The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).>br>Volume I. From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance.

X. English Scholars of Paris and Franciscans of Oxford

§ 17. Adam Marsh

Grosseteste’s friend Adam Marsh, who had been educated under him at Oxford and had entered the priesthood, joined the Franciscan order shortly after 1226. The first four lecturers to the Franciscans in Oxford (beginning with Grosseteste) were seculars; the first Franciscan to hold that office was Adam Marsh, who was probably appointed for the year 1247–8. Provision was then made for a regular succession of teachers, and soon there were fifty Franciscan lectureships in various parts of England. Out of love for Adam Marsh, Grosseteste left his library to the Oxford Franciscans. Like Grosseteste, he is a friend and adviser to Simon de Montfort, and faithfully tells him that “he who can rule his own temper is better than he who storms a city.” The king and the archbishop of Canterbury urged his appointment as bishop of Ely; but Rome decided in favour of Hugo de Balsham (1257), the future founder of Peterhouse (1284). In his Letters Marsh’s style is less classical than that of Grosseteste; but the attainments of both of these lecturers to the Oxford Franciscans are warmly eulogised by their pupil Roger Bacon. He mentions them in good company—immediately after Solomon, Aristotle and Avicenna, describing both of them as “perfect in divine and human wisdom.” On the death of Alexander of Hales (1245), Grosseteste was afraid that Adam Marsh would be captured by Paris to fill the vacant chair. His Letters, his only surviving work, give him no special claim to those scholastic qualities of clearness and precision that were possibly indicated in his traditional title of Doctor illustris.