Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts


Andrew Clark’s Lists

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Explanatory notes (vol I)

A few notes will explain the prominent features of the lists at the end of Elizabeth’s and the beginning of James I’s reigns: cf the similar set of notes at the beginning of vol. III.


These lists have three distinct objects in view.

(i) They endeavour to give for the beginning of September [i.e. the end of the old-time College year] in every year an exact list of the Members of the College at that date, every one in his own place in College precedence.

(ii) They furnish a realistic means of tracking the College career of every member of the College from his admission in any capacity to the year of his name being taken from the books, marking every change of status whether academic or Collegiate.

(iii) Their index will provide a convenient background for the compilation some day of a definiteive ‘Register’ of Members of the College.


The plan adopted seems flawless in theory, but its practical execution is imperfect,owing to the incompleteness of the available material.

For those years in which a Buttery-book of the right term is extant and unmutilated, the lists may be assumed to be quite adequate.

In many years, however, no Buttery-book list, at least of the right date, is forthcoming, and the list has had to be taken from the Bursars’ Book of Battells for the year. In these books the list is always incomplete, excluding not onlt all members who did not battell in a a given term, but also the greater number of the servitors, though actually in full residence, because their allowances exceeded the amount due for their battells and consequently their names had not to be set down for any sums due on account of battells.

Note: Blundell men, both Fellows and Scholars, in the lists are marked by being underlined with blue pencil.

In several years, when neither Butter-book nor Bursars’ Book of Battells, has been found, the lists have had to be pieced together, conjecturally, from fragmentary indications derived from other sources.

Additional information

The yearly lists, complete or incomplete, in the form in which they appeared after setting them down from the College books, presented merely strings of surnames, divided into groups by lines drawn across the pages, with indications of Academical degrees by Dr, Mr (=MA and Bachelor of the Faculties), Ds (= BA and SCL). This outline has been filled up from the University records of matriculations and degrees (accessible, till 1622, in OHS Reg Univ Ox vol II). The results are not fully satisfactory. On the one hand, the matriculation-books of the University are full both of omissions and of entries dated underly late. On the other hand, they contain many names not found in the College lists, which (as has been said) often omitted all mention of Servitors.


For clearness’ sake, the lines which mark out the groups have been replaced by head-lines indicating the status of members of the groups.

I. Master and Fellows.

The Master is invariably entered by title ‘Magister Loci,’ never by name. During the probationary year the probationer (or probationers) is any are separated from the full Fellows by a line. The list of Fellows is closed by ‘Domus’ the head for Corporate expenditure in the way of smaller hospitality.

In the course of this period, the Fellows’ list came to be affected by the Blundell Foundation. In 1602, and down to 1614, the Blundell Fellow was rigidly a by-Fellow, with no part or lot among the Foundation Fellows. His name is always last on the list, placed after even the Probationers of the old stock, and separated from them by a line. After 1614 (17?) the Blundell Fellow simply steps into the places of one of the Foundation Fellows, and moves up the list according to seniority.

II. Scholars.

The Scholars of the House are arranged according to seniority, first the BA scholars according to date of their degree, and then the undergraduate scholars according to date of their appointment. In ordinary cases, taking the BA vacated the scholarship, and the name was kept on, at this period, by special college leave. In the later period, this rule seems no longer enforced.

Next to the Scholars, but separated from them by a line are the two Exhibitioners on the foundation of Dr John Bell. During this period the Scholars list was ffected by three by-foundations – Blundell – Browne - & Dunch.

From 1603 to 1617 the Blundell Scholar is rigidly treated as on a by-foundation. His name comes always after the Scholars’ List, and separated from it by a line. From 1617 onwards he steps into the place of a Foundation Scholar, & moves up the list by seniority.

The Browne Exhibition and the Dame Mary Dunch Exhibitioner were placed with the Bell Exhibitioners. No care is taken to distinguish them in the lists, and the knowledge of what foundations the Exhibitioners belong to has to be obtained from other sources.

III. Servants

Next come the recognised “common servants”, provided for by the Statutes, the camciple (in chage of the stores of provisions), the butler (in charge of the beer-cellar), the cook (in charge of the kitchen) and the Master’s special man-servant.

These three groups constituted the college, regarded as a body corporate under its code of Statutes.

In Elizabeth’s reign, there were prolonged and bitter controversies between the University and the City as to persons admitted to the privilege of the University and so exempted from the jurisdiction of the City. As a result, such craftsmen as were habitually employed in ordinary College repairs

Explanatory notes (Vol III)

Aim. These lists may serve three distinct purposes.

First, for any given year within their compass, they exhibit a full list of members of the College, arranged in the strict order of academic and social status, and of seniority. The date in each year to which the list more exactly belongs is the second week (or so) of September. In the earliest account-books that marked the end of the fourth and last quarter of the College year. It coincides also with the end of the Academical year, towards the close of the Long Vacation, before the University reassembled for a new academical year. In the nineteenth century this September date becomes somewhat inappropriate, but it is necessary to have a uniform date throughout. It will be further observed that at the end of each section of the yearly list, full details are given of the names which have been added to that section in the course of the year.

