William Sandcroft

William Sandcroft or Sancroft (called the elder to distinguish him from his more famous nephew) was living in Essex as rector of the parish of Stanford-le-Hope at the time of his election as Master, although he had at one time been Senior Fellow at Emmanuel.

Seeing Sandcroft as a potential Puritan bulwark against the rising influence of Arminianism under Archbishop Laud, the College sent him an emotional missive, ‘charging’ him to accept the office of Master and assuring him that if he failed them the College would certainly sink. Sandcroft could not resist such an appeal but relations between him and the Fellowship soon became discordant – there were arguments about emoluments, amongst other things - which caused his nephew, newly arrived at Emmanuel, some embarrassment. In other respects the College flourished during Sandcroft’s time; admissions, which had risen significantly under the previous Mastership, remained high and necessitated the construction of the building now known as Old Court.