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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 170



1 64 PALACE SCHOOLS. [VII. account perhaps for one of the influences that fixed the University here, just as the school of S. Frideswide's priory may account for another. It is in the proof that there existed a general fashion of literary association and conversation that these clusters of scholars, settled in the great houses, are so interesting. Peter of Blois gives a sketch of one such cluster in the house of the Archbishop. ' Good master,' he writes, ' you blame me for spending my days at court, when I might fructify in the scholastic camps. But this court in which I live is, I assure you, a camp of God, none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven. In the house of my lord the Archbishop are most scholarly men, with whom is found all the uprightness of justice, all the caution of providence, every form of learning. They, after prayers, and before meals (mark the connexion, and think of Giraldus's public lecture), in reading, in disputing, in the decision of causes, constantly exercise themselves. All the knotty questions of the realm are referred to us, and, when they are discussed in the common hearing, each of us, without strife or objectation, sharpens his wits to speak well upon them, and produces, from a more subtile vein, what he thinks the most prudent and sensible advice.' This is in contrast with the turbulent, and sometimes stormy, discussions in the rising Universities. Herbert of Bosham, one of the biographers of S. Thomas and himself one of the Archbishop's clerks, affords us some glimpses into the working of this institution; and gives us long discussions between Becket and. the learned staff that accompanied him in most of his tribulations. Some of these are very curious ; they show that the Archbishop had amongst his chaplains a staff of professors on a small scale ; this one skilled in canon law, that in historic precedent ; one .to whom they looked when an apposite quotation from the


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