwood Farm near March was purchased as a result of
an exchange with Pembroke College. During the
next 100 years there were few changes, but after
1930 political and economic uncertainty led to many
transactions in land, which came increasingly to be
regarded as one of the soundest investments. Thus
in 1936 the College bought the Strensham estate of
2,280 acres in Worcestershire, but sold it in 1950,
600 acres of the Upton estate near Banbury, of which
it disposed in 1944, and, in 1939, the Spridlington
and West Firsby (Lincs.) estates of 1,900 acres, which
were sold in 1954. The most recent purchases have
above all been of good arable and pasture land in eastern England, notably the Bury Farm at Stapleford,
in 1935, other Lincolnshire farms bought between
1941 and 1955 but subsequently sold, and two fenland farms near Whittlesey, in 1947 and 1948. Mention must also be made of the 900-acre Boulge Hall
estate (Suff.), at one time the home of Edward Fitzgerald, bought in 1946 and sold in 1953.
Statutes and Constitution.
brief time the College was governed by rules drawn
up by the alderman and brethren of the guild. The
first formal statutes, officially adopted in 1356, appear
to have been modelled on those drawn up by the
founder of Michaelhouse 30 years before. All
scholars, or fellows, were required to be in priest's
orders, to have lectured in arts or philosophy, or at
least to have been students (Bacalarii) of arts or of
canon or civil law, though the study of canon law
was not to be pursued by more than four of them.
They were to obey the Master in all things; and
Master, scholars, and chaplains were to keep common table and to wear like dress, for which they
were to receive so many marks a year according to
their degree. The statutes dealt with the salaries, and
with the election, resignation, or expulsion of members of the society. They laid down the duties and
wages of the College servants. They provided for
annual supervision of the College by the Chancellor
in spiritual matters and by the alderman of the guild
and six brethren in matters temporal. They imposed
the duty to say mass at St. Botolph's or St. Bene't's
on feast days and to be present at all funerals of
brothers and sisters of the guild. They declared that
charters must be kept in a common chest to which
there should be three keys, one kept by the Master,
another by one of the chaplains, and the third and
chief by the alderman of the guild.
These statutes remained in force until 1544 when
they were redrafted and amended by Matthew
Parker, then Master, with the aid of Dr. William
May. The new draft after various further revisions
and corrections was finally approved by Queen Elizabeth I's visitors in 1573. The guild had long since
ceased to exist, probably early in Richard II's reign,
and so its officers had no place in the new constitution.
This provided for the maintenance of a Master, or
keeper, 8 fellows or scholars, 2 Bible-clerks, 6 poor
scholars, 1 butler, 1 manciple, and 2 cooks. But the
number of fellows, Bible-clerks, and poor scholars
might be increased or diminished according as the
society saw fit. There followed detailed regulations
for the election of Master and fellows, their duties
and the oaths they were to take on admission. Within
three years of his election the Master must, if he had
it not already, proceed to the degree of bachelor of
theology, and half or a third of the fellows were
required to be ordained. The Master was to reside
three months during the year, no fellow was to be
absent for more than 65 days, no scholar for more
than a month, unless for grave cause. Rooms were
to be allotted by the Master, and Latin was to be
spoken in hall. Strict rules were laid down for keeping accounts, and the keys of the common chest were
henceforth to be kept by the Master and two fellows
chosen by the society.
This constitution endured until 1861 when a new
set of Latin statutes was approved by the Queen in
Council. They abolished the restriction by which
certain fellowships were confined to Norfolk men and
they relaxed the obligations to take orders; simultaneous supplemental statutes in English modified
the conditions under which numerous close scholarships were offered so as to bring them into relation
with the altered value of money. The appointment of a new statutory commission for university
and college reform led to further and more sweeping
changes which were incorporated in the English
statutes of 1881. Fellows were no longer required to
remain celibate or to take orders within a certain
time, and provision was made for the reservation of
one fellowship for a University professor and for the
creation of honorary fellows, should the College so
desire. These statutes were supplemented by those
of 1921, which created a class of non-resident fellowships for members of the College who had dis-
tinguished themselves academically, but for whom
no resident fellowships were available. The 1881
statutes were however shortly afterwards replaced by
those made by the statutory commissioners in 1925.
