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Susanna Gregory will be adding exclusive articles on the background to the Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew on this page. We begin with a look at the origins of the college at the heart of the stories, Michaelhouse.

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Trinity and later

When Trinity was handed to its new scholars in 1540, they found themselves in possession of a chapel (King's Hall), three halls (in Michaelhouse, King's Hall, and Physwick), seven hostels, and a number of accommodation ranges. College account books are missing for the first three years after its foundation, but it seems the property was occupied without substantial change until the 1550s. At this point, records show that part of Michaelhouse was demolished (probably the north range) to make room for a larger courtyard, and its raw materials sold off. The Bursar's Accounts also mention that in the same year, Michaelhouse's main gate was blocked, Foule Lane was enclosed, and a new gate (Queen's Gate) was built that opened into St Michael's Lane.

Parts of Michaelhouse survived however, including the south range that overlooked St Michael's Lane and the chamber in the gate, and the hall and associated kitchens in the west wing (evidence for this comes from Hammond's plan of 1592, in which these parts of Michaelhouse are still extant). The Bursar's Accounts later suggest that the hall was extended northward to meet a range belonging to King's Hall. This arrangement did not survive for long. In the late 1590s, work began on upgrading the southern range, although the extent of this is not known. Loggan's drawing of 1688 shows a hall with an oriel window, although whether this bears any resemblance to the original Buttetourte property is not known. It is unlikely that Buttetourte's house had three storeys - as the hall in Loggan's drawing shows. When the Queen's Gate was repaired in the 1750s, the surviving south range was so extensively repaired that it was basically rebuilt. And the last part of Michaelhouse - the old hall - was demolished and rebuilt in an Italianate style under the direction of the architect James Essex.