King's College Chapel

King's College Chapel

Clare Bridge

Clare Bridge

Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, England, on the River Cam approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of London. Cambridge became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although modern city status was not officially conferred until 1951.

Cambridge is home to the world-renowned University of Cambridge, which was founded in 1209. The university includes King's College Chapel, Cavendish Laboratory, and the Cambridge University Library, one of the largest legal deposit libraries in the world. The city's skyline is dominated by several college buildings, along with the spire of the Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church, the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital and St John's College Chapel tower. Anglia Ruskin University, evolved from the Cambridge School of Art and the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, also has its main campus in the city.

Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology Silicon Fen with industries such as software and bioscience and many start-up companies born out of the university. More than 40% of the workforce has a higher education qualification, more than twice the national average. The Cambridge Biomedical Campus, one of the largest biomedical research clusters in the world, is soon to be home to AstraZeneca, a hotel and the relocated Papworth Hospital.

Parker's Piece hosted the first ever game of Association football. The Strawberry Fair music and arts festival and Midsummer Fairs are held on Midsummer Common, and the annual Cambridge Beer Festival takes place on Jesus Green. The city is adjacent to the M11 and A14 roads, and Cambridge station is less than an hour from London King's Cross railway station.

Settlements have existed around the Cambridge area since prehistoric times. The earliest clear evidence of occupation is the remains of a 3,500-year-old farmstead discovered at the site of Fitzwilliam College. Archaeological evidence of occupation through the Iron Age is a settlement on Castle Hill from the 1st century BC, perhaps relating to wider cultural changes occurring in southeastern Britain linked to the arrival of the Belgae.

The principal Roman site is a small fort (castrum) Duroliponte on Castle Hill, just northwest of the city centre around the location of the earlier British village. The fort was bounded on two sides by the lines formed by the present Mount Pleasant, continuing across Huntingdon Road into Clare Street. The eastern side followed Magrath Avenue, with the southern side running near to Chesterton Lane and Kettle's Yard before turning northwest at Honey Hill. It was constructed around AD 70 and converted to civilian use around 50 years later. Evidence of more widespread Roman settlement has been discovered including numerous farmsteads and a village in the Cambridge district of Newnham.

Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain around 410, the location may have been abandoned by the Britons, although the site is usually identified as Cair Grauth listed among the 28 cities of Britain by the History of the Britons. Evidence exists that the invading Anglo-Saxons had begun occupying the area by the end of the century. Their settlement – also on and around Castle Hill – became known as Grantebrycge ("Granta-bridge"). (By Middle English, the settlement's name had changed to "Cambridge" and the lower stretches of the Granta changed their name to match.) Anglo-Saxon grave goods have been found in the area. During this period, Cambridge benefited from good trade links across the hard-to-travel fenlands. By the 7th century, the town was less significant and described by Bede as a "little ruined city" containing the burial site of Etheldreda. Cambridge was on the border between the East and Middle Anglian kingdoms and the settlement slowly expanded on both sides of the river.

The arrival of the Vikings was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 875. Viking rule, the Danelaw, had been imposed by 878. Their vigorous trading habits caused the town to grow rapidly. During this period the centre of the town shifted from Castle Hill on the left bank of the river to the area now known as the Quayside on the right bank. After the Viking period, the Saxons enjoyed a return to power, building churches such as St Bene't's Church, wharves, merchant houses and a mint, which produced coins with the town's name abbreviated to "Grant".

In 1068, two years after his conquest of England, William of Normandy built a castle on Castle Hill. Like the rest of the newly conquered kingdom, Cambridge fell under the control of the King and his deputies. The first town charter was granted by Henry I between 1120 and 1131. It gave Cambridge monopoly of waterborne traffic and hithe tolls and recognised the borough court. The distinctive Round Church dates from this period. In 1209, Cambridge University was founded by students escaping from hostile townspeople in Oxford. The oldest existing college, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284.

In 1349 Cambridge was affected by the Black Death. Few records survive but 16 of 40 scholars at King's Hall died. The town north of the river was severely affected, being almost wiped out. Following further depopulation after a second national epidemic in 1361, a letter from the Bishop of Ely suggested that two parishes in Cambridge be merged as there were not enough people to fill even one church. With more than a third of English clergy dying in the Black Death, four new colleges were established at the university over the following years to train new clergymen, namely Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall, Corpus Christi and Clare.

In 1382 a revised town charter effects a "diminution of the liberties that the community had enjoyed", due to Cambridge's participation in the Peasants' Revolt. The charter transfers supervision of baking and brewing, weights and measures, and forestalling and regrating, from the town to the university. King's College Chapel, was begun in 1446 by King Henry VI. The chapel was built in phases by a succession of kings of England from 1446 to 1515, its history intertwined with the Wars of the Roses, and completed during the reign of King Henry VIII. The building would become synonymous with Cambridge, and currently is used in the logo for the City Council.

Following repeated outbreaks of pestilence throughout the 16th Century, sanitation and fresh water were brought to Cambridge by the construction of Hobson's Conduit in the early 1600s. Water was brought from Nine Wells, at the foot of the Gog Magog Hills, into the centre of the town.

Cambridge played a significant role in the early part of the English Civil War as it was the headquarters of the Eastern Counties Association, an organisation administering a regional East Anglian army, which became the mainstay of the Parliamentarian military effort before the formation of the New Model Army. In 1643 control of the town was given by Parliament to Oliver Cromwell, who had been educated at Sidney Sussex College. The town's castle was fortified and garrisoned with troops and some bridges were destroyed to aid its defence. Although Royalist forces came within 2 miles (3 km) of the town in 1644, the defences were never used and the garrison was stood down the following year.

The town's river link to the surrounding agricultural land, and good road connections to London in the south meant Cambridge has historically served as an important regional trading post. King Henry I granted Cambridge a monopoly on river trade. The town market provided for trade in a wide variety of goods and annual trading fairs such as Stourbridge Fair and Midsummer Fair were visited by merchants from across the country. The river was described in an account of 1748 as being "often so full of [merchant boats] that the navigation thereof is stopped for some time". For example, 2000 firkins of butter were brought up the river every Monday from the agricultural lands to the North East, particularity Norfolk, to be unloaded in the town for road transportation to London. Changing patterns of retail distribution and the advent of the railways led to a decline in Cambridge's importance as a market town.

In the 19th century, in common with many other English towns, Cambridge expanded rapidly, due in part to increased life expectancy and improved agricultural production leading to increased trade in town markets. The Inclosure Acts of 1801 and 1807 enabled the town to expand over surrounding open fields and in 1912 and again in 1935 its boundaries were extended to include Chesterton, Cherry Hinton, and Trumpington.

The railway came to Cambridge in 1845 after initial resistance, with the opening of the Great Eastern Railway's London to Norwich line. The station was outside the town centre following pressure from the university to restrict travel by undergraduates. With the arrival of the railway and associated employment came development of areas around the station, such as Romsey Town. The rail link to London stimulated heavier industries, such as the production of brick, cement and malt.

From the 1930s to the 1980s, the size of the city was increased by several large council estates. The biggest impact has been on the area north of the river, which are now the estates of East Chesterton, King's Hedges, and Arbury where Archbishop Rowan Williams lived and worked as an assistant priest in the early 1980s.

During the Second World War, Cambridge was an important centre for defence of the east coast. The town became a military centre, with an R.A.F. training centre and the regional headquarters for Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire established during the conflict. The town itself escaped relatively lightly from German bombing raids, which were mainly targeted at the railway. 29 people were killed and no historic buildings were damaged. In 1944, a secret meeting of military leaders held in Trinity College laid the foundation for the allied invasion of Europe. During the war Cambridge served as an evacuation centre for over 7,000 people from London, as well as for parts of the University of London.

Cambridge was granted its city charter in 1951 in recognition of its history, administrative importance and economic success. Cambridge does not have a cathedral, traditionally a prerequisite for city status, instead falling within the Church of England Diocese of Ely. In 1962 Cambridge's first shopping arcade, Bradwell's Court, opened on Drummer Street, though this was demolished in 2006. Other shopping arcades followed at Lion Yard, which housed a relocated Central Library for the city, and the Grafton Centre which replaced Victorian housing stock which had fallen into disrepair in the Kite area of the city. This latter project was controversial at the time.

The city gained its second University in 1992 when Anglia Polytechnic became Anglia Polytechnic University. Renamed Anglia Ruskin University in 2005, the institution has its origins in the Cambridge School of Art opened in 1858 by John Ruskin. The Open University also has a presence in the city, with an office operating on Hills Road.


Chapel Interior

Chapel Interior

King's College Front Court

King's College Front Court


* – King's College + Chapel – *


King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Formally The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge (not the snappiest of names), the college lies beside the River Cam and faces out onto King's Parade in the centre of the city.

On 12 February 1441 King Henry VI issued letters patent founding a college at Cambridge for a rector and twelve poor scholars. This college was to be named after Saint Nicholas, upon whose saint day Henry had been born. The first stone of the college's Old Court was laid by the King on Passion Sunday, 2 April 1441, on a site which lies directly north of the modern college and which was formerly a garden belonging to Trinity Hall. William Millington, a fellow of Clare College (then called Clare Hall) was installed as the rector.

Henry directed the publication of the college's first governing statutes in 1443. His original modest plan for the college was abandoned, and provision was instead made for a community of seventy fellows and scholars headed by a provost. Henry had belatedly learned of William of Wykeham's 1379 twin foundation of New College, Oxford and Winchester College, and wanted his own achievements to surpass those of Wykeham.

The King had in fact founded Eton College on 11 October 1440, but up until 1443 King's and Eton had been unconnected. However, that year the relationship between the two was remodelled upon Wykeham's successful institutions and the original sizes of the colleges scaled up to surpass Wykeham's. A second royal charter which re-founded the now much larger King's College was issued on 12 July 1443 . On 1 September 1444, the Provosts of King's and Eton, and the Wardens of Winchester and New College formally signed the Amicabilis Concordia ("friendly agreement") in which they bound their colleges to support one another legally and financially.

Members of King's were to be recruited entirely from Eton. Each year, the provost and two fellows travelled to Eton to impartially elect the worthiest boys to fill any vacancies at the college, always maintaining the total number of scholars and fellows at exactly seventy. Membership of King's was a vocation for life. Scholars were eligible for election to the fellowship after three years of probation, irrespective of whether they had achieved a degree or not. In fact, undergraduates at King's – unlike those from other colleges – did not even have to pass university examinations to achieve their BA degree and instead had only to satisfy the college.

Every fellow was to study theology, save for two who were to study astronomy, two civil law, four canon law, and two medicine; all fellows save those studying secular subjects were obliged to take Holy Orders and become priests, on pain of expulsion. In 1445 a Papal Bull from Eugenius IV exempted college members from parish duties, and in 1457 an agreement between the provost and chancellor of the university limited the chancellor's authority and gave the college full jurisdiction over internal matters.

The original plans for Old Court were too small to comfortably accommodate the larger college community of the second foundation, and so in 1443 Henry began to purchase the land upon which the modern college now sits. The gateway and south range of Old Court had already been built, but the rest was completed in a temporary fashion to serve until the new court was ready. However, the new college site would itself be left unfinished and the "temporary" Old Court buildings, arranged to accommodate seventy, served as the permanent residential fabric of the college until the beginning of the 19th century.

Henry's grand design for the new college buildings survives in the 1448 Founder's Will which describes his vision in detail. The new college site was to be centred on a great courtyard, bordered on all sides by adjoining buildings: a chapel to the north; accommodation and the entrance gate to the east; further accommodation and the provost's lodge to the south; and a library, hall and buttery to the west. Behind the hall and buttery was to be another courtyard, and behind the library a cloistered cemetery including a magnificent bell tower.

The college remained as the Old Court, chapel and a few small surrounding buildings for nearly two-hundred years until in 1724 the architect James Gibbs provided a new plan to complete the courtyard of which the chapel formed the north side. Although his design was for the courtyard to be closed by three similar detached Neoclassical buildings, due to lack of funds only the western of these was constructed. The first stone of what became known as the Gibbs' Building was laid by Provost Andrew Snape, at the time also vice-chancellor of the university, on 25 March 1723 and the building completed six years later.

Front Court was finally completed in 1828 under plans drawn up by William Wilkins. The courtyard was closed by a screen and gatehouse to the east; and residential staircases either side of a hall to the south. The southern buildings continued towards the river with a library and Provost's lodge. All these buildings were, at the college's insistence, built in the Gothic Revival style rather than Wilkins' preferred Neoclassical.

With the courtyard to the south of the chapel now able to accommodate the college, the land to the north was sold to the university in 1828. The university demolished most of the original Old Court buildings in order to make room for an extension to the University Library; only the gateway arch opposite Clare College survives. The library subsequently moved away from this site, known as the Old Schools, and the buildings are currently used for the main administrative offices of the university.

Under the provostship of Richard Okes, from 1850 until his death in 1888, the college began a period of reform. On 1 May 1851 it was agreed to abolish the privilege of King's members to be granted a degree without passing the university examinations. In 1861 the college statutes were amended so as to expand the college and, more radically, to allow for the election of non-Etonian King's members: the new statutes provided for forty-six Fellows, twenty-four scholarships reserved for boys from Eton, and twenty-four "open" scholarships for boys from any school. At the same time all formal obligation to take Holy Orders – unenforced since the seventeenth century – was removed.

The statutes were again amended in 1882, this time ensuring fellowships were not always for life and were awarded on merit after submissions of original research. In his 1930 memoir As We Were, A Victorian Peep Show, King's alumnus E. F. Benson recollected the peculiar behaviors of some of the surviving Life Fellows from his undergraduate years of 1887 – 1890 and before. Of one he wrote, “He then shuffled out on to the big lawn, with a stick in his hand, and he prodded with it at the worms in the grass, muttering to himself, ‘Ah, damn ye: ye haven’t got me yet.’ The first non-Etonian students were admitted to study at King's in 1865, and the first non-Etonian scholars and the first non-Etonian fellow were elected in 1873. These reforms continued over subsequent decades and there are now no special privileges for Etonians at King's.

The expansion of the college through the 1861 statutes necessitated more building work to accommodate the larger community. In 1869, the area along King's Parade between the Wilkins' Buildings and King's Lane was built upon after a design by George Gilbert Scott. When completed a year later, the new courtyard formed was named after Walter Chetwynd, a fellow of the college. However, after subsequent plans to expand college accommodation fell through King's opened negotiations to amalgamate with St Catharine's College. Although St. Catharine's had been founded by Robert Woodlark (sometimes spelled Wodelarke), a Provost of King's, the college declined the invitation to combine. Eventually, in 1893, the east and south wings of another new courtyard within King's – designed by George Frederick Bodley and overlooking the river – were completed.

In 1909, the south range of third new courtyard – named for its architect Aston Webb – was built to the south of the library. In 1927, designs by G. L. Kennedy completed Bodley's Court with a new northern range, and Webb's Court with a new Provost's Lodge on its western side. In 1930, a Cambridge Borough Police officer was shot by a student who also shot his tutor in the same incident.

