Egglesfield, Robert

, the founder of Queen’s college, Oxford, rector of Burgh or Brough in Westmoreland, and confessor to Philippa, Edward lll.‘s queen, deserves a more ample notice than at this distance of time can be procured; nor have we arty particulars to add to the account given in another place. His descent appears to have been honourable, and more than once the county of Cumberland was represented in parliament by a member of the house. They had considerable estates in different parts of that county; and we find that either the founder of the college, or one of the family of the same name, received of Edward III. in exchange for the manor of La I e ham in Middlesex, the manor of Uavenwick or Renwick, in Cumberland, which had been forfeited to the king’s father Ldward II. on the attainder of Andrew de Harcla, earl of Carlisle, in 1323. This manor is now the property of the college.

It is probable that Robert de Egglestield was born at Egglesfeld, a hamlet in the parish of Brigham, in the county of Cumberland, where the family was certainly possessed of property in the time of Henry III. In the reign of Edward III. they came into the possession of Alueburgh hall, or Netherhall, in the parish of Cross Canonby in the same county, which from that time was their principal residence. Here they lived in high estimation, until, in the reign of Philip and Mary, Elizabeth, eldest sister and coheiress of Richard Egglesfield, esq. was married to John | Senhouse, of Sealscale hall, esq. This marriage brought the property into the family of Senhouse, in which it has ever since continued.

Robert Egglesfield appears to have been highly esteemed by his rojal master and mistress, Edward III. and queen Philippa, and to have shared in their intimacy and confidence. In 1332, the king bestowed on him the rectory of Burgh, in the person of Adam de Egglesfield, his proxy, and probably relation and he was ordained priest at Carlisle in the Lent following. This church was appropriated to the college by pope Clement VI, in 1344. Egglesfield employed his whole interest at court in promoting religion and learning, giving all he had to the public, and that in his life-time, when he could best secure those advantages which he was anxious to bestow on posterity.

He died in the month of June 1349, and was most probably buried in the old chapel belonging to Queen’s college. His principal motive for founding this college (the history of which may be seen in our authority), was to supply education to the northern district, in which the frequent and barbarous contests of the borderers had created, to use his words, “literature 'insolitam raritatem.” After his death, queen Philippa became the patroness of the college, her royal consort gave several advowsons for its support, and was followed by a long series of benefactors, by whose munificence this noble establishment, with its splendid buildings, was advanced to the- prosperous state in which we now find it, and has produced some of the brightest ornaments of the university, the state, and the church. 1


Chalmers’s Hist, of Oxford. Hutchinson’s Cumberland.