Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Oxford University

Oxford University. This is a Corporate Society numbering upwards of 12,000 members. Its foundation was formerly attributed on the strength of legal and literary forgeries to King Alfred; but its origin is now assigned to the growth in the flourishing and centrally-situated market town of Oxford of a kind of guild formed by teachers and pupils, who were patronised by the monks of St. Frideswyde's, and by Henry I., who built Beaumont Palace in 1130. Eminent teachers, such as Thibaut d'Estampes, are known to have lectured there about 1120-30; and by 1187 the Masters of Oxford, who were mainly secular clerks, were organised in Faculties, and probably imitated such places of higher education or general studies as Bologna and Paris, to describe which the term University (corporation aggregate) was soon appropriated. The licence to teach which was granted by the acting full-members or Regent Masters to the Undergraduates (who, after a preliminary apprenticeship to study, were called, like the aspirants to knighthood, Bachelors) was the Degree; this was, and is still, conferred after a period of residence and prescribed and tested study in Arts (originally Logic, preceded by Latin, and followed by the Seven Arts of Grammar, Dialectic. Rhetoric, Music, Arithmetic, Geometry, and Astronomy, and the Three Philosophies of Physics, Metaphysics, and Ethics), and, usually after the Arts Course, in Law, Divinity, and Medicine: the degrees in the last three are those of the Bachelor (B.C.L., B.D., B.M.) and Doctor (D.C.L., D.D., D.M.); so also in the later faculty of Music (B.Mus., D.Mus.), for which residence is not required. The degrees of M.A., D.C.L., and D.D., .are also conferred honoris causa. The first Oxford M.A. whose name is recorded was the canonised Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Rich. The granting of degrees and the processes subsidiary thereto, teaching and examining, still form the most important function of the University. Undergraduates and Graduates of various classes are distinguished by difference of the academical Gown, the latter by varieties of Hood also. To protect the scholars and promote the continuity of the society various privileges were granted by royal charters and papal bulls. The commissary of their diocesan, the Bishop of Lincoln, soon acquired an independent ecclesiastical authority under the title of Chancellor. Henry III., Edward III., and other kings, forced the citizens of Oxford not only to abstain from fleecing and molesting the students, but also, by way of compensation for outrages, to surrender the control of the Market and much of the civil government of the city. Royal interference also pacified internal feuds, which, as at the secession to Stamford, nearly produced disruption. The great intellectual progress made in the thirteenth century was due mainly to the settlement of the Friars (1221-24). The lectures of Bishop Grosseteste, of Adam Marsh, Duns Scotus, and Ockham (Franciscans), and of Holcot and Bradwardine (Dominicans), gave Oxford so great a reputation in Europe that in the fourteenth century its influence surpassed that of Paris. The names of Roger Bacon, Wyclif, and Pecock illustrate other intellectual developments. (See Mr. H. C. Maxwell-Lyte's History of the University of Oxford, and Professor T. E. Holland's article in Oxford Historical Society's Collectanea II.) Oxford had begun to take an interest in the New Learning under Grocyn, Linacre, Colet, and Erasmus, when its prosperity was checked by the violent changes which accompanied the Reformation movement. Oxford men were among the earliest adherents of the new tendencies, as in the later revivals by the Non-Conformists (the early Quakers, the Wesleys, and Whitfield), and the Tractarians (Keble, Pusey, Newman). But the University, with most of the Colleges, survived, and in 1570 received from Parliament a full confirmation of all its privileges as conferred by Royal Letters Patent, with a formal Incorporation under the style of The Chancellor Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford. The Statutes made by the Masters for internal self-government were reduced to order by special delegates in the Chancellorship of Archbishop Laud (1636), and this code is the basis of the present Statute-book as regards status and discipline. The seventeenth century was a period of progress, seriously interrupted by the siege of Oxford (1643) and the general confusion of the Civil Wars; the eighteenth one of stagnation in education; but the Royal Society was founded at Oxford c. 1650, and many learned men, such as Butler, Johnson, Gibbon, Warton, Adam Smith, were produced (1700-1800), as well as statesman and lawyers. The revival of educational activity in the nineteenth century gave rise to