Next, by following a name from list to list, the Collegiate history of every individual Balliol man can be traced out, from his coming to College to the renewal of his name, moving up (it may be) from one social grade to a higher, or from one degree to another, possibly from Servitorship to Fellowship.

Thirdly, the index to these lists provides an alphabetical register of members of the College for the centuries over which they extend.


The lists are taken, by preference, from the Buttery-books of each year. In the buttery-book, at the beginning of every week, the Manciple (or his clerk) wrote out a complete list of members, from the Master downwards to the last of the under-servants, including the names of many non-residents. This list was written on the left edge of the left leaf, leaving the whole width of the opening for the entry of each item of expense incurred during the week. The list for the last week of the fourth quarter of the College year is the one selected, but other weeks before and after have been compared with it. In several cases, by decay or partial mutilation of a Buttery-book, the entries of the 13 th week of the 4 th quarter have not been available, and have been replaced by these of the nearest unmutilated week before or after.

Where the buttery-book for a given year was not extant, or (as in some few cases) was so damaged by rot as to be of no help, recourse was had to the Bursars’ Book of Batells for that year. In this book, the Bursar (or his clerk) wrote down, each week, from the buttery-book, the names of all who had battelled during the week and the amounts due by them. At the end of every quarter, a complete list was made of all names and amounts which had appeared in the thirteen weeks of the quarter. The lists in this book are less complete than those in the Buttery-book. They exclude not only all non-residents (whether perpetual or for the term only), but also some ten to twenty servitors who were in actual residence, since their weekly allowances un-balanced their battell-dues and so left no debit-entry to be made against their name.

In some few years, and notably in 1606, 1608, 1610, 1644-48, from loss or damage of volume, no list could be gad from either Buttery-book or Book of Battells. For these years conjectural lists had to be constructed from the parallelism of the lists of the preceding and succeeding years.

Confirmation and enlargement of the lists of Fellows, Scholars and Exhibitioners, was obtained from the volumes of “Half Yearly Accounts”.

Additional information

These College lists gave only surnames, arranged in groups according to order of Collegiate status by lines drawn across the page, with indication of Academic status, Dr., Mr., Ds. These skeleton-lists have had bodies put upon them by information drawn from such College admissions books as are yet extant, from the Registers of Elections, and fro the Matriculation-books and Degree-lists of the University. It is surprising how few names from first to last have baffled identification.

In some cases where a name does not actually occur in the list, but may reasonably be inferred to have occurred, it is written in its supposed place in red ink.


The groups of the College lists have been accentuated by prefixing to each group a head-line explaining it. These are:

I. Master and Fellows.

In the College lists, the Master is invariably entered as ‘Magister Loci,’ without indication of name. No mark differentiate the Periam or Blundell Fellow from the Foundation Fellows. During the year of probation, a line drawn across the page separates the Probationer or Probationers from the Full Fellows (Socii Perpetui). The Fellows’ list always closes with ‘Domus’, to which were debited the minor charges incurred by the College through corporate hospitality. In these lists, for the sake of the history of the by-foundations, the Periam Fellow is underlined red, and the Blundell Fellow is underlined blue.

II. Scholars.

The “Scholares Domus”, in the College lists are generally found in order of seniority, headed by those who had taken BA. In some years a different order is followed, possibly that of the Fellows to whom the Scholars were assigned. Wherever obtainable, the order of seniority has been taken. As a general rule, the Scholars were taken from persons already members of the College, i.e. from those in the books as Commoners or Servitors.

The Periam and Blundell Scholars are marked, in these lists, by red and blue underlinings respectively. Notice is also taken of Exh. Soc. Sen., i.e. “the exhibitioner (or scholar) of the Senior Fellow.” He was one of the Scholars, who received, in addition to the allowances of a schoalr’s place, a small weekly sum from the Periam fund. I have found no explanation of his title, and no indication of his particular duties, if any.

Next to the Scholars of the House, and separated from them by a line, came the four ‘Scholars’, or exhibitioners, of the by-foundations, Bell (2), Browne (1), Dunch (1). In the College lists no indication is given of the particular foundation to which the names belong. In these lists, this information has been added from the Register of Elections and the Half Yearly Accounts.

III. Servants.

The third section was that for the superior College servants, but they are mentioned by office only, not by name. The three constant items are ‘obsonator’ = manciple; ‘promus’ = butler and ‘coquus’. Even when there was no butter, and the duties of that office were discharged by the manciple, the old formula was followed. In many years other College servants or employees are placed here, e.g. ‘seneschallus’ or ‘pragmaticus’ the College Steward i.e. Solicitor; ‘famulus Magistri,’ the Master’s valet; ‘sub-coquus,’ the cook’s assistant; ‘faberlignarius,’ the carpenter regularly emplyed by the College. Whenever the names of these servants have been recovered from any source they have been added in these lists.

