Doket, Andrew (DNB00)

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DOKET or DUCKET, ANDREW (d. 1484), first president of Queens' College, Cambridge, was, according to Dr. Caius and Archbishop Parker, principal of St. Bernard's Hostel, of which he may probably have been the founder, and certainly was the owner. Before 1439 he was presented by Corpus Christi College to the vicarage of St. Botolph, Cambridge, of which, on the restoration of the great tithes, he became rector 21 Oct. 1444. He resigned the rectory in 1470. Subsequently he was made one of the canons or prebendaries of the royal chapel of St. Stephen's, Westminster, which preferment he exchanged in 1479 with Dr. Walter Oudeby for the provostship of the collegiate church of Cotterstock, near Oundle. In July 1467 Doket was collated to the prebend of Ryton in Lichfield Cathedral, which he exchanged for the chancellorship of the same church in 1470, an office which he resigned 6 July 1476 (Le Neve, ed. Hardy, i. 584, 622). Fuller calls him ‘a friar,’ but for this there appears to be no foundation beyond the admission of himself and his society into the confraternity of the Franciscans or Grey Friars in 1479. The great work of Doket's life was the foundation of the college, which, by his prudent administration and his adroit policy in securing the patronage of the sovereigns of the two rival lines, developed from very small beginnings into the well-endowed society of Queens' College, Cambridge. The foundation of King's College by Henry VI in 1440 appears to have given the first impulse to Doket's enterprise. In December 1446 he obtained a royal charter for a college, to consist of a president and four fellows. Eight months later, Doket having in the meanwhile obtained a better site for his proposed buildings, this charter was cancelled at his own request, and a second issued by the king 21 Aug. 1447, authorising the refoundation of the college on the new site, under the name of ‘the College of St. Bernard of Cambridge.’ With a keen sense of the advantages of royal patronage, Doket secured the protection of the young queen Margaret of Anjou for his infant college, which was a second time refounded by her, and, with an emulation of her royal consort's noble bounty, received from her the designation of ‘the Queen's College of St. Margaret and St. Bernard.’ There is no direct evidence of Margaret having given any pecuniary aid to Doket's design, but Henry VI granted 200l. to it as being the foundation of his ‘most dear and best beloved wife,’ and the names of some of her court appear on the roll of benefactors.

The foundation-stone was laid for the queen by Sir John Wenlock, her chamberlain, 15 April 1448, and the quadrangle was approaching completion when the outbreak of the wars of the Roses put a temporary stop to the undertaking. Upon the restoration of tranquillity, Doket, opportunely transferring his allegiance to the house of York, succeeded in persuading the new queen, Elizabeth Woodville [q. v.], to replace the support he had lost by accepting the patronage of the foundation of her unfortunate predecessor and former mistress. Doket was no stranger to the new queen, who must have felt a woman's pride in carrying to a conclusion a scheme in which Margaret had exhibited so much interest, and which had naturally spread to the ladies of her household. Elizabeth described herself as ‘vera fundatrix jure successionis,’ and though there is no documentary evidence of her having helped it with money, the prosperity of the college was due to her influence with her husband, and she gave it the first code of statutes in 1475. As owing its existence to two queens-consort, the college was henceforth known as ‘Queens' College,’ in the plural. Doket's policy in steering his young foundation so successfully through the waves of contending factions fully warrants Fuller's character of him as ‘a good and discreet man, who, with no sordid but prudential compliance, so poised himself in those dangerous times betwixt the successive kings of Lancaster and York that he procured the favour of both, and so prevailed with Queen Elizabeth, wife to King Edward IV, that she perfected what her professed enemy had begun’ (Hist. of Univ. of Cambr. ed. 1840, p. 162). Doket also succeeded in ingratiating himself with the king's brother, Richard, and obtained his patronage and liberal aid. As Duke of Gloucester, he founded four fellowships, and during his short tenure of the throne largely increased the emoluments of the college by grants of lands belonging (in right of her mother) to his Queen Anne, who had accepted the position of foundress and patroness of this college. These estates were lost to the college on the accession of Henry VII. The endowments were also augmented by Doket's offer to place the names of deceased persons on the bede-roll of the college in return for a gift of money. Doket governed his college prudently and successfully for thirty-eight years, having lived long enough to see his small foundation of four fellows grow into a flourishing society of seventeen, and his college richly endowed and prosperous under the patronage of three successive sovereigns. He died 4 Nov. 1484. His age is not stated, but he was probably about seventy-four. His will, dated 2 Nov. of the same year, is printed by Mr. Searle in his history of the college (p. 56). He was buried by his desire in the choir of his college chapel, ‘where the lessons are read.’ His gravestone with the matrix of his incised effigy existed in Cole's time (c. 1777), but it has now disappeared (Cole MSS. ii. 17, viii. 124). As he is styled ‘magister’ to the last, he was probably not doctor either in divinity or in any other faculty. Mr. Mullinger writes of him: ‘We have evidence which would lead us to conclude that he was a hard student of the canon law, but nothing to indicate that he was in any way a promoter of the new learning, which already before his death was beginning to be heard of at Cambridge’ (Univ. of Cambr. i. 317). In spite of the great names which add dignity and ornament to the foundation of the college, there can be no doubt that Doket must be regarded as the true founder of Queens' College, and that the words of Caius express the simple truth, that ‘his labour in building the college and procuring money was so great that there are those who esteem the magnificent work to have been his alone’ (Hist. Acad. Cant. 70), so that he is justly styled in the history of benefactors ‘primus presidens ac dignissimus fundator hujus collegii.’ He made a catalogue of the library of his college, consisting of 299 volumes, in 1472, and also an inventory of the chapel furniture in the same year.

[Searle's Hist. of the Queens' College of St. Margaret and St. Bernard, pp. 2–104, issued by the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 1867; Mullinger's Univ. of Cambr. vol. i; Fuller's Hist. of Univ. of Cambr. pp. 161–3; Willis and Clark's Architectural Hist. of Univ. of Cambr. i. lxii–v, ii. 1–11, iii. 438.]

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