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by one Cantaber a Spaniard,* (as I have noted in my chronicle) so Alfred is said to be the first beginner of the Universitie at Oxford, albeit that I cannot warrant the same to be so yong, sith I find by good authoritie, that John of Beverlie studied in the Universitie Hall at Oxford, which was long before Alfred was either born or gotten. Some are of the opinion that Cantabridgia was not so called of Cantaber, but Cair Grant of the finisher of the work, or at the least wise of the river that runneth by the same, and afterwards by the Saxons Grantcester. Another sorte affirme that the river is better called Canta than Granta, &c.; but whie then is not the towne called Canta, Cantium, or Cantiodunum, according to the same ? All this is said (as I think) onlie to deface the memorie of Cantaber, who coming from the Brigants, or out of Biscaie, called the said town after his owne and the name of the regions from whence he came.
Of these two, that of Oxford, (which lieth west by north from London) standeth most pleasantlie, being invironed in manner round about with woods on the hills aloft, and goodlie rivers in the vallies and bottoms beneath, whose courses would breed no small commoditie to that citie and countrie about, if such impediments were removed as greatlie annoie the same, and hinder the cariage which might be made also thither from London. That of Cambridge is distant from London about fortie and six miles north and by east, and stands verie well, saving that it is somewhat neare unto the fens whereby the wholesomenesse of the aire is not a little corrupted. It is excellentlie well served with all kinds of provisions, but especiallie of fresh water fish and wilde fowle by reason of the river that passeth therebie ; and thereto the sle of Elie which is so neere at hand. Onlie wood is the chief want of such as studie there, wherefore this kind of provision is brought them either from Essex or other parts thereabouts, as is also their cole; or otherwise the necessitie thereof is supplied with gale (a bastard of kind of Mirtus as I take it) and sea cole, whereof they have great plentie led thither by the Grant. Moreover it hath not such store of meadow ground as may suffice for the ordinarie expenses of the towne and universitie, wherefore the inhabitants are
• Qur author, p. 675, vol. 1, says (from Polydor) that " Sigebert king of the Eastangles began to erect that universitie at Cambridge about the yeare of our Lord 630."
inforced in like sorte to provide their haie from other villages about, which minister the same unto them in verie great abundance. Oxford is supposed to conteine in longitude eighteen degrees and eight and twentie minutes, and in latitude one and fifteen degrees and fifteen minutes; whereas that of Cambridge standing more northerlie, hath twentie degrees and twentie minutes in longitude, and thereunto fifteen minutes in latitude, as by exact supputation is easie to be found.
The colleges at Oxford, for curious workmanship and private commodities, are much more statlie, magnificent, and commodious than those of Cambridge ; and thereunto the streets of the towne for the most part more large and coinlie. But for the uniformitie of building, orderlie compaction, and politike regiment, the towne of Cambridge, as the newer workmanship, exceedeth that of Oxford (which otherwise is and hath beene the greater of the two) by manie a fold (as I guesse) although I know diverse that are of the contrarie opinion. This also is certaine, that whatsoever the differences be in building of the towne streets, the townsmen of both are glad when they may match and annoie the students, by incroaching upon their liberties, and keepe them bare by extreme sale of their wares, whereby manie of them become riche for a time, but afterwards fall again into povertie, because that goods evil gotten do seldom long indure.
Castels they also both have, and in my judgment it is hard to be said whether of them would be the stronger, if ech of them were accordinglie repaired ; howbeit that of Cambridge is the higher, both for manner of building and situation of ground, sith Oxford castle standeth low and is not so apparent to our sight. That of Cambridge was builded (as they said) by Gurguintus, sometime king of Britaine, but the other by the Lord Robert de Oilie, a nobleman which came in with the conqueror, whose wife Editha, a woman given to no lesse superstition than credulitie,began the Abbie of Osenie neere unto the same, upon a proud (and yet rare) occasion, which we will here remember, though it be beside my purpose to the end that the reader may see how readie the simple people of that time were to be abused by the practise of the clergie.
It happened on a time, as this ladie walked about the fields, neere unto the aforesaid castel, to recreate hirselfe with
certaine of hir maidenes, that a number of pies sat chattering upon the elms, which had been planted in the hedgerowes, and in fine so troubled hir with their noise, that she wished them all further off, or else hirselfe at home againe, and this happened diverse times. In the ende being wearie of hir walke, she demanded of hir chaplain the cause wherefore these pies did so molest and vex hir. Oh madam said he (the wiliest pie of all these are no pies but soules in purgatorie that crave reliefe. And is it so indeede quoth she ? Now de Pardieux, if old Robert will give me leave, I will do what I can to bring these soules to rest. Hereupon she consulted, craved, wept, and became so importunate with hir husband, that he joined with hir, and they began that synagog 1120, which afterwards proved to be a notable den. In that church also lieth this ladie buried with his image, having an heart in hir hand couched upon the same in the habit of a vowesse, and yet to be seene, except the weather have worn out the memorial. But to proceed with my purpose.