an Examination system and more efficient methods of discipline and instruction; while the abolition of religious tests in 1871 (except for degrees in Divinity) throws membership open to all persons who can satisfy the proper authorities of their good character and intellectual competence and pay a small annual fee known as Dues. These voluntary subscriptions, together with the entrance fees for examinations, degree fees, and the contributions of Colleges to the Unirersity Cliest, constitute almost the whole revenue of the University itself apart from the endowments in land and stock which it holds in trust for special institutions or branches of learning. The Constitution of the University as reformed by the first Parliamentary Commission of 1854 and further modified by the second of 1877 is as follows. All Masters of Arts, and Graduates in the Superior Faculties of Law, Medicine, and Theology, who have kept their names on the register by payment of £1 per annum, are members of Convocation (there were 6,153 in 1893), which from time immemorial has given the sole or final sanction to all financial proposals, decrees, or statutes; it also elects the two burgesses assigned to the University in 1604, and confers the honorary degrees. All members of Convocation who reside within a mile and a half of Carfax, the centre of the city (432 in 1893), constitute Congregation, a, legislative body which deliberates and amends, but has no initiative. The Ancient (i.e. unreformed) House of Congregation, consisting of junior Masters of Arts (necessary regents and regents ad placitum), heads and deans of Colleges, professors, examiners, etc., retains the power to grant degrees and confirm the appointment of examiners. The initiative for all proposals is vested in the Hebdomadal Council, instituted as an administrative board of the Heads of Houses in 1631, and in 1854 reconstituted to consist of the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, and the two Proctors, with eighteen members elected in equal numbers by Congregation from Heads of Houses, Professors, and Graduates generally. The chief official is the Chancellor, usually a peer, whose duties are formal. The Vice-Chancellor, nominated by him for four years from among the Heads of Houses in rotation, and the two Proctors (who, as disciplinary officers, are assisted by four Pro-Proctors), elected annually by the Colleges according to a cycle, are charged with the maintenance of discipline, the general superintendence of studies, assemblies, and committees, and the exercise of such patronage as is not left to election. The High Steward has cognisance in serious criminal cases, and the Chancellor's Court, under the presidency of the Vice-Chancellor or his Assessor, exercises a Petty Sessional or County Court jurisdiction. There is a Public Orator, a Keeper of the Archives, a Registrar, and two Clerks of the Market. Bodley's Librarian (with two Sub-Librarians) has charge of the University Library, refounded hy Sir Thomas Bodley in 1602. It contains over 30,000 MSS., half a million of printed books, numerous portraits, and other treasures, has the right to a free copy of every work published in the kingdom, and has annexed the Radcliffe Library and the whole of the quadrangle of the Old Schools. Other University institutions, such as the Ashmolean Museum (curiosities and objects of art), the University and Pitt-Rivers Museums (laboratories and scientific collections), the Observatories, the Botanic Garden, the Indian Institute, the Hope Collections (entomology and engraved portraits), the Park, the Schools (for examinations), the Taylor Institution (foreign literature), the University Galleries (sculpture and paintings), are guarded by Keepers, under the supervision of Boards of Delegates, Visitors, or Curators, appointed in various ways by the University. The University owns, or holds as trustee, the buildings connected with these, together with meeting-places for secular purposes (Convocation House, Sheldonian Theatre, Clarendon Building, and Divinity School), has partial control over the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, and possesses also the Clarendon Press, the largest printing' establishment in the country for Bibles and learned works. The University and Colleges are represented on the Council of the City of Oxford, the Oxford School Board, and the Oxford Incorporation of Poor Law Guardians. Under a confirmatory Act of George IV. the Proctors and. their servants, the Marshalls, exercise an exceptional police jurisdiction in the city. The University has its own Coroners, University Counsel, and Solicitor, and servants known as the Bedells, Bellman, and Verger. Select Preachers are appointed for those University Sermons which are not assigned to University or College authorities or Graduates in seniority.

