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In the statutes of the second college founded, that of Michaelhouse (afterwards absorbed in Trinity), the religious provisions are particularly prominent.
All the fellows were to be in Holy orders and students of theology, and the provisions for Divine service are elaborate and minute.
In Cambridge, as at Oxford, the earliest colleges made use of the nearest parish church as their place of worship, and Pembroke, which dates from 1347, was the first which had from the beginning a chapel for its members within its own precincts.
Thirteen of the existing colleges are pre-Reformation foundations, and three more were established in the sixteenth century.
Thirty-nine professorships have since been founded, making a total of forty-five, in addition to assistants, demonstrators, and readers.
John's Hospital, in the place of the religious brethren of that foundation, and a few years later acquired possession of a neighbouring monastery belonging to a suppressed order of friars.
He and his successor at Ely, Bishop Simon Montacute, drew up an admirable code of statutes providing for the maintenance of a master and fourteen fellows, who were to be "studiously engaged in literature", and withal "honourable, chaste, peaceable, humble and modest".
To the semi-monastic origin of the colleges must be traced such rules as those enjoining on the fellows celibacy and the clerical status, which were in force until almost the close of the nineteenth century.
The final abolition of the restrictions as to marriage and clerical orders was brought about only in 1881, when new statutes were issued by the Cambridge commissioners in conformity with an act of Parliament passed four years previously.
All that is certain is that long (though how long is not known) before the establishment of the first college in Cambridge, a body of students was in residence in the town, lodging at first in the houses of the townspeople, but gathered later into "hostels", houses licensed by the university authorities, who appointed principals to each, responsible for the order, good discipline, and comfort of the inmates.