MC:P305 The “Appleton Papers”, 1660s-1690s
These papers were discovered in Appleton Rectory, Oxfordshire in 1942 by Basil Blackwell who sent them to the then fellow librarian, Noel Denholm-Young. Denholm-Young read the papers, noted they were concerned with a dispute over Magdalen Hall and that an old fellow had evidently taken them to Appleton with him. He then returned the papers to Blackwell and they remained in Appleton until 1970 when they were given to Colin Cooke (Senior Bursar 1944-70) by the Rector Paul Tuckwell.
It is assumed that the papers belonged to Robert Almont, fellow of Magdalen and Rector of Appleton from 1696-1709. Almont held various offices in the college during his fellowship:
Senior Dean of Arts: 1680, 1681
Bursar: 1682, 1688, 1694
Dean of Divinity: 1685
Furthermore, he was expelled and restored in 1687-8 by James II. He was bursar just after the expulsion of the fellows and also during the dispute with Magdalen Hall. We can presume that these papers were his personal file on these two major controversies of the late seventeenth century.
These papers were not known to Bloxam, Macray and Wilson and so supplement their accounts of the events of these years.
The collection begins with a very miscellaneous deed of presentment to the rectory of Blechley in Buckinghamshire which has no obvious connection with the rest of the collection. MS2 relates to the expulsion of the fellows in 1688 whilst MSS3-5 are connected with the dispute with Magdalen Hall. MS6 contains Colin Cooke’s notes on the collection.
The Magdalen Hall dispute was an unfortunate attempt by Magdalen College to control the affairs of the neighbouring Magdalen Hall by appointing its principal. This was the second time in the seventeenth century that this issue had reared its head, the fellows having made another attempt to control the Hall in 1681. This was thwarted by the then president going to Yorkshire and taking the common seal of the college with him, thus preventing the fellows from being able to appoint a principal for the Hall. The next controversy began in February 1693/4 upon the death of Dr Levit, the previous principal of the Hall. The President and Fellows appointed their own candidate Mainwaring Hammond, who was duly elected by the scholars of Magdalen Hall and took up office. Unsurprisingly, when the Chancellor, the Earl of Ormonde, was asked to invest him formally in his post, he refused and instead sought to appoint his own candidate, Richard Adams. The Vice-Chancellor, Henry Aldrich was sent with a large crowd of people, smiths and carpenters and broke down the gates of the college, taking Adams to Magdalen Hall where he was duly elected by the scholars and had his name written in the buttery book. In the meantime, Hammond refused to relinquish control of the Lodgings and the entire affair was forced to go to court, as it is plain the fellows of Magdalen had always expected and wanted. The documents below are chiefly concerned with the legal evidence presented by Magdalen to the court to support the college’s case. Needless to say, the attempt to usurp the principality of Magdalen Hall by the college was unsuccessful.
Re-catalogued by Richard Hunt in April 2008.
MC:P305/MS1 – COPY DEED OF PRESENTATION
MC:P305/MS1/1 30 Mar 1666
Attested copy of deed of presentation for Martin Clifford to rectory of Blechley in Buckinghamshire in gift of George, Duke of Buckingham made by Bryan Fairfax. Paper is marked ‘10’ on reverse.
There is no indication as to why this paper should form a part of the collection.
Bryan Fairfax (1633-1711) was a courtier and scholar who served the duke of Buckingham and later Lord Fairfax.
Martin Clifford (1624-1677) attended Trinity College Cambridge where he was a contemporary of the duke of Buckingham who he later served as secretary. He became master of the Charterhouse in 1671.
MC:P305/MS2 – EDITION OF ‘AN IMPARTIAL RELATION’
MC:P305/MS2/1 n.d. [c.1688?]
MS copy of H Fairfax (attrib.): An impartial relation of the whole proceedings against St. Mary Magdalen Colledge in Oxon, in the year of our Lord 1687. : Containing only matters of fact as they occurred. (London, 1688) pp. 22-39.
This copy was presumably made by Robert Almont and is almost identical to the printed edition to the extent that it is difficult to know which version was produced first. It relates the expulsion of the fellows from Magdalen in 1688. Colin Cooke has assumed from this document that Almont was in fact the author of the ‘Impartial Relation’ and not Fairfax. There is, however, no evidence to link the document with Almont directly.
MC:P305/MS3 – LEGAL OPINIONS OFFERED IN MAGDALEN HALL DISPUTE
MC:P305/MS3/1 19 May 1681
Opinion of William Jones and R. Sawyer regarding question of whether Magdalen College has a right to appoint the head of Magdalen Hall.
