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Guildford College is the seventeenth founded college of the University of Aldergate.

Guilders are a breed unto themselves. It would be a mistake to call them secretive or paranoid, because they'd hear you do it, and put you on a list.

That's an exaggeration, obviously. Guildford College produces wonderful, decent, caring, well-adjusted members of society. The fact that there isn't a foreign intelligence service or national surveillance network on the planet that doesn't employ at least one Guilder is just one of those funny coincidences. No doubt they get quite a laugh out of all the silly rumors during those annual conferences at the Pillbox that they absolutely don't have.

History Edit

“Built in Blood” might seem like an unusually aggressive motto for a college - but then, Guildford started off under unusually aggressive circumstances.

While Aldergate's relations with the Crown were not badly damaged by the (alleged) execution of former-VC Thomas Cromwell, the resulting power vacuum in both University and global affairs created an environment of uncertainty and suspicion.

Cromwell was succeeded as Vice-Chancellor by Arthur Porly, a distinguished scholar and the former head of Garton & Perse. Porly, like his predecessor, was highly active in political and diplomatic circles; he was not, however, nearly so polarizing a figure, and his tenure as was highly productive (including the founding of Silvan and Wardon). However, his extensive international travels kept him away from Aldergate for months at a stretch, which allowed undercurrents of dissatisfaction within Regent House to swell.

The University's rapid expansion had created concerns that Aldergate's dedication to its uniquely independent status might have been diluted by the infusion of fresh blood. This sense of an attack on the Aldergatian identity came to a head in 1554, when Porly died at sea mere days before the murder of Lady Jane Grey and her husband Guildford. Grey and Guildford were both Aldergatians, and their deaths - coinciding with the necessity of electing a new VC - empowered the Preservationist faction among the Regents. These hardliners, in coalition with the Curmantlist old guard, succeeded in installing Simon Erasmus Arkwell, 12th Earl of Wexley, as the University's 24th Vice-Chancellor. Arkwell, a close friend and reputed lover of the late Guildford, was not widely popular in Aldergate. A reputed “cultiste” and member of secret societies, he appears to have won appointment largely based on the fact of his long-standing feud with the despised Mary I, who was rumored to be mortally afraid of him.

The details of Arkwell's vendetta against Bloody Mary are few and doubtless exaggerated. It is certain that Arkwell used his extensive social and political contacts to cripple Mary’s efforts to bolster England’s international trade. Darker allegations, which are not entirely unsupported, suggest that he bore some responsibility (or at least took credit) for her inability to produce a royal heir. That Mary was repeatedly poisoned throughout her life is certain; whether this is the explanation for her recurring "false pregnancies" is less clear, and any association with Arkwell is the stuff of rumor and speculation.

While it is impossible to verify the fruits of Arkwell's bitter grudge against the Tudors, there can be no doubt of its sincerity, and Guildford College stands as Exhibit A. In the outpouring of popular anger that followed the news of Grey's murder, fire claimed most of a small merchant district that had formerly occupied the eastern bank of the Fay across from the Ockham and Salton House backs. Arkwell reclaimed the land and successfully lobbied for its grant to the newly-chartered Guildford.

Architecture Edit

Not for nothing is Guildford called the "Hidden College." It has no gatehouse or enclosing walls; rather, it is entirely encircled by a contiguous ring of (densely) occupied residential halls. Thus, most Aldergatians probably have no idea what the College itself looks like. Which is, perhaps, just as well, because the Guildford complex does little to contradict the stereotypes about its scholars. The original buildings, most of which still survive, are stately piles of late-Tudor brick with distressingly few windows.

The old Guidlford buildings, however, are positively welcoming compared to the most recent major addition. In the late 1940s, when everyone else was just starting to worry about the possibility of global thermonuclear war, Guildford had already begun to act. The Pillbox (officially the Pickman-Diaz Environment) is stone-sheathed irregular prism dedicated to the study and practice of self-sustaining ecosystems. Pillbox research has gone to support important advances in hard rock mining, deep-sea exploration, and the International Space Station. The Pillbox itself is where those Guilders you made fun of will be happily toasting Humanity's downfall with their own recycled fluids for generations after the rest of us go up in smoke.

The picture is of Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk. Remove a few windows and add a sense that you're being watched, and you've got Guildford.