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of which fagging is a survival, the common dormitory and lavatory, the wearing of gown * and surplice.
We do not know what were the influences which disposed the Royal Founder's mind to the creation of a college at Eton or at Cambridge. It is recorded that John Langton, Master of Pembroke Hall and one of the King's Chaplains, “fundari procuravit? King's College at Cambridge, but this may mean no more than that he was the means of the King's bounty being bestowed upon Cambridge rather than Oxford. Many of the immediate friends or guides of his youth were connected more or less directly with Wykeham ; Cardinal Beaufort, who succeeded him as Bishop of Winchester, Chicheley, Bekynton, and Waynflete. We may conclude without much doubt that the
young King's personal devotion was directed towards an act of piety of this kind by the splendour of the new foundations of William of Wykeham.
Chicheley, the founder of All Souls, may have pointed out the advantage of securing the masses and prayers of what an old writer styles "an honest college of sad priests"; and Beaufort, the benefactor of St. Cross, near Winchester, may have pleaded the cause of the aged and infirm. However this may be, the king made the scheme his own, declaring that its adoption should mark the commencement of his personal rule, and be the first pledge of his devotion to God.'—Page 4.
The King went down to Winchester to visit his greatuncle the Cardinal and examine for himself the condition of the College. A few weeks later he had matured his plans, and the Charter of Foundation bears date October 11, 1440; not 1441, the date usually given. The Bull of Eugenius IV. confirming the foundation bears date January 1441.
The funds for the endowment of Eton as well as King's were derived almost entirely from the suppression of alien priories, or English cells of foreign monasteries. This was the act, not of the Founder, but of his father, Henry V. Henry VI., if he had been as wise as Solomon himself, could hardly have made a better use of money thus received from the Church than by returning it to the Church under a new obligation for its faithful use; and, having determined to make this use of the property which came into his hands, it was no "vain expense,' but a royal liberality, which induced him to make his gift as splendid as possible.
Henry VI., we have been told till we are tired of hearing it, was an innocent' rather than a saint. Is this indeed so? There is no doubt that the madness inherited from his mother's family took in him the form of imbecility some years later; and that at no time he was equal to the task of ruling a great nation in the midst of the death-struggle of nations, parties, and liberties. But he was the last mediæval king who attempted to rule England as a constitutional kingdom or commonwealth ;' and if he had died in 1450, he would have shared the fame of Edward VI. as one of the heroes of English history, and, like him, escaped the ordeal of a time of revolution; and Lord Bacon's sneer may be met not only by Gray's and Wordsworth’s praise of the Royal Saint,' but by the sober judgment of an historian who has no weakness for weak kings:
* •It is interesting to notice that, in 1444, the cloth for the Eton gowns was purchased at Winchester.'—P. 20.
'Henry,' says Bishop Stubbs, 'was perhaps the most unfortunate king who ever reigned; he outlived power and wealth and friends he saw all who had loved him perish for his sake, [and, to crown all, the son, the last and dearest of the great house from which he sprang, the depositary of the great Lancastrian traditions of English politics,] set aside and slain. And he was without doubt most innocent of all the evils that befell England because of him. Pious, pure, generous, patient, simple, true and just, humble, merciful, fastidiously conscientious, modest and temperate, he might have seemed made to rule a quiet people in quiet times. His days were divided between the transaction of business and the reading of history and Scripture. His devotion was exemplary and unquestionably sincere; he left a mark on the hearts of Englishmen that was not soon effaced : setting aside the fancied or fabled revelations, a part perhaps of his malady, and the false miracles that were reported at his tomb, it was no mere political feeling that led the rough yeomen of Yorkshire and Durham to worship before his statue, that dictated hymns and prayers in his honour, and that retained in the Primer down to the Reformation the prayers of the king who had perished for the sins of his fathers and of the nation. ...
The details of his Foundation were superintended with constant care by the King himself. He bestowed on his new College various lands in the counties of Bucks and Berks, as well as certain rights of fishing in the Thames . . . and all the available houses, gardens, and fields in Eton itself. To these benefactions he added various feudal rights and immunities, and moved the papal Curia to obtain spiritual grants and indulgences. No time was lost. About a year after the foundation William of Waynflete, Head Master of Winchester, migrated from that place to the younger foundation, accom
Constitutional History of England,' vol. iii. p. 134. † His sumame appears to have been Barbour, alias Patten. Waynflete, in Lincolnshire, was his birthplace.
panied by five Fellows and thirty-five Scholars of Winchester, and Dr. Thomas Bekynton the King's Secretary, and opened the new school. The buildings were hardly begun, but the King's commandment was urgent and allowed no delay. Thus it came about, not only that Eton was founded in imitation of Winchester, but that in her first beginnings she was actually a colony of the older foundation, and looks to her as her true μητρόπολις.
The kindly feeling which sprang up in these early beginnings has never decayed. In 1444 an agreement called the • Amicabilis Concordia' was drawn up by the four Colleges at Winchester, Oxford, Eton, and Cambridge, in which under the direction of their respective Wardens and Provosts the four Colleges combined in a solemn covenant to assist and support one another mutually in all causes, trials, and difficulties. through future ages.'
The latest expression of this mutual friendship took place in 1887, when greetings were exchanged between Eton and Winchester in honour of the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the latter.