Contains a brief history of Magdalen Hall followed by the opinion that the College would be right to appoint the principal of the hall as they own the land upon which it is built and the buildings themselves. This document must relate to the College’s previous attempt to appoint the principal of Magdalen Hall in 1681.
MC:P305/MS3/2 22 Feb 1693
Legal opinion given by Creswell Levinz.
Contains history of Magdalen Hall and the University’s claim to nominate principals of halls. Asks the same questions as those raised in [MC:P305/MS3/4]. Levinz’s opinion is that whilst the college owns the property and so could arguably appoint a principal, they should ask the Chancellor’s permission. If they are not prepared to do this then they should go ahead and install a principal themselves and see if he objects.
MC:P305/MS3/3 n.d. [1693-4]
Opinion of Richard Holloway that as the college collects rent from the principal of Magdalen Hall then they own the freehold to the property.
This means they have the right to enter the property peaceably and assert possession. However, they should expect that this would force the issue to a trial, with the Chancellor asserting his claim to the property.
Opinion of Francis Pemberton on certain queries over the right of the college to nominate the principal of Magdalen Hall.
Contains history of Magdalen Hall and the University’s claim to nominate principals of halls. Pemberton’s opinions are added in another hand beneath the questions asked of him. Quer: 1 concerns whether the Fee simple being vested in the college and not being disposed under the common seal means that the University can strip them of this right. Pemberton says he cannot see how the nomination of the principal of Magdalen Hall can be legally transferred to the University if the college has not given its permission. He also doesn’t believe there is any legal officer called a principal and that the most important issue is the college’s ownership of the property. Quer: 2 concerns whether the fellows can enter onto the property of Magdalen Hall and dispose of it as they see fit. Pemberton says he believes that this is permissible. Quer: 3 asks whether as the college own the property they may not rent it to their own choice of principal who will enter the property and take ownership of it. Pemberton says in principle this is acceptable but that due to the Chancellor’s status as a Duke and respect due to him they should apply to him first. Quer: 4 asks furthermore if the college cannot get possession by peaceful means whether they should take it by force. Pemberton accepts an ejection would then be the best course of action.
MC:P305/MS4 – LEGAL EVIDENCE AND DRAFTS OF COLLEGE’S CASE IN MAGDALEN HALL DISPUTE
MC:P305/MS4/1 20 Feb 1693
Copy of Lease for 20 years
1. President and scholars of Magdalen College
2. Rev. Mainwaring Hammond, Doctor of Divinity
Property: Their piece or p[ar]cell of ground lying near unto the s[ai]d College situate & being in the Parish of St Peter in the East in Oxford with severall roomes & chambers over the Grammar School there but not the said school and all other the chambers & buildings on or about the said piece of p[ar]cell of ground com[m]only called or known by the name of Magdalen Hall late in the occupac[i]on of the Rev William Lovet Doctor of Divinity.
Comments: does not include the Grammar School. Paper is marked ‘12’ on reverse.
MC:P305/MS4/2 n.d. [post 20 Jun 1694]
Brief to Council by Serjeant Levinz on case of ‘Clarke v. Dr Adams to bee tried at the Common Pleas Barr’ 20 Jun 1694. Robert Clarke lessee of Dr Manwaring Hamond D.D. plaintiff, Dr John Adams, defendant.
Plaintiff claims he was demised two tenements in parish of St Peter in the East by Dr Hamond until he was evicted from them by the defendant. Recounts history of Magdalen College’s claim to Magdalen Hall and events of Feb 1693 when Dr Levit the principal of the Hall died and the Fellows entered the Hall by order of their common seal and made Dr Hamond lessee of the Hall for 20 years, appointing him principal. They then presented Dr Hamond to the Chancellor of the University and asked for him to be admitted, which the Chancellor refused. After this the scholars of the Hall duly accepted Dr Hamond as principal and petitioned the Vice-Chancellor not to admit Dr Adams as principal of the Hall until the case had been heard in a court. He refused and sent smiths and carpenters to break down the gate and gain entry to the Hall whereupon he admitted Dr Adams as principal. Defence contains a history of the right of the chancellor to admit principals of halls. Debates the rights of the chancellor to do this and whether he can take away a college’s property and rights. Recounts the previous attempt by the college to appoint the principal of the Hall in 1681 when the then president Dr Clerke prevented the fellows from doing this by going to Yorkshire and taking the common seal with him. Contains names of witnesses to be called to prove each point of debate. Issue at stake was primarily whether Dr Hamond was permitted to lease rooms in Magdalen Hall either as tenant of the college, or as Principal of the Hall. Certain passage are underlined in red pencil. Many marginal comments. 4 pages.
MC:P305/MS4/3 n.d. [1693-4]
Paper containing draft of college’s claim to Magdalen Hall.