On 1 September 1939, the day of the German invasion of Poland and the cause of the UK's entrance into World War II, permission was sought from the College Council to remove the stained glass from the east window of the chapel. By the end of 1941, all the ancient glass had been removed to various cellars in Cambridge for safe keeping. Despite most of the windows of the chapel being covered over by sheets of tar-paper which rattled loudly in the wind, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols continued to be broadcast from the chapel every Christmas Eve throughout the war – even though the name of the college could not be broadcast for security reasons. King's took the opportunity of these years to clean, repair and photograph the glass. By 1949, all the windows had been restored.

In 1961 property millionaire Alfred E. Allnatt offered King's the Adoration of the Magi by Peter Paul Rubens, which he had purchased in 1959 for a world-record price. The college accepted "this munificent gift" with the intention of displaying the painting in the chapel, possibly as an altarpiece. The painting was initially displayed in the antechapel but a significant faction of the fellowship – including Michael Jaffé and Provost Noel Annan – were determined for the painting to become the focal point of an entirely redesigned east end. As the first stage of this project, the Edwardian reredos and 17th-century wood panelling were removed and the Rubens installed in their stead behind the altar in April 1964.

The painting was so big that the raised floor of the chapel's east end, required by the 1448 Founder's Will, would have to be levelled so as to prevent the baroque artwork obscuring the bottom of the Tudor east window. However, twenty fellows and honorary fellow E. M. Forster signed a letter urging the college to reverse its plan and "admit that it has made a mistake"; the levelling of the floor nevertheless went ahead. The newly refitted east end opened in 1968 and proved highly controversial, with the Architects' Journal criticising it as "motivated not by the demands of liturgical worship but by those of museum display."

The last main-site building to be erected by the college was the Keynes Building, finished in 1967 and named after former college bursar John Maynard Keynes. This building enclosed Chetwynd Court along with the Wilkins' and Scott's buildings, and provided over seventy en-suite accommodation rooms along with other facilities.

The first women students arrived at King's in 1972. The college, along with most others at the university, had been all-male since its foundation. However, under provost Bernard Williams, King's joined Churchill and Clare in becoming the first three previously all-male colleges to admit women.

Henry VI is not completely forgotten at the College. The Saturday after the end of Michaelmas term each year is Founder's Day which begins with a Founder's Eucharist in the chapel, followed by a Founder's Breakfast with ale and culminating in a sumptuous dinner in his memory called "Founder's Feast" to which all members of College in their third year of studies are invited.


* – King's College Chapel – *

Henry VI planned a university counterpart to Eton College (whose chapel is very similar, but not on the scale intended by Henry). The King decided the dimensions of the Chapel. The architect of the chapel is disputed: Reginald Ely, who was commissioned in 1444 as the head press mason, was a possible architect; however, Nicholas Close (or Cloos) was recorded as the "surveyor", which has been generally accepted to be synonymous with architect.

The first stone of the Chapel was laid, by Henry himself, on the Feast of St James the Apostle, 25 July 1446, the College having been begun in 1441. By the end of the reign of Richard III (1485), despite the Wars of the Roses, five bays had been completed and a timber roof erected. Henry VII visited in 1506, paying for the work to resume and even leaving money so that the work could continue after his death. In 1515, under Henry VIII, the building was complete but the great windows had yet to be made.

The chapel features the world's largest fan vault, constructed between 1512 and 1515 by master mason John Wastell. It also features fine medieval stained glass and, above the altar, The Adoration of the Magi by Rubens, originally painted in 1634 for the Convent of the White Nuns at Louvain in Belgium. The painting was installed in the Chapel in 1968; this involved the destruction and lowering of the Sanctuary floor leading up to the High Altar. It was previously believed that gradations were created in 1774 by James Essex, when Essex had in fact lowered the floor by 5 1/2 inches, but at the demolition of these steps, it was found that the floor instead rested on Tudor brick arches.

The installation of the painting also resulted in the destruction and loss of the Edwardian reredos, which was then well-liked by the public. During the demolition of these Tudor steps, built at the Founder's specific request that the high altar should be 3 ft above the choir floor, human remains in intact lead coffins with brass plaques were discovered, dating from the 15th to 18th centuries, and were disinterred.

The eventual installation of the Rubens was also not without problems: once seen beneath the east window, a conflict was felt between the picture's swirling colours and those of the stained glass. The Rubens was also a similar shape to the window, which "dwarfed it and made it look rather like a dependent postage stamp". Plain shutters were proposed, one on each side, to give it a triptych shape (although the picture was never part of a triptych) and lend it independence of form, which is how one sees the Rubens today.

During the Civil War the chapel was used as a training ground by Oliver Cromwell's troops, but escaped major damage, possibly because Cromwell himself, being a Cambridge student, gave orders for it to be spared. Graffiti left by these soldiers is still visible on the north and south walls near the altar. During World War II most of the stained glass was removed and the chapel again escaped damage.

The windows of King's College Chapel are some of the finest in the world from their era. There are 12 large windows on each side of the chapel, and larger windows at the east and west ends. With the exception of the west window, they are by Flemish hands and date from 1515 to 1531. Barnard Flower, the first non-Englishman appointed as the King's Glazier, completed four windows. Gaylon Hone and three partners (two English and one Flemish) are responsible for the east window and 16 others between 1526 and 1531. The final four were made by Francis Williamson and Symon Symondes. The one modern window is that in the west wall, which was donated by King's alumnus Francis Stacey and is by the Clayton and Bell company and dates from 1879.

The large wooden Rood screen, which separates the nave from the altar and supports the chapel organ, was erected in 1532–36 by Henry VIII in celebration of his marriage to Anne Boleyn. The screen is an example of early Renaissance architecture: a striking contrast to the Perpendicular Gothic chapel; Sir Nikolaus Pevsner said it is "the most exquisite piece of Italian decoration surviving in England".

The Chapel is actively used as a place of worship and also for some concerts and college events. Notable college events include the annual King's College Music Society May Week Concert, held on the Monday of May Week. The event is highly popular with students, alumni and visitors to the city.

The Chapel is noted for its splendid acoustics. The world-famous Chapel choir consists of choral scholars, organ scholars (male students at the college), and choristers (boys educated at the nearby King's College School), conducted by Stephen Cleobury. The choir sings services on most days in term-time, and also performs concerts and makes recordings and broadcasts. In particular, it has broadcast its Nine Lessons and Carols on the BBC from the Chapel on Christmas Eve, during which a solo treble sings the first verse of Once in Royal David's City. There is also a chapel choir of male and female students, King's Voices, which sings Evensong on Mondays during term-time. The Chapel is widely seen as a symbol of Cambridge (for example in the logo of Cambridge City Council).


* – Visiting – *

You are welcome to visit the College grounds and Chapel and to attend choral services in the Chapel. You are asked, however, to respect the College as a place of study. Before visiting, you might want to check their events calendar to see what's happening. You may also find the College map useful. There is also a virtual tour of the college and the chapel available for your perusal.


  • • Tickets cost £9.00 or £6.00 (children and students). Your ticket price includes a visit to the Chapel where you will see an exhibition of the history of the College, the world's largest fan vaulted ceiling and the Adoration of the Magi by Rubens. You will also have access to the College grounds (when open). Please note all other buildings are private.
  • • Buy tickets online at
  • • For group information please see For details of combined visits with Great St Mary's Church please contact
  • • Guided tours are only available by booking directly with Visit Cambridge email: .
  • • Admission is free for children 11 years and under when they are visiting with their family, or for school groups whose school is in Cambridgeshire and under the LEA or holds Academy status and receives no private funding.
  • • Please buy tickets at The King's College Visitor Centre, opposite the front of the College.
  • • Visitors and worshippers are not permitted to bring any bag, rucksack or suitcase into King’s College (and its Chapel) which would be larger than airline hand baggage (56cm x 45cm x 25cm, including handles, wheels and pockets). As there is no cloakroom facility please do not bring larger items with you.
  • • July and August: please be advised that these are the busiest months of the year, and there may be queues to buy tickets at the weekends.
  • • Occasionally it may be necessary to close part of the Chapel to the public. In such circumstances the admission charge may be reduced.
  • Guided tours of King's College Chapel.

  • You can upgrade your entry ticket at the King's College Visitor Centre to include a guided tour of the Chapel with a qualified Cambridge City Guide.
  • Adults £6 (Entry ticket £9 + tour £6 = £15).
  • Students and Children £4 (Entry ticket £6 + tour £4 = £10).
  • Tours are available daily at 11am and 12 noon between 2nd April and 15th April. Then at 11am and 12 noon on Saturdays 21, 28 of April, 5, 12, 19, 26 of May and 2 ,9, 23 and 30 of June (Please note - no tours on 16th June).
  • Please contact for further details.
  • Opening times.

  • Please check the Chapel closures page before you visit.
  • These are the College term dates:
  • 16 January - 16 March 2018
  • 24 April - 15 June 2018
  • 2 October - 30 November 2018.
  • During College terms these are the opening times:
  • Monday to Friday 9.30am - 3.30pm;
  • Saturday 9.30am - 3.15pm;
  • Sunday 1.15pm - 2.30pm.
  • At all other times these are the opening times:
  • Monday to Sunday 9.30am - 4.30pm.
  • (Except during December and January when the Chapel closes at 3.30pm)

    Important note: The Chapel is occasionally closed because of recordings, concerts and private ceremonies. Please check the Chapel closures page before you visit. During the Easter Term (April - June), which is the examination period in Cambridge, the grounds are closed to the public but you can still visit the Chapel.Visitors will have 30 minutes from the last entry time shown before the Chapel is closed.

    Organ Tuning takes place regularly in the Chapel. The next scheduled dates are: 30 January,19 and 26 February, 9 and 28 March 2018. For term dates beyond December 2018 see the main Cambridge University website.

    Where to enter.

  • Winter (1 November to mid March) Please enter via the front gate on King's Parade.
  • Summer (mid March to end October) Please enter the Chapel at the North entrance. This can be accessed via Senate House Passage.
  • Wheelchair access. There is a ramp at the South Porch of the Chapel, and the grounds have level paths of flagstones or shingle. If you need any help please ask a member of staff. For the Access statement please visit There are concessionary rate for disabled visitors. Some parts of the venue have low lighting.


  • If you require further information or wish to make a group booking, please contact the Visitors Office:
  • Tel: (+44) (0)1223 331212 .
  • E-mail: .
  • Please note office open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday only.


    Location : King's Parade, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB2 1ST

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then 1.5 miles or bus or taxi. Bus routes: 199 stops close by.

    Opening Times : see above.

    Tickets : see above.

    Tel: 01223 331212

    Walnut Tree Court

    Walnut Tree Court

    Mathematical Bridge

    Mathematical Bridge


    * – Queens' College + Mathematical Bridge – *


    Queens' College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. Queens' is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the university, founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, and has some of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge. The college spans both sides of the river Cam, colloquially referred to as the "light side" and the "dark side", with the Mathematical Bridge connecting the two. Its most famous matriculant is Desiderius Erasmus, who studied at the college during his trips to England between 1506 and 1515.

    Queens' College was founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou and refounded in 1465 by the rival queen Elizabeth Woodville. This dual foundation is reflected in its orthography: Queens', not Queen's, although the full name is "The Queen's College of St Margaret and St Bernard, commonly called Queens' College, in the University of Cambridge".

    In 1446 Andrew Dokett obtained a charter from Henry VI to found St Bernard's College, on a site now part of St Catharine's College. A year later the charter was revoked and Dokett obtained a new charter from the king to found St Bernard's College on the present site of Old Court and Cloister Court. In 1448 Queen Margaret received from her husband, King Henry VI, the lands of St Bernard's College to build a new college to be called "Queen's College of St Margaret and St Bernard". On 15 April 1448, Sir John Wenlock, chamberlain to Queen Margaret, laid the foundation stone at the south-east corner of the chapel.

    By 1460 the library, chapel, gatehouse and President's Lodge were completed and the chapel licensed for service. In 1477 and 1484 Richard III made large endowments to the college and his wife, Anne Neville, became the third queen to be patroness of the college, making endowments on her own behalf, which were all taken away by Henry VII after he overthew Richard. Between that time and the early 1600s many improvements were made and new buildings constructed, including the Walnut Tree Building, which was completed in 1618. Since then the college has refurbished most of its old buildings and steadily expanded.

    During the English civil war the college sent all its silver to help the King. As a result, the president and the fellows were ejected from their posts. In 1660 the president was restored.

    In 1777, a fire in the Walnut Tree Building destroyed the upper floors, which were rebuilt 1778-82. In February 1795 the college was badly flooded, reportedly waist-deep in the cloisters. In 1823, the spelling of the college's name officially changed from Queen's to Queens'. The earliest known record of the college boat club dates from 1831.

    In 1862, the St Bernard Society, the debating club of the college was founded. In 1884, the first football match was played by the college team and the St Margaret Society was founded. In 1980, the college for the first time allowed females to matriculate as members, with the first female members of the college graduating in 1983.

    Coat of Arms and Badge

    The arms are those of the first foundress queen, Margaret of Anjou, which she derived from those of her father Rene, Duke of Anjou, with the addition of a green border for the college. The six quarters of these arms represent the six lordships (either actual or titular) which he claimed. The green border appears to be intended as a difference for Queens' College. These arms are of interest because the third quarter (Jerusalem) uses gold on silver, a combination which is extremely rare in heraldry. The cross potent is a visual pun on the letters H and I, the first two letters of Hierusalem.

    These are not the official arms of the College, but, rather, a badge. The silver boar's head was the badge of Richard III. The earliest evidence of the college using a boar's head as a symbol is from 1544. The gold cross stands for St Margaret, and the gold crozier for St Bernard, the two patron saints of Queens' College. There is also a suggestion that the saltire arrangement of these (like the St Andrew's Cross) is an allusion to Andrew Dokett, the first president of Queens'. Today, this badge is widely used by college clubs, and also appears in connection with food or dining.


    * – Buildings and location – *

    Queens' College has some of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge. It combines medieval and modern architecture in extensive gardens. It is also one of only two colleges in which buildings straddle both sides of the River Cam (the other being St John's), its two halves joined across the river by the famous Mathematical Bridge. Queens' College is located in the centre of the city. It is the second southernmost of the colleges on the banks of the River Cam, primarily on the east bank. (The others—in distance order—are King's, Clare, Trinity Hall, Trinity, St John's, and Magdalene to the north and Darwin to the south).

  • Cloister Court
  • President's Lodge of Queens' is the oldest building on the river at Cambridge (ca. 1460). The President's Lodge sits in Cloister Court: the Cloister walks were erected in the 1490s to connect the Old Court of 1448/9 with the riverside buildings of the 1460s, thus forming the court now known as Cloister Court. Essex Building, in the corner of the court, was erected 1756–60, is so named after its builder, James Essex the Younger (1722–1784), a local carpenter who had earlier erected the wooden bridge.
  • Old Court
  • Old Court was built between 1448 and 1451. Stylistic matters suggest that this was designed by and built under the direction of the master mason Reginald Ely, who was also at the same time erecting the original Old Court of King's College (now part of the University Old Schools opposite Clare College), and the start of King's College Chapel. Whereas King's was built using very expensive stone, Queens' Old Court was made using cheaper clunch with a red brick skin. Queens' was finished within two years, whereas King's Old Court was never finished, and the chapel took nearly a century to build.

