nor so chargeable, but that the Overplus of his Rents and Profits of the
would soon recompense the same; because to so good Purpose in the Commonwealth,
no Prince or Council in any Age would deny or defeat the same. And that if
conveniently by his Will, or other Conveyance, he might have assured it, he
have left it to be done after his Death;) Then the same to revert to his right
whereas he meant the same to the Common Weal: And then the Default thereof
be to the Reproach and Condemnation of the said Corporations afore God."
proving of this Will bore Date November 26. 1579.
This Noble Gift was afterwards confirmed by Act of Parliament in the 23d of the
Queen, and was Intitled; An Act for the establishing an Agreement between Sir
Nevyl, Kt. and Dame Anne Gresham, Widow, for the better performing of the last
of Sir Thomas Gresham, Kt. deceased; and for the Payment of his Debts. The
ratifying and confirming the Donation of the Exchange for the foresaid Lectures,
"And the Buildings in London, called the Royal Exchange, and all Pawns, and
Shops, Cellars, Vaults, Messuages, Tenements, and other whatsoever
Parcel of, or adjoyning to the said Royal Exchange in London, sometime the said
Thomas Gresham's, shall be to the said Dame Anne, during her Life; and after her
Decease, the one Moiety thereof to the Maior, Commonalty and Citizens of London,
whatever special Name or Addition the same Corporation is made or known, and to
their Successors for ever. And the other Moiety thereof to the Wardens and
Commonalty of the Mystery of Mercers of the City of London; that is to say, to
Body and Corporation of the Company of the Mercers of London, by whatsoever
special Name or Addition the same Corporation is made or known, and to their
Successors, to the good Uses and Intents in the said Writing, last Will and
limited or appointed."
Confirmation thereof by Act of Parliament.
So that these Lectures began after the Decease of the Lady Anne Gresham, (which
happened in the Year 1596.) and so to continue for ever. Whereupon the
were accordingly chosen, and appointed to begin their Readings in Trinity-Term,
which also they do at this Time perform, (viz. 1598, when Stow's first Edition
forth,) whose Names were Anthony Wooton, for Divinity; Dr. Matthew Gwin, for
Physick; Dr. Henry Mountlow, for the Civil Law; Dr. John Bull, for Musick;
Breerwood, for Astronomy; Henry Briggs, for Geometry; and Caleb Willis, for
Rhetorick; to the great Delight of many both Learned, and Lovers of Learning.
The Lectures began in Trinity Term, 1597.
Names of the first Readers.
These Lectures are read daily in Term Times, by every one upon his Day; in the
Morning betwixt Nine and Ten in Latin; in the Afternoon betwixt Two and Three in
English; saving that Dr. Bull is dispensed with to read the Musick Lecture in
only, upon Two several Days, Thursday and Saturday in the Afternoons, betwixt
and Four of the Clock.
These Lectures, when Read.
The Professors of this College have been Men of excellent Parts, and well
performing the same. But after the great Fire of London, (this College escaping
Conflagration) the City made Use of it for their Court and Chamber, and for
publick Uses: The Inner Court Yard for the meeting of the Merchants, until such
as the Royal Exchange might be rebuilt. Also the Galleries above the Court
without, and the Piazza's about the Inner Court, where the Merchants met, were
converted into Shops, for those that had been burnt out in the Fire of the
did for some Time impede the orderly Course of the Reading of the aforesaid
But afterwards the ancient Practice was renewed.]
After the Fire this College made Use of for Publick Uses, for the present Necessity.
This Noble Foundation of Learning Mr. Stow hath given a brief Account of: I
insinuate a few other Things, whereof he is Silent. The Lady Gresham being
whose Decease the Salaries for the Lectures were to Commence from the Rents then
growing out of the Royal Exchange; and the Mansion House of Sir Thomas Gresham,
(bequeathed by his last Will and Testament to those and the like good and
Uses) now in the Year 1595/6; the Lecturers being to be placed, and considering
Trust this was committed to them that were to Nominate and Appoint them, the
therefore, Aldermen, and Commons, thought fit to write their Letters to the
of Cambridge, importing, How
"that they might the better discharge the Trust
committed to them both in Conscience, and in regard of their own Credit, as not
doubting but the Eye of her Sovereign Majesty, her Honourable Council, and all
of best Judgment throughout this Land, would observe their Doings, with what
and good Discretion they performed this Duty, being Matter of so great
the Church of God, and this Commonwealth. And that for themselves for want of
Judgment to discern of Men of most Sufficiency in the said Faculties, they might
Default, and commit some Error in their Election: They thought good therefore to
their Choice from the very Fountain, and in earnest and hearty Manner to crave
and Assistance of their learned Judgments. And to intreat of them the
Two meet Persons, being unmarried, according to the Will of the Testator, of
Knowledge in every Faculty of those Four that were referred to the bestowing of
City; being also furnished with good Utterance, and other meet and requisite
the publick Profession of the said Arts; whose several Names they prayed them to
down, and send unto them, under the Signature of the University, that they might
Choice of the fittest Persons in every Faculty, being assisted by so many grave
learned Judgments; wherein, as they should perform a special Part of their own
so they doubted not but that themselves should do a good and acceptable Work to
Almighty God, and bind them and the whole City in mutual Respects, and good
Correspondence of like Desire to procure the Good, wherein they might, of that
To the like Effect they had directed their Letters to the
Oxford. This Letter bare Date January 20. 1596/7.
The City sends to the Universities for fit Men for the Readers Places.
But some of the Heads in Cambridge were jealous, that these Lectures being to be
in London, might be prejudicial to that University, in hindring many from coming
thither to study the Sciences, and drawing them to London. This occasioned Dr.
Jegon, the Vice-chancellor, to refrain for a little Time, to nominate any,
before he had
acquainted the Lord Burghley, their High-Chancellor, with it, and had his
for the doing of it.
There were Two Things, that those that had the Care of this College, in order to
Settlement of it, were busy about. The one was in concerting, whether the
should be read in Latin or in English: The other, for the Regulation of the
good Rules and Orders.
Two Things consulted of for Gresham College.
Concerning the former it was much controverted, in which of the Two Languages
Lectures should be read. And there were two Papers of Reasons assigned, One why
the Lectures in Divinity should be read in English, All or Part: And the other,
the other Lectures should
Whether the Lectures should be read in Latin or English.