elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Queer Places: Christ's College, Cambridge

Address: Christ's College,
St Andrew's St,
Cambridge CB2 3BU,

Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college includes the Master, the Fellows of the College, and about 450 undergraduate and 170 graduate students. The college was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1505, its royal charter granted on 1 May of that year, and was the twelfth of the Cambridge colleges to be founded in its current form. It was originally established as God's House in 1437. The college is renowned for educating some of Cambridge's most famous alumni, including Charles Darwin and John Milton.

Within Cambridge, Christ's has a reputation for strong academic performance and tutorial support. It has averaged 1st place on the Tompkins Table from 1980–2006 and third place from 2006 to 2013.

Sir John Finch (1626–1682) was ambassador of England to the Ottoman Empire. He was the younger brother of Lord Chancellor Sir Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham; their half-sister was the philosopher Lady Anne Conway of Ragley Hall. Anne and John Finch were pupils of Henry More. After Eton John Finch studied with More at Christ's College, Cambridge, and there met his lifelong companion Sir Thomas Baines. "The Book of Study Rents shows they were joint occupants of the "second upper chamber" in the "southermost" staircase of the New Building, and Finch's arms are to be seen to this day in a finely oak-panelled room of the New, or Fellows, Building" (Finch and Baines, A Seventeenth Century Friendship, by Archibald Malloch, 1917)

Following a Grand Tour of Italy, where they graduated in medicine from the University of Padua in 1656 Finch and Baines returned to Christ's as teachers in 1660, and fellows of the Royal Society.

Rooms of Finch and Baines at Fellows' Building

Christ's College. Fellows' Building, from W. 1640–45

Fellows' Building. Room on first floor, staircase 'A'. Panelling 1642–45

Entrance Court. S. range. Room on first floor, staircase 'G'. Panelling c. 1600

Sir John was ambassador to the Sublime Porte of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople, succeeding his uncle Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea and his cousin Daniel Harvey arriving on 18 March 1674. Baines died in Constantinople on September 5, 1680.

A letter from John Finch to his brother Heneage: "Dear brother, and most honoured Lord, I have lost Sir Thomas Baines, and your Lordship in him, and your family the faithfullest servant, as well as the best of friends, after fifteen days accession of a malignant feavor, added to the inexpressible torments of the stones in his bladder (for being open'd there were two, each as bigg as large walnutts): on Monday September the 5 at three of the clock in the afternoon, he gave up his soul into the hands of most mercifull God, and I received his last breath. There needs no comment to your Lordship upon this subject, who knew all things that ever passed between us, and have been exercised in griefs of a high nature. Though I am weak in bed yet I hold absolute necessity to write now, in regard that I would entreat your Lordship to be early in doing at the Prerogative office what is necessary, for I have no insight in probate of wills, and therefore I am glad it is under your Lordship's care, Sir Thomas his will is in your hands as my own, and Sir Eliab Harvey hath duplicates also, wherefore I send you not a copy of it, but the codicill now to Sir Thomas his will I send you a copy of: and so beseeching the Almighty to have your person and family in his holy protection, I rest with unspeakable affection, your dear brother and most humble and most obedient servant.
Postscript. My Lord, in this disorder of thoughts and weakness of body, I lye under, I had like to have forgotten to congratulate with your Lordship his Majesty's favour in creating you Earle of Nottingham, which now I doe from all the facultys of my soul, beseeching Almighty God to grant you a long and happy life."

Finch buried Baines’s innards under a memorial which referred to their "wonderful, devoted friendship" and their "beautiful and unbroken marriage of souls and inseparable companionship of thirty-six whole years" and "sacred to an unspeakable love." The rest of his body he embalmed, brought back to England, and buried at Christ’s.