    The War Memorial Library is the present student library. In an earlier incarnation, the War Memorial Library was formerly the original chapel, part of Old Court. It was named in honour of Queens' College alumni and members who died in the service of the Second World War. Before the 1940s, the student library was the present Old Library.

    The Old Library was built in 1448, part of Old Court, and sitting between the President's Lodge and the original chapel. It is one of the earliest purpose-built libraries in Cambridge. It houses a collection of nearly 20,000 manuscripts and printed books. It is especially notable because nearly all printed books remain in their original bindings, due to the fact that Queens' has never been wealthy enough to afford re-binding all their books in a uniform manner, as was the fashion in the 18th century. It is also notable because it contains the earliest English celestial globes, owned once by Queens' fellow of mathematics Sir Thomas Smith (1513–1577), and because its medieval lecterns were refashioned into bookshelves, still present today.

  • Walnut Tree Court
  • Walnut Tree Court was erected 1616–18. Walnut Tree Building on the east side of the court dates from around 1617 and was the work of the architects Gilbert Wragge and Henry Mason at a cost of £886.9s. Only the ground floor of the original construction remains after a fire in 1777, so it was rebuilt from the first floor upwards between 1778–1782, and battlements were added to it in 1823. This court was formerly the site of a Carmelite monastery founded in 1292, but is now the location of the College Chapel and various fellows' rooms. The present walnut tree in the court stands on the line of a former wall of the monastery, and was a replacement from an older one in the same position after which the court was named.

    The College Chapel in Walnut Tree Court was designed by George Frederick Bodley, built by Rattee and Kett and consecrated in 1891. It follows the traditional College Chapel form of an aisle-less nave with rows of pews on either side, following the plan of monasteries, reflecting the origins of many colleges as a place for training priests for the ministry. The triptych of paintings on the altarpiece panel may have originally been part of a set of five paintings, are late-15th-century Flemish, and are attributed to the 'master of the View of St Gudule'. They depict, from left to right, the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Resurrection of Jesus, and Christ's Appearance to the Disciples.

  • Friar's Court
  • The College experienced a growth in student numbers during the 19th century, bringing with it the need for additional student accommodation. The President's second garden was taken as the site for new student accommodation called Friars' Building, designed by W. M. Fawcett and built in 1886. The building, named after the Cambridge Whitefriars, now accommodates 52 students and fellows.

    Friars Building is flanked to the East by the Dokett Building. Dokett Building was designed by Cecil Greenwood Hare and built in 1912 from thin red Daneshill brick with Corsham stone dressings and mullioned windows. It stands on the former site of almshouses which were maintained by benefaction from former President of the college Andrew Dokett. The almshouses were demolished in 1911 to make way for the new building. On the demolition of the almshouses, a fund was made available for the payment of pensions – always to eight women, in accordance with the will of Dokett.

    The Erasmus Building completes what it now called Friar's Court on the West. It was designed by Sir Basil Spence and erected in 1959, and is notable for being the first college building on the Backs to be designed in the Modernist tradition. Due to its modern design the building generated some controversy and the project encountered strong resistance at the time. It went ahead however and was officially opened by H.M. The Queen Mother in June 1961. The lawn in front includes a crown bowling green laid out in the 16th century.

  • Cripps Court
  • Cripps Court, incorporating Lyon Court (named after the late Queen Mother), was designed by Powell, Moya and Partners and built in stages between 1972 and 1988. Its brutalistic architecture houses a bar, crèche, and gymnasium with squash courts, 171 student bedrooms, three fellows' flats, a solarium, dining hall and kitchens, various function rooms, a large multipurpose auditorium (The Fitzpatrick Hall) and three combination rooms (Junior for undergraduate students, Middle for postgraduates, and Senior for fellows) of the college. It was the benefaction of the Cripps Foundation and was the largest building ever put up by the college. A fourth floor was added in 2007, providing student accommodation and fellows' offices.

    Fisher Building, named after St John Fisher, was erected in 1936 and designed by G. C. Drinkwater. It continued the Queens' tradition of red brick. The window frames are of teak, and all internal woodwork is oak. It was the first student accommodation in Queens' to lie west of the river and was also the first building in Queens' to have bathrooms and toilets on the staircase landings close to the student rooms. These were so evident that it prompted an observer at that time to comment that the building "seemed to have been designed by a sanitary engineer".

    Queens' was one of only three Cambridge colleges (the others being Selwyn and St John's) to issue its own stamps. From 1883 the college issued its own stamps to be sold to members of the college so that they could pre-pay the cost of a college messenger delivering their mail. This was instead of placing charges for deliveries on to members' accounts, to be paid at the end of each term. The practice was stopped in 1886 by the British Post Office as it was decided that it was in contravention of the Post Office monopoly.

    When the college patroness, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother died, she gave the college the right to fly her personal standard in her memory on the first day of Michaelmas term each year. Unlike at most Oxbridge colleges, not even fellows may walk on the grass.


    * – The Mathematical Bridge – *

    The Mathematical Bridge (officially named the Wooden Bridge) crosses the River Cam and connects the older half of the college (affectionately referred to by students as the "dark side") with the newer western half (the "light side", officially known as "The Island"). It is one of the most photographed scenes in Cambridge; the typical photo being taken from the nearby Silver Street bridge.

    Popular fable is that the bridge was designed and built by Sir Isaac Newton without the use of nuts or bolts, and at some point in the past students or fellows attempted to take the bridge apart and put it back together. The myth continues that the over-ambitious engineers were unable to match Newton's feat of engineering, and had to resort to fastening the bridge by nuts and bolts. This is why nuts and bolts can be seen in the bridge today. This story is false: the bridge was built of oak in 1749 by James Essex the Younger (1722–1784) to the design of the master carpenter William Etheridge (1709–1776), 22 years after Newton died.

    It was later repaired in 1866 due to decay and had to be completely rebuilt in 1905. The rebuild was to the same design except made from teak, and the stepped walkway was made sloped for increased wheelchair access. A handrail was added on one side to facilitate the Queen Mother crossing the bridge on her visits to the college. The ever-present boltheads are more visible in the post-1905 bridge which may have given rise to this failed reassembly myth.

    The arrangement of timbers is a series of tangents that describe the arc of the bridge, with radial members to tie the tangents together and triangulate the structure, making it rigid and self-supporting. This type of structure, technically tangent and radial trussing, is an efficient structural use of timber, and was also used for the timber supporting arches (centring) used for building stone bridges. Analysis of the design shows that the tangent members are almost entirely under compression, while the radial timbers are almost entirely subject to tension with very little bending stress, or to put it another way, the tangent and radial elements elegantly express the forces involved in arched construction.


    * – Visiting – *

    The College is open to visitors all year round, except during the Examination period (23rd April - 15th June), certain ceremonial days (24th and 28th June, 5th and 6th July), Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25th and 26th December). Visitors should enter and leave College by the Visitors' Gate, in Queens' Lane during the summer period (April - October) and through the Porters' Lodge during the winter period. At other times, when the College is open to alumni, entry is via the Porters' Lodge in Silver Street.

    The College entry points on both sides of the River Cam have step-free entry points with automated doors and gates, and step-free routes are available to almost all ground-floor public destinations in College. On the west side of the river, the main Porters' Lodge offers step-free entry into the college from Silver Street, with a mild downward ramp into the college, through automatic doors, all wheelchair accessible. On the east side of the river, the Dokett Gate on Queens' Lane is automated and wheelchair accessible, operated by University Card, or by remote control from the Porters' Lodge. The Old Court entrance from Queens' Lane has two steps up into College and a heavy gate, and is therefore unsuitable for wheelchair users and some individuals with reduced mobility.

    Connecting the two sides of College is the Mathematical Bridge, which has steep 1-in-5 ramps on both sides. This is negotiable by powered wheelchairs or mobility vehicles, but unpowered wheelchair users will probably require assistance. Inside the site, there are step-free routes to most destinations, with occasional ramps.

    The majority of residential staircases have steps at entry, even to get to the ground floor. There are exceptions where they do have step-free ramped access to some ground floor rooms. There are two lifts in Cripps Court (at AA staircase, and in the Dining Hall lobby connecting to higher floors on FF staircase). Where automatic doors are fitted, they are operated either by push-button or by University Card: some push-button operated doors become secure card-operated after 8pm.

    Fitzpatrick Hall, used as a theatre and for sport and social events. Level access to lower level through double doors. Tiered seating when seating is in place, but room for a wheelchair. Toilet for disabled persons just outside and to the left. Old Hall and Munro Room, both in older part of College and used as smaller dining halls. Step-free access, with moveable furniture. Armitage Room, used for supervisions and meetings, is on the first floor of Cripps Court, accessible from both ends via the AA or FF lifts.

    Bar & Conservatory. Level access to both entrances. Spacious inside, with a variety of seating areas. Lowered bar counter. Level access to outside patio. Toilet for disabled persons in nearby corridor.

    Cafeteria. Serving area next to hall. Level access through push-button automatic doors. Level and spacious. Chapel. Level access through double doors, usually one of them bolted from inside. Fixed pew seating, with some ground floor pews. Dining Hall. Next to cafeteria. Level access through push-button automatic doors. Level and spacious inside, with moveable furniture.

    Gardens. Gardens on site, in the older part of College. Mostly level and accessible, but some surfaces are uneven. Level gravel path along river.

  • Toilets. Two toilets for disabled persons, one on each side of the river. One is in Lyon Court near the bar and Fitzpatrick Hall, and the other is in Walnut Tree Court, with access via RADAR key: a spare key can be collected from the Porters' Lodge.
  • Porters' Lodge. The Porters' Lodge is the main entrance for pedestrians and is level, with a dropped counter. Both the Porters' Lodge and post room are accessible via automatic doors.
  • Staying at Queens'. Wheelchair-accessible rooms. Three residential rooms have been adapted for wheelchair user, all with en-suite wet-room showers and toilets.
  • Laundry. One ground floor laundry, large inside but with a rather narrow door. Second laundry behind Friars' building, rather small and down a slight slope, ground floor.
  • Emergency procedures. Porters’ Lodge if you will need help evacuating in an emergency. An evacuation chair is housed in their on-site Health Centre, and all the College Porters are trained in its use.
  • Please Click here for the Queens' College Disability Access Map.

    Entrance Charges

    There is an entrance charge of £3.50 per visitor (children under 12 free), which includes the provision of a printed guide. Please see 'Parties' below for details of entrance fees payable by tour groups.

    Entrance charge exemptions:

  • •Queens' alumni with three guests each - no charge.
  • •Members of the University of Cambridge with one guest each - no charge.
  • •City of Cambridge residents (with proof of address) with one guest each - no charge.
  • •Prospective candidates for admission as a student and their families - no charge.
  • All tour groups should arrange their trip through the Cambridge Tourist Information Centre.

    N.B. A tour group is defined as six or more people.

  • •If you wish to bring a group of visitors to tour the College (see visitor opening schedule above) please arrange this through the Cambridge Tourist Information Centre (Tel 01223 791501) or email Please make these arrangements a minimum of 48 hours before the proposed date of your of visit, or 72 hours in advance if visiting at the weekend.
  • •Tour parties may only enter Queens' College with a Cambridge Blue Badge Guide (see information below on hiring a Blue Badge Guide). Parties arriving without a Cambridge Blue Badge Guide will not be admitted to Queens' College.
  • •Parties of more than 20 people must be split into smaller groups and enter the College at staggered times. Each party must be led by a Cambridge Blue Badge Guide.
  • Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.

    Cambridge Blue Badge Guides have been trained by 'Visit Cambridge' and have passed an intensive training course accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding. Guides must pass four examinations before qualifying for the role and are regularly re-assessed.

    To hire a Cambridge Blue Badge Guide contact either:

  • Visit Cambridge
  • The Guildhall
  • Market Square
  • Cambridge, CB2 3QJ
  • Tel: 01223 791500
  • Email:    Website

  • Tony Rodgers & Chris Skilton
  • Cambridge Tour Guides
  • Tel: 07814 765151 or 07940 999364    email:

  • Maggie Hartley
  • SeeCambridgeDifferently
  • Tel: 07580 537595   Email:   Website:
  • Entrance charges for tour groups.

  • •There is an entrance charge of £3.50 for each member of the party (there is no charge for the Cambridge Blue Badge Guide).
  • •Different rates are applicable for privately guided Tours when booked through the Cambridge Tourist Information Centre. Please apply directly.
  • •This charge is payable at all times of the year.
  • •No concessions apply to guided tours.
  • •Please pay the individual entrance charge at the Visitors' Gate during the summer period (see above for closure dates) and at the Porters' Lodge at all other times. Group payments should be received by the Tourist Information Centre prior to the visit to College. Refunds cannot be given less than 48 hours before the visit.
  • Buildings open.

  • •Old Hall and Chapel are normally open, but are subject to the College's events programme.
  • •All cloister areas and other walkways are open.
  • •The President's Lodge, the Old Library, the War Memorial Library, Cripps Dining Hall, staircases and the Fellow's Garden are not open to visitors.
  • Restrictions.

    They ask all visitors to Queens' to respect the College as a place of study. Each visitor is requested:

  • •Not to walk on the grass or on the river banks.
  • •Not to walk on any flower beds.
  • •Not to take picnics in the College grounds.
  • •Not to drop any litter.
  • •Not to enter staircases or areas marked private.
  • •Not to smoke anywhere in the College.
  • •Not to block the narrow pathways.
  • •To observe all instructions given by College Staff.
  • •Not to bring any animals into the College (except guide dogs).
  • Please be aware that some surfaces are uneven and in wet weather may be slippery. There are a number of steps on the route around the College and great care must be taken near the river. Gifts and souvenirs may be purchased from the Visitors' Shop at the Visitors' Gate. Click here for a virtual tour.


    Location : Silver Street, Queens' College, Cambridge CB3 9ET

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then 1.3 miles or bus or taxi. Bus routes: 75, 199 and busway route U stop outside.

    Opening Times : see above.

    Tickets : £3.50 per person, children under 12 are free. See above for other details.

    Tel: 01223 791501

    Botanic Garden Lake

    Botanic Garden Lake

    Cory Lodge

    Cory Lodge


    * – Cambridge University Botanic Garden – *


    The Cambridge University Botanic Garden is a botanical garden located in Cambridge, England associated with the university Department of Plant Sciences (formerly Botany School). It lies between Trumpington Road to the west, Bateman Street to the north and Hills Road to the east.

    The garden covers an area of 16 hectares (40 acres). The site is almost entirely on level ground and in addition to its scientific value, the garden is highly rated by gardening enthusiasts. It holds a plant collection of over 8000 plant species from all over the world to facilitate teaching and research. The garden was created for the University of Cambridge in 1831 by Professor John Stevens Henslow (Charles Darwin's mentor) and was opened to the public in 1846. According to the garden's own statistics there were more than 200,000 visitors in 2011.

