Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/20

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
An Academic Sketch

sister. Under King Stephen, and before the twelfth century had well run half its course, the connection of Oxford with the names of Vacarius and Pullus[1] appears to show that the place was then a more or less active seat of learning. Apart from this, Oxford is mentioned as already an University with a Chancellor in the year 1201[2] But considerably earlier, in 1189, Giraldus Cambrensis had read there his Topographia Cambriæ, and had on a set day held a reception for the doctors of the several faculties. According to Roger Wendover, there were in 1209[3], when the great dispersion took place, about 3000 students in Oxford, or nearly thrice the numbers of 1830, and the estimate is deemed by Denifle not to betray large exaggeration. From this date we may pass onwards to 1252[4], when the Chronicles record this most striking testimony: Oxonialis Universitas, æmula Parisiensis.

Æmula Parisiensis: not probably in the number of its students, though the estimate at this time boldly mounts to 15,000; not in the attractive force which drew to it nearly all famous teachers; not in other points, at which I have slightly glanced; but in one vital particular it may seem that, so far as I can learn, and as

  1. Denifle, p. 247.
  2. I have relied here on the acceptance of the statement by Denifle, p. 244. But the document on which it rests is a forgery according to Lyte's History of Oxford, p. 243. Lyte, however, supplies evidence at p. 14 of his History on the 'populousness' of the schools of Oxford in the end of the twelfth century. He also substitutes the Topographia Hibernica for the Cambrensis (p. 13).
  3. Denifly, p. 242.
  4. Ibid., p. 252.