Walter Bronescombe bishop of Exeter founded Glasney College. Bronescombe returning from a state visit to Germany on behalf of Earl Richard of Cornwall, Was taken ill at Canterbury and in delirium three times in vision saw St Thomas a Beckett, who foretold of his recovery, and told him to return west, to found in the woods of Glasney in the escopal manor of Penryn a Collegiate church to the glory of god an in the name of Thomas the Martyr. This shall be to thee a sign. When thou comest to the place, Glasney, thou shalt search a certain spot in it near the River of Antre, called by the inhabitants Polsethow, being Cornish for Mire or Pit-- which said place hath of old time borne such a name from fact, that wild animals in the neighborhood when wounded by an arrow. were wont to run t,hither after the nature and custom of such animals, and to plunge into its depth, and the arrows could never be discovered there. And thou shalt find in it a large willow tree, and therein a swarm of bees; and there thou shalt appoint the High Altar and ordain the fabric. Of which said place it hath anciently been prophesied "In Polsethow shall habitations, or marvelous things be seen." On his recovery the bishop sped to Penryn and found the site much as described marshy and overgrown. He located the willow and swarm of bees and was convinced of the truth of his vision.
The move to Glasney no doubt had economic and political overtones as it clearly had support of the main power in Cornwall at this time, Richard Earl of Cornwall, for several of his officials comprised of the first officers of the college.
Workmen cleared the site, rooted up the willow, channeled the
river to the sea, and dried up the leveled area by means of earth
brought down from higher parts.
1265-Thursday 25th of March work on the site was sufficiently advanced for the Bishop to lay the foundation stone on "the morrow of the annunciation of Our Lady".
1267-27th March- Bronescombe consecrated the church and the churchyard, the college having twin dedications to the visionary of the project St Thomas Becket, and to the Virgin Mary an increasingly popular cult figure in the middle ages. The buildings, a church modeled on that of Exeter Cathedral, refectory, and chapter house, with mills to the south in the area now known as hill head were completed at this time, it was to became the most famous of all Cornish collegiate houses a kind of minor cathedral within the diocese, with a provost, eleven canons in priests' orders, seven vicars and six choristers .
The names of the founding canons several with close ties to the powerful Earl of Cornwall.
Henry de Bollegh First Head of the college (Bronescombe's own clerk).
Richard Vivian (rector of Lamorran was the official who looked after the bishops peculiars in Cornwall)
Sir Stephen Haym (The Earls Steward also rector of Lanteglos and Lanivet).
Roger de Constantine (The Earls Clerk rector of Paul, Newlyn East and Lanreath)
Pagan de Lyskeryt (The Earls Treasurer rector of St Steven in Brannel)
Durandus Haym.(Rector of Morwinstow and probably a relative of the earls steward)
The other founding cannons were clergymen holding benefices in and around the Fal estuary.
Nicholas de Tregorrek, (rector of Constantine)
Roland de Podyforth (rector of Creed)
William St Just (rector of St Just in Roseland)
Robert Fitz-Robert (rector of Gwinear)
Walter Peverell (rector of Ladock)
Walter de Fermesham (rector of Mylor)
Walter de Tremur (rector of Probus )
When completed the college with its sea defense works and strong towers, as well as satisfying religious needs, was clearly designed to protect the town and its trading activity. In the charter of 1267 the bishop initially endowed the college with the churches of Budock and Feock.
1269-December Roger de Valletort granted to Bishop Bronescombe and his successors the manor of Cargaul with the advowsons of St Allen and Newlyn. This arrangement Earl Richard of Cornwall took exception despite his previous collaboration over the founding of Glasney Abbey.
Master Jordan Archdeacon of Cornwall and other ecclesiastics were assaulted at St Allen and in the park at Cargul, their habits were torn and their horses ill-treated. The earls steward, John Beaupre, subsequently acknowledged his part in the attacks, the damage done to the park and also the seizure and gaoling of master John de Esse, chancellor of the diocese and official-principal.