    After several unsuccessful attempts during the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries, a University Botanic Garden was finally established at Cambridge between 1760 and 1763. This was not on the site of the present Garden, but in the centre of the town, on about 5 acres of land then occupied by 'The Mansion House' of the old Augustinian friary, and today by the New Museums Site and other university buildings. It was Dr. Richard Walker, Vice-Master of Trinity College, who, on the advice of Philip Miller of the Chelsea Physic Garden, purchased the property for £1,600, and presented it to the University for use as a Botanic Garden. For some years the Garden was known as the Walkerian Botanic Garden, and there is, at the present Garden, a Walkerian Society named in honour of its founder.

    The Walkerian Garden was laid out and developed by the then professor of botany, Thomas Martyn. This small Garden was conceived as a typical Renaissance physic garden, inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. It grew herbaceous plants used in the teaching of medical students at the University. Glasshouses and a lecture room for the professor were built and the teaching of botany in Cambridge, which was then at a low ebb, received, for a time, a considerable stimulus. This improvement, however, did not last for long. Martyn left in 1798 and only visited Cambridge only occasionally until his death in 1825. About 1790 James Donn was appointed Curator and in 1796 he published the first edition of Hortus Cantabrigiensis, a list of the plants in the Garden which reached its 13th edition in 1845, long after Donn's death.

    In 1825 John Stevens Henslow, Charles Darwin's teacher at Cambridge, succeeded Martyn as professor of botany and soon realized that a larger site, farther from the centre of Cambridge, was desirable for the Botanic Garden. In 1831 the University purchased the present site of about 40 acres to the south of the town on the Trumpington Road, and in 1846 the first tree was planted. It had been the intention to lay out the whole 40 acres as a Botanic Garden, but presumably funds were lacking, and in fact only 20 acres were planted, the remainder being let out as allotments.

    The planning of the new Garden was carried out by Professor Henslow, assisted by young Cardale Babington. The land was flat and unpromising as a garden site, but the layout was planned with great skill, utilizing an old gravel pit to construct a lake with a high mound running into it. Trees and shrubs were planted according to their botanical sequence, a range of glasshouses was built in the 1860s, and a rock garden, one of the earliest of its kind in the country, was constructed about the same time. The Garden has also long been known for its many fine specimens of rare trees.

    By the 1870s the main features of the Garden had been developed and, it was ready to play its part in the great expansion of botanical teaching and research that was about to take place at Cambridge. During the early years of the 20th century much of the pioneer work of William Bateson, Charles Chamberlain Hurst, and Edith Rebecca Saunders on plant genetics was carried out at the Garden, and it was later used for researches on plant physiology by Frederick Blackman and George Edward Briggs, and on plant pathology by Frederick Tom Brooks and others.

    The chair of Botany at Cambridge was created in 1724 for Richard Bradley (1724–1732), and as of 2016, fifteen botanists have held that position, including John Martyn (1733–1762), John Stevens Henslow (1825–1861) and Harry Marshall Ward (1895–1906). In 1991 the Botany School was renamed the Department of Plant Sciences. In 2005 the title was changed to Regius Professor of Botany, the appointment as of 2016 is that of Professor Sir David Baulcombe. The current Plant Sciences building on the Downing Site was constructed in 1904 during Ward's tenure, when the main areas of research were morphology, systematics, pathology and physiology. Morphologists in that period included Agnes Arber, John Corner, and Kenneth Sporne, whose phylogenetic approach was well ahead of the seminal work of Willi Hennig.

    In 1921 the University appointed H. Gilbert-Carter as the first scientific Director of the Garden, in conjunction with the curatorship of the herbarium and who published the first guide to the garden. Amongst other directors of the garden were John Gilmour (1951–1973), and Max Walters (1973–1983) who published a history of the garden in 1981. The current director is Beverley Glover (2013–).

    The newly built Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) in the grounds of the garden is a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary new research institute. Focusing on the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development, the Lab uses cutting edge scientific resources and predictive computational models to further understand of the dynamic, self-organising properties of plants. It was funded by Lord Sainsbury, chancellor of the university, and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in April 2011. It houses the university herbarium, moved from the Downing Site in 2011.

    Cory Lodge was built in 1924-5 with money given to the University by Reginald Cory, an alumnus of Trinity College, Cambridge and was originally used as the residence of the Director of the Botanic Garden. Adjacent to Cory Lodge is a superb specimen of Catalpa speciosa, an Indian bean tree from North America, with white flowers followed by long slender fruits. On the north wall of the house is a specimen of Ginkgo biloba, the Chinese maidenhair tree, trained as an espalier since 1987.

    * – Garden Features – *

  • Autumn colour garden.
  • Bed of British native plants.
  • Dry garden — demonstrates planting requiring reduced watering.
  • Fen display.
  • Genetics garden.
  • Herbaceous borders.
  • Lake.
  • Glasshouses.
  • Glasshouses, containing about 3,000 species, have been restored and almost entirely replanted to display global plant diversity, and comprise:
  • Continents Apart, comparing and contrasting the fire dependent, floristically rich plant communities of South Africa and SW Australia, once conjoined in the supercontinent Gondwana;
  • Oceanic Islands, exploring the floral diversity peculiar to island archipelagos;
  • Mountains, exploring how plants survive life in a cold climate;
  • Tropical Rainforests, a hotbed of competition;
  • Carnivores, displaying the diversity of traps in carnivorous plants;
  • Arid Lands, displaying drought tolerant plants from continental Africa and the Americas, including many Succulent and Cactus species, and demonstrating the phenomenon of convergent evolution;
  • Life Before Flowers, full of ferns and filmy ferns.
  • National plant collections of:

  • Alchemilla
  • Bergenia
  • European Fritillaria
  • Lonicera
  • Ribes
  • Ruscus
  • Ruscus
  • Species Tulips
  • Hardy Geraniums
  • Important scientific and research collections of:

  • Lavender
  • Rock gardens — for alpine plants
  •       Limestone rock garden
  •       Sandstone rock garden
  • Scented garden
  • Systematic beds — 144 island beds representing 80 families of flowering plants
  • Tree collection.
  • Water garden
  • Winter garden (December to April)
  • Woodland garden — containing spring bulbs
  • * – Visiting – *

    With plants from all over the world displayed in a 40-acre oasis of gardens and glasshouses, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden is an inspiration for gardeners, an exciting introduction to the natural world for families, and provides a great day out for all visitors. As you discover this wonderful Garden, please remember that it is an unparalleled collection of plants used for research and teaching, cared for in a Grade II* registered heritage landscape.

    Please note that only guide and assistance dogs are permitted in the Botanic Garden. Please take care to keep to the paths and lawns and not walk on the beds. Many plants are very fragile and are easily damaged. Please do not climb the trees. This is a working garden, where machinery is in constant use, so to stay safe, please look about you carefully and keep children in your care under close supervision at all times.

    The Glasshouses and Café close 30 minutes before the Garden; and the Botanic Garden Shop at Brookside closes 15 minutes before the Garden. To enjoy free admission year-round to the Garden, please consider joining the Friends of Cambridge University Botanic Garden - click here to find out more.

    With over 8,000 plant species and a wonderful range of different gardens and plantings to enjoy, it’s sometimes a challenge to know where to start (or end). A tour can provide a welcome linking theme to lead you around the highlights, and provide some background to the history and development of this stunning Garden. They offer daytime tours of one-and-a-half hours for groups, and exclusive out-of-hours tours in the magical seclusion of a summer evening.

    There is no minimum group size as long as the minimum tour price is met. The Garden allocates the required number of guides for each group. To ensure good communication tour guides are allocated a maximum of twelve people each, but usually fewer. Guided Tours must be booked, and secured by a deposit, at least four weeks in advance.

    Current charge for a daytime tour is £6 per person plus the normal Garden admission charge. The minimum group tour charge is £60 (for 9 people or fewer). Tours are also offered in the evening during the summer season. The current charge is £10.00 per person plus normal Garden admission with a minimum group tour charge of £100.00. A £20 non-refundable deposit is required for tour bookings for groups up to 30 in number together with a completed Group Visit booking form. For groups larger than 30 they require a deposit of £50. To discuss or book your Guided Tour requirements contact the Botanic Garden Administration Office on 01223 748450.

    Free seasonal highlights tours of one hour take place monthly on the first Sunday each month from February to December and in addition weekly, every Sunday from May to September; in all cases at 2.30pm. No pre-booking required but availability is on a first-come basis. Normal Garden admission charges apply. All tours are led by trained volunteer guides with proceeds going directly to support the work of the Garden.

    With such a plethora of choice it is often difficult to determine where to go in the Gardens. Please click here for a list of different trails as well as the Garden's current plant picks.

    The beautiful Garden Café sits right at the heart of the Garden, in the Gilmour Wing of the Sainsbury Laboratory. The Café opens daily at 10am, closing 30 minutes before Garden closing. Plus the Café now offers free Wi-Fi – just collect the password from the counter with your coffee!

    Light lunches including homemade soup, hot quiches and tarts and daily specials are served between 12 and 3pm. In addition filled baguettes and sandwiches are also available. Vegan and gluten-free options are also offered. The delicious cakes are either homemade in the Café kitchen or supplied by a local Italian patisserie. The Café serves freshly ground Fairtrade coffee, a selection of teas and herbal infusions plus a choice of cold drinks and ice creams. Please click here to find out more about the Garden Café, its food, its service, its approach and peruse the menus.

    The Botanic Garden is largely accessible without steps or stairs, with the exception of some heritage features such as the Rock Garden and the British Wild Plants area. Path surfaces are mostly gravel, and there are large stretches of lawn. Sloped paving ramps allow access from the paths to the lawn areas. There are benches at regular intervals around the Garden, and wheelchair accessible picnic tables in the picnic areas (save near the Rock Garden).

  • General Accessibility Information.
  • The Glasshouse Range is fitted with automatically opening doors at both main entrances/exits, and wheelchair turning circles are found in the Mountains display in the Alpine House and in the Life Before Flowers house. Please note however that the Glasshouse Range is a heritage feature whose paths are unable to be widened, and has corridors with foliage alongside. The Brookside Gate is fitted with a low-level counter and an induction loop.

    Dogs. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome in the Botanic Garden, although no other dogs are allowed.

    Electric scooters and manual wheelchairs. These are available to borrow free of charge from both the Brookside Gate and the Station Road Gate. They only have a few scooters/wheelchairs, so to ensure availability for your visit they advise pre-booking in advance during Monday-Friday office hours (9am-1pm / 2-4.30pm) by telephone on 01223 336265, or by email at

    When contacting them, please let them know what time you would like to collect the scooter/wheelchair, approximately how long you may stay in the Garden using it and which gate you wish to pick it up from. Please also include a contact telephone number for the user, in case of need. Please note reservations are not finalised until you have received confirmation from them. They have recently upgraded the tyres on their manual wheelchairs with a view to improving their usability on our gravel paths.

    Accessible Toilets. There are accessible toilets at the Glasshouses, the Brookside Gate and the Café (one in each location).

    Parking/access by vehicle. There is no public car park at the Garden and on-street council-provided parking in the area can be difficult. It is advisable to take a taxi or the Trumpington Park & Ride bus service, that drops off right at the Brookside Gate. Please note there is no easy place to park or drop off at the Station Road Gate.

    Cambridge Rail Station is a 5 minute walk from the Station Road Gate entrance to the Garden, along Station Road. If taking a taxi from the station to the Garden, the driver will likely drop you at the Brookside Gate due to the lack of parking/stopping nearby the Station Road Gate.


    Location : Cambridge University Botanic Garden, 1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then 5 minutes. Bus routes: 75, and busway route U stop close by.

    Opening Times : January, November + December: 10:00 to 16:00.

    Opening Times : February, March + October: 10:00 to 17:00.

    Opening Times : April – September: 10:00 to 18:00.

    Tickets : Adults £5.45;   Concessions £5.00   Children (to 16) / Carers Free.

    Tel: 01223 748450

    St Mary the Great

    St Mary the Great

    Round Church

    Round Church


    * – St Mary the Great + Round Church – *


    * – St. Mary the Great – *

    St Mary the Great is a Church of England parish and university church at the north end of King's Parade in central Cambridge, England. It is known locally as Great St Mary's or simply GSM to distinguish it from "Little St Mary's". It is one of the Greater Churches. It is designated by Historic England as a Grade I listed building.

    In addition to being a parish church in the Diocese of Ely, it is the university church for the University of Cambridge. As such it has a minor role in the university's legislation: for example, university officers must live within 20 miles of Great St Mary's and undergraduates within three. The church also hosts the "University Sermons" and houses the University Organ and the University Clock. The latter chimes the "Cambridge Chimes" which were later used by the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament ("Big Ben").

    The first mention of the church is a record of King John presenting Thomas de Chimeleye to the rectory in 1205. The first church on the site of the current one was built in 1205, but this was mostly destroyed by fire 9 July 1290 and then rebuilt. At the time, this fire was attributed to the Jewish population of the city, with the result that the synagogue was closed. Prior to 1352, it was known as The Church of St Mary the Virgin, but since that year has become known by its modern name. During its early years, the church was the property of the crown, but on 15 July 1342, the land was passed to King's Hall. Ownership then passed to Trinity College, where it has rested since.

    The orders for the consecration of the new church were sent out on 17 May 1346, but were not enacted until 15 March 1351. In the Middle Ages it became an official gathering place for meetings and debates for Cambridge University, but this ceased in 1730 when the University's Senate House was built across the street.

    The present building was constructed between 1478 and 1519, with the tower finished later, in 1608. The cost of construction was covered largely by Richard III and Henry VII. The church was restored by James Essex in 1766. In 1850–51 a restoration was carried out by George Gilbert Scott, followed by further work by Anthony Salvin in 1857. The south porch was rebuilt in 1888. There has been some more restoration work during the 20th century.

    Various leading philosophers of the English Reformation preached there, notably Erasmus. Martin Bucer, who influenced Thomas Cranmer's writing of the Book of Common Prayer, was buried there. Under Queen Mary, his corpse was burnt in the marketplace, but under Elizabeth I, the dust from the place of burning was replaced in the church and now lie under a brass floor plate in the south chancel. The Tractarian movement in the 19th century prompted the removal of the north and south galleries, but that to the west still stands.

    Originally, bells were hung in a wooden structure in the churchyard. In 1515 the bells were moved to the tower and the structure was dismantled. The bells were replaced in 1722 and in 1724, the Society of Cambridge Youths was formed to formalise the responsibility for ringing them. This society lays claim to being the oldest bellringing society in Britain and the second oldest at any church in the world with a continuous ringing history.

    In 2009 the old ring of bells was replaced with a new ring cast by Taylors Eayre and Smith Ltd, made possible by a donation from Dr Martin C Faulkes. The new ring of 13 bells in the key of D (including a flat 6th providing a lighter ring of 8 bells in the key of G) has a tenor weighing 24cwt. Some of the original bells have been retained to continue sounding the Cambridge Chimes.