Substantially these statutes were still in operation in
1955. The main changes which they introduced were
the imposition of a retiring age upon the Master and
all administrative and teaching officers of the College;
the reservation of a certain number of fellowships
for teaching officers of the University; the creation
of a new category of fellowships known as research
fellowships; and the power given and exercised to
create an executive body or committee of the governing body, which, composed of the Master and the
main teaching and administrative officers, would
transact the principal business of the College on
behalf of and instead of the governing body. Since
the Second World War, however, a certain amount
of business has been returned to the governing body.
Until the 19th century the main
building of the College consisted of what is now
known as the Old Court. (fn. 5) Its construction was
begun before 1352 and appears to have been completed by 1378. It can claim to have been the 'first
originally planned close quadrangle in Cambridge':
on the south were the Master's Lodge, the hall,
butteries, and kitchen; on the other three sides
chambers, built on two floors, above which attic rooms
were later added. The entry on the north side was
exceedingly unpretentious, through a plain archway,
which was approached by a passage adjacent to
St. Bene't's churchyard. During the first century of
its existence the College must have been a primitive
and uncomfortable place. The outside wall had no
buttresses or parapets; the inside ones were bare of
plaster; the windows were largely unglazed; and the
ground floors were of clay, and the first-floor rooms
open to the roof. Towards the close of the 15th
century, however, there began a period in which
much was done to improve the amenities. First, the
munificence of Elizabeth, Duchess of Norfolk, enabled the court to be buttressed. Then about 1500
Dr. Cosyn, the Master, built the gallery which
connects the court with St. Bene't's Church. In
the mid-16th century, when Matthew Parker was
Master, another gallery was constructed as an extension of the Master's Lodge; this was a handsome
building, with a covered walk underneath, projecting into the Master's garden to the south of the
lodge. The great increase of numbers in the second
half of this century necessitated the conversion of
the old tennis court into a pensionary for undergraduates not on the foundation and the erection,
begun in 1579, of a new chapel, with a library room
above it, to the south of the Master's gallery.
After a lean period in the fortunes of the society
during the early part of the 17th century prospects
began to revive, and in the time of Dr. Walsall
(1618–26) the College could hope that a benefactor
might come forward and build a second court. But
this pious hope was not to be realized for 200 years.
In the 17th century funds were too low to permit
of any considerable building enterprise, while 18thcentury projects, which included plans for the complete rebuilding of the College in a classical style,
failed to mature. It was not until 1823, under the
rule of Dr. John Lamb, that the construction of
the present neo-Gothic New Court was begun. The
design of the architect, Wilkins (who at his wish lies
buried in the new chapel and who was also the
architect of the National Gallery, of Downing College, and of other college buildings in Cambridge)
and the needs of the society unfortunately necessitated the destruction of the Elizabethan chapel and
the Master's gallery. They also resulted in the loss
of the fellows' garden. A new garden was later laid
out on land adjoining Sidgwick Avenue, and remained in the possession of the College until 1948,
when it was sold to the University. Completed in
1827, the New Court provided the College with a new
main entrance on Trumpington Street, with a spacious
new hall, a new library, and a new Master's Lodge,
as well as a new chapel, which had to be extended
eastwards in 1869. In the present century accommodation in College has been further increased by
the addition of attic rooms above three sides of the
New Court, the reconstruction of the stable yard,
and the incorporation of chambers above the Westminster Bank and of houses belonging to the college
in Corpus Buildings on Trumpington Street.
