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Edmund Gonville (Founder of Gonville Hall, Cambridge, 1348)

Edmund Gonville Demographics:
  • Name - Edmund Gonville
  • Birth - Unknown date
  • Death - 1351
  • Occupation - Rector, land agent, King's clerk
  • Religion - Catholic
  • Residence - County of Norfolk, England
  • Father - William de Gonvile
  • Brother - Sir Nicholas Gonvile.
  • Ancestry - French gentry family.
Edmund Gonville - Early Life:
  • Gonville's childhood & early education are not clearly known.
Edmund Gonville - Adult Life Facts:
  • Known as a practical man of affairs.
  • Probably worked as a land agent for some leading people in east Anglia.
  • Is believed to have had stewardship of the earl of Surrey's Norfolk estates.
  • Worked also for King Edward III, including lending him money.
  • Rewarded by King Edward III, with the title of King's clerk.
  • Established a community of 5 priests at Rushford (near Thetford) and also founded a house of Dominican friars at Thetford in Norfolk.
  • Gonville was granted the right to found a college of 20 scholars at the University of Cambridge.
  • The petition to King Edward III was supported by a Sir Walter Manny.
  • The Letters Patent for the college were issued by Edward III in late January 1348.
Edmund Gonville - Religious Positions:
  • Rector of Thelnetham, Suffolk (1320-26).
  • Rector of Rushford, Norfolk (1326-42).
  • Rector of Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk (1342-1351).
Established the following Religious Communities:
  • 1335 - House for Dominican Friars at Thetford
  • 1342 - College of chantry priests at his living at Rushford
  • 1348 - Gonville Hall (Cambridge)
Gonville Hall (Cambridge) & Edmund Gonville:
  • The college was built amazingly during the height of the Black Death bubonic plague.
  • This demonstrated Gonville's amazing drive & perseverence despite the prevailing difficulties.
  • Edmund Gonville had secured accommodation for his scholars by end of 1348.
  • On 4th June 1349 a deed of foundation was made out for the college.
  • John Colton of Terrington (later archbishop of Armagh) was appointed the first master of the college.
  • Gonville made it clear his wish that the hall should be dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin.
  • Unfortunately, Gonville died in 1351, before the Hall was fully established.
  • A picture of the college can be found - here.
  • The college over the next 200 years went in to decline, before later being re-founded by John Caius (in 1557) to become Gonville and Caius College.

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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