Unknown authorship. Contains account of events of Feb and March 1693/4. Reiterates the Chancellor’s claim to appoint principals of the halls under the Laudian statutes. Also recounts history of halls in Oxford and those that are now absorbed into other colleges. Aims to assert that the college’s ownership of the freehold of the land on which Magdalen Hall stands is akin to controlling the principality of the Hall. Claims that only convocation and not the chancellor can deny the college its right of presentment to the principality of the Hall. Possibly incomplete. Previous catalogue claims that this document was used as the basis of counsel’s brief [MC:P305/MS4/2] but this seems unlikely. 8 pages.
MC:P305/MS4/4 n.d. [1693-4]
Draft paper with amendments concerning the college’s claim to Magdalen Hall.
Disputes the right of convocation to grant the Chancellor the right to appoint the principals of the Hall, although accepting he has a right as the Visitor of the Hall. Claim that the money paid under the terms of the lease is not a quit rent as this is not allowed under the college statutes and the terms of an Elizabethan statute forbidding the alienation of land. Paper marked ‘9’ on reverse.
MC:P305/MS4/5 n.d. [1693-4]
Draft paper concerning college’s claim to Magdalen Hall.
Claims that the Chancellor’s supposed right to appoint principals of halls is incompatible with the college statutes forbidding them to alienate land. Expresses concern that the University may take more property belonging to colleges. Also claims that the Chancellor’s right to appoint principal was personal to the Earl of Leicester only. Disputes Dr Adam’s claim that the principality and the rent of 40s per year are to be considered as one and that as he was appointed principal by the scholars he should be allowed the rent also. Argues that the rent is not a 40s quit rent as Dr Adams claims and that the rent was not increased merely because of the College’s beneficence to the Hall.
MC:P305/MS4/6 n.d. [1693-4]
Paper showing that ‘it is not necessary that a House which hath once been a Hall, should always continue so to be’.
Lists various halls which have now become parts of colleges and argues that the University no longer has the right to appoint principals to these halls as they no longer exist. Thus claims that if the college were to take over Magdalen Hall the University would have no control over its principal. Cites large sections of various registers to prove that Queens’ College’s tenancy of St Edmund Hall meant they were entitled to appoint its principals.
MC:P305/MS4/7 n.d. [1693-4]
Extracts from various registers, marked D inverted and F inverted, listing appointments of principals of Magdalen Hall.
Also extracts from registers regarding the absorption of Laurence Hall into Lincoln College and the appointment of principals of St Edmund Hall and St Mary Hall by Queens’ College and Oriel College. Separate paper with list of names and corresponding reference to them in registers. 3 pages.
MC:P305/MS4/8 n.d. [1693-4]
Legally attested extracts from various sixteenth-century registers relating to the taxing of Halls.
MC:P305/MS4/9 n.d. [1693-4]
Notes on the nomination of principals to Magdalen Hall by the College and notes on the land given to the College in its foundation charter.
MC:P305/MS4/10 n.d. [1693-4]
Paper containing legally attested extracts from University Registers concerning appointment of principals to Halls in the sixteenth century.
MC:P305/MS4/11 n.d. [1693-4]
Paper containing extracts from University Registers concerning appointment of principals to Magdalen Hall.
Not attested copy as in [MC:P305/MS4/10]. Paper containing attested copy of extracts from register of convocation relating to taxation of halls.
MC:P305/MS4/12 n.d. [1693-4]
Two draft statements of Magdalen College’s claim to Magdalen Hall.
Reiterate history of the Hall and the University’s supposed right to appoint principals. Both statements are written in the same hand and whilst they contain some small differences are largely the same in content.
MC:P305/MS4/13 n.d. [1693-4]
Brief notes relating to appointment of principals by the Chancellor.
MC:P305/MS4/14 n.d. [1693-4]
Draft extract of college’s claim to Magdalen Hall.
MC:P305/MS4/15 n.d. [1693-4]
Draft extract of college’s claim to Magdalen Hall relating to assumption of other halls into colleges with list of questions concerning appointing principals of halls.
MC:P305/MS4/16 n.d. [1693-4]
Notes on the foundation of Magdalen College by Waynflete. Contains excerpts of statutes and translation, in particular it quotes passages concerning the interdiction of any alienation of land by the fellows.
MC:P305/MS4/17 n.d. [1693-4]
Notes upon appointments of principals to various halls across Oxford.
With comment on second page concerning a complaint raised by Exeter College at the appointment of a principal for Hart Hall with the writer promising to find more information on this if required.
MC:P305/MS4/18 n.d. [1693-4]
2 extracts of college’s claim to Magdalen Hall.
