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Wiltshire Community History

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Salisbury - De Vaux College, Salisbury

Established in 1262 by the Bishop of Salisbury, Giles of Bridport, as a home for 20 poor students to study theology and the liberal arts. The college was under a warden, who was a canon of the cathedral, and 2 chaplains. The buildings were near Harnham Bridge but were demolished by, or before, the 19th century. This was a university college without a university and predated the earliest Oxford college for secular students by 2 years. The original name was the House of the Valley of the Scholars of St. Nicholas of Salisbury.

In the late 13th century Salisbury possessed several characteristics of a university city but could not award degrees and so most students spent some time at Oxford to obtain a degree. Little is known of the later history of the College after 1325 when the cathedral chapter ordered all students to leave Salisbury and go to Oxford. This signalled the end of any possibility that Salisbury might become a university city but the College did not close until 1542, after the Reformation.



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