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Site of medieval college

A Scheduled Monument in Tong, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.6631 / 52°39'47"N

Longitude: -2.3035 / 2°18'12"W

OS Eastings: 379567.928539

OS Northings: 307307.197363

OS Grid: SJ795073

Mapcode National: GBR 073.0F9

Mapcode Global: WH9DC.LB97

Entry Name: Site of medieval college

Scheduled Date: 9 November 1972

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006243

English Heritage Legacy ID: SA 300

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Tong

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Tong St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


College of St Bartholomew 105m west of Tong House.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 June 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.

This monument includes a college situated on the north eastern edge of Church Pool to the south of St Bartholomew’s church in the settlement of Tong. The college survives as largely buried structures, layers and deposits with very slight visible earthwork remains and with features visible as crop and soil marks on aerial photographs and as parch marks on the ground during prolonged dry spells. The building foundations were surveyed during a dry summer in 1911 and found to include a central quadrangle or courtyard surrounded by a small cloister which measured approximately 14.3m long by 13.1m wide. This was flanked by ranges of individual rooms to the east and south, with further buildings (possibly the hall or a chapel) extending to the north and an irregular curved projection was noted on the western side of the cloister. The buildings were described in 1757 as being roughly square in plan and having had lead roofs which had been replaced with thatch. The college of secular priests was founded at the church by Dame Isobel Pembridge in 1410 as a chantry college to pray for the souls of the benefactress and her three husbands. It was a non-monastic community which included a warden, four chaplains, 2 clerks and thirteen alms people the latter were housed in almshouses to the west of the church (listed at Grade II). The chaplains each had a private chamber, although meals were taken more communally in a hall with two chambers, the upper contained the chaplains and the clerks were in the lower.

The college received endowments of land during the 15th century and in 1448 obtained a grant of rights of justice in the Lordship of Tong, which included the right to appoint justices of the peace. The college was finally dissolved in 1546. The buildings remained largely intact until 1757 and had been re-used as a cloth factory and even re-inhabited for a while but were being dismantled by 1763 and the remaining upstanding parts were removed by George Durant during the 19th century. A more recent survey and partial excavation was carried out in 1982 and confirmed that occupation and building work had predated the 1410 establishment of the college and that the plan of the college included an interior quadrangle surrounded by buildings on all four sides.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The term college is used to describe a variety of different types of establishment whose communities of secular clergy shared a degree of common life less strictly controlled than that within a monastic order. Although some may date to as early as the tenth century, the majority of English colleges were founded in the 14th or 15th centuries. Most were subsequently closed down under the Chantries Act of 1547. Colleges of the prebendal or portional type were set up as secular chapters, both as an alternative to the structure of contemporary monastic houses and to provide positions for clerics whose services the monastic establishment wished to reward. Some barons followed suit by setting up colleges within their castles, while others were founded by the Crown for the canons who served royal free chapels. Foundations of this type were generally staffed by prebends or portioners (priests taking their income from the tithes, or other income deriving from a village or manor). After 1300, chantry colleges became more common. These were establishments of priests, financed from a common fund, whose prime concern was to offer masses for the souls of the patron and the patron's family. They may also have housed bedesmen (deserving poor and elderly) and provided an educational facility which in some cases eventually came to dominate their other activities. From historical sources it is known that approximately 300 separate colleges existed during the early medieval and medieval period; of these, 167 were in existence in 1509, made up of 71 prebendal or portional colleges, 64 chantry colleges and 32 whose function was primarily academic. In view of the importance of colleges in contributing to our understanding of ecclesiastical history, and given the rarity of known surviving examples, all identified colleges which retain surviving archaeological remains are considered to be important. Despite the historical removal of the upstanding buildings at the college of St Bartholomew 105m west of Tong House the foundations and buried evidence survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction, development, layout, function, social, religious, political and educational significance of the college, the domestic arrangements, its abandonment, dismantling and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 73668
Shropshire HER 01702

Source: Historic England

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