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Balliol College Charter of Incorporation 1588 (F.11.6): English translation of the full text


- numbers in square brackets indicate line numbers in the original

[1] Elizabeth, by the Grace of God Queen of England, France and [2] Ireland, Defender of the Faith etc., to all whom these presents may reach, greeting. Know you that in our university of Oxford there is a certain college commonly [3] and in general called Balliol College, and at some time previously called by the name ‘The Master and Scholars of the College of Balliol Hall in the University of Oxford’, at another time by the name ‘The Master of the House of Balliol [4] in Oxford and the Scholars thereof’, at another by the name ‘The Principal and Fellow-Scholars studying at Oxford who are called the Balliol Scholars’, at another by the name ‘The Principal and Fellow-Scholars [5] of the house called Balliol in Oxford’, at another by the name ‘The Master and Fellows of Balliol College’, at another by the name ‘The Master and Scholars of Balliol College’, at another [6] by the name ‘The Master of Balliol College and the Fellows and Scholars of the same’, at another by the name ‘The Master and Scholars of the College of Balliol Hall in Oxford’, at another by the name ‘The Master and Scholars [7] of Balliol Hall’, at another by the name ‘The Master or Warden of the College commonly called Balliol Hall on the outskirts of the town of Oxford and the Fellows or Scholars of the same’, respecting which it is more fully clear and evident that, [8] through several letters patent of ours and of our predecessors, and through the deeds of various of our subjects and the subjects of our predecessors, by them and on their behalf, certain [9] lands, tenements and hereditaments have been given, bequeathed and confirmed to the aforementioned Master and Scholars. And considering the variety of names and the additions of names and the [10] incorporation of that aforesaid Master of Balliol College and its Scholars, some questions, doubts and ambiguities have previously arisen, and also arise at present, about and concerning the [11] handing over of the aforementioned lands, tenements and hereditaments, and on the subject of these aforementioned lands, tenements and hereditaments, know you that we, piously desirous that all [12] questions, controversies, doubts, grounds for complaint, alterations and ambiguities about the past and future transfer of gifts may in perpetuity be removed, by our own particular Grace, on our sure knowledge and by our free [13] impulse, on behalf of our heirs and successors, through these presents, to the humble petition of our beloved and faithful Councillors John, by the Grace of God Archbishop of Canterbury, [14] William Cecil, Knight, Baron of Burghley, our Lord Treasurer and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Baron of Denbigh, Lord Steward [15] of our Household and Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and also of our beloved and faithful Councillor my lord Francis Walsingham, Knight, our Principal Secretary, and John Wolley, our faithful and beloved Councillor and Latin [16] Secretary, give and grant to Edmund Lilly, Reverend Professor of Sacred Theology, Master of the aforementioned College and to the Scholars thereof, and to their successors, that they and their successors may in perpetuity be, [17] and shall be, one corporate body politic in fact and in name, by the name of the Master and Scholars of Balliol College in the University of Oxford; and, as mentioned above, we desire, ordain, determine and establish by these presents that[18] they and their successors may in perpetuity be, and shall be, one body corporate and politic in fact and in name, by the name of the Master and Scholars of Balliol College in the University of Oxford, and that they and their successors [19] may have the same name in perpetual succession, and shall be, by this same name, persons fit and capable in law and in all suits of all kinds, courts concerning real matters and individual ones concerning personal charges alike, temporal and spiritual, [20] in pleading and being pleaded against, responding and being responded to, and under the same name acquiring, accepting, taking possession of, holding, enjoying, remaining in possession of, letting go of and handing over lands, tenements, profits and easements and also whatever goods and chattels they are able to [21] and can, and that they and their successors may in perpetuity have a common Seal for handing over, letting go, locating and other contracts, and whatever other business may be transacted, completed and executed between [22] the aforementioned Master and Scholars and their successors and whatever other persons. And further, by our particular Grace and on our certain knowledge and by our free impulse we have, for our heirs and our successors, granted, yielded, discharged and [23] confirmed and by these presents grant, yield, discharge and confirm to the aforesaid Master and Scholars of Balliol College in the University of Oxford and their successors all and singular Manors, lands, tenements, [24] hereditaments, advowsons, ecclesiastical benefices, appropriations, knightly feoffes, franchises, liberties, mineral