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ECR 60

Reference code

ECR 60


Central governing records



Administrative / Biographical history

The Foundation Charter envisaged a college of a Provost and ten priests, four clerks, six choristers, twenty-five poor scholars with a master and twenty-five poor men. By the time the Statutes were approved in 1452/3, these numbers had increased to ten chaplains, ten clerks, sixteen choristers, seventy scholars and a second teacher, and thirteen almsmen. The original ten priests were renamed priest fellows, and it was the Provost and Fellows who governed the College and managed the estates, as well as being responsible for the extensive religious services. The number of fellows was reduced to seven in the hard times following the accession of Edward IV. The Public Schools Act of 1868 (31 & 32 Vict. c.118) required the Provost and Fellows to appoint a New Governing Body to carry out reforms, or to have one imposed. They chose to appoint one, and possibly in deference to the founder's original plans it had ten members, the Provost and four of the existing Fellows and five outsiders. These outsiders were not resident and had no financial interest. Oxford University, Cambridge University, the Lord Chief Justice and the Royal Society each nominated one member. The Statute approving their appointment was sealed by the Provost and Fellows on 18 May 1869 and approved by the Queen in Council on 7 October 1869. The New Governing Body proceeded to reform the school, overhauling everything from the curriculum and examinations to the age of entry, and also to revise the Statutes, many of which had inevitably become hopelessly unworkable over the years. The Provost and Fellows continued to manage the estates and care for the buildings and the internal economy of the College (in the sense of the Provost and Fellows and scholars). Even the Special Commissioners appointed under the Act recognised the awkwardness of this division, by which the Provost and Fellows owned the land, but the New Governing Body directed how the income was spent, and if they felt a sale was needed had to requisition the Provost and Fellows. However, they initially rejected a proposal that under the new Statutes the members of the New Governing Body should become the Provost and Fellows although this was what was eventually decided. Under the 1871 Statutes in addition to the four nominees the Provost of King's College Cambridge was Senior Fellow ex officio, the masters elected a representative (not one of the masters), and the remaining four places were filled by the Fellows themselves. In 1904, when the Statutes were again revised, the Vice-Provost was added to the Fellows and this is still the composition of the Fellows today. The new Statutes were approved by the Queen in Council on 3 November 1871. They gave the existing Fellows equal powers to deal with all matters not specifically reserved to the New Governing Body. In practice, being resident, the old Fellows dealt with much of the estate work and internal matters, but members of the New Governing Body (as they were still called, presumably to distinguish them from the old Fellows, even though they were not strictly speaking Fellows themselves) began to attend their meetings, which became known as College meetings, and eventually took place four times a year. In 1901, it was resolved to discontinue meetings of the New Governing Body and transact all business in meetings of the Provost and Fellows. This resolution was embodied in the Statutes of 1904.


1440 - 2019

Content description

These records are the central records of the College, generated directly by the Provost and Fellows and the New Governing Body.

Associated material

ECR 39 - Royal charters including the Foundation Charter ECR 61 and ECR 62 - The accounting records COLL P, COLL VP, COLL FELL - the papers produced by individual Provosts, Vice Provosts and Fellows

Publication note

Tim Card: Eton Established (John Murray, 2001) Tim Card: Eton Renewed (John Murray, 1994) Henry Maxwell Lyte: History of Eton College (Macmillan & Co, 4th ed. 1911) Report of the Public Schools Commission (HMSO, 1864)
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