Part I is paginated 1-4 and contains the history of the college system in Oxford and the status of various halls across the university. Explains the role of taxatores donorum and their responsibility for setting levels of rent across university. Part II is paginated 11-14 and contains more about the position of halls vis-à-vis colleges. It is unclear as to whether these two documents originally formed part of a larger document, of which pages 5-10 are missing or whether they are unconnected. They do, however, appear to be a far more detailed draft of the college’s claim to Magdalen Hall than that given in the documents above.
MC:P305/MS5 – CORRESPONDENCE ON THE MAGDALEN HALL DISPUTE
MC:P305/MS5/1 n.d. [1693-4]
Letter, L[aurence] Hyde to Robert Hyde of Symonds Inn, Chancery Lane, containing lengthy extract from the ‘composition’ between Queens’ College and the University regarding St Edmund Hall.
Says that there is ‘not anything in this composition that will turn to our advantage’. Postscript written by G Hunt containing extract from register on appointment of principals. Laurence Hyde and Robert Hyde were brothers, both fellows of Magdalen College with George Hunt. They were the sons of James Hyde, principal of Magdalen Hall and brothers-in-law of Creswell Levinz.
MC:P305/MS5/2 29 Mar 1694
Letter, P[eter Mews], Bishop of Winchester to [President Hough] expressing his disappointment that the college was going ahead with their claim to Magdalen Hall, against the wishes of the Chancellor. See Bloxam: Demies II p. 277.
MC:P305/MS5/3 n.d. [Apr 1694]
Draft letter to Bishop of Winchester in reply to his letter [MC:P305/MS5/2] on behalf of the Bishop of Oxford (John Hough).
Aim to give him a statement of their actions to counter the ‘mistakes wee find are spread abroad’. Claim they are only aiming to recover rights left to them by the Founder. Ask him to intervene on their behalf with the Chancellor of the University. The letter is written in two hands and numbered ‘14’ on the reverse. For the reply of the Visitor, see Bloxam, Demies II p. 277.
MC:P305/MS5/4 n.d. [1693-4]
Draft and final copy of statement by the college concerning the history of Magdalen Hall and its claim to appointing the principal.
Colin Cooke believed that this document was intended to be sent to the Visitor with the above letters [MC:P305/MS5/2-3]. One of the documents is marked ‘13’ on the reverse.
MC:P305/MS5/5 n.d. [1693-4]
Draft statement made to Visitor [?] containing the college’s claim to appoint principal of Magdalen Hall.
Contains copy of petition sent by College to Visitor in 1681 concerning previous attempt at controlling Magdalen Hall. See Bloxam: Demies II, pp. 245-246.
MC:P305/MS6 – NOTES MADE BY COLIN COOKE ON PAPERS RECEIVED FROM APPLETON RECTORY
MC:P305/MS6/1 Mar 1974
Typescript notes on the papers and their provenance.
MC:P305/MS6/2 Mar 1974
Typescript notes on the Magdalen Hall dispute.
MC:P305/MS6/3 Mar 1974
Typescript notes on the expulsion of the Fellows in 1688.
MC:P305/MS6/4 9 Mar 1974
Letter, C.A. Cooke to President James Griffiths enclosing copies of notes made on Appleton papers.
Biographies of individuals mentioned above:
Martin Clifford (1624-1677) attended Trinity College Cambridge where he was a contemporary of the duke of Buckingham who he later served as secretary. He became master of the Charterhouse in 1671.
Richard Holloway (1627-1699), originally from Oxford. 1683 made justice of King’s Bench. He was later to advise the king over how to proceed regarding Magdalen College and took part in the trial of the Seven Bishops for which he received a quietus from the king in 1688.
Sir William Jones (1630-1682), London barrister, solicitor-general from 1673 and attorney-general from 1675. Leading figure in prosecution of Popish Plot. Resigned posts in 1679. MP for Plymouth 1680. In favour of exclusion of Duke of York.
Sir Creswell Levinz (1627-1701) represented crown in Popish Plot of 1678-9. Made Attorney General 1679. Dismissed from post in 1688. Defends 7 bishops (his brother Baptist Levinz was bishop of Sodor and Man and fellow of Magdalen 1664-1683). Advised convention parliament in 1688.
Sir Francis Pemberton (1624-1697) made chief justice of King’s Bench 1681. Chief justice of Common Pleas in 1682 and sacked in 1683 when he returned to his legal practice. 1688 defends 7 bishops.
Sir Robert Sawyer (1633-1692), London barrister. MP for High Wycombe, 1673. Works to remove Catholics from office. Briefly speaker 1678. Major player in Popish Plot. Feb 1681, made attorney-general, prosecutes Titus Oates, amongst others. Sacked in 1687, defends one of Seven Bishops in their trial.