The close connexion of the College with
St. Bene't's Church had for a long time rendered the
construction of a separate chapel unnecessary. But
in the time of Dr. Cosyn, Master 1478–1515, an
upper and lower chapel were built on the south side
of the church and connected with the College by a
long narrow gallery. The lower chapel is the present
vestry of St. Bene't's Church. The room above it,
now a fellow's bedroom, appears to have been used
as a lecture room as well as a private chapel These
rooms seem to have served until 1579 when the
generosity of Sir Nicholas Bacon, a former member
of the College, enabled a separate and more spacious
College chapel to be built south of the Master's
gallery virtually on the site of the existing chapel.
Much of the stone used for the building came from
Thorney Abbey and Barnwell Priory, and Queen
Elizabeth I and Sir Francis Drake were amongst
those who contributed to its construction.
The College has produced many men who have played a notable part in
the life of the Church, and as a religious foundation
it has naturally been affected by the great crises
of the Church's history. In 1535 the policy of
Henry VIII brought to an end the most spectacular
of the annual events in the religious life of the College, the Corpus Christi Day procession, when the
Master 'in a silk cope under a canopy, carrying the
host in the pix, or rich box of silver-gilt', (fn. 6) proceeded
through the town, the alderman and elder brethren
of the guild, so long as that existed, going in front,
and the Vice-Chancellor, university men, Mayor
and burgesses following after. But in William
Sowode and his successor, Matthew Parker, the
College had Masters sympathetic to the new ideas,
and Parker especially, who had been an undergraduate and fellow of the College, was, as will be
seen, to bring it immense benefits.
The Marian reaction forced Parker to retire from
the Mastership and two members of the society were
deprived of their fellowships in 1553. In 1557 there
appear to have been only five fellows. With the
accession of Elizabeth I, however, the fortunes of
the college revived. Parker became Archbishop of
Canterbury and among numerous benefactions endowed four new fellowships and several scholarships. (fn. 7)
Some years later a Puritan party arose in the College,
headed by Aldrich, the Master, who referred to
Parker as 'Pope of Lambeth and of Bene't College'
and was eventually forced to resign for refusing to
observe certain College statutes. Several Corpus
men opposed the practices of the Elizabethan
church; Robert Browne became the father of congregationalism, and other members 'drifted off into
heresy, like Francis Kett, or into atheism, like
Christopher Marlowe'; (fn. 8) while Dr. Benjamin Carrier,
Archbishop Whitgift's chaplain, was not alone in
The Civil Wars of the 17th century had less effect
on Corpus than on more high-church colleges. The
fellows were, in July 1643, granted general leave of
absence owing to the confusion of affairs, and the
College plate was distributed amongst them for
safety, and concealed. Soon afterwards the Earl of
Manchester, as Chancellor, was commissioned by
Parliament to reform the University, and two fellows
who refused to obey his summons were ejected. The
Master and the rest of the society appear, however,
to have conformed to the new regulations and it is
significant that when the Puritan iconoclast William
Dowsing visited Bene't College he found 'nothing to
amend', whereas a report drawn up earlier for Laud
had referred to the long psalm singing and the
reverence of the College services. In St. Bene't's
Church, on the other hand, Dowsing worked considerable damage. Later six fellows were removed
by the Commonwealth's visitors because of their
refusal to subscribe to the Engagement required by
the Independents. But Dr. Love, Master since 1632,
contrived to keep his place at the Restoration, and
his successor, Peter Gunning, was one of the most
famous of the Restoration divines. The reign of
James II led to a last stirring incident. 'It was
feared lest both the College and their MSS. might
fall into the hands of papists' and at the Revolution
of 1688 a Cambridge mob broke into the College and
sacked the rooms of the bursar who was suspected of
Roman Catholicism. (fn. 9) After this there were no more
such 'Popish' associations. In Archbishops Tenison
and Herring the College produced two stalwart
champions of the protestant succession and many
members of the society enjoyed Whig patronage and
preferment between 1700 and 1840. Tenison was
one of the original members of the Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel; and a later fellow, John
Owen, became one of the founders of the British
and Foreign Bible Society. By 1860 the College had
become an Evangelical stronghold, and the Evangelical connexion continued for the rest of the 19th
century. In 1887, following the example of Clare and
St. John's, members of the College established a
mission in the parish of Christ Church, Old Kent
Road, in south-east London. In 1956 the Mission
area and buildings were handed over to the diocese
As has been said, the circumstances of its foundation gave the College an exceptionally close connexion with the citizens of Cambridge. But this was
not always a blessing, and on certain occasions led
to sharp encounters. The generosity of guildsmen
to their infant College was not appreciated by the
townsmen of 1381 who seem to have regarded
Corpus as too exacting a landlord. Accordingly on
the Saturday after the Feast of Corpus Christi, the
bailiffs and commonalty, having assembled in the
Tolbooth and chosen James of Granchester as their
captain, marched on the College, broke in, and
'traitorously carried away the Charters, Writings and
Muniments with the Jewels and other Goods of the
same College'. They then did considerable damage in
other parts of the town.