The "Epetaph on Sir Thomas Baines his Bowells inter'd att Constantinople made by Sir John Finch, 1682,", a manuscript at the British Museum, shows that the intestines were buried in Tureky, perhaps on "Demetrius Hill" whence Finch and Baines so often dated their letters, but Finch does not enlighten on this point. The translation of the epitaph (in latin) reads: "This is erected to the wonderful, pious Friendship, to be venerated in every age, between the most renowned and illustrious man Sir Thomas Baines, Knight, whose bowels are deposited here, and the most honourable and excellent Sir John Finch, Knight, Ambassador, etc.. Who after a beautiful and unbroken marriage of souls and a companionship undivided during 36 complete years, with groanings commits (and at the same time envies) these parts, sacred to an unspeakable love, and these remains very dear to him, to the Byzantine dominion: Whatever further of the body by preparation could be embalmed, all this the Ambassador brings with him coming home into England, a dear but sad companionship, so that the inseparable friends may be enclosed in the same tomb: for it does not appear right that their dead ashes should be distinguished who, whilst they were living put far away from them the words Mine and Thine, as hateful and hostile to friendship: and hence Friendship which to other mortals is a bare name, between us without doubt became a great thing, and a true virtue, in times gone by perhaps unheard of in history, and in the future scarcely to be imitated. This ornament and honour to friendship, always thou shalt wonder at oh traveller, but now thou shalt weep, if thou hast a heart like his who bears or like his who places this marble.
Now let me say a few things out of many, concerning my most honourable and beloved friend Baines.
In all things literary he was so profoundly learned that thou wouldst have believed the shades of Plato and the Stagirite to have lived again in him, were it not that he easily surpassed each of them in the sublimity of his knowledge, and all other famous men in the celebrity of his name: for to him alone (as I know) were known the movements of universal reason. Nor was he less great in what he did: on which account the most serene Ferdinand II and Cosimo III M.D.H. Princes of immortal wisdom, numbered our Baines amongst the most famous men, and spread forth his fame by conversations, letters, and above all by their gifts, as is the manner of these heroes towards remarkable men, and the Prince, the father, used to call him "The Iron Head." For indeed in his jests (for he was a man of charming wit) he put forth nothing that was not at the same time directed to some serious object. Thereupon by this unimpaired virtue and by the gravity of his manners he was revealed so that no one dared to wound his ears with speeches less becoming. Cruel tortures, arising from the lacera- tion of the stones of the bladder (two were of the size of a walnut) he bore with Christian fortitude, beyond the boasting of the Stoicism — alas what grief! I have suffered the irreparable loss of such a man, and of such a friendship, whilst between embracing and groaning I have listened to his last breath on the 5th day of September 3rd hour P.M. 1681: in the 59th year of his age.
I shall live, beloved! mindful of our Friendship, and no day shall ever remove us from a remembering age."

Epitaph in Latin to their joint memories by Henry More:
Effare Marmor.
Cuja sunt hæc duo quæ sustentas Capita?
Duorum amicissimorum quibus Cor erat unum, unaq. Anima;
Equitum Auratorum,
Virorum omnimodâ sapientiâ, Aristotelicâ, Platonicâ, Hippocraticâ,
rerumque adeo gerendarum peritiâ planè summorum,
atque hisce nominibus, et ob præclarum immortalis Amicitiæ
sub amantissimi tutoris Henrici Mori auspiciis,
hoc ipso in Collegio initæ,
per totum Terrarum orbem celebratissimorum;
hi mores, hæc studia, hic successus, Genus verò
si quæris et necessitudines,
horum alter D. Heneagii Finchii Equitis Aurati Filius erat,
Heneagii verò Finchii Comitis Nottinghamiensis Frater,
non magis Juris quam Justiciæ Consulti,
Regiæ Majestati a Consiliis Secretioribus, summique
Angliæ Cancellarii,
viri prudentissimi, religiosissimi,
eloquentissimi, integerrimi,
Principi, Patriæ, atque Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ charissimi,
ingeniosâ, numerosâ, prosperâq. prole, præ cæteris
mortalibus felicissimi:
Alter D. Johannis Finchii, viri omni laude majoris,
amicus intimus,
perpetuusq. per triginta plus minos annos
fortunarum et consiliorum particeps,
longarumq. inter exteras nationes itinerationum
indivulsus comes:
Hic igitur peregrè apud Turcas vitâ functus
est, nec prius tamen quàm alter
a Serenissimo Rege Angliæ per decennium Legatus
præclarè suo functus est munere,
tunc demum dilectissimus Bainesius suam et amici
Finchii simul animam Byzantii efflavit
die v. Septembris, H. III. P.M., A.D. MDCLXXX. æt. suæ LIX.
Quid igitur fecerit alterum hoc corpus animâ cassum rogas?
Ruit: sed in amplexus alterius, indoluit, ingemuit,
ubertim flevit,
totum in lachrymas, nisi nescio quæ utriq. animæ
relliquiæ cohibuissent, defluxurum;
nec tamen totus dolori sic indulsit nobilissimus
quin ipsi quæ incumberent solerter gesserit
confeceritq. negotia,
et postquam ad Amici pollincturam quæ spectarent
visceraq. telluri Byzantinæ, addito marmore, eleganter
à se pièq. inscripto commiserat,
cunctas res suas sedulò paraverat ad reditum in
optatam patriam,
corpus etiam defuncti amici a Constantinopoli usque
(triste, sed pium officium) per longos maris tractus,
novam subinde salo è lachrymis suis admiscens salsedinem,
ad sacellum hoc deduxit,
ubi funebri ipsum oratione adhibitâ mœstisque sed
dulcisonis threnodiis,
in hypogæum tandem sub proximâ areâ situm,
commune utriq. paratum hospitium, solenniter
honorificèque condidit.
Hæc pia Finchius officia defuncto amico præstitit,
porroq. cum eo in usus pios
quater mille libras Anglicanas huic Christi Collegio
ad duos Socios totidemq. Scholares in Collegio alendos,
et ad augendum libris quinquagenis reditum
Magistri annuum;
cui rei ministrandæ ritèq. finiundæ Londini
dum incumberet,
paucos post menses in morbum incidit, febriq. ac pleuritide
maximè verò Amici Bainesii desiderio adfectus et afflictus,
inter lacrymas, luctus, et amplexus charissimorum
dieum obiit,
speq. beatæ immortalitatis plenus, piè ac placidè in
Domino obdormivit
Die xviii. Novemb. H.II. P. M. A.D. MDCLXXXII. et. suæ LVI.
Londinoq. huc delatus, ab illustrissimo D. Domino Finchio
Heneagii Comitis Nottinghamiensis Filio primogenito
aliisq. ejus filiis, ac necessariis comitantibus
eodem in hoc Sepulchro, quo ejus amicissimus heic conditus
ut studia, fortunas, consilia, imò animas vivi qui
iidem suos defuncti sacros tandem miscerent cineres.

