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Sidney Sussex College : Statutes of Jesus College, Rotherham

Sidney Sussex College

<p style='text-align: justify;'>In 1484 Thomas Rotherham (1423-1500), archbishop of York, chancellor of the University of Cambridge and re-founder of Lincoln College, Oxford, established a college at Rotherham, to be called Jesus College. These statutes set out the structure of the college, which was to consist of a provost, three fellows, preferably priests, who were to teach grammar, music, writing and arithmetic, and six choristers. Liturgical requirements include anniversary Masses for Edward IV, Archbishop Rotherham’s parents and, after his death, the archbishop himself, as well as provision for a sung Jesus Mass and Marian antiphons in Rotherham parish church. Administrative provisions include a requirement that an inventory of the college’s possessions be taken on the appointment of a new provost and annually thereafter. An early 17th-century copy of the statutes in BL Cotton MS Vitellius E.x supplies the missing portions of text. An edition of the statutes is in A. F. Leach, <i>Early Yorkshire Schools</i>, II, pp. 109-31. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The inventory of Rotherham’s gifts, printed in full by M. R. James and by Leach, is of particular value because it itemises the books with which he provided his foundation. Since 1895 it has been recognised that several of these were printed books. An edition and an analysis of the books listed in the two inventories is provided by Willoughby, who identifies printed books in Rotherham’s bequest. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Rotherham’s college was dissolved in 1548, under the terms of the 1547 Chantries Act. Fragments of the building, described by John Leland as ‘sumptuously builded of brik’, survive in College Street, Rotherham.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Nicholas Rogers FSA, Archivist, Sidney Sussex College.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Digitisation and description generously funded by John Osborn.</p>

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