J is for… James II, Bishop Turnbull, and Pope Nicholas V [ABC Sundae]
The University of Glasgow was founded by James II, King of Scots, William Turnbull, Bishop of Glasgow, and Pope Nicholas V. I figured I would write a little bit about the founders. Just a tiny bit, not a full history or anything.
King James II
James II (1430-1460) reigned as King of Scots from 1437 to his death. He ascended to the throne after the assassination of his father, James I. He took up the regency in 1448 at the age of 18, having studied at the University of St Andrews, which had been founded in 1410-1413.
He died in 1460, but unlike his father he was not assassinated. No, the story is a bit weirder. Short story: James II died at the siege of Roxburgh Castle when one of his cannons exploded. Long story: An ardent supporter of artillery, James II was testing his new cannon (which he called Lion) on the battlements when he died. The cannon, as cannons from the era sometimes did, exploded, and he had insisted on standing by when they tested the cannon. The explosion shattered his right leg and he eventually died of loss of blood.
William Turnbull (c1400-1454), the Bishop of Glasgow, was instrumental in founding the University of Glasgow, and is considered its founder. Having studied at the Universities of St Andrews, Leuven (Belgium) and Pavia (Italy), he befriended James II upon his return and became Keeper of the Privy Seal and Royal Secretary. In 1448 he was appointed Bishop of Glasgow which he held until his death in 1454.
Turnbull believed that a University would increase the status of Glasgow (which at the time had a population of less than 3,000). Although having a history stretching back centuries and several notable ecclesiastical institutions such as the Glasgow Cathedral, it was an inconsiderable town.
Upon the establishment of the University of Glasgow, Turnbull became the first Chancellor of the University and oversaw the first years of the fledgling institution at the Glasgow Cathedral.
Pope Nicholas V
Tomaso Parentucelli (1397-1455) became Pope in 1447. He studied Theology at the University of Bologna. He issued the Papal Bull which granted the establishment of the University of Glasgow, and provided for the foundation of studies in not just law and theology, but also the study of arts for younger students.
The University of Glasgow was to be modelled after the University of Bologna, where the students had an important influence in the corporation. In the case of Glasgow, matriculated students and the Rector (who represents the students) were to be part of the general meetings of the University’s decision-making process.
Considering the three men died within a decade of the establishment of the University, and within five years of each other, it was just the right time in history for the University of Glasgow to be established.
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