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Universities of the Commonwealth (Cromwell the Great)

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The Commonwealth as eight universities. There are three universities in England, four in Scotland and one in Ireland. The English and Irish universities follow the federated colleges system.

Seminaries or divinity colleges some associated to a university or as part of a university (faculty of divinity), provide the training and preparation for the ordination of clergy or for other ministry. Each congregational or baptists voluntary association usually pool their resources to erect their own seminary. In the late 1660s it became usual for the Triers to open examinations of whatever denomination at the end of degrees to license preachers.

The control and inspection of the universities is done by means of visitors, provided by the charters, named ex officio, or appointed. The visitors of the universities are assigned the duties of reforming and regulating them, and inquiring grievances. They can revise and reform statutes and the compliance to religious toleration. The Ejectors are in most cases ex officio visitors to the faculties of divinity, and the seminaries or divinity colleges.

The universities are the following:

English universities

University of Oxford, founded 1116, Royal Charter 1248. It has 18 constituent colleges and 2 private halls.


  1. All Souls College (1438)
  2. Balliol College (1263)
  3. Brasenose College (1509)
  4. Christ Church (1546)
  5. Corpus Christi College (1517)
  6. Exeter College (1314)
  7. Jesus College (1571)
  8. Lincoln College (1427)
  9. Magdalen College (1458)
  10. Merton College (1264)
  11. New College (1379)
  12. Oriel College (1326)
  13. Pembroke College (1624)
  14. The Queen's College (1341)
  15. St John's College (1555)
  16. Trinity College (1555)
  17. University College (1249)
  18. Wadham College (1610)

Private Halls::

  1. Hart Hall (1282)
  2. St. Edmund Hall (1226)

University of Cambridge, founded 1209 Royal Charter 1231, It as 16 constituent colleges.


  1. Christ's (1505)
  2. Clare (1326)
  3. Corpus Christi (1352)
  4. Emmanuel (1584)
  5. Gonville and Caius (1348)
  6. Jesus (1496)
  7. King's (1441)
  8. Magdalene (1428)
  9. Pembroke (1347)
  10. Peterhouse (1284)
  11. Queens' (1448)
  12. St Catharine's (1473)
  13. St John's (1511)
  14. Sidney Sussex (1596)
  15. Trinity College (1546)
  16. Trinity Hall (1350)

University of Durham founded 1656, the Commonwealth Charter of 1665 gave it powers to grant its own degrees. It as four constituent colleges and free school for boys. From its foundation as a laity institution of Presbyterian and Independent traits it had no restrictions on student enrollment, save adherence to general Christian principles. The endowment of the university and colleges mainly comes from the gentry and merchants of Northumbria and Northumberland. Its students mainly come from Northern England. For its founders and many of its sponsors the establishment would become an institution teaching and promoting the new science. Unexpectedly it became also a major center for the training of preacher and divinity studies for Northern England.


  1. New College (1656)
  2. Bacon College (1667)
  3. Hartlib College
  4. Vane College

Free School for Boys of New College of Durham (1656)

Scottish universities

In the first years of the Commonwealth the universities, largely seen as a training school for clergy, were relatively well funded and came under the control of the Protesters against the Resolutioners. Authorities were replaced by Presbyterians.

  • University of St Andrews, founded in 1410, Royal Charter 1413.
  • University of Glasgow founded in 1451
  • University of Edinburgh founded in 1583
  • University of Aberdeen 1654. Created by the complete unification of University and King's College of Aberdeen (1495) and Marischal College and University of Aberdeen (1593). Previously they were nominally merged in the King Charles University of Aberdeen by royal decree of 1641, but the independent administration of the two institutions was keep.


University of Dublin, founded by Royal Charter 1592. It as three constituent colleges.


  1. Trinity College (1592)
  2. Luftus College (1660)
  3. Regina College (...)

University Free School for Boys (1660)

Other important establishments or colleges

Gresham College from Record of RS

Gresham College (City of London, Commonwealth)

Of importance is Gresham College (1597) of London that hosts, with its eight professorial chairs[1], free public lectures and promotes experimental science. Gresham College is an independent institution funded from the estate of John Gresham, supported by the City of London Corporation and the Mercers' Company. Its New Commonwealth Charter dates from 1676 when it was giving the power to grant degrees in Astronomy, Geometry, Physic and Commerce. It is also the home of the Society for Promoting and Improving Knowledge.

The colonies and dominions have the following institution granting higher grades:

  • Harvard College (Massachusetts Bay, 1636), administered by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (1650), associated with Congregationalist Puritans. Includes the Indian College founded in 1640 and sponsored by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England.
  • Virginia College and Free School (1672) associated with the Church of England in Virginia.


  1. Astronomy, Divinity, Geometry, Law, Music, Physic, Rhetoric (these first chairs created in 1597) and Commerce (established in 1662)

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