    Organs. St Mary the Great is unusual in housing two self-contained pipe organs, a 'Parish Organ' in the Chancel for the regular congregation, and another in the West Gallery, called the 'University Organ', owned and maintained by the University, and played for University services. The University Organ was originally purchased in 1698, constructed by the renowned organ builder 'Father' Bernard Smith. It was added to through the 18th and 19th centuries until a major (yet sensitive) rebuild was carried out by William Hill in 1870.

    The organ saw further work in 1963 from Hill, Norman and Beard (again remarkably sensitive for the time) and was extensively restored in 1995 by Mander Organs, and rededicated on 30 January 1996. It is noted historic instrument: a significant monument to the work of William Hill, and, in addition, likely the largest repository of Father Smith pipework in a single instrument. The Parish Organ was built in 1991 by Kenneth Jones and Associates. It replaced an earlier instrument by Miller of Cambridge (one time organist of Great St Mary's) dating from 1869.

    The church is designed in the Late Perpendicular style. The stained glass is the work of Hardman and was added between 1867 and 1869. To accommodate the large audiences that were present for special occasions, and in particular the University Sermon, attendance of which was compulsory, the galleries were added in 1735. The church contains one of the few moveable pulpits in England. The font dates from 1632 and the sculpture behind the high altar is of Christ in Majesty. This sculpture was completed in 1960. The sculpture is by Alan Durst.

    * – Visiting – *

    In addition to their vital worship life, Great St Mary's is a destination for tourists from around the world. Whether on your own or part of a group, with time to linger or on a tight schedule, you’ll find a warm welcome at Great St Mary's.

    The Tower. The Tower of Great St Mary’s offers the best views in Cambridge. Climb the 123 steps and experience Cambridge as you’ve never seen it before! They regret to say that there is no disabled access to the tower, since it is impossible to install the required facilities in a building of this nature.

    Group visits are available incorporating a joint tour of Great St. Mary's and King's College. All group visits must be pre-booked by contacting either:

  •   OR
  • Combined Ticket - special group price of £20 per person.
  • Start your visit with an introductory tour of King's College with time to explore the college and it's grounds on your own. Make your way to Great St. Mary's (3 minutes). Here there is a choice of activities - climb the tower (for those with a head for heights) or brass rubbing. Then the group joins together for a tour of the church. Total visit time about two hours. Minimum group size 10; maximum 80.

  • The Church Shop.
  • The Church Shop offers a wide range of guides, souvenirs, gifts, and music, as well as religious, children’s and local books.
  • Michaelhouse Café.
  • The Michaelhouse Café is just up Trinity Street from Great St Mary’s, serving fresh, seasonal home-made food featuring delicious locally sourced produce. The Café offers breakfast and lunch menus, as well as freshly made sandwiches and cakes, excellent tea and coffee, and cream teas with home-made scones for the afternoons. Open 8.00 am – 5.00 pm Monday–Saturdays. 10% discount with your Tower ticket.

  • Brass Rubbing and Family Activities.
  • During school holidays, they offer free family activities and an Explorer’s Pack for children. They also have brass rubbing with five replica brasses to choose from, including Sir Roger of Trumpington and St George and the Dragon. For just £3 you can create your own souvenir.

  • Explore, discover and experience Great St Mary’s with our new self-guided walking tour.
  • Explore the church to look more closely at its beautiful features: the carved pews, stunning stained glass, font and resplendent Majestas to name a few. Discover the stories behind the features: have you ever wondered why Great St Mary’s has two organs, why it is the official centre of Cambridge, why its pulpit is on rails and why the bells sound the same as the Westminster Chimes? Find out more about the fascinating people associated with the church: Queen Elizabeth I, the infamous Dr Butler and the Protestant Reformer Martin Bucer with his buried and burnt body! Experience the peace and tranquillity of the church as you wander. The walking tour is available to purchase from the gift shop for only 50p along with their more detailed guide book.

  • Interactive Touchscreens and Kings & Queens film.
  • Explore 800 years of Cambridge history with their interactive touchscreens and a short film showing royal links with Cambridge through the centuries.

  • Visitor Accessibility.
  • There is a toilet suitable for disabled visitors in the South Lobby, and disabled parking spaces on King’s Parade near the church. A loop system operates in the nave. However, there is no lift access to the galleries or the tower. Please click here for a virtual tour.


    * – The Round Church – *

    The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, universally known as The Round Church, is an Anglican church in the city of Cambridge, England'. It is located on the corner of Round Church Street and Bridge Street. Since 1950 the church has been designated a Grade I listed building, and is currently managed by Christian Heritage. It is one of the four medieval round churches still in use in England.

    The church was built around 1130, its shape being inspired by the rotunda in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. It was built by the Fraternity of the Holy Sepulchre, who were probably a group of Austin canons. It consisted of a round nave and an ambulatory, with a short chancel, probably in the shape of an apse. Initially it was a wayfarers' chapel on the Roman road known as Via Devana (this is now Bridge Street).

    By the middle of the 13th century it had become a parish church under the patronage of Barnwell Priory. Around this time structural alterations were made to the church, with the rebuilding of the chancel and the addition of a north aisle, the aisle being shorter than the chancel. During the 15th century the Norman style windows in the nave were replaced by larger Gothic style windows. The carvings of angels in the roofs of the chancel and aisle were added. A polygonal bell-storey was built over the nave. In 1643, during the Civil War, many of the "idolatrous" images were destroyed.

    "[2 January 1644 Holy Sepulchre, in Cambridge] We break down 14 superstitious Pictures, divers Idolatrous Inscriptions, one of God the Father, one of Christ and of the Apostles." The Journal of William Dowsing.

    By the 19th century the church was in a poor state of repair. Part of the ambulatory collapsed in 1841, and the Cambridge Camden Society offered to carry out repairs. They appointed Anthony Salvin for the purpose. Salvin replaced the bell-storey by a roof similar to the original roof. This was made necessary because the weight of the bell-storey was too much for the walls to support. The 15th-century Gothic windows were replaced by windows in Norman style, and a formerly-inserted gallery was removed, together with the external staircase leading to it. To compensate for this, a new south aisle was added.

    It was found that the east wall of the chancel was unstable and this was replaced. Then the north aisle, by that time in poor condition, was also rebuilt, extending it to the same length as the chancel. The original estimate for the cost of the restoration was £1,000, with the parish paying £300; in the event it cost nearly £4,000, with the parish providing only £50 . In 1899 a vestry was added to the north of the north aisle; this was extended in 1980. The Victorian stained glass in the east window was destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War and was replaced in 1946. By 1994 the congregation had become too large for the church, and they moved their gatherings to the nearby Church of St Andrew the Great.

    The church is built in stone. Its plan consists of a circular nave surrounded by an ambulatory, a chancel with north and south aisles and a north vestry. Over the nave is an upper storey surmounted by a conical spire. To the north of the church is an octagonal bell-turret containing two bells. The church is entered by a Norman west doorway with three orders of colonnettes, decorated with scalloped capitals and zigzags, and crenellations in the voussoirs. Between the ambulatory and the nave are eight massive Norman columns and round arches. Each of the capitals of the columns is carved with a different design. Part of the vault of the ambulatory has dog-tooth ornamentation.

    In the ambulatory and nave are carved human heads dating from the 19th century. Above the nave is a triforium containing double Norman arches. To the east are the chancel and aisles. In the chancel and the north aisle are carved angels dating from the 15th century which are attached to the corbels supporting the roof; some of the angels are holding or playing musical instruments. The communion table dates from 1843 and was made by Joseph Wentworth. The chancel is floored between the choir stalls with tiles laid in 1842. They depict the Royal coat of arms, and the arms of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. At the corners are animals representing the Four Evangelists.

    There are two bells in the bell-turret. One is dated 1663 and was cast by Robard Gurney; the other is a priest's bell possibly cast by J. Sturdy of London between 1440 and 1458. Most of the stained glass in the church was introduced during the 19th-century restoration and was designed and made by Thomas Willement and William Wailes. The glass in the east window was destroyed by a bomb in 1942 and was replaced by a new window in 1946 depicting Christ in Majesty.

    * – Visiting – *

    By 1994 the congregation had grown too big to be accommodated and it moved to the nearby Church of St Andrew the Great. Holy Sepulchre is managed by Christian Heritage and is open for visitors. It contains an exhibition entitled The Impact of Christianity in England, and a Scriptorium. A video entitled Saints and Scholars can be seen in the church. The church hosts concerts, recitals and plays, and arranges courses, summer schools, and lectures.

  • Guided Walks of Cambridge Colleges.
  • They have been running theirr highly acclaimed Round Church guided walks of Cambridge for nearly 20 years. There is perhaps no place in the world which better displays the fruitful interplay between science, Christian faith, and intellectual and moral progress. This is due to the scientific and moral achievements of Cambridge luminaries, including Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, William Wilberforce, and James Clark Maxwell. Come along to explore the beautiful streets and buildings of the city, and learn about some of the people who helped to shape Western civilization.

    Regular Scheduled Guided Walks

  • 2.15pm Monday–Saturday.
  • 2.30pm Sunday.
  • The cost is £10 per person and £8 for students. Each walk lasts around 90 minutes. To reserve a space on a scheduled walk, please complete their booking form.

  • Reformation Guided Walks.
  • By Special Request. The Protestant Reformation was a key event in creating the modern world and in forming the English national identity. It revitalised Christianity, it gave us the bible in English, it established the Church of England and other Protestant denominations, it raised the status of marriage and the family, it encouraged literacy and education, it empowered ordinary people and helped to promote parliamentary government and, last but not least, the United States of America was founded under its influence.

    Was the Reformation all good? No. There was iconoclasm, witch-burning, intolerance and religious strife, which compromised the story but did not overshadow its enormous achievements. In all this Cambridge was central and crucial. To best understand and appreciate the story you can go on a Reformation guided walk and see the sites – churches, colleges and landmarks – and hear about the people – bible scholars, preachers and martyrs – in the drama that still influences us to this day. Request a Reformation walk here.

  • Mandarin Guided Walks.
  • 11am 1st Saturday of Every Month.
  • Explore the history and culture of Cambridge with our professional Mandarain speaking guide. The walk includes entrance to the Round Church Visitor Centre and a couple of colleges (colleges may be closed periodically). Book a Mandarin walk here.

    Arrange a Private Group Walk.

  • Minimum charge for a private walk is £30.
  • Guided walks are available in either English or Mandarin. Please book online in advance. Prices vary for Professional International Tour Companies - contact for a quote.

    The church is fully accessible. Assistance dogs are welcome.


    Location : Great St Mary’s,The University Church, Senate House Hill,Cambridge,CB2 3PQ

    Location : The Round Church, Bridge Street, Cambridge CB2 1UB

    Transport St Mary's: Cambridge (National Rail) then bus or taxi. Bus routes: 199 close by, or citi1, citi2, citi3, citi5, citi6 and citi8 stop 4 minutes.

    Transport Round Church: Cambridge (National Rail) then bus or taxi. Bus routes: 8, citi5, citi6, X3 and X8 stop outside.

    Opening Times - St Mary's: 09.30 Monday – Saturday; 12.30 Sundays.

    Opening Times - Round Church: Monday – Saturday 10:00 to 17:00; Sundays 13:30 to 17:00.

    Tickets - St Mary's: Free, see above for group tours.

    Tickets - Round Church: £3.50 General; £2.50 Groups of 10 or more; £1 Students; Free for residents and under 12's. See above for guided walks.

    St. Mary's Tel: 01223 747273

    Round Church Tel: 01223 311602

    Whewell's Court

    Whewell's Court

    Trinity Bridge

    Trinity Bridge


    * – Trinity College – *


    Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England. With around 700 undergraduates, 350 graduates, and over 180 fellows, it is the largest college in either of the Oxbridge universities by number of undergraduates. By combined student numbers, it is second to Homerton College, Cambridge.

    Members of Trinity have won 32 Nobel Prizes out of the 98 won by members of Cambridge University, the highest number of any college at either Oxford or Cambridge. Five Fields Medals in mathematics were won by members of the college (of the six awarded to members of British universities) and one Abel Prize was won.

    Trinity alumni include six British prime ministers (all Tory or Whig/Liberal), physicists Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr, mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, the poet Lord Byron, philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell (whom it expelled before reaccepting), and Soviet spies Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, and Anthony Blunt.

    Two members of the British royal family have studied at Trinity and been awarded degrees as a result: Prince William of Gloucester and Edinburgh, who gained an MA in 1790, and Prince Charles, who was awarded a lower second class BA in 1970. Other royal family members have studied there without obtaining degrees, including King Edward VII, King George VI, and Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester.

    Trinity has many college societies, including the Trinity Mathematical Society, which is the oldest mathematical university society in the United Kingdom, and the First and Third Trinity Boat Club, its rowing club, which gives its name to the college's May Ball. Along with Christ's, Jesus, King's and St John's colleges, it has also provided several of the well known members of the Apostles, an intellectual secret society.

    In 1848, Trinity hosted the meeting at which Cambridge undergraduates representing private schools such as Westminster drew up the first formal rules of football, known as the Cambridge Rules.

    The college was founded by Henry VIII in 1546, from the merger of two existing colleges: Michaelhouse (founded by Hervey de Stanton in 1324), and King's Hall (established by Edward II in 1317 and refounded by Edward III in 1337). At the time, Henry had been seizing church lands from abbeys and monasteries. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, being both religious institutions and quite rich, expected to be next in line. The King duly passed an Act of Parliament that allowed him to suppress (and confiscate the property of) any college he wished.

    The universities used their contacts to plead with his sixth wife, Catherine Parr. The Queen persuaded her husband not to close them down, but to create a new college. The king did not want to use royal funds, so he instead combined two colleges (King's Hall and Michaelhouse) and seven hostels (Physwick (formerly part of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge), Gregory's, Ovyng's, Catherine's, Garratt, Margaret's, and Tyler's) to form Trinity.

    Contrary to popular belief, the monastic lands granted by Henry VIII were not on their own sufficient to ensure Trinity's eventual rise. In terms of architecture and royal association, it was not until the Mastership of Thomas Nevile (1593–1615) that Trinity assumed both its spaciousness and its courtly association with the governing class that have distinguished it since the Civil War. In its infancy Trinity had owed a great deal to its neighbouring college of St John's: in the exaggerated words of Roger Ascham Trinity was little more than a colonia deducta. Its first four Masters were educated at St John's, and it took until around 1575 for the two colleges' application numbers to draw even, a position in which they have remained since the Civil War.

    In terms of wealth, Trinity's current fortunes belie prior fluctuations; Nevile's building campaign drove the college into debt from which it only surfaced in the 1640s, and the Mastership of Richard Bentley adversely affected applications and finances. Bentley himself was notorious for the construction of a hugely expensive staircase in the Master's Lodge, and for his repeated refusals to step down despite pleas from the Fellows.

