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M.A. licensed to practise Physic for two years, or M.D. or M.B. of Cambridge or Oxford, or a Member of a Scotch University of seven years' standing, and twentyfive years of age, and who shall have attended the medical lectures in one of the Scotch Universities for four years. The Professors are bound to read a course of lectures in their respective faculties, on the usual terms upon which public lectures are given in the University. The Professorships are not vacated by marriage, or by the possession of any property, and the Professors are capable of holding any of the lay offices in the college.
The electors to the Fellowships are, the Master, Professors, and Fellows of the degree of M.A. After the building of the college is completed, the elections will be annually on the 21st of February. All graduates of Cambridge or Oxford are eligible; but, after the completion of the college, Lay Fellows must be under the age of 24, and Clerical Fellows under 30, and above 23, at the time of election. The only restriction is, that there shall never be eight Fellows natives of the same county at one time. While the college remains uncompleted, the elections to Fellowships are at uncertain times, depending upon the vacancies, and not subject to the conditions of the statutes.
The Clerical Fellowships will be tenable for life; and subject to residence for a certain part of each term. The Lay Fellowships continue only for twelve years, and are not subject to any residence. Every Lay Fellow must declare either for Law or Physic. Those who declare for Law must be called to the bar within eight years after their election; and the Medical Fellows must take the degree of M.D. within two years after they are of sufficient standing. A Lay Fellow may also take orders after six years, without thereby vacating his Fellowship. Under certain circumstances, the four electors to the Mastership have a power to suspend the vacancy of a Lay Fellowship; but this power is limited to two Fellows living at any one time.
The sole founder of this college was Sir George Downing, Bart.* of Gamlingay Park, in this county;
*He was installed a Knight of the most honorable Order of the Bath, June 30, 1732.
who, by a will, dated 20th December, 1717, devised his estates in the counties of Cambridge, Bedford, and Suffolk, first to Sir Jacob Garrard Downing, and afterwards to other relations in succession, and in failure thereof to build and found a college in this University, upon a plan to be approved by the two Archbishops and the Masters of St. John's and Clare Hall. This direction was the reason for giving them the power which they possess in elections and other matters, by the charter and statutes.
Sir George died in 1749, and Sir Jacob in 1764, and (the other devisees having previously died without issue) upon this event the foundation ought immediately to have been carried into execution. But the estates were in the possession of Lady Downing, and afterwards of her devisees, without any real title, and when the University sued in Chancery for the establishment of the college, the party in possession resisted the suit in that court. In 1769, a decree was obtained in favour of the foundation.
The persons named as trustees in the founder's will having died in his life time, the execution of the trusts devolved upon the heirs at law; who, after combating a long series of opposition and litigation, and overcoming obstacles of various descriptions, preferred a petition to the Crown for a Charter; and at length, in 1800, the Privy Council decided to recommend the foundation to his Majesty.
On the 22d of September, 1800, the Great Seal was affixed to the Charter by Lord Loughborough. By this Charter the college is incorporated, with all the privi leges belonging to any college in the University, and endowed with the estate devised by the founder, with a power to hold landed property (in addition thereto) to the value of £1500. per annum.
The Charter directs statutes to be framed for the government of the college, which was done in July 1805, and shortly afterwards the stipends of the members began to be paid.
By the statutes, no beneficial leases of the college estates are allowed, nor any fine to be taken for a grant or renewal. It is also provided that no new foundation shall be ever engrafted on this college,
which shall be inconsistent with the charter and statutes. But the college may accept any additions to their property in augmentation of the number or value of their present appointments, or to be applied in any other manner consistent with their present constitution.
There is also a power given to the four electors and the Master, to alter the statutes, on application by a certain portion of the college.
The members appointed in the charter were, Francis Annesley, D.C.L. Master: Edward Christian, M.A. and Barrister, Law Professor; Busick Harwood, M.D. Professor of Medicine; John Lens, Serjeant at Law, and M.A., William Meeke, Barrister, and M.A., and William Frere, B.A. Fellows.
The late Mr. John Bowtell, of this town, who gave by his will a considerable property to charitable uses, bequeathed to Downing College a collection of books, manuscripts, fossils, and antiquities, with a request that the book-cases containing them might be placed in the college library. Among the manuscripts is a History of the Topography and Antiquities of this town, prepared for publication by Mr. Bowtell.
A piece of land of nearly thirty acres having been purchased for the site, and for grounds and walks, on the 18th of May, 1807, the first stone was laid; since which time the building has proceeded at intervals, at the expence of above £60,000. In 1821, buildings sufficient for opening the college, and comprising nearly two sides of a large court, were completed; and in May 1821, undergraduates were admitted to reside and keep terms.
The Crown, by the Lord High Chancellor.
THE PRESENT SOCIETY.
Master, William Frere, Serjeant at Law, D.C.L. elected May 8, 1812.
Vice-Master, Professor Hewett.
Professor of Medicine.
Cornwallis Hewett, M.D.
Professor of the Laws of England.
Bursar, Richard Dawes, M.A.
Richard Dawes, M.A.-Thomas Worsley, M.A.
Steward, Thomas Worsley, M.A.
Price, Samuel Grove, M.A.
Dawes, Rev. Richard, M.A.
Chaplains, Worsley, Rev. Thomas, M.A.