These three heads give the members of the College in its strict sense, i.e. the body corporate as defined and constituted by its statutes. Other heads follow, enumerating the permissive members of the College, the sojourners, or Commoners, according to their varying status.

IV. Doctors and Masters.

Doctors in the Faculties, Bachelors of Divinity and Medicine, Masters of Arts, & Bachelors of Civil Law, have precedence, in a group by themselves, as of dignity corresponding to that of the Fellows. This section is generally a long one, including not only such MAs as might be expected to come up from time to time to perform some exercise towards a Faculty degree, but a large number of utter non-residents. The list is never, however, of the nature of the modern “names on the border”. It appears to be a purely arbitrary one, giving a sort of skeleton of the graduations of the near past. A BA or MA is taken from each successive year, and his contemporaries are left unmentioned. In the Buttery-books these names are generally written in a very small hand, closely huddled together, as being of no practical account.

In this section are found from time to time names of special inmates of the College who were granted standing as MAs, e.g. the Hellenes, Kritopoulos and Konopios. The College, for some reason not as yet discovered, had for many years some speciall attraction for medical practitioners and the names of several ‘Students of Medicine,’ as they may be supposed to be, are found here. When they graduate in Medicine at Oxford, they can be identified. But in other cases, the occasion fruitless search, coming from outside and remaining unnoticed by the University Registers.

V. Fellow-Commoners

These were young men of wealth families, sons of territorial magnates (‘esquire’ or ‘knights’) or of London merchants, who enjoyed special College privileges, in return for paying higher fees and dues. They had the courtesy-title of ‘Mr.’ attached to their names in the College books. They say at a special table in all. They were exempt from the ceremonious obeisance due by ordinary undergraduates to the Fellows. They seldom resided more that two years in College, and generally left, without taking a degree, to put in two years at one of the Inns of Court. Precedence was given in this section to such as had titles, ‘the Honorable,’ ‘Sir,’ and the like; and to such as had taken the BA degree. If any Fellow-Commoner took MA his name was taken out of this section nand put into that for ‘Doctors and Masters.’

The names of Fellow-Commoners remained on the Buttery-books long after they had quite gone out of residence. The reason is not apparent. It may only have been that they had left some small balance of caution-money unclaimed.

VI. Commoners

At the beginning of this section, the Commoners of BA standing are grouped together in something like order of seniority, but the list is far from including all who had taken that degree and proceeded no further. Occasional difficulty arises here by the inclusion of names of persons who have not taken BA. In some cases these would appear to be persons who, having chosen ‘the law way,’ had paid the University fee and been recorgnised and ‘Student of Law,’ Jurista, SCL. Other cases must be incorporations, probably from Cambridge or Dublin, unrecorded in the University Registers (at least so far as at present published). By paying the amount required to make his admission fee and caution money equal to those exacted of a Fellow-Commoner, a Commoner might move up to the higher status.

VII. Servitors.

These were student-servants, partially paying for room-rent and board by acting as waiters at the tables in Hall, and performing like ‘fag’ duties. They paid admission-fee, caution-money and quarterly dues on a lower scale than Commoners. On payment of the sum needed to make his admission fee and caution-money equal to the sums paid by a Commoner, the Servitors might move up to the Commoner’s place. This was by no means unusual, just before taking BA.

Originally, when a servitor took MA, his name was placed in the section for Doctors and Masters. Later on, the practice was to retain the name here, so that the servitor section included MA, BA and undergraduates. But this practice was not rigidly adhered to.

Over a long term of years, this classification of members according to social status is further elaborated by the insertions of a head for Batlers between the head for Commoners and that for Servitors. These Batlers paid less fees than a Commoner and did some unexplained duties from which a Commoner was exempt, but they paid more fees and did less duties than a Servitor. By payment a Batler might be moved up into the section for Commoners, and a Servitor into that for Batlers. At no time is the line of demarcation strictly observed in the College books. A Batler one year may appear among the Servitors, or a Servitor amont the Batlers, apparently by pure accident or insouciance.

VIII. Underservants

At the end of most lists, separate from the rest by a line or a space, came a number of College servants, some designated by office some by surname. There are ‘letric’ and ‘subletric’ (abbreviated lix and sublix) = laundress or laundry-man, and assistant; ‘janitor’ = porter; ‘tonsor’ = barber; ‘hortulanus’ = gardener; ‘plumbarius’ = the glazier regularly employed by the College; ‘sub-provisus’ = the manciple’s assistant) in the cellar. Of those mentioned by surname, one is probably the head of the bedmakers; another is probably the ‘Hall-man.’ At a later period, the Commoners’ room-man comes in here.


- Anna Sander

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