    Most of the Trinity's major buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Thomas Nevile, who became Master of Trinity in 1593, rebuilt and redesigned much of the college. This work included the enlargement and completion of Great Court, and the construction of Nevile's Court between Great Court and the river Cam. Nevile's Court was completed in the late 17th century when the Wren Library, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was built.

    During the Civil War the sympathies of the College were mainly with the Royalists and the aftermath of persecutions resulted in purges that drove out more than 40 Fellows, including Thomas Comber, the first Master of any distinction since Nevile. Even in these unsettled times, the College continued to develop and several members came into residence who were to have an important effect in establishing the College as a home of scholars, scientists and mathematicians. In the new developments in natural science in 17th century Trinity assumed a leadership that it has never lost. It was also during this time that John Ray, a Trinity Fellow, and his pupil Francis Willughby, made great strides in establishing natural history as a science.

    In 1660, King Charles II was restored to the throne. During the critical period of transition that followed the death of Cromwell, the College was particularly fortunate in its Heads. In those days the Master’s authority was very great but Wilkins, Ferne and Pearson, who occupied the Master’s Lodge in rapid succession during the years 1659 to 1662, were all moderate in temper, and acted with humanity and tact. The ten years of John Pearson’s Mastership were notable for the rapid rise to eminence in the University of the young Isaac Newton. Newton’s whole academic life, from 1661 to 1696, was spent at Trinity, first as an undergraduate and then as a Fellow from 1667. Isaac Barrow later succeeded Pearson as Master. It was Barrow who persuaded his friend Sir Christopher Wren to design the Wren Library (completed in 1695), the finest of the Trinity buildings.

    After Barrow’s untimely death in 1677 the College gradually deteriorated, though in the next two decades Newton was doing his greatest work. The number of students declined and discipline grew lax. This was due partly to the lowering of standards used to elect new Fellows and partly the result of the poor leadership qualities of the succession of Masters after Barrow ending with John Montagu.

    King William III delegated the selection of Montagu’s successor to a Commission of Bishops. In order to restore its discipline and standards of learning they sought a strong administrator and great scholar. The Bishops believed this man to be Richard Bentley, who served as Master from 1700 to 1742. Bentley was chosen for his ability as a scholar and for his fearlessness. However, this period was dominated by his uncompromising, confrontational leadership style, which caused division and feuds not only amongst the members of Trinity but also of the University.

    Although the influence of Newton remained strong, in the middle years of the 18th century Trinity shared something of the torpor that tranquillised many contemporary institutions. The reversal of this trend began during the Mastership of Thomas Postlethwaite who wisely instituted a new system whereby Fellowship candidates sat for a public examination, instead of being privately examined by each elector. This resulted in a marked improvement in the type of Fellow elected and the next 20 years saw a fundamental revival in the life of the College and the inauguration of one of the most fruitful periods of its history.

    The College had already begun to earn the reputation it was to preserve throughout the 19th century of leading the University in movements of reform to meet the changing needs of the times. It fostered the growth of new subjects with extensive support from its endowments. Among its Fellows, later in this century, were to be found many of the leading scholars and scientists of the day; the geologist Adam Sedgwick, the physiologist Michael Foster, the physicists Clerk Maxwell, and Rayleigh; the English historians Macaulay, Acton, and Maitland and the English theologians F.D. Maurice, Lightfoot, Westcott, and Hort. Trinity can also claim its share of 19th century literary figures: Byron, Thackeray, Tennyson, and Fitzgerald were all members of the College.

    There was much concern at that time of the temptations laid in the way of the young undergraduates, by the fact that most of them had to live in lodgings outside the gates of Trinity. Christopher Wordsworth (younger brother of the poet William Wordsworth and Master of Trinity from 1820 to 1841) addressed this problem by building New Court in 1823. Further accommodation was provided during the Mastership of William Whewell who presided over the construction of Whewell’s Court.

    During the 25 years of Whewell’s Mastership, Trinity went from strength to strength and the life of undergraduates and dons was never more vigorous or more varied. During the 20 years of Whewell’s successor, W.H. Thompson, Trinity stood at the forefront of the reform movement in Cambridge. Great changes took place owing to the parliamentary legislation that altered the Statutes of the University and of the College. These reforms are the basis of the system as it exists today.

    In the 20th century, Trinity College, St John's College and King's College were for decades the main recruiting grounds for the Cambridge Apostles, an elite, intellectual secret society. In 2011, the John Templeton Foundation awarded Trinity College's Master, the astrophysicist Martin Rees, its controversial million-pound Templeton Prize, for "affirming life's spiritual dimension".

    Trinity is the richest Oxbridge college, with a landholding alone approaching £1 billion. Trinity is sometimes suggested to be the second, third or fourth wealthiest landowner in the UK (or in England) – after the Crown Estate, the National Trust and the Church of England. (A variant of this legend is repeated in the Tom Sharpe novel Porterhouse Blue.) In 2005, Trinity's annual rental income from its properties was reported to be in excess of £20 million.

    Trinity owns:

  • 3400 acres (14 km2) housing facilities at the Port of Felixstowe, Britain's busiest container port;
  • the Cambridge Science Park;
  • the O2 Arena in London (formerly the Millennium Dome).
  • Lord Byron purportedly kept a pet bear whilst living in the college. A second legend is that it is possible to walk from Cambridge to Oxford on land solely owned by Trinity. Several varieties of this legend exist – others refer to the combined land of Trinity College, Cambridge and Trinity College, Oxford, of Trinity College, Cambridge and Christ Church, Oxford, or St John's College, Oxford and St John's College, Cambridge. All are almost certainly false.

    Trinity is often cited as the inventor of an English, less sweet, version of crème brûlée, known as "Trinity burnt cream", although the college chefs have sometimes been known to refer to it as "Trinity Creme Brulee". The burnt-cream, first introduced at Trinity High Table in 1879, in fact differs quite markedly from French recipes, the earliest of which is from 1691.

    * – Buildings and Grounds – *

  • Great Gate.
  • The Great Gate is the main entrance to the college, leading to the Great Court. A statue of the college founder, Henry VIII, stands in a niche above the doorway. In his right hand he holds a table leg instead of the original sword and myths abound as to how the switch was carried out and by whom. In 1704, the University's first astronomical observatory was built on top of the gatehouse. Beneath the founder's statue are the coats of arms of Edward III, the founder of King's Hall, and those of his five sons who survived to maturity, as well as William of Hatfield, whose shield is blank as he died as an infant, before being granted arms.

  • Great Court.
  • Great Court (built principally 1599–1608) was the brainchild of Thomas Nevile, who demolished several existing buildings on this site, including almost the entirety of the former college of Michaelhouse. The sole remaining building of Michaelhouse was replaced by the then current Kitchens (designed by James Essex) in 1770–1775. The Master's Lodge is the official residence of the Sovereign when in Cambridge.

  • King's Hostel.
  • King's Hostel (built 1377–1416) is located to the north of Great Court, behind the Clock Tower, this is (along with the King's Gate), the sole remaining building from King's Hall.

  • Bishop's Hostel.
  • Bishop's Hostel (built 1671, Robert Minchin): A detached building to the southwest of Great Court, and named after John Hacket, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. Additional buildings were built in 1878 by Arthur Blomfield.

  • Nevile's Court.
  • Nevile's Court (built 1614) is located between Great Court and the river, this court was created by a bequest by the college's master, Thomas Nevile, originally two-thirds of its current length and without the Wren Library. The appearance of the upper floor was remodelled slightly two centuries later. Cloisters run around the court, providing sheltered walkways from the rear of Great Hall to the college library and reading room as well as the Wren Library and New Court.

  • Wren Library.
  • Wren Library (built 1676–1695, Christopher Wren) is located at the west end of Nevile's Court, the Wren is one of Cambridge's most famous and well-endowed libraries. Among its notable possessions are two of Shakespeare's First Folios, a 14th-century manuscript of The Vision of Piers Plowman, and letters written by Sir Isaac Newton. The Eadwine Psalter belongs to Trinity but is kept by Cambridge University Library. Below the building are the pleasant Wren Library Cloisters, where students may enjoy a fine view of the Great Hall in front of them, and the river and Backs directly behind.

  • New Court.
  • New Court (or King's Court; built 1825, William Wilkins) is located to the south of Nevile's Court, and built in Tudor-Gothic style, this court is notable for the large tree in the centre. A myth is sometimes circulated that this was the tree from which the apple dropped onto Isaac Newton; in fact, Newton was at Woolsthorpe when he deduced his theory of gravity – and the tree is a chestnut tree. Many other "New Courts" in the colleges were built at this time to accommodate the new influx of students.

  • Whewell's Court.
  • Whewell's Court (actually two courts with a third in between, built 1860 & 1868, architect Anthony Salvin)[19] is located across the street from Great Court, and was entirely paid for by William Whewell, the Master of the college from 1841 until his death in 1866. The north range was later remodelled by W.D. Caroe.

  • Angel Court.
  • Angel Court (built 1957–1959, H. C. Husband) is located between Great Court and Trinity Street, and is used along with the Wolfson Building for accommodating first year students.

  • Wolfson Building.
  • The Wolfson Building (built 1968–1972, Architects Co-Partnership) is located to the south of Whewell's Court, on top of a podium above shops, this building resembles a brick-clad ziggurat, and is used exclusively for first-year accommodation. Having been renovated during the academic year 2005–06, rooms are now almost all en-suite.

  • Blue Boar Court
  • Blue Boar Court (built 1989, MJP Architects and Wright) is located to the south of the Wolfson Building, on top of podium a floor up from ground level, and including the upper floors of several surrounding Georgian buildings on Trinity Street, Green Street and Sidney Street.

    Burrell's Field (built 1995, MJP Architects) is located on a site to the west of the main College buildings, opposite the Cambridge University Library. There are also College rooms above shops in Bridge Street and Jesus Lane, behind Whewell's Court, and graduate accommodation in Portugal Street and other roads around Cambridge.

  • Trinity College Chapel.
  • Trinity College Chapel was built by two queens, Mary and Elizabeth I, in the mid-16th century. The building, which is 205 feet (62.5m) long, was begun in 1554-55 by Queen Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Mary, a Roman Catholic, was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn’s daughter, who completed the Chapel in 1567, though the date inscribed on the east end of the building, overlooking Trinity Street, is 1564.

    The architectural style is Tudor-Gothic, with Perpendicular tracery and pinnacles. The roof is of an earlier style than the rest of the building, and may have been re-used from the chapel of King’s Hall, the college which preceded Trinity on this site. Only the walls and roof are of Tudor date. The stalls, wooden panelling, reredos and organ screen date from the early eighteenth century, and the coats of arms above the stalls from 1755-56. Five of the statues in the Ante-Chapel are nineteenth-century, whereas Roubiliac’s famous statue of Newton was carved in the mid-eighteenth century.

    The organ was built in 1976 by the Swiss firm Metzler. This mechanical-action instrument incorporates seven ranks of pipework from the organs built for Trinity by ‘Father’ Bernard Smith in 1694 and 1708, and the original cases have been restored. The stone and marble raised pavement at the east end of the Chapel and the high altar were built in 1636. The painting of St Michael binding Satan, above the altar, was painted in 1768 by Benjamin West. The elaborate wooden reredos holding the painting is known as the baldacchino; it was built in the early eighteenth century in the Neo-Classical style.

    There are a number of memorials to former Fellows of Trinity within the Chapel, including statues, brasses, and two memorials to graduates and Fellows who died during the World Wars. The Chapel is a performance space for the college choir which comprises around 30 Choral Scholars and 2 Organ Scholars, all of whom are ordinarily undergraduate members of the college.

  • Grounds.
  • The Fellows' Garden is located on the west side of Queen's Road, opposite the drive that leads to the Backs. The Fellows' Bowling Green is located north of Great Court, between King's Hostel and the river. It is the site for many of the tutors' garden parties in the summer months, while the Master's Garden is located behind the Master's Lodge. The Old Fields are located on the western side of Grange Road, next to Burrell's Field. It currently houses the college's gym, changing rooms, squash courts, badminton courts, rugby, hockey and football pitches along with tennis and netball courts.

  • Trinity Bridge.
  • Trinity bridge is a stone built tripled-arched road bridge across the River Cam. It was built of Portland stone in 1765 to the designs of James Essex to replace an earlier bridge built in 1651 and is a Grade I listed building.

    * –––––– *

    The Great Court Run is an attempt to run round the 400-yard perimeter of Great Court (approximately 367m), in the 43 seconds of the clock striking twelve. Students traditionally attempt to complete the circuit on the day of the Matriculation Dinner. It is a rather difficult challenge: one needs to be a fine sprinter to achieve it, but it is by no means necessary to be of Olympic standard, despite assertions made in the press.

    It is widely believed that Sebastian Coe successfully completed the run when he beat Steve Cram in a charity race in October 1988. Coe's time on 29 October 1988 was reported by Norris McWhirter to have been 45.52 seconds, but it was actually 46.0 seconds (confirmed by the video tape), while Cram's was 46.3 seconds. The clock on that day took 44.4 seconds (i.e., a "long" time, probably two days after the last winding) and the video film confirms that Coe was some 12 metres short of his finish line when the fateful final stroke occurred. The television commentators were disingenuous in suggesting that the dying sounds of the bell could be included in the striking time, thereby allowing Coe's run to be claimed as successful.

    One reason Olympic runners Cram and Coe found the challenge so tough is that they started at the middle of one side of the court, thereby having to negotiate four right-angle turns. In the days when students started at a corner, only three turns were needed.

    The Great Court Run was portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire about the British Olympic runners of 1924. Until the mid-1990s, the run was traditionally attempted by first-year students at midnight following their matriculation dinner. Following a number of accidents to undergraduates running on slippery cobbles, the college now organises a more formal Great Court Run, at 12 noon on the day of the matriculation dinner: the challenge is only open to freshers, many of whom compete in fancy dress.

    One Sunday each June (the exact date depending on the university term), the College Choir perform a short concert immediately after the clock strikes noon. Known as Singing from the Towers, half of the choir sings from the top of the Great Gate, while the other half sings from the top of the Clock Tower approximately 60 metres away, giving a strong antiphonal effect. Midway through the concert, the Cambridge University Brass Ensemble performs from the top of the Queen's Tower.

    Later that same day, the College Choir gives a second open-air concert, known as Singing on the River, where they perform madrigals and arrangements of popular songs from a raft of punts lit with lanterns or fairy lights on the river. For the finale, John Wilbye's madrigal Draw on, sweet night, the raft is unmoored and punted downstream to give a fade out effect. As a tradition, however, this latter concert dates back only to the mid-1980s, when the College Choir first acquired female members. In the years immediately before this, an annual concert on the river was given by the University Madrigal Society.

    Another tradition relates to an artificial duck known as the Mallard, which should reside in the rafters of the Great Hall. Students occasionally moved the duck from one rafter to another without permission from the college. This is considered difficult; access to the Hall outside meal-times is prohibited and the rafters are dangerously high, so it was not attempted for several years. During the Easter term of 2006, the Mallard was knocked off its rafter by one of the pigeons which enter the Hall through the pinnacle windows. It was reinstated by students in 2016, and is only visible from the far end of the hall.