We have no space to go at length into the question of the College buildings, which has been thoroughly worked out by Mr. J. W. Clark in his splendid work on the Architectural History of Cambridge.' Mr. Lyte tells us that his third chapter has been re-written in the new lights furnished by Mr. Clark ; but he omits to add that his own independent study had preceded Mr. Clark's work.
The plan as originally designed and further developed by. the Founder was one of great magnificence. There, as at King's, “the Power which came after' diverted much of his royal bounty into other channels : and as at King's the chapel was carried out according to the Founder's design, but the great campanile with its peal of bells, the gateway and eastern part of the College, were never built; so at Eton the Chapel was cut short, and the plan of the College buildings was altered in many particulars from that laid down in the King's 'avyse.'
The Collegiate Church of Eton would have been all that King's Chapel is, and more. The choir as it stands was built according to the original plan. The ante-chapel was to have been of the same length as the choir, and double the width. It was to be of three aisles, and broader than any English Cathedral, except York Minster. There would have been (as at King's, Winchester, and Canterbury) no triforium; and the
great effect of height would probably have been enhanced by vaulting, as at King's. This vaulting, it may be surmised, would have been carried out in the style of the Chapel and Cathedral at Winchester and that of Lupton's Tower at Eton rather than the fan tracery of King's.* The length of the whole building would have exceeded that of King's College Chapel.
Without transepts, presbytery, or distinct chapels to excite the imagination, the Collegiate Church of Eton would have been smaller than most of our cathedrals; the eye would have taken in the whole idea at a glance; but the unity of the style and the simplicity of the plan would have produced an effect of grandeur hardly to be equalled." -P. 47.
The College precincts, as may be seen by a glance at Mr. Clark's plan (No. 11, of vol. iv.), would have included the whole of the Lower Shooting Fields; and the entire site was ordered to be enclosed by a stone wall 13 feet high, with towers at intervals.
The Lancastrian Foundation came in great peril of being destroyed within twenty years of its foundation. If it had not been for the timely efforts of Bishop Waynflete and Provost Westbury, 'the Camillus of Eton' as he has been called, the revenues, the furniture, and what was movable of the buildings themselves would have been transferred to St. George's College at Windsor, on which the sun of York was then shining. Pius II. (the learned and elegant Æneas Sylvius, who ought to have known better) readily granted a Bull abolishing the very name of Eton College,'t and annexing it to St. George's. Though the fulfilment of this design was averted, a great part of the College estates was given to the College of St. George, and the progress of the buildings was hindered for several years.
The late Dean Wellesley made a good point in an afterdinner speech in the hall at Eton some years ago, saying that 'he little expected to have to acknowledge an obligation in a room where, if all had their rights, he, as Dean of Windsor, should be dispensing rather than receiving hospitality.' The white and red roses have been reconciled in the person of his successor, who is at the present moment a Fellow of Eton and member of the new Foundation. He has not, however, so far as we have heard, made any proposal to restore to Eton the revenues out of which his own College was endowed by Edward IV.
* Mr. Gilbert Scott suggests the roof of the Lady Chapel at Ely.
The Provost and Fellows destroyed their seal, more elaborate and beautiful' than that which is at present in use, in order to erase the effigy and achievement of the Founder, and substitute the arms of Edward IV.; but, though admitted to grace, they still continued in a depressed condition, and were glad to accept the liberality of Bishop Waynflete, who at his own expense built the ante-chapel, abandoning perforce the grander plan of the Founder and completing the building in such style as would suit the fortunes of a foundation whose revenues had fallen from 15001. a year to 3701. The intention of vaulting the Chapel in stone, if ever entertained,* had long been laid aside, and the roof both of the Chapel and antechapel was built of oak and of plain design. The building as it now stands was completed in 1482, not long after Provost Westbury was laid to rest there. To the same date belong the series of wall-paintings, half of which the upper part having been destroyed in 1847) still exist, hidden, however, by the Gothic stalls which now line the walls of the choir.
There is a tradition, which as it cannot be disproved may be piously believed, that Henry VII. was educated at Eton. It is more certain that he dined in the Hall in 1505. A second royal visit took place in 1510.
In 1516 Provost Lupton erected the beautiful range of buildings known by his name at the east end of the school yard, and the chapel on the north side of the Church. Lupton, like many other dignitaries, abjured the Pope and acknowledged the Royal Supremacy; but Edmund Powell, Head Master from 1494–96, was of less yielding disposition, and shared the fate of Fisher and More in 1540. Lupton too, though he missed the honours of martyrdom, may have entertained like scruples, for he resigned the office of Provost in 1535, and was succeeded by Aldrich, the friend of Erasmus and Leland.
We come to times rich in events and full of anxious interest to those generations who lived in them, the times of the Reformation and of the Civil War. In both, Eton, like other institutions, was purged for a time and then restored ; but no great events
* Mr. Clark thinks the buttresses no stronger than was necessary to meet the thrust of the solid mass of earth, twelve feet in height, on which the floor is laidl. Mr. Lyte's opinion is that a vaulted roof was intended, and this is borne out by the Founder's direction that his college should be “wel replenyshed with goodely wyndowes and vautes.' (Clark, vol. i. p. 35+.)
† He deserves commemoration not only as perdoctus vir,' but as having gained reputation as one of Queen Katharine's counsel in 1515. He wrote a book against Luther, and another in defence of the Pope's supremacy, which no doubt cost him his life. (Wood, 'Athenæ Ox.,' i. 53 ; *Fasti,' i. 10.)