The abolition of the Corpus Christi procession
under Henry VIII was also an occasion of friction,
for after the procession it had been customary for the
College to provide a dinner in hall for the townsmen who had taken part. The College gave up the
dinner with the procession, much to the indignation
of the townsmen who claimed it as their due and
threatened to take back the houses belonging to the
College which had originally been townsmen's property. But royal commissioners confirmed the possessions of the College; the townsmen 'both hungry
and angry at the loss both of their dinner and houses,
were fain to desist'. (fn. 10)
More agreeable to record is the close co-operation
between the Mayor and Dr. Butts, Master of
Corpus Christi and Vice-Chancellor, nearly 100
years later at the time of the terrible outbreak of
plague. Dr. Butts described himself at this time as
'alone, a destitute and forsaken man; not a Scholler
with me in the college, not a Scholler seen by me
without'. (fn. 11) His efforts to relieve suffering and check
the epidemic were successful, but there can be little
doubt that the experience affected his mind, and on
Easter Sunday in the following year, 1632, he was
found hanging in the lodge. In 1665 when there was
another outbreak of plague the College was again
almost emptied save for one fellow, two scholars,
and a few servants.
In more normal times increase in accommodation
or decay of reputation might lead to considerable
fluctuations in numbers. Thus in 1564 the society
appears to have numbered 32 all told, but ten years
later it could boast of more than 90 members, 13
fellows, 20 scholars, 4 Bible-clerks, and 54 pensioners. A striking later fluctuation is shown by the
University Calendar list of pensioners and sizars for
the 20 years preceding the First World War; in 1894
there were 100 pensioners and sizars listed; five
years later the number had fallen to 69, and in 1903
it reached the nadir of 36; by 1914 the situation had
improved and 67 pensioners appeared on the roll.
Since then it has expanded like most other colleges;
in 1935 and 1936 there were nearly 170 undergraduates and B.A.s in residence, and in 1951 the
number had increased to 237, including research
students. Wilkins's hall was filled to its utmost
capacity. Yet during most of its existence Corpus
has been one of the smallest of Cambridge colleges,
and it is likely to remain so.
Amongst notable members of the College in the
16th century were the martyrs Thomas Dusgate and
George Wishart, the translator of the Bible, Richard
Taverner, the circumnavigator of the globe, Thomas
Cavendish, and two dramatists, Christopher Marlowe and John Fletcher. Nearly a hundred years
later the College was ruled by Dr. John Spencer who
has a good claim to be called the father of studies in
comparative religion. In the 18th century it produced Stephen Hales, the botanist and physiologist,
and a group of men whom a brother antiquary,
William Cole, dubbed the 'Benedictine Antiquaries'.
Of these one was Richard Gough, another Robert
Masters, who wrote the history of the College, the
first separately printed history of a College in English, and a third, the most celebrated of the group,
'the Arch-Druid of the Old House', Dr. William
Stukeley. In the 19th century there were, amongst
others, Edward Byles Cowell, Professor of Sanskrit,
a scholar of great eminence, who taught Fitzgerald
his Persian, and Horace Avory, who became a noted
judge of the High Court.