    The statue of the college's founder Henry VIII presiding over the Great Gate, with a chair leg in his right hand The sceptre held by the statue of Henry VIII mounted above the medieval Great Gate was replaced with a chair leg as a prank many years ago. It has remained there to this day: when in the 1980s students exchanged the chair leg for a bicycle pump, the College replaced the chair leg.

    For many years it was the custom for students to place a bicycle high in branches of the tree in the centre of New Court. Usually invisible except in winter, when the leaves had fallen, such bicycles tended to remain for several years before being removed by the authorities. The students then inserted another bicycle.

    Trinity College undergraduate gowns are readily distinguished from the black gowns favoured by most other Cambridge colleges. They are instead dark blue with black facings. They are expected to be worn to formal events such as formal halls and also when an undergraduate sees the Dean of the College in a formal capacity. Trinity students, along with those of King's and St John's, are the first to be presented to the Congregation of the Regent House at graduation.

    * – Visiting – *

    Trinity College is an educational institution comprising 180 Fellows and nearly 1,000 students. The College welcomes visitors to Great Court and the Chapel for most of the year. Please note that the College may be closed from time to time for special events. The Avenue is closed from 10 October to the 12 October inclusive.

    Outside of closure periods, Great Court and the Chapel are open daily, 10am - 4.30pm until 29 October when the College will close at 3.30pm. Tickets, priced at £3 for adults, may be purchased from the visitors’ booth inside Great Gate. Cambridge residents may enter the areas open to the public without charge, on production of a resident’s photo-ID card issued by King’s College. Alternatively, Great Court may be viewed from beneath Queen’s Gate, on Trinity Lane, every day, free of charge.

    Great Court is accessible (via a ramp) for visitors with disabilities. The cobbled areas can be avoided by using the flagged paths. There is a ramp to the Chapel. For more information please see the Disability Resource Centre. Access to the Wren Library is from the Backs via Garrett Hostel Lane or Queen’s Road and the Avenue. There is no public access to the Wren from Great Court. View an annotated college map.

    Generally the Wren is open to the public from Monday to Friday between 12 and 2pm, and on Saturday mornings in Full Term from 10.30am until 12.30pm. You are advised to check opening hours close to your planned visit by telephoning the Porters Lodge: +44 (0)1223 338400

  • Photography.
  • You are welcome to take photographs with hand-held cameras for personal use in public areas of the College, except the Wren Library. Those wishing to take photographs requiring tripods, or for commercial purposes, should apply in advance in writing to the Junior Bursar, Trinity College, Cambridge, CB2 1TQ or email

  • Teachers.
  • If you would like to visit Trinity with your students please contact the Admissions Office so a convenient time can be arranged. Trinity’s Access Officer is Terri-Leigh Riley. Please email and well before your proposed visit.

  • Groups.
  • Groups of up to eight people may visit the College. Groups of up to 20 may visit if the group is led by a Cambridge Blue Badge Guide or Cambridge Tourist Office Green Badge Guide. Please note that to avoid disturbing members of College, the number and size of groups is controlled. Groups of more than 20 people will not normally be allowed entry. Organisers of groups must arrange their visit through the Cambridge Tourist Office in advance. Groups arriving without prior arrangement will not be permitted to enter.


    Location : Trinity College, Cambridge CB2 1TQ

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then bus or taxi. Bus routes: citi1, citi2, citi3, citi5, citi6 and citi8 stop 7 minutes away.

    Opening Times : 10:00 to 16:30; November through February until 15:30.

    Opening Times Wren Library: Monday to Friday 12:00 to 14:00; Saturday 10:30 to 12:30.

    Tickets : Adults £3.00;   Residents / Students / Alumni Free.

    Tel: 01223 338 400

    Peterhouse Dining Hall

    Peterhouse Dining Hall

    Gisborne Court

    Gisborne Court


    * – Peterhouse – *


    Peterhouse is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It is the oldest college of the university, having been founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, and granted its charter by King Edward I. Today, Peterhouse has 254 undergraduates, 116 full-time graduate students and 54 fellows. The modern name of Peterhouse does not include the word "college".

    Peterhouse is one of the wealthiest colleges in Cambridge, with assets exceeding £250 million, including property in central London such as the Albany apartment complex in Piccadilly. Peterhouse is one of the few colleges that still seeks to insist that its members attend communal dinners, known as "Hall". Hall takes place in two sittings, with the second known as "Formal Hall", which consists of a three-course candlelit meal and which must be attended wearing gowns. At Formal Hall, the students rise as the fellows proceed in, a gong is rung, and two Latin graces are read.

    Academic performance tends to vary from year to year due to its very small student population; for example, Peterhouse came 25th in the Tompkins Table in 2007 but 7th in 2010, 12th in 2014 and 6th in 2015 (out of 29 colleges). The college has five Nobel laureates associated with it, either as former students or fellows: Sir John Kendrew, Sir Aaron Klug, Archer Martin, Max Perutz, and Michael Levitt.

    The foundation of Peterhouse dates to 1280, when letters patent from Edward I dated Burgh, Suffolk, 24 December 1280 allowed Hugo de Balsham to keep a number of scholars in the Hospital of St John, where they were to live according to the rules of the scholars of Merton. After disagreement between the scholars and the Brethren of the Hospital, both requested a separation.

    As a result, in 1284 Balsham transferred the scholars to the present site with the purchase of two houses just outside the then Trumpington Gate to accommodate a Master and fourteen "worthy but impoverished Fellows". The Church of St Peter without Trumpington Gate was to be used by the scholars. Bishop Hugo de Balsham died in 1286, bequeathing 300 marks that were used to buy further land to the south of St Peter's Church, on which the college's Hall was built.

    The earliest surviving set of statutes for the college was given to it by the then Bishop of Ely, Simon Montacute, in 1344. Although based on those of Merton College, these statutes clearly display the lack of resources then available to the college. They were used in 1345 to defeat an attempt by Edward III to appoint a candidate of his own as scholar. In 1354–55, William Moschett set up a trust that resulted in nearly 70 acres of land at Fen Ditton being transferred to the College by 1391–92. The College's relative poverty was relieved in 1401 when it acquired the advowson and rectory of Hinton through the efforts of Bishop John Fordham and John Newton. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the college also acquired the area formerly known as Volney's Croft, which today is the area of St Peter's Terrace, the William Stone Building and the Scholars' Garden.

    In 1553, Andrew Perne was appointed Master. His religious views were pragmatic enough to be favoured by both Mary I, who gave him the Deanery of Ely, and Elizabeth I. A contemporary joke was that the letters on the weathervane of St Peter's Church could represent "Andrew Perne, Papist" or "Andrew Perne, Protestant" according to which way the wind was blowing.

    Having previously been close to the reformist Regius Chair of Divinity, Martin Bucer, later as vice-chancellor of the university Perne would have Bucer's bones exhumed and burnt in Market Square. John Foxe in his Actes and Monuments singled this out as "shameful railing". There is a hole burnt in the middle of the relevant page in Perne's own copy of Foxe. Perne died in 1589, leaving a legacy to the college that funded a number of fellowships and scholarships, as well asbequeathing an extensive collection of books. This collection and rare volumes since added to it is now known as the Perne Library.

    Between 1626 and 1634, the Master was Matthew Wren. Wren had previously accompanied Charles I on his journey to Spain to attempt to negotiate the Spanish Match. Wren was a firm supporter of Archbishop William Laud, and under Wren the college became known as a centre of Arminianism. This continued under the Mastership of John Cosin, who succeeded Wren in 1634. Under Cosin significant changes were made to the college's Chapel to bring it into line with Laud's idea of the "beauty of holiness".

    On 13 March 1643, in the early stages of the English Civil War, Cosin was expelled from his position by a Parliamentary ordinance from the Earl of Manchester. The Earl stated that he was deposed "for his opposing the proceedings of Parliament, and other scandalous acts in the University". On 21 December of the same year, statues and decorations in the Chapel were pulled down by a committee led by the Puritan zealot William Dowsing.

    The college was the first in the University to have electric lighting installed, when Lord Kelvin provided it for the Hall and Combination Room to celebrate the College's six-hundredth anniversary in 1883-1884. It was the second building in the country to get electric lighting, after the Palace of Westminster.

    * – The Libraries – *

    The College's books are divided broadly into three collections: the Mediaeval and Musical Manuscripts (which are now deposited in the University Library); the Perne Library; and the Ward Library.

    The mediaeval library began almost with the foundation of the College: one of the first recorded gifts to the Society is a number of books left to it by its founder – Hugh of Balsham, Bishop of Ely – on his death in 1286. The present collection of some 270 manuscript volumes represents over half the working library which was accumulated by the College during the two and a half centuries after its foundation; and it is one of only three such collections in Cambridge – nearly all the other colleges, and the University Library itself, having discarded in the course of time the bulk of their earliest holdings. It is the fruit almost entirely of the generosity of the College's own members.

    Apart from the Founder, in the fourteenth century Thomas de Lisle (a later Bishop of Ely) and William of Whittlesey (Archbishop of Canterbury) gave numerous books to the College; and at least three Masters made substantial gifts in the century following. In addition, many Fellows made gifts of one or two books over the years – including the earliest of which the titles have been identified, two from John Malebraunche, who was a Fellow in 1290. The collection was at first stored in chests, in the same place as the College's charters; but by 1400 a room had been set aside (though it is not known in which part of the College) especially for books. In 1450, a large library built for the purpose was opened on the first floor of the west range of Old Court (in the space now occupied by, respectively, the Upper Sexcentenary Club and the present Ward Librarian). The books kept in the Library were chained, while others circulated among the Fellows. This library room fulfilled its functions until the end of the sixteenth century.

    The Musical Manuscripts consist of three sets of choir-books. The 'Henrician' set (in Latin) can be dated to the later part of the reign of Henry VIII. The two 'Caroline' sets (predominantly in English), with a contemporary organ-book, date to the early part of the seventeenth century. It has recently been suggested that the 'Henrician' set (which shows little or no signs of ever having been used) was copied from manuscripts belonging to Magdalen College, Oxford, and that the collection was originally intended for use at Christ Church, Canterbury.

    The second of the College's collections, the Perne Library, now numbers some four thousand volumes; but at its core is the bequest of Andrew Perne (Master from 1553 until his death in 1589) of a large part of his own collection – one which had already been described twenty years before as "the worthiest in all England".

    Perne was a bibliophile of catholic tastes; and the collection is distinguished by numerous early examples of fine printing from the great continental presses; fine illustrated books; and a large number of early scientific classics. Perne's books have now been dispersed throughout the collection by subsequent reshelvings, but an early catalogue survives which shows them to have numbered some 1,200 volumes. Some were later certainly or probably exchanged for more up-to-date editions, but comparison with Perne's will and the actual holdings shows that no more than 40-odd have been lost.

    The building which housed them occupied the western two-thirds of the present site, and it was built immediately after Perne's death, from funds left by him for the purpose. It was completed in its present form, by being extended as far as Trumpington Street, forty years later; and the present furniture dates from shortly afterwards. The substantial growth of the collection was again made possible by gifts from the College's own members.

    John Cosin, Master from 1634 until he was deposed by the Commonwealth ten years later and (after the Restoration) Bishop of Durham, was perhaps the greatest of the early benefactors – he gave over eight hundred volumes; but the Library benefited from the generosity of many others, in differing degrees, in that century and the one following. It is piquant to recall that the College owes a good deal even to Lazarus Seaman – the nominee who supplanted Cosin; for it was his tenacious defence of the College's interests which ensured that Cosin's books came to the College, and were not lost in the general confiscations.

    The third of their collections is the Ward Library – the undergraduate working library of some 60,000 volumes, which opened in 1984 in the building in Little St Mary's Lane that, for a hundred years, had housed the Museum of Classical Archaeology. The Library takes its name from Sir Adolphus Ward, who was Master from 1900 to his death in 1924. Until his death, all the College's books had been housed in the Perne Library, the cases of which had been built up and adapted over the centuries to take them. Ward left some 5,000 volumes to the Library – chiefly of English literature and English and foreign history. They were too many to fit into the Perne; and so his bequest precipitated the foundation of a library designed specifically for the working requirements of undergraduates.

    For the first thirty years of its existence it was housed in Burrough's Building – first in one room on the first floor, and eventually taking up both first-floor sets – which provided both a bookstack and a reading room. The Perne Library, having been reduced to proportions which could be accommodated largely in the original cases, reverted to being a scholars' library, and was open only for the purpose of research. In 1952, however, the growth of the Ward made another move imperative. The Ward books were now moved to the attics of G staircase, and the Perne Library was reopened as a reading room.

    Thirty years later, the continuing growth of the Ward, and the danger to which the Perne books were exposed in an open reading-room, led us – supported by the generosity of the College's members and of its friends – to move it to its present quarters. The Perne was relieved of a great many nineteenth-century accessions (transferred to the reserved collections in the Ward) and, handsomely restored and redecorated, reverted finally to being a research library. This splendid transformation of much of the Museum building into their Library enabled the Ward collection to be worthily housed, for the first time for many years, under one roof.

    Twenty years further on, the College, supported again by generous benefactions, extended and completed that transformation, by converting the last unused gallery of the old Museum into a magnificent reading room (with adjoining computer rooms) – named the 'Gunn Gallery' after Dr Chan Gunn, an Honorary Fellow and its principal benefactor, who read Medicine at Peterhouse in the 1950s. In consequence, the Ward Library now provides members of the College with more comfortable and liberal amenities for study than at any time in its history.

    * – Buildings and Grounds – *

    Peterhouse has its main site situated on Trumpington Street, to the south of Cambridge's town centre. The main portion of the college is just to the north of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and its grounds run behind the museum. The buildings date from a wide variety of times, and have been much altered over the years. The college is reputed to have been at least partially destroyed by fire in 1420. The entrance of the college has shifted through its lifetime as well, with the change being principally the result of the demolition of the row of houses that originally lined Trumpington Street on the east side of the college. In 1574, a map shows the entrance being on the south side of a single main court. The modern entrance is to the east, straight onto Trumpington Street.

  • First Court.
  • The area closest to Trumpington Street is referred to as First Court. It is bounded to the north by the Burrough's Building (added in the 18th century), to the east by the street, to the south by the Porters' lodge and to the west by the chapel. Above the Porters' lodge is the Perne Library, named in honour of Andrew Perne, a former Master, and originally built in 1590 to house the collection that he donated to the college. It was extended towards the road in 1633 and features interior woodwork that was added in 1641–48 by William Ashley, who was also responsible for similar woodwork in the chapel. Electric lighting was added to the library in 1937. The area above the Perne Library was used as the Ward Library (the college's general purpose library) from 1952 to 1984, but that has now been moved to its own building in the north-west corner of the college site.

