– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

early college education

A useful note about the early development of colleges in Oxford:

‘Before these Colleges were erected, the scholars who were educated in the Halls or Inns subsisted there at their own expence, or that of opulent Prelates or Noblemen ; but many of the youth of the kingdom, and perhaps the greater part, were educated in St. Frideswide’s Priory, Oseney Abbey, and other religious houses in Oxford and its vicinity. As the Colleges, however, increased in the number and value of their endowments, the scholars and dependents on religious houses began to decrease.

‘In Colleges, at first, none were educated but those who were admitted upon the foundation ; but when learning, and the love of learning, began to be more extensively diffused, those establishments were resorted to by independent members, under the names of Commoners, and Gentlemen Commoners.’

– Alexander Chalmers, A history of the colleges, halls, and public buildings attached to the University of Oxford, including the lives of the founders, ill. by a series of engravings (1810)
(2 vols)
available online at http://www.archive.org/details/historyofcollege02chaluoft

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