That Shakespeare Life is powered by listeners who support our work on Patreon. Find hands on history activity kits, lesson plans, and printable classroom resources that coordinate with our show & Shakespeare’s plays when you become a member.

Thomas Gresham is remembered as a Royal Agent to the King in England under Edward VI, Henry VIII, Mary, and Elizabeth I. A hugely influential man of his time, Thomas Gresham’s legacy continues today at Gresham College, the university he founded in 1597 when William Shakespeare was 33 years old. Competing with the likes of Oxford and Cambridge at the time, Gresham College was unique not only because universities themselves were a new concept in England, but because Gresham College chose to teach students in English, whereas Latin was the accepted language of universities during Shakespeare’s lifetime. Here to share with us how Gresham College was founded, and what the first classes were like there, is our guest and professor at Gresham College, Valerie Shrimplin.

Please subscribe on your favorite listening platform and leave us a rating & review to help others discover our show.

Itunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | GooglePlay

Dr Valerie Shrimplin is an Art Historian, Researcher and Author. Valerie holds a PhD in ‘Sun Symbolism and Cosmology in Michelangelo’s ‘Last Judgment’. Consequently, she writes a number of academic publications focusing on the influence of astronomy, cosmology, and architecture. She writes of the Byzantine, medieval and Renaissance periods. Connect with Valerie here.

I’ll be asking Valerie Shrimplin about:

  • Why did Thomas Gresham want to start this college?
  • How was Gresham College different from other colleges or universities at the time?
  • Who were the first professors at the college?
  • …and more!

Resources You Can Use to Learn More:

Valerie Shrimplin, Sir Thomas Gresham and his Vision for Gresham College (2017) 111 pages with many illustrations

Richard Chartres and David Vermont (1998), A Brief History of Gresham College 1597-1997, Edmundsbury Press

John Guy, Gresham’s Law: The Life and World of Queen Elizabeth I’s Banker   2019, 320 pages

Ames-Lewis, Francis (Ed.) (1999), Sir Thomas Gresham and Gresham College, London: Ashgate.

Blanchard, Ian, Thomas Gresham, entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,

Burgon, John William (First ed Cheapside 1839; reprint). The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham, Founder of the Royal Exchange. Including Notices of Many of His Contemporaries, Volumes 1 and 2, New York: Burt Franklin.

Ward, John. The Lives of the Professors of Gresham College: To Which Is Prefixed the Life of the Founder, Sir Thomas Gresham. Milton Keynes: Ecco Print Edition