Ecclesiastical patronage in the actual possession of Roman Catholics lapses under the Acts 3 James I. c. 5, and 1 William and Mary c. 26, to the Universities, Oxford electing to livings in southern, Cambridge to those in northern counties. The University teaching, originally given partly by private enterprise and partly by the candidates for degrees in the form of the Disputations and Lectures required at Determination and Inception, is now furnished by Professors and Readers, endowed by special benefactors or (since 1854) from the revenues of various Colleges. In the faculty of Theology there are seven Professors; in Law four Professors and two Readers; in Medicine and Natural Science, including Mathematics, fifteen Professors and ten Lecturers or Demonstrators; in Arts, including languages and history, ancient and modern, and art and music, twenty-two Professors and about the same number of Readers or Teachers. The Theology, Law, and Science professors are well organised, and supply much of the formal teaching required for the University curriculum, the informal instruction being given by College tutors and lecturers; but the systematic instruction in languages, literature, and history is almost entirely left to the Colleges, and the professors lecture to empty benches or ladies. (For details see the University Calendar and Historical Register.) The University now admits its junior members (who are enrolled by a ceremony called matriculation) to the degree of Bachelor of Arts only after a series of examinations. In these there are, roughly speaking, three stages: (1) Resjwnsions or "Smalls" demands an elementary knowledge of Greek, Latin, and Mathematics; it is imposed on all actual or would-be Undergraduates unless they can.produce an equivalent certificate recognised by the University, such as that of the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board; (2) The First Public Examination ("Moderations" or "Mods") differs for candidates for an Honour or for a Pass career. The latter are examined in Classics and Logic, and proceed to (3) the Second Public Examination, either in Pass Schools (three examinations in various subjects) or, if they change their minds, can take one of the Final Honour Schools (" Greats") of Classics (including Ancient History and Philosophy), Mathematics, Natural Science, Law, Modern History, Theology, and Oriental Languages. The Honour man can enter for either Classical or Mathematical "Moderations," or he can take a Preliminary Examination in law or science, and then proceed in either case to any of the Final Honour Schools; but if he wishes to become a Passman after having done a "preliminary," his course is more complicated. Honour Schools must be taken with certain limits of standing, Pass Schools at any time. In all Honour Examinations the names are arranged in Classes. Other rules may be traced in the Examination Statutes or found with explanations in the Student's Handbook to Oxford, both published by the Clarendon Press. An examination in a small amount of Scripture (or an alternative) has to be passed before a candidate can enter for a final school. Besides these tests of capacity, the University demands residence (not necessarily continuous) for three academical years, each of which contains two long terms (Michaelmas and Hilary) and two short terms (Easter and Trinity), and consists of 126 days at least. The Christmas and Easter vacations are short; that in the summer is called the Long Vacation. The M.A. degree is granted to those B.A.s whose names have been on the books for seven years from matriculation. There are examinations for the first degrees in law, medicine, and music: for the higher degrees in these, and for both degrees in divinity, theses and exercises, more or less real, are required, together with various conditions as to standing. The system is directed by Boards of Faculties, Boards of Studies and for the Supervision of University Examinations, and Committees for the Nomination of Examiners, the members of which are nominated, elected, co-opted, or ex-ojficio. The number of Undergraduates in December, 1893, was 3,232. In 1892 there were 799 matriculations, 583 persons who took the B.A. degree, and 390 who proceeded to that of M.A. There are a large number of University Prizes and Scholarships and a few Fellcnvships awarded for proficiency in various subjects, mainly after examination or for exercises, to members of the University without limitation except as to standing. Further regulations with regard to residence and studies are imposed by the Colleges and Halls, to one of which, since the time of Laud, all students are required to belong. The Non- Collegiate students (1868) are nominally members of the University only, but they are practically under collegiate rules as fully as those who are allowed by their Colleges to reside in lodgings licensed by the University Controller. In the earliest times, most students associated voluntarily under a Principal in small societies called Halls, with common meals and joint funds. In 1274 Walter de Merton founded the first College as an adaptation to the needs of University life of the conventual system, and the Rule of Merton was soon followed both by the great Benedictine abbeys who built houses for their student-monks, and by bishops and others who wished to provide orderly seminaries for the benefit of particular classes of the community or for the encouragement of special lines of study. Each College was incorporated under statutes sanctioned by the Crown, with endowments held in mortmain for the maintenance of a head and of a definite number