The Union of Resident Scholars at Vail (informally Vail College) is the thirteenth founded college of the University of Aldergate.
Vailies are earnest, thoughtful, and have a tendency towards altruism that borders on the masochistic.
The history of Vail College begins long before its official founding in 1537. Until roughly 700 CE the site where the college presently stands was occupied by a monastery - one about which little is known except via rather unflattering rumour. The fate of that particular disordered order is uncertain; however, the monastery is known to have stood empty until the 1200s, when it was renovated and occupied by a Vailite convent. Initially operated as an alms house, by 1372 St. Vail’s Independent Hospital for the Afflicted was a fully operational sanitarium, taking in mentally ill patients from across Europe.
Many of the claims that have been made regarding the abuses and excesses of St. Vail's are too far-fetched to be taken seriously. It is unfortunately undeniable, however, that the University participated to some degree in anatomical and medical experimentation involving the asylum's patients. Eldon House especially is known to have maintained a close relationship with the Vailites; a subterranean corridor excavated under the river Alder is believed to have been employed for the convenient and covert transfer of patients.
By the time of Vail College's founding, the hospital had already been functionally absorbed by the University, and was the primary source of patients, subjects, and cadavers for all of the medical laboratories in Aldergate. This continued until 1622, when most of the college buildings were destroyed or heavily damaged in a fire. The particulars of this disaster are not known; certainly there must have been massive loss of life among the hospital's inmates, and the extent of the damage strongly suggests that the fire must have been either started or at least deliberately spread, possibly in the course of a large-scale riot or escape attempt.
The aftermath of the Vail Calamity resulted in a rare crisis of conscience for the University. The surviving scholars were absorbed into other colleges while Vail was rebuilt, and the re-founding members included none of the original inhabitants. Ever since, the "College Penitent" has largely dedicated itself to humanitarianism and social reform.
The modern face of Vail College is a stately Jacobean hall. However, substantial portions of the original Merovingian monastery survive - an enduring reminder of a shameful past.
The picture is of Crewe Hall in Cheshire. Tone it down a bit, make it look vaguely sorrowful, and you've got Vail College.