profits from the quarries of benefices, woods, undergrowth, returns, reversions, tithes, greater and lesser oblations, incomes, free chapels, [25] chantries, emoluments, profits, easements, revenue from duties, sums, rights, rights of jurisdiction, charters, letters patent, dispensations, concessions, privileges, licences, gifts, goods, chattels both real and personal, and whatever hereditaments [26] of whatever sort, name, nature, condition, title and quality whithersoever in the kingdom of England have to the aforesaid Master and Scholars or their predecessors, by whatever name, without the addition of a name, previously been given, [27] granted, bargained or confirmed or are to those same persons currently being granted, bargained or confirmed, specified or intended; and that those same men, and their successors, may have the power to have and hold these same things for themselves and their successors without any obstacle from our [28] heirs or successors or any of the justiciars, escheators, sheriffs, coroners or any other bailiffs or ministers of our heirs or our successors. And if, and as often as, the headship of [29] the aforesaid College should become vacant by death, deprivation, resignation or any other legitimate means, we desire and, on our behalf and that of our successors, grant, that in that case and however often [it occurs], the aforementioned Scholars of Balliol College [30] in the University of Oxford, according to the ordinances and statutes of the late John Balliol, founder of the same College, can, and have the power to, elect a new head and Master of the aforementioned College, and also that the aforementioned Master and Scholars’ cooks, [31] priests, poor serving boys, officials and servants of the aforementioned College in all cases may be chosen, treated, managed and appointed according to the ordinances and statutes of the aforementioned John de Balliol, and that all and singular, as much as in our power lies, on behalf [32] of our heirs and our successors, to the current and present Master and Scholars of the aforesaid College of Balliol within the University of Oxford and their successors, we approve, ratify and by these presents confirm. [33] And furthermore we have given and granted and, by these presents, on behalf of our heirs and our successors, as much as in our power lies, grant and give, special licence and free and lawful sanction, power and authority [34] to the aforementioned Master and Scholars and their successors, of having, receiving and acquiring, to them and their successors in perpetuity, from both our heirs and successors and whoever of our subjects and liege-men or [35] whoever else, and no other person, whatever manors, houses, lands, tenements, benefices, tithes, returns, revenues, duties and other possessions, reversions and hereditaments from our heirs and [36] our successors which are not held in chief nor for military service from us nor from anyone else nor any other people for military service without special licence of our heirs and our successors and without licence [37] of the lord or lords from whom the aforementioned lands, tenements and hereditaments are held, provided that the manors, houses, lands, tenements, tithes, benefices, returns, revenues and duties and other possessions, reversions and [38] hereditaments do not exceed the net annual value of forty pounds per annum. Contrary to the statute about not disposing lands and tenements ad manum mortuam [mortmain], or any other statute, act, ordinance, provision or restriction, [39] previously held, made, published, ordained or provided for, or the obstruction of any other reason, cause or ground, we desire and by these presents grant to the aforementioned Master and Scholars [40] of Balliol College in the University of Oxford that they may have and shall have these letters patent under our great seal of England made and sealed in the due fashion, without fine or fee great or small in our Hanaper, [41] or any other place we use in any similar way for returning, paying and making payment; and this without any ad quod dampnum writ [concerning damages], or any other of our writs, commissions, inquiries or commands or those of our successors, [42] and for having, obtaining and making or acquiring, because express mention about true annual value either respecting the certainty of the things noted earlier or those of anybody else, or respecting other gifts or grants by us or by one [43] of our forefathers to the aforementioned Master and Scholars of Balliol College within the University of Oxford made before this time in these presents is made of little account, either by any other statute, act, ordinance, provision or restriction, [44] contrary to any previously held, made, published, ordained or provided for, or the obstruction of any other reason, cause or ground; and for testimony of this we arranged these our letters patent, [45] made in my presence at Westminster on the fourteenth of June, in the thirtieth year of our reign [46] by writ, under the Privy Seal.

Translation by Guy Westwood,
E.R. Noble Scholar of Balliol College and Craven Scholar in the University of Oxford
June 2007

- Anna Sander


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