TRANSLATION (approximately):
Telling Stone,
Whose are these two men that saved heads?
two best friends, with one heart and one soul
D. John Finch and D. Thomas Baines
both of them Knights,
men with all the wisdom of Aristotle, Plato, Hippocrate
obviously consummate skill in handling affairs,
and on account of this undying frienship
an example
the loving tutor HENRY MORE wishes
this is the beginning of an union
celebrated throughout the whole world.
The same moral sentiments, the same studies, the same success,
but if you are looking for relationships
one of these was the second son of D. HENEAGE FINCH
brother of the Earl of Nottinghamshite HENEAGE FINCH,
more the justices Juris Consult,
of his Royal Majesty,
Chancellor of England,
wisest man, religious,
eloquent, honest,
prince, dearly father of the Anglican Church,
clever, numerous and prosper other than,
the happiest mortal:
the other opposite to D. JOHN FINCH, the one with more praises
his intimate friend,
for more than thirty years
sharing fortunes and projects,
during long foreign countries trips
inseparable companion:
at this point, therefore, he ended his days iourney among the Turks
before the other man,
the most serene Ambassador of the King of England for ten years
excellent in his office,
Finally, dear friends, BAINES
and FINCH breathed life together in Byzantium,
died on September 5, at 3 P.M., 1680 at the age of 59.
So what does this second body, has failed you?
Is ruined, but in the embrace of others, he grieved, he sighed,
he wept profusely,
the whole time, in tears, but I do not know which is the common of speaking soul
he took care of the body,
and yet, even with all the pain he indulged
noblest Finch,
skillfully applied
his business
and after he had taken care of the viscera of his friend
burying them
in the Byzantine earth, adding an elegant marble
where he thanked for their battle together
he carefully prepared for his return to take the dead body of his friend
to the longed-for homeland,
(stern but loving duty) and then after the long journey on sea
landing on the surf with his tears mixed with the salt of the sea
and this led to the chapel.
where after the funeral prayer,
the body was position in the area situated in an underground vault
ready to host both of them
he then established an honor.
This pious Finch performed the duties of his deceased friend
and donated
Four thousand pounds to Christ's College, England
to be given
from the two allies together to the College students in the vicinity
And to be increased by a profit of fifty pounds
every year.
He went back to London
while engaged
after a few months, he fell sick with a fever and pleurisy
but most of all the emotion and pain for his friend Baines
amid tears of grief and dearly embraces
he died.
More blessed with calm and full of immortality in the pious
sleep of the Lord
On November 18, at 2 P.M., 1682 at the age of 56.
From London he was carried here, by the most illustrious Lord D. FINCH
HENEAGE, the eldest son of the Earl of Nottinghamshire
accompanied by his sons and relatives
at the grave of his great friend here in this salt
as in lives they shared study, fortune, projects
finally they mix their ashes.

Sir John Finch died of pleurisy in Florence, Italy on November 18, 1682, and is buried in Christ's College and commemorated with Baines, with an elaborate monument. Also Henry More (b. Oct. 12, 1614 d. Sep. 1, 1687) is interred in Christ's College Chapel. The monument by Joseph Catterns of London was erected in the Chapel and stands between the organ chamber and the altar. The expenses were met by Daniel the 2nd Earl of Nottingham and the monument was not completed before 1684. The pedestals bear a bust of Sir John Finch and Sir Thomas Baines and there is a long inscription composed by Henry More, who outlived his pupils by some years. The bodies are buried in front of the tomb and within the altar rails. Finch and Baines have been further remembered at Christ's College. In 1882 they were among those chosen as "glass worthies" for two of the twenty-one lights of the west oriel window in the Hall, depicting the founders, benefactors and worthies of the College.

Their portraits by Florentine artist Carlo Dolci hang in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Read online: https://archive.org/stream/finchbaines00mall#page/n0/mode/2up Finch and Baines, A Seventeenth Century Friendship, by Archibald Malloch, 1917


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