Philip de Bodrugan granted Bronescombe the advowson of St Goran which was then propriated to Glasney College.
1270-More churches were appropriated to the use of Glasney. "considering the tenuity of the revenues of the church and the charge incumbent for the support of clerks ministering there". The churches were as follows Sithney, Zennor, St Goran, St Enoder, and Kea, with the chapels of Kenwyn and Tregavethan.
1274-December Henry de Bollegh as provost of Glasney and the official of the Archdeacon of Cornwall were commissioned to search out and excommunicate the offenders.
William (second son of Philip de Bodrugan) later provost of Glasney became rector of the family benefice of St Martins by Looe.
1275-March Henry de Bollegh as provost of Glasney and the official of the Archdeacon of Cornwall were instructed to deal with those who had dared to speak with those who had been excommunicated. However in April Henry de Bollegh, the official, and the cannon of Crediton were authorised to receive back "into the bosom of the church" those who had been acting under the orders of others or who would give satisfaction for the offenses. This followed a composition between the bishop and Earl Edmund regarding this and other disputes. Among other terms the earl undertook to remedy the damage done to the park of Cargaul, to recognise its liberties in the future, and to reerect the pillory and the tumbrel of the borough of Penryn which had been thrown down.
The bishop established what became known as the de Pont chantry and for its maintenance he provided the benefice of Manaccan.
1276-Bronescombe assigned to Glasney the church of Colan for the purposes of celebrating the memory of St Gabriel the Archangel, who was his patron saint.
1277-More trouble ensued between Bishop Bronescombe and Earl Edmund the bishop addressed a letter to his four archdeacons concluding "wherefore you shall denounce as being fallen under the sentence of excommunication".
William de Tavistocke.
Noel de Trevilla.
Peter de Marscalle.
John de Sicca Villa.
John le Portel. (who after legal warning had removed, and was still removing, some of the actual soil of the sanctuary and doing wrong and injury to the right and liberty of the said church)
1280-Bishop Bronescombe died.
1283-Peter Quivil successor to Bronescombe put on a firmer footing the leadership of the college. This year he gave charge of the college to the provost William de Bodrugan ( at the same time the bishop assigned to the provost ship the church of Probus this could of been a mistake as Probus had already been given to the treasurer of the Cathedral) Although Henry de Bollegh and Walter de Fermesham certainly acted as heads of Glasney. William de Bodrugan was of an important Cornish landed family, which previously had been much involved with the priory of Tywardreath.
1287-18th December The bishop appropriated the rectory at St Allen to Glasney College, but reserved the Rectors life interest. Quivil in granting St Allen to Glasney referred "to the scandal that would fall the church, if such an institution as Glasney were allowed to fall into decay and stating that the duties of the thirteen canons and the thirteen vicars in the night and day services in honour of God, the blessed Virgin Mary and Thomas, archbishop and martyr were very heavy, especially as some of the canons were frequently absent".
1288-The matter of Probus in 1283 was rectified and the church of Mylor appropriated to the use of the provost. February-Wiliam de Bodrugan relinquished the position of provost. Although by 1295 he was to become Archdeacon of Cornwall.
1296-Pope Boniface VIII issued a bull, Clericis Laicos, forbidding the clergy from granting aid to secular authorities out of ecclesiastical sources.
1297- Certian recalcitrant clergy were imprisoned for refusing to support the king. In Cornwall thirty of their number were sent to Launceston gaol, William de Bodrugan was fined for publishing the bull. It is not known whether priests from Glasney were involved though it would seem likely in view of Williams association with the place and the important position it had by this time achieved in West Cornwall. The king made some concessions but it was eventually the clergy who had to give in.
1298-February Goods and chattels seized from the Archdeacon William Bodrugan were returned and ecclesiastical prisoners released.
