Oldham, Hugh

, an English prelate, and an eminent benefactor to Corpus college, Oxford, is supposed to have been born at Manchester, or more probably at Oldham, near Manchester. He was educated at Oxford, whence, after remaining some time, he removed to Cambridge, completed his studies, and took the degree of D. D. In 1493, Margaret countess of Richmond, whose chaplain he was, presented him to the rectory of Swinshead in Lincolnshire, and in July 1494, to the valuable living of Cheshunt, of which he was the last rector, as it was appropriated shortly after to the convent of Westminster. In the same year we find him prebendary of Collwich in the church of Lichfield, and of Freeford in that church in 1501. In 1497, he was prebendary of Leighton-Bosard in the church of Lincoln, and in 1499 prebendary of South Cave in York. In 1504, he was, by the interest of his patroness the countess of Richmond, advanced to the see of Exeter, in which he sat till his death, June 15, 1519. He is said not to have been a man of profound learning, but a great encourager of it. Wood says that he had an intention of joining with bishop Smyth in the foundation of Brazen-^nose college, but mentions no authority, yet since his arms were displayed in the windows of the original library of that college, there can be no doubt that he contributed to finish or furnish the room. His principal benefactions, however, were bestowed on the contemporary | foundation of Corpus Christi college. The design of Fox, the founder of Corpus, originally went no farther than to found a college for a warden, and a certain number of monks and secular scholars belonging to the priory of St. Swithin in Winchester; but our prelate induced him to enlarge his plan to one of more usefulness and durability. He is said to have addressed Fox thus: “What, my lord, shall we build houses, and provide livelihoods for a company of monks, whose end and fall we ourselves may live to see! No, no: it is more meet a great deal that we should have care to provide for, the increase of learning, and for such as who by their learning shall do good to the church and commonwealth.” This wise and liberal advice being taken, Oldham became the second great benefactor to Corpus, by contributing six thousand marks, besides lands. He also founded the grammar-school of Manchester, still a flourishing seminary, and connected with the three colleges of Corpus and Brazen-nose in Oxford, and St. John’s in Cambridge, 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I.—Dodd’s Ch. Hist. vol. I.—Willis’s Cathedrals.—Churton’s Lives of the Founders.—Wood’s Colleges and Halls, &c.