of students, soon distinguished according to seniority as Fellows and Scholars. The Colleges provided for these inmates, not only all the necessaries of life, but also tuition and occupation, with a small stipend, which increased with the value of the lands with which they were endowed. They have elective officers for discipline ( Vice-gerents or Deans), finance (Bursars), education (Tutors and Lecturers), and for other purposes. The selection of new members was by co-optation, subject to numerous restrictions as to place of birth, etc.; and the fellowship or scholarship was vacated by marriage, failure to take orders, acquisition of property, and in many other ways. In 1855 and 1882 the statutes of the Colleges were entirely remodelled by Parliamentary Commissions. Each College is now provided with a headship, official fellowships, held for terms of years on condition of the performance of certain duties; non-official fellowships, for seven years without duties; scholarships for undergraduates, awarded with an age limitation, and exhibitions given to the necessitous without regard to age, both after examination. Many scholarships belong to various schools. In most Colleges the majority of the Undergraduates are the Commoners, originally elder students allowed to rent spare rooms and pay for a place at the common table, but now young men educated at their own expense. The net corporate revenues are devoted to the endowment of learning within the Colleges or to the support of various University teachers or institutions; and the bulk of the undergraduate's Battels, or terminal payments to the College, is for value received in food, lodging, service, or tuition for University examinations. The terms of admission to Colleges vary according to their size and popularity. The following is a list of the existing Colleges, with dates of foundation. In most Colleges the head is elected for life by the fellows and forms with them the Governing Body. Each College has a Visitor to whom to refer in cases of uncertainty. University College, founded by William of Durham in 1249, and Balliol, by John de Balliol in 1269, as Exhibition Funds were converted into Colleges by their trustees after the foundation of Merton by Walter de Merton in 1264-74;

Exeter was founded by Bishop Stapleclon of Exeter, 1316; Oriel, by Adam de Brome, 1326; Queens, by Robert Eglesrield, 1340; New College, by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, 1379; Lincoln, by Bishop Fleming of Lincoln, 1427; All Souls', by Archbishop Chichele, 1437; St. Mary Magdalen, by Bishop Waynflete of Winchester, 1458: Brasenose, by Bishop Smith of Lincoln and Sir R. Sutton. 1509; Corpus Christ), by Bishop Fox of Winchester, 1516; Christ Church (including Cathedral establishment of Dean and Canons), by Cardinal Wolsey in "1526 and Henry VIII. in 1532; Trinity, by Sir T.

Pope, 1554; St. John's, by Sir T. White, 1555; Jesus, by Queen Elizabeth, 1571; Wadham, by Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham, 1612; Pembroke, by T. Teesdale and R. Wightwick, 1624; Worcester, by Sir T. Cookes, 1714; Hertford (refounded), by T. C. Baring, 1874. Keble, founded in memory of Rev. J. Keble (1870), is on a different footing. The only two Halls which survive are St. Mary Hall (c. 1333) and St. Edmund Hall (c. 1269). There are also three Private Halls. The Head is called Master at University, Balliol, and Pembroke; Warden at Merton, New, All Souls', Wadham, and Keble; Rector at Exeter and Lincoln; Provost at'Oriel, Queen's, and Worcester; President at Magdalen, Corpus, Trinity, and St. John's; Principal at Brasenose, Jesus, and Hertford; and Dean at Christ Church, where the fellows are known as students. At Merton the scholars are called postmasters and at Magdalen demies. Very few Colleges maintain their full number of fellows and scholars, owing to the recent agricultural depression. Only a small proportion of the fellows need now be unmarried or in holy orders. Colleges were originally provided by their founders with suitable buildings, including Chapel, Hall, Kitchen and Offices, Library, and Chambers (Rooms). Most of these have been wholly or partially rebuilt at the expense of the societies, individual members, or new benefactors. The most characteristic in plan and design are those of the great architect Wykeham at New College, which are imitated more or less closely at All Souls', Magdalen, St. John's, Wadham, Oriel, University, Queen's, etc. The best modern works on College history and antiquities are The Colleges of Oxford, edited by the Rev. A. Clark (Methuen, 1891), Dr. Ingram's Memorials of Oxford, and Messrs. Parker's Handbook for Oxford. Information as to the life and studies is given in the semi-official publications mentioned above, and in Mr. J. Wells's Oxford and Oxford- Life. Besides its regular functions, the University also supervises by Delegates work done mainly by resident Masters, in the Examination and Inspection of Schools, in Local Examinations, in the Instruction of India Civil Service Candidates, in the Training of Teachers, and in the Extension of University Teaching in Local Centres. Female students resident at Halls in Oxford (Somerville, Lady Margaret, and St. Hugh's) and elsewhere are admitted to most lectures and examinations. The University appoints members of the Governing Bodies of many schools and educational institutions. The privileges of affiliation have been granted to St. David's College, Lampeter; University College, Nottingham; Firth College, Sheffield; and similar advantages to the Universities of Sydney, the Cape, Calcutta, the Punjab, Bombay, and Adelaide.