The original statutes made no mention
of a library or librarian, but there are early records
of gifts of books, and in 1376 John Botener, a fellow,
compiled the first inventory of volumes in possession
of the College, mostly theological and legal works.
A later catalogue mentions amongst other items 'a
Bible which Master John Kynne, third Master of
the College, bought at Northampton at the time
(1380) when the Parliament was there, for the purpose of reading therefrom in the hall at the time of
dinner'. Until the 16th century the books were
housed in a first-floor room adjoining the Master's
Lodge; then an additional room was built for them
over the kitchens, and later still, when a chapel was
erected in 1579, a new and more spacious library
was constructed above it. This was all the more
necessary since the College had lately become possessed of what is still one of its chief glories, the bulk
of the magnificent collection of manuscripts and
early printed books formed by Archbishop Parker,
treasures concerned largely with the history of the
English Church, and many of them salvaged from
the wreck of dissolved monasteries. The deed of gift
made elaborate provisions for the safe keeping of
this valuable bequest. The collection was to be kept
under three locks, the keys of which were to be in
the hands of the Master and two fellows. Moreover,
the Masters of Gonville and Caius and of Trinity
Hall were to make an annual inspection and were
empowered to inflict fines for the loss of sheets from
manuscripts or of whole manuscripts or books.
Further, 'if six MSS. in folio, eight in quarto, and
twelve in a lesser size, should at any time be lost
through supine negligence, and not restored within
six months, then with the consent of the ViceChancellor and one senior doctor, not only all the
books but likewise all the plate he gave shall be forfeited and surrendered up to Gonville and Caius
College within a month following. And if they should
afterwards be guilty of the like neglect, they are then
to be delivered over to Trinity Hall, and in case of
their default, he appoints them to revert back in the
former order.' In 1827 the Parker books, together
with the rest of the College library, were transferred
to their present home in the New Court.
Among the more notable of the Parker manuscripts may be mentioned the 6th-century Canterbury Gospels, believed to have been given by Pope
Gregory the Great to St. Augustine, the most important manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon chronicle,
and nearly 40 other volumes in Anglo-Saxon, a
magnificently illuminated Bible from Bury St. Edmunds, 'probably the finest English book of the
12th century', Matthew Paris's own illustrated copy
of his history, Prudentius's Psychomachia with remarkable Saxon drawings, a splendid 14th-century
psalter from Peterborough, and a considerable collection of correspondence of most of the notable leaders
of the English Reformation. In addition to the Parker manuscripts the library contains 39 manuscripts
from the Brigittine monastery of Elbing near Danzig, (fn. 12) Sir Edwyn Hoskyns's collection of Coptic
papyri fragments, a large number of valuable early
printed books, many of them the gift of Archbishop
Parker, and the collection of Greek and Roman
coins, rings, engraved gems, and vases formed by the
Rev. Samuel Savage Lewis, librarian from 1870 to
The following pictures
are the most worthy of mention: (fn. 13) A copy of
Raphael's 'School of Athens' attributed to N. Poussin, in the old combination room; Erasmus, and
Colet, in the Master's Lodge; Mr. Justice Avory,
honorary fellow, 1912–35, by C. Winzer, in the new
combination room; and Matthew Parker, Richard
Love, Master 1632–60, by D. Mytens, John Duncombe, by Joseph Highmore (1766), William Colman,
Master 1778–94, by Romney, John Lamb, Master
1822–50, by Sir William Beechey, and a fine recently
discovered Elizabethan portrait of an unknown
young man (perhaps Christopher Marlowe), all in
In spite of the perils of civil war and of
considerable sales in the 16th and 17th centuries, as
well as the burglary of nearly all the communion
silver in 1693, the College has an exceptionally fine
collection of early English plate. (fn. 14) For part, but by
no means all, it is indebted to Archbishop Parker.
