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Northampton, University of

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medievalist1155
1193485.  Sun May 29, 2016 4:00 pm Reply with quote

In addition to Oxford and Cambridge, England had a third medieval university at Northampton, which existed for at least four years between 1261 and 1265.
The academic community at Northampton may have been created prior to 1261, but it was in that year that Henry III permitted the foundation of a university in that city. The term "universitatem," while problematic in the Middle Ages, was used in the Close Rolls (1 Feb. 1265) to describe the fledgling group, and can be reasonably translated as "university," based on the context in which it appears.
There is almost nothing known of the university: there is some confusion on the part of scholars regarding whether it was founded as the result of an exodus by a group of scholars from Oxford or Cambridge, though all agree that scholars from both universities were present at Northampton following its establishment. The suppression of the university too, about which the aforementioned entry in the Close Rolls deals primarily, is somewhat enigmatic. While the official reason given was the negative impact of the new academic community on the borough of Oxford--which could hint at both economic and academic competition--Alan Cobban asserts that the suppression had to do with the support by scholars of Simon de Montfort against Henry III during the Second Barons' War, specifically regarding the Siege of Northampton. Understandably, very few documents relating to the medieval university are known to survive.
Allegedly, the modern University of Northampton had to petition the Privy Council to repeal the proclamation of 1265 that suppressed the original university in order to receive university status. I have not found documentation to verify this, but I have found that the Privy Council awarded university status on 25 August, 2005. No mention is made of the medieval university in the instrument of government.

 
Jenny
1193496.  Sun May 29, 2016 6:22 pm Reply with quote

Now that's interesting! Sadly too late for the N series so maybe we should try and weasel it into O for Oxford :-)

 
Zziggy
1193557.  Mon May 30, 2016 12:46 pm Reply with quote

If you grow up in Ipswich, you are fed the local mythology that "if only King Henry hadn't lost his temper with Thomas Wolsey, we'd be taking about Oxford, Cambridge and Ipswich".

 
suze
1193582.  Mon May 30, 2016 4:03 pm Reply with quote

It's not altogether mythological.

Cardinal Wolsey, an Ipswich boy himself, was given permission by Henry VIII to create two educational establishments on the sites of dissolved monasteries.

One of these was Cardinal College, Oxford - which still exists, by now known as Christ Church, and is part of Oxford University. The other was in Ipswich, but never really got off the ground and was abandoned when Wolsey fell out of favour with Henry.

What is not entirely clear to me is whether the institution in Ipswich was intended to be a university, a public school, or both.

There is a suggestion that Wolsey was keen to see a third major public school to rival Eton and Winchester (Harrow didn't exist yet), with the intention that its alumni would proceed to his college at Oxford to complete their studies.

On the other hand, this essay from the incomplete Victoria County History of Suffolk seems to suggest that it was intended to be both school and university.

It was a bit late for medievalist, but if any of the other historians around here knows anything about Ipswich please enlighten us!

I didn't know about the shortlived university at Northampton, but I did know about a similar attempt to create a new university at Stamford. The university there only lasted two years (1333 to 1335), and was created after a group of northern academics got fed up of all the riots which had been going down at Oxford. But Edward III was having none of it, and sent his man in Lincolnshire to tell Stamford to cease and desist - which it did.

 
Zziggy
1193585.  Mon May 30, 2016 4:27 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
It was a bit late for medievalist, but if any of the other historians around here knows anything about Ipswich please enlighten us!

I know The Ancient House (which - last I was there - housed Lakeland) is meant to have like a tunnel or something which Charles II used at some point when he was on the run. But apparently he never actually went to Ipswich. Like at any point.

There used to be loads of mediaeval buildings around the Buttermarket as well but they all mysteriously burned down. Luckily, though, around about that time a big company had already applied for planning permission to build a huge shopping complex so we didn't have to look at all that history any more. What are the chances?!

My mum's friend who used to take care of me is actually now a proper historian who knows all about dark ages/mediaeval Suffolk. She is even going to be in a BBC documentary at some point later this year I think. So I can crib info from her, and pretend it's my own knowledge!

 
Zziggy
1193586.  Mon May 30, 2016 4:32 pm Reply with quote

Oh yeah, and they filmed that Harrison Ford film on the Orwell Bridge.

And George Orwell named himself after the River Orwell.

And, according to Wikipedia, Richard Ayoade lived there when he was little and went to St. Joe's (where my friend went, but not her brother, because it was too expensive, and now she's a chemistry postdoc at Cambridge and he works in a petrol station.)

One of the Fiennes brothers, I forget which, was born there, in the same building as me but not at the same time.

But I don't think anything else of note has ever happened in Ipswich.

 
suze
1193589.  Mon May 30, 2016 5:15 pm Reply with quote

Zziggy wrote:
There used to be loads of mediaeval buildings around the Buttermarket as well but they all mysteriously burned down. Luckily, though, around about that time a big company had already applied for planning permission to build a huge shopping complex so we didn't have to look at all that history any more. What are the chances?!


Will you just fancy that! Isn't it odd how often that sort of thing happens?

 
Big Martin
1193616.  Tue May 31, 2016 2:15 am Reply with quote

Know about that. We used to stay in lovely old fashioned family run hotel when we went to the reenactment event at Stratton (near Bude). It was acquired by developers and there was an "unfortunate" fire, so it had to knocked down and replaced by a small housing estate.

 
ConorOberstIsGo
1193732.  Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:19 pm Reply with quote

I went to the University of Northampton and walked around the arts campus with no shoes on in tribute to Socrates.

http://www.northampton.ac.uk/

 

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