Probably saw Glasney at the height of its influence and popularity. The college reached the full scope of its holdings, new chantries were added and especially in the later part of the century, new work was carried out on the buildings . In the middle years the place had enthusiastic backing and support of the Bishop of Exeter John Grandison., so much that he was to be described as the second founder of the college.
The Ordinalia. (Plays in the Cornish Language).
Three long plays of The Origin of the World, The Passion of the Lord and The Resurrection collectively known as the Ordinalia, a Cornish cycle comparable to the English cycles of York, Wakefield, Coventry and Chester. Written almost certainly by members of Glasney College, for Penryn and its neighborhood are frequently mentioned. Throughout the three plays runs the beautiful Legend of the Rood, one episode of which is depicted in the glass of St Neot church. The three seeds that Seth places in Adam's mouth grow into the tree that becomes the tree that becomes the kingpost of Solomons Temple and the cross on which Jesus suffers his martyrdom.
1308-9th August William de Bodrugan died he was remembered with respect at Glasney as canon and priest and his orbit was held thereafter on the anniversary of his death.
1315-The most important officer after the provost at the college was the sacristan the first recorded was Robert de Trethelw. Among his duties were to care for the vessels , vestments, and the superintendence of the cleaning of the church. Also the opening and closing of the gates.
November- Master William de Mulleborne, rector of Ruan Lanihorne, left a quarter of a acre of land adjoining St Thomas Street, in order prayers be said for the souls of Bishop Walter Stapledon and himself, 8s being paid out of the said land as was customary to lay on divine service and to provide for the distribution of bread to the poor.
1321-Benedict Arundel one of the canons, quit claim to the church land at Polventon, probably St Gluvias parish, so that the college could expand 6s 8d on the anniversary of the donor 11th July, for a mass, after payments to the canons , vicars, and for other ministers present, the residue being given to the poor in bread.
1329-The close ties with the Bodrugan family went a stage further with the establishment of a Bodrugan chantry, for which Otto de Bodrugan granted Bishop Grandisson the advowson of Mevagissey Church. Otto was a leading figure in Cornwall at this time and appears to be conscientiously religious, having at Bodrugan his own chapel and chaplain. Two of his sons John and Thomas went into the church.
1330-Bishop Grandisson had to order the canons to fence their garden to stop them poaching in his park.
In this year Cornwall like the rest of Britain was swept by the climacteric changes of the middle ages, the Black Death; a event that was to change the whole course and outlook of medieval society. It is generally estimated that more than a third of the population died, the clergy being as much effected as the lay members of the population.
1360-8th September Among other things in his will Bishop Grandisson bequeathed twenty marks to Glasney for new work there. The death of the Bishop caused some problems in the college because it was common practice during Episcopal vacancies the king claimed the right of nomination to benefices and other ecclesiastical positions that came vacant in the diocese.
1382 Approx- Glasney College had become corrupt. A visitation revealed that much of its property was unaccountably missing ornaments , vestments, five hundred marks, that the buildings were dilapidated and services irreverently conducted .
After the dissolution of the monasteries the church had not yet been relieved of all its superfluous wealth, chantries, religious gilds and collegiate churches remained. Glasney being much the largest of the Cornish collegiate foundations the needy government sent out its commissioners to value the potential plunder. With a provost, twelve prebendaries, ten priests, four choristers, a bell-ringer and an income of £220 a year. It was not difficult to find witnesses who were ready to swear that the buildings had been neglected, and the provost and his priests were more given to drinking and the chase than to religion. In spite of the attempt of the local gentry to retain the place as a fortress, the church was stripped of its lead, bells and plate, the buildings were sold, and soon there was little trace of where the three-centuries-old college had stood.
The college was a haven for the Cornish language although services were ascribed to Latin much of the other business was in Cornish. The dissolution and consequent Pray Book changes (Which the Cornish rebelled against) struck a death knoll for the language.