When and how did Durham University gain the right to award degrees?
"The University of Durham was … granted its Royal Charter with explicit degree awarding powers by King William IV on 1 June 1837."
"Durham became one of the England's leading centres of medieval scholarship, along with Oxford and Cambridge. Indeed, three Colleges - now part of Oxford University - were founded from Durham (University College and Balliol College, and in 1286 Durham College was run from Durham to train scholars for Durham for 300 years until it became incorporated into the University of Oxford as Trinity College). Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell's attempts to formally establish a University for the North in Durham were subsumed by politics and North-South rivalries, and it was not until 1832, as the Prince-Bishopric declined [and] lost his powers, was Durham finally endowed with the Castle and lands and granted degree awarding powers by the king as England's third University. Durham University is the inheritor of a continuous line of learning and scholarship dating from Bede and Cuthbert to the present day."
The Possible Implications of University Title
"It is not generally known, that no university whatever is entitled to confer degrees, by grant of any Charter whatever, the claim so to do being considered as incident to the name and title of University, and, therefore, King's College, although it has a Charter, can at present claim no such right; the name is consequently the sole matter in dispute, the University of London praying to be incorporated as such"
"It will be necessary to examine this subject a little more minutely, and particularly with reference to the power of conferring degrees, and the nature of a University. The only place where I can find any legal discussion on matters so little brought under consideration as these, is the argument of Mr. Attorney General Yorke, in Dr. Bentley's case, which is reported in 2nd Lord Raymond, 1345. … In this proposition of Mr. Yorke, two principles are laid down. The first is, that the "granting degrees flows from the Crown;" and the second is, that if "a University be erected, the power of granting degrees is incidental to the grant." I much question whether either of these principles has been adverted to by the parties applying for this grant: but here they must be closely examined, in several points of view. There can be no difficulty here upon the doctrine of foundership. The subject-matter granted, is the power of conferring degrees; an emanation, as Mr. Yorke expresses it, from the Crown. It is the concession of this power that constitutes the direct purpose and the essential character of a University."
Events in Durham
"Agreed, that the sketch of statutes be submitted to Mr. Walters, and his attention be directed to the provisions of ihe Act of Parliament, it being the intention of the dean and chapter to act strictly in conformity with the Act, but without unnecessary interference in the concerns of the university ; and that Mr. Walters be requested to give his opinion whether the University may proceed under such a constitution to act and confer degrees."
"The recommendation of the weekly chapter of the 13th June last to this chapter "to declare the intention of conferring degrees in pursuance of the powers of the university under the Act of 1st & 2d William the 4th from and after the Easter term of 1836; and that, in order to carry this intention into effect, this chapter do give a fundamental statute constituting a senate and convocation in the university, with the ordinary functions of such bodies," having been considered, it is ordered that the statute drawn by Mr. Walters, with the alterations now made, be sealed, and that this chapter be adjourned until Saturday next the 25th instant for the purpose of sealing the same, and that the recommendation of the weekly chapter as to the conferring of degrees be, and the same is hereby confirmed."
"Ordered, that the warden be directed to consult with the Lord Bishop of Durham on the best mode of applying to the Crown for the charter to the University of Durham."
"(10.) Degrees in the several Faculties shall be conferred by the Warden in Convocation, but the grace for a degree shall be allowed by the Dean and Chapter, before it shall be allowed in Convocation."
'The Durham University is founded as such, and is so termed in the Act. It is to a great extent endowed, and has every pretension to be placed as nearly as may be on a footing with the two ancient universities, or in other words to be made a substantive individual university. Their claim to have a charter enabling them as a distinct body to grant degrees should now be urged.'
'that it was thought prudent to omit mention of degrees in any petition for a charter, retaining only the incorporation of the individuals as a university. The petition would apparently aim at nothing but the right of holding property and having a common seal, while the word university would carry the degrees.'