In his encyclopaedic A History of the University of Oxford, Mallet claimed that the commitment of the Oxford colleges to supervise 'the conduct and instruction of their younger colleagues was a natural development of the collegiate idea' (1927, p. 57) and, likewise, the emergence of the college tutor 'was a natural development of the college system' (1927, p. 134).1t is difficult, however, to accept the idea that there is anything 'natural' in the evolution of institutional values and behaviour. What is fascinating about the history of the European universities is how in the Middle Ages, having 'constituted an intellectual community embodying the same ideal' (Ashby, 1966, p. 4), they acquired very different characteristics in response to the Reformation and the rise of nationalism (Halsey and Trow, 1971, p. 34). McConica has made the point most precisely: 'Outside Oxford a like development [the rise of the Elizabethan undergraduate college providing education and moral guidance to gentlemen commoners] can be discovered only at Cambridge. At Paris and Louvain, for example, where colleges were also well established, the resemblances are superficial. In both these universities as elsewhere abroad, the colleges were much more closely linked with the faculties and government of the university, and run by them' (McConica, 1986, p. 68).