Unlike King's Hall and other medieval Cambridge colleges, building records
pertaining to the development of Michaelhouse are scanty. It is likely
that the Buttetourte house served as the main part of the College -
the Buttetourtes were noblemen, and so the house was probably fairly
substantial and relatively comfortable as far as medieval buildings
The first records suggest the scholars invested some of their accumulating
wealth on repairs and development. A document in the Otryngham Book
dating to 1380, tells that £130 was produced to raise twelve chambers
and a kitchen. Four of these chambers were located somewhere along St
Michael's Lane, and another eight sets of rooms were added in the north.
These buildings are sometimes referred to as the Gootham Work, after
the benefactor who paid for them. So, by the end of the 14th century,
Michaelhouse proper had its hall and conclave (the Buttetourte house)
on the west, a range of chambers along St Michael's Lane in the south,
and a second range on chambers opposite to the north, forming three
sides of a square.
Given that the Michaelhouse college statutes give a complex set of rules
regarding which Fellows were to sleep where, there was apparently a
rigidly enforced pecking order relating to rooms. Since Michaelhouse
remained small right up to its surrender, and did not expand its numbers
significantly after its foundation, it can only be supposed that the
Fellows were providing themselves with a higher standard of living when
they built the Gootham rooms- not for them the cramped, unhygienic conditions
of most communal living in the Middle Ages!