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HISTORY.
The college was founded by Henry VIII in 1546, from the merger of two existing colleges: Michaelhouse (founded by Hervey de Stanton in 1324), and King’s Hall (established by Edward II in1317 and refounded by Edward III in 1337). At the time, Henry had been seizing church lands from abbeys and monasteries. The universities ofOxford and Cambridge, being both religious institutions andquite rich, expected to be next in line. The king duly passed an Act of Parliament that allowed him to suppress (and confiscate the property of) any college he wished. The universities used theircontacts to plead with his sixth wife, Catherine Parr. The queen persuaded her husband not to close them down, but to create a new college. The king did not want to use royal funds, so he instead combinedtwo colleges (King’s Hall and Michaelhouse) and seven hostels (Physwick (formerly part ofGonville and Caius College, Cambridge), Gregory’s, Ovyng’s, Catherine’s, Garratt, Margaret’s, and Tyler’s) toform Trinity.
Contrary to popular belief, the monastic lands supplied by Henry VIII were alone insufficient to ensure Trinity's eventual rise. In terms of architecture and royal association, it was notuntil the Mastership of Thomas Nevile (1593–1615) that Trinity assumed both its spaciousness and courtly association with the governing class that distinguished it until the Civil War. In its infancyTrinity had owed a great deal to its neighbouring college of St John's: in the exaggerated words of Roger Ascham Trinity was little more than a colonia deducta.[14] Its first four Masters wereeducated at St John's, and it took until around 1575 for the two colleges' application numbers to draw even, a position in which they have remained since the Civil War. In terms of wealth, Trinity's currentfortunes belie prior fluctuations; Nevile's building campaign drove the college into debt from which it only surfaced in the 1640s, and the mastership of Richard Bentley (notorious for the...
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