The following are the most notable pieces: Drinkinghorn said to have been presented to the Guild of
Corpus Christi in 1347 by John Goldcorne, alderman of the guild, and still used at feasts (this is the
earliest piece of plate surviving in the University);
a late-14th-century Swan mazer, with a clever device
to prevent its being filled too full; a 15th-century
coconut cup; the Cup of the Three Kings, a late-15thcentury mazer with exceptionally fine mountings;
two early-15th-century mazers; a silver-gilt ewer
and dish, 1545–6, 'the earliest form of silver ewer in
England, where its introduction was in all probability
due to Hans Holbein the Younger'. This and the
next three items were gifts from Archbishop Parker;
a standing silver-gilt salt and cover, 1563; a set of 13
apostle spoons, 1566–7, except one dated from 1515–
16; a standing silver-gilt cup and cover, 1570; an
ostrich-egg cup with a wooden case, covered with
stamped leather (the silver mounting dates from 1593,
but it is possible that the egg, which has been broken,
is the egg of a cup given by Henry Tangmer in 1342
to the Guild of Corpus Christi to be used as a pyx).
It was this cup which was carried in the Corpus
Christi Day procession and known as the 'Gripe's
Eye' (Griffin's Egg). The Neame Cup, presented by
Mrs. Neame in 1935, although not strictly a piece
of plate, is worthy of mention as the earliest known
wooden standing cup. The inscription and arms in
colour on the underside of the base show that it was
given by Archbishop Parker's son John perhaps to
Queen Elizabeth I not earlier than 1572.
Each of the two guilds had its own seal but
no impression of the Guild of Corpus Christi's seal
survives. When the guilds united to found the
College they adopted a common seal which displayed the arms of both, that of Corpus Christi containing the instruments of the Passion, that of St.
Mary showing the triangular verbal emblem of the
Trinity. Above the shields is depicted the coronation
of the Virgin, below a group of people, two of whom
are dedicating a building which presumably represents the infant College. This seal is still in use, but
it has not always been used exclusively. The first
master, Thomas de Eltisle, had a semi-public seal
which was sometimes used and was handed down
to his successors. It closely resembled the original
seal of the Guild of St. Mary. In the reign of
Elizabeth I Matthew Parker obtained a new coat
of arms for the College, but there was no change in
the common seal, a replica of which was made in
Masters of Corpus Christi College
Thomas de Eltisle: 1350 (?).
Richard Treton: 1376.
John Kynne: 1379 (?).
John de Neketon: 1389.
Richard de Billingford: 1398.
John Tytleshale: 1432.
John Botwright: 1443.
Walter Smyth: 1474.
Simon Grene: 1477.
Thomas Cosyn: Oct. 1487.
John Edyman: July 1515.
Peter Nobys: 1516.
William Sowode: 1523.
Matthew Parker: 4 Dec. 1544.
Lawrence Moptyd: 29 Dec. 1553.
John Porie: 10 Dec. 1557.
Thomas Aldrich: 3 Feb. 1569.
Robert Norgate: 22 Aug. 1573.
John Copcot: 6 Nov. 1587.
John Jegon: 10 Aug. 1590.
Thomas Jegon: 4 Feb. 1602.
Samuel Walsall: 28 Mar. 1618.
Henry Butts: 4 Aug. 1626.
Richard Love: 4 Apr. 1632.
Peter Gunning: 2 Feb. 1660.
Francis Wilford: 29 June 1661.
John Spencer: 3 Aug. 1667.
William Stanley: 13 July 1693.
Thomas Greene: 26 May 1698.
Samuel Bradford: 20 May 1716.
Matthias Mawson: 6 Oct. 1724.
Edmund Castle: 20 Feb. 1744.
John Green: 18 June 1750.
John Barnardiston: 7 July 1764.
William Colman: 25 June 1778.
Philip Douglas: 1 Jan. 1795.
John Lamb: 10 Jan. 1822.
James Pulling: 27 Apr. 1850.
Edward Henry Perowne: 15 Mar. 1879.
Robert Townley Caldwell: 21 Feb. 1906.
Edmund Courtenay Pearce: 26 Sept. 1914.
William Spens: 31 Oct. 1927.
Sir George Paget Thomson: 1 Aug. 1952.