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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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In March 1326, Stanton entered negotiations for the purchase of yet more property for Michaelhouse. From one Adam de Trumpington, who was the rector of Buckland, he bought two houses, one on the High Street north of Dera de Madingle's home, and one immediately to the north of the College. However, there are difficulties in understanding the exact locations, particularly of the latter property. In the words of the Otryngham Book it was 'situated in S. Michael's Lane, on the north side of the principal part of the College, namely between the hall and the kitchen'. However, if this property is on St Michael's Lane, then it cannot be to the north of the College. Both properties were transferred to Michaelhouse on 11 November 1324, along with the advowsons of Cheadle (in Staffordshire) and Barrington (a village south of Cambridge).

Within a year, Stanton was dead, and his executors Alexander Walsham and John de Illegh continued his work. On 28 September 1337, Michaelhouse gained the 'tenement at the corner of Michael House lane and the lane to Dame Nichol's Hythe'. It can probably be assumed that 'Michael House lane' is Foule Lane, and that the plot extended westward almost to the river. The Otryngham Book heads the transaction as the 'Corner Hostel next to King's Hall'. It was initially called Crouched Hall (perhaps as a reference to the Crutched Friars, who settled in England after 1244) and was later renamed Newmarket Hostel.

This purchase was all very well, but it left a gap between Crouched Hall and the Buttetourte house. The property that occupied this space was once owned by Simon Goodman, a town burgess, and was sold to an archdeacon in Norfolk on his death in 1332. It became the property of Ralph Langelee, Thomas Sutton, and John Clipesby in 1353 (these were probably Fellows of Michaelhouse, given that Langelee was later Master), and was conveyed to Michaelhouse the same year. Originally called the Archdeacon's House, it was later renamed St Gregory's Hostel.

Neither Newmarket nor Gregory's hostels were standing by the time the Otryngham Book was compiled - they had been demolished and replaced with a single building. Historical documents vary as to whether it was called St Gregory's Hostel or Newmarket Hostel, although it was likely that it was rented out as accommodation, rather than used as part of the core Michaelhouse buildings. No trace of it remained in the 16th century, and it is possible that it stood on the site then occupied by the Master's lodge.