In each of these Universities also is likewise a church dedicated to the Virgin Marie, wherein once in the yeare, to wit, in Julie, the scholers are holden, and in which such as have beene called to anie degree in the yeare precedent, doo there receive the accomplishment of the same,in solemne and sump. tuous manner. In Oxford this solemnitie is called an Act, but in Cambridge they use the French word, commensement; and such resort is made yearlie unto the same from all parts of the land, by the friends of those which are proved, that all the towne is hardlie able to receive and lodge those gests. When and by whom those churches were builded, I have elsewhere made relation. There were sometime foure and twentie parish churches in the towne of Oxford and suburbes, but now there are scarcelie sixteen. There have beene also 1200 burgesses, of which 400 dwelled in the suburbes, and so manie students were there in the time of Henrie the third, that he allowed them twentie miles compasse about the towne for their provision of vittels.
The common schooles of Cambridge also are farre more beautifull than those of Oxford, onlie the divinitie schoole at Oxford excepted, which for fine and excellent workmanship, commeth next the moold of the kings chappele in Cambridge, than the which two with the chappele that king 'lenrie the seventh did build at Westminster, there are not
(in mine opinion) made of lime and stone three more notable piles within the compasse of Europe.
In all other things there is so great equalitie betwen these two Universities, as no man can imagine how to set down anie greater; so that they seeme to be the bodie of one well ordered commonwealth, onlie divided by distance of place, and not in friendlie consent and orders. In speaking therefore of the one, I cannot but describe the other; and in commendation of the first I can not but extoll the latter; and so much the rather, for that they are both so deare to me, as that I can not readilie tell unto whether of them I owe the most good will.
The manner to live in these Universities is not as in some other of former countries we see dailie to happen, where the students are inforced for want of such houses, to dwelle in common innes and taverns, without all order or discipline. But in these our colleges we live in such exact order and under so precise rules of government, as that the famous learned man Erasmus of Rotterodame being here among us 50 years passed, did not let to compare the trades in living of students in these two places, even with the vcrie rules and orders of the ancient moonks ; aflirming moreover in Aat words, our orders to be such as not onlie came neere unto, but rather farre exceeded all the monastical institutions that ever were devised.
In most of our colleges there are also great numbers of students, of which manie are found by the revenues of the houses, and other by the purveiances and helpe of their riche friends; whereby in some one college you shall have two hundred scholers, in others an hundred and fiftie, in diverse a hundred and fortie, and in the rest lesse numbers, as the capacitie of the said houses is able to receive; so that at this present, of one sorte and other, there are about three thousand students nourished in them both, (as by a late survie it manifestly appeareth.) They were erected by their founders at the first, onlie for poore mens sonnes, whose parents were not able to bring them up unto learning ; but now they have the least benefit of them, by reason the rich do so incroach upon them. And so farre hath this inconvenience spread itselfe that it is in my time a hard matter for a poore mans child to come by a fellowship (though he be never so good a scholer and worthie that roome) Such packing is also used
at elections, that not he which best deserveth, but he that · hath most friends, though he be the woorst scholer, is alwaies surest to speed; which will turn in the end to the overthrow of learning. That some gentlemen also, whose friends have been in times past benefactors to certaine of those houses, doo intrude into the disposition of their estates, without all respect of order or estates devised by the founders, onlie thereby to please whom they think good (and not without some hope of gain) the case is too evident and their attemp! would soon take place, if their superiors did not provide to bridle their endeavors. In some grammar schooles like wise, which send scholers to these Universities, it is lamentable to see what briberie is used; for yer the scholer can be preferred, such bribage is made, that poore mens children are commonlie shut out, and the richer sort received, who in time past thought it dishonor to live as it were upon alms, and yet being placed, most of them studie little else than histories, tables, dice, and trifles, as men that make not the living by their studie the end of their purposes, which is a lamentable hearing. Besides this being for the most part, either gentlemen, or rich mens sonnes they oft bring the Universitie into much slander. For standing upon their reputation and libertie, they ruffle and roist it out, exceeding in apparell, and bantering riotous companie, which draweth them from their books unto another trade. And for excuse when they are charged with breach of good order, thinke it sufficient to saie, that they be gentlemen, which grieveth manie not a little. But to proceed with the rest.
Everie one of these colleges have in like manner a pro. fessor or readers of the toongs and severall sciences, as they call them, which dailie trade up the youth there abiding privatlie in their halls, to the end they may be able afterward, when their turn cometh about, which is after twelve terms, to show themselves abroad, by going from thence into the common schooles and publike disputations (as it were in aream) there to trie their skilles, and declare how they have profited since their coming thither.
Moreover in the publike scholes of both the Universities, there are found at the princes charge, and that verie largelie, five professors and readers, that is to saie, of divinitie, of the civil lawe, physicke, the Hebreu, and the Greeke toongs. And for the other lectures as of philosophie, logike, rhetor