  • Burrough's Building.
  • The Burrough's Building is situated at the front of the college, parallel to the Chapel. It is named after its architect, Sir James Burrough, the Master of Caius,[16] and was built in 1736. It is one of several Cambridge neo-Palladian buildings designed by Burrough. Others include the remodelling of the Hall and Old Court at Trinity Hall and the chapel at Clare College. The building is occupied by fellows and college offices.

  • Old Court.
  • Old Court lies beyond the Chapel cloisters. To the south of the court is the dining hall, the only College building that survives from the 13th century. Between 1866 and 1870, the hall was restored by the architect George Gilbert Scott, Jr.. Under Scott, the timber roof was repaired and two old parlours merged to form a new Combination Room. The stained glass windows were also replaced with Pre-Raphaelite pieces by William Morris, Ford Madox Brown and Edward Burne-Jones. The fireplace (originally built in 1618) was restored with tiles by Morris, including depictions of St Peter and Hugo de Balsham. The hall was extensively renovated in 2006-7.

    The north and west sides of Old Court were added in the 15th century, and classicised in the 18th century. The chapel makes up the fourth, east side to the court. Rooms in Old Court are occupied by a mixture of fellows and undergraduates. The north side of the court also house Peterhouse's MCR (Middle Combination Room).

  • Chapel.
  • Viewed from the main entrance to Peterhouse on Trumpington Street, the altar end of the Chapel is the most immediately visible building. The Chapel was built in 1628 when the Master of the time Matthew Wren (Christopher Wren's uncle) demolished the college's original hostels. Previously the college had employed the adjacent Church of St Mary the Less as its chapel. The Chapel was consecrated on 17 March 1632 by Dr Francis White, Bishop of Ely. The building's style reflects the contemporary religious trend towards Arminianism. The Laudian Gothic style of the Chapel mixes Renaissance details but incorporated them into a traditional Gothic building. The Chapel's Renaissance architecture contains a Pietà altarpiece and a striking ceiling of golden suns. Its placement in the centre of one side of a court, between open colonnades is unusual, being copied for a single other college (Emmanuel) by Christopher Wren.

    The original stained glass was destroyed by Parliamentarians in 1643, with only the east window's crucifixion scene (based on Rubens's Le Coup de Lance) surviving. The current side windows are by Max Ainmiller, and were added in 1855. The cloisters on each side of the Chapel date from the 17th century. Their design was classicised in 1709, while an ornamental porch was removed in 1755.

    The Peterhouse Partbooks, music manuscripts from the early years of the Chapel, survive, and are one of the most important collections of Tudor and Jacobean church music. The Chapel Choir, one of the smallest in Cambridge, has recently attracted wider interest for its regular performances of this material, some of which has not been heard since the 16th century. The restoration of the 1763 John Snetzler organ in the Chapel was by Noel Mander. The first person buried in the Chapel was Samuel Horne, a fellow of the college. Horne was probably chaplain.

  • Gisborne Court.
  • Gisborne Court is accessible through an archway leading from the west side of Old Court. It was built in 1825-6. Its cost was met with part of a benefaction of 1817 from the Rev. Francis Gisborne, a former fellow. The court is built in white brick with stone dressings in a simple Gothic revival style from the designs of William McIntosh Brookes. Only three sides to the court were built, with the fourth side being a screen wall. The wall was demolished in 1939, leaving only its footing. Rooms in Gisborne Court are mainly occupied by undergraduates. Many previously housed distinguished alumni, including Lord Kelvin in I staircase.

  • Whittle Building.
  • The Whittle Building, named after Petrean Frank Whittle, opened on the western side of Gisborne Court in early 2015. Designed in neo-gothic style by John Simpson Architects, it contains en-suite undergraduate accommodation, the student bar and common room, a function room and a gym. Its design recalls that of the original screen-wall that once stood in its place.

  • Fen Court.
  • Beyond Gisborne Court is Fen Court, a 20th-century building partially on stilts. Fen Court was built between 1939 and 1941 from designs by H. C. Hughes and his partner Peter Bicknell. It was amongst the earliest buildings in Cambridge designed in the style of the Modern Movement pioneered by Walter Gropius at the Bauhaus. The carved panel by Anthony Foster over the entrance doorway evokes the mood in Britain as the building was completed. It bears the inscription DE PROFUNDIS CLAMAVI MCMXL — "out of the depths have I cried out 1940". These are the first words of Psalm 130, one of the Penitential Psalms. Alongside the inscription is a depiction of St Peter being saved from the sea.

    An adjacent bath-house, known as the Birdwood Building, used to make up the western side of Gisborne Court. This was also designed by Hughes and Bicknell, and was built between 1932 and 1934. It was demolished in 2013 to make way for the new Whittle Building.

  • Ward Library.
  • The north-west corner of the main site is occupied by former Victorian warehouses containing the Ward Library, as well as a theatre and function room. The building it is housed in was originally the University's Museum of Classical Archaeology and was designed by Basil Champneys in 1883. It was adapted to its modern purpose by Robert Potter in 1982 and opened in its current form as a library two years later. In recent years, the final gallery of the old museum building has been converted into a reading room, named the Gunn Gallery, after Dr Chan Gunn.

  • Gardens.
  • While officially being named the Grove, the grounds to the south of Gisborne Court have been known as the Deer Park since deer were brought there in the 19th century. During that period it achieved fame as the smallest deer park in England. After the First World War the deer sickened and passed their illness onto stock that had been imported from the Duke of Portland's estate at Welbeck Abbey in an attempt to improve the situation. There are no longer any deer.

    The remainder of the college's gardens divide into areas known as the Fellows' Garden, just to the south of Old Court, and the Scholars' Garden, at the south end of the site, surrounding the William Stone Building.

  • William Stone Building.
  • The William Stone Building stands in the Scholars' Garden and was funded by a £100,000 bequest from William Stone (1857–1958), a former scholar of the college. Erected in 1963-4, to a design by Sir Leslie Martin and Sir Colin St John Wilson, it is an eight-storey brick tower housing a mixture of fellows and undergraduates. It has been refurbished, converting the rooms to en-suite.

  • Master's Lodge.
  • The Master's Lodge is situated across Trumpington Street from the College, and was bequeathed to the College in 1727 by a fellow, Dr Charles Beaumont, son of the 30th Master of the college, Joseph Beaumont. It is built in red brick in the Queen Anne style.

  • The Hostel.
  • The Hostel is situated next to the Master's Lodge. It was built in a neo-Georgian style in 1926 from designs by Thomas Henry Lyon. The Hostel was intended to be part of a larger complex but only one wing was built. It currently houses undergraduates and some fellows. During World War II the London School of Economics was housed in The Hostel and nearby buildings, at the invitation of the Master and Fellows.

  • Cosin Court.
  • Behind the Hostel lies Cosin Court, which provides accommodation for fellows, mature, postgraduate and married students. The court is named for John Cosin (1594–1672) who was successively Master of Peterhouse, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University and Prince-Bishop of Durham.

  • St Peter's Terrace.
  • This row of Georgian townhouses houses first-year undergraduates, fellows, and some graduate students in basement flats. It is directly in front of the William Stone Building.

  • Arms.
  • The College has, during its history, used five different coats of arms. The one currently in use has two legitimate blazons. The first form is the original grant by Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms, in 1575:
  • Or four pallets Gules within a border of the last charged with eight ducal coronets of the first.
  • The College did, however, habitually use a version with three pallets and this was allowed at the Herald's Visitation of Cambridgeshire in 1684. The latter version (with three pallets) was officially adopted by the Governing Body in 1935. The construction of the arms is that of the founder, Hugo de Balsham, surrounded by the crowns of the See of Ely.

    * – Visiting – *

    Peterhouse is situated on Trumpington Street in Cambridge City centre. All visitors to the College should report first to the Porters' Lodge located at the main entrance on Trumpington Street. The telephone number for the Porters' Lodge is 01223 338200. The Visit Cambridge website is another useful source of travel information. The grounds and exterior are fully accessible. Assistance dogs are welcome. There are no formal tours.


    Location : Peterhouse, Trumpington St, Cambridge CB2 1RD

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then 1 mile or taxi. Bus routes: busway route U stops outside.

    Opening Times : Dawn till dusk.

    Tickets : Free.

    Tel: 01223 338200

    The Gatehouse

    The Gatehouse

    Croquet Lawn, New Court

    Croquet Lawn


    * – Pembroke College – *


    Pembroke College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college is the third-oldest college of the university and has over seven hundred students and fellows. Physically, it is one of the university's larger colleges, with buildings from almost every century since its founding, as well as extensive gardens.

    Pembroke is home to the first chapel designed by Sir Christopher Wren and is one of the six Cambridge colleges to have educated a British prime minister, in Pembroke's case William Pitt the Younger. The college library, with a Victorian neo-gothic clock tower, is endowed with an original copy of the first encyclopaedia to contain printed diagrams.

    Marie de St Pol, Countess of Pembroke (1303-1377) founded Pembroke College, Cambridge. On Christmas Eve 1347, Edward III granted Marie de St Pol, widow of the Earl of Pembroke, the licence for the foundation of a new educational establishment in the young university at Cambridge. The Hall of Valence Mary ("Custos & Scolares Aule Valence Marie in Cantebrigg'"), as it was originally known, was thus founded to house a body of students and fellows. The statutes were notable in that they both gave preference to students born in France who had already studied elsewhere in England, and that they required students to report fellow students if they indulged in excessive drinking or visited disreputable houses.

    Pembroke is the earliest Cambridge College to survive today on its original site with an unbroken constitution from its first foundation. The original buildings comprised in a single court (now called Old Court) all the component parts of a college – Chapel, hall, kitchen and buttery, Master’s lodgings, students’ rooms – and the statutes provided for a manciple, a cook, a barber and a laundress. Both the founding of the College and the building of the Chapel – the first college Chapel in Cambridge – required the grant of a Papal Bull.

    The original Chapel still exists and is today known as the Old Library. The Hall was originally a single-storey building with a pitched roof, however the roof was removed in 1452 and a flat ceiling installed above the Hall allowing a new library to be built (the Foundress provided in early statutes for a librarian, but the location of the original library is uncertain). The original Master’s Lodge consisted of a couple of rooms to the south of the Hall; before the Reformation the Master was unmarried. After 1549, when the College acquired more land, the Master’s quarters were extended south: the Master could now marry.

  • Ivy Court.  •
  • By the end of the fourteenth century the original First Court (now Old Court) was complete. There then elapsed over two hundred years before any further major development took place. In about 1614 work began on the area to the north of Old Court and Ivy Court came into being. By 1616 the two-thirds of the buildings on the Pembroke Street side of Ivy Court were completed, with the remaining third being added in 1670 when the land was acquired. Between 1659 and 1661 the south range of Ivy Court was built with money bequeathed by Sir Robert Hitcham; it is still known as Hitcham Building. At its western end on the first floor is the Thomas Gray room (where Thomas Gray and William Pitt were in turn to live); a doorway in the room’s west wall would have led to the Lodge.

  • The Chapel.  •
  • The current Chapel owes its origins to Matthew Wren, Bishop of Ely. During his imprisonment in the Tower of London during the Civil War he vowed that, if he were released, he would build a new chapel for his College. This he did, choosing for the architect his nephew, and the Chapel of Pembroke, consecrated in 1665, is the first completed work of Sir Christopher Wren and the first chapel in Oxford or Cambridge in the classical style. The east end was extended by George Gilbert Scott Junior in 1880. The former chapel was converted soon afterwards into a library – this room with a magnificent plasterwork ceiling is now known as the Old Library. Adjoining Wren’s chapel a cloister was built; the cloister records the names of 450 Pembroke men who fell in the wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45.

    * – The Victorian College – *

    After the completion of the buildings in Ivy Court and the construction of the Chapel no further building work took place in Pembroke till the 1870s. In the mid 1800s some cosmetic alterations were made to the Hall, but in 1870 with the election of a new Master and undergraduate numbers increasing the College needed to expand. Alfred Waterhouse, architect, was asked by the College to suggest ‘the best way of providing for the College a group of buildings as efficient, convenient and architecturally effective as the site was capable of’. With such instructions Waterhouse’s plans envisaged rebuilding the entire College; not even the chapel would have been spared.

    In the end caution won the day and Waterhouse designed Red Buildings to the south of the Chapel on Crossinge’s Place, not part of the medieval part of the College. Red Buildings presented a new style to Cambridge – a red-brick building with a high tower in French Renaissance style. Waterhouse also designed a new Master’s Lodge (now N staircase) on the land known as Paschal’s Yard, east of Ivy Court, and the Old Master’s Lodge and the South range of Old Court were then demolished in 1874. This left the Hall looking ramshackle: after much debate, the Fellows agreed to its demolition, Waterhouse designing a new Hall (1875-6) – a single room with an open timber roof.

    Waterhouse’s final contribution to Pembroke was the current Library (1877-8). The view from Old Court towards the Library, beyond Wren’s Chapel and Waterhouse’s Hall, is particularly fine.

    Waterhouse’s radical renovation of the College might have continued had the Fellowship not reconsidered their choice of architect. In 1878 it was decided to demolish the now ‘Old Library’ but the Fellows decided the job should go to George Gilbert Scott Junior, rather than Waterhouse. Scott in 1879 advised the College to preserve the ancient buildings and delayed submitting plans for the remodelling of the Old Library. His tactic was successful: in 1880 the College reversed its decision on the Old Library and restored its use to a meeting room.

    Having saved the Old Library, Scott was also responsible for the expansion of the College towards the north east of the site, with the construction of New Court in 1881. The buildings of New Court combine allusions to the architecture of the previous three centuries with almost Arts and Crafts motifs in the groups of angels sculpted at the exterior corners and in some of the interior woodwork.

    * – The Twentieth Century – *

    The steady increase in student numbers in the early twentieth century necessitated further extension of the College. The architect W.D. Caroe was commissioned to design two buildings. The first, Pitt Building (M staircase), is situated between Ivy Court and the then Master’s Lodge. The second building was a modest extension of New Court (O staircase), linking New Court to the Master’s Lodge. Caroe’s final task was to link his two buildings by an arched stone screen along Pembroke Street. Besides adding a decorative feature to this part of College there was a practical element to the bridge: connecting Pitt Building to New Court allowed students to pass between the two sections of College without needing to leave College (or trespass in the area that was then the Fellows’ Garden).

    In 1926, dissatisfaction amongst the Fellows of the College with Waterhouse’s Hall led the Fellows to decide to remove the open roof. A flat ceiling was introduced, with two storeys of rooms above providing extra accommodation. At the same time the wall between the Hall and the then Fellows’ combination room was taken down, the latter being made into a high-table dais.

    In 1933 a new Master’s Lodge was built in the south-east corner of the gardens; this allowed for the conversion of the previous Lodge into additional accommodation. In 1954-7 Orchard Building was built on the part of the site of the Foundress’s orchard.

    In the 1960s and 1970s the College was extensively refurbished, to improve the standard of accommodation and to prevent decay. Even so, it remained impossible to house most junior members on site. So, in 1995, the College commissioned Eric Parry to undertake a large construction project to house 92 students in the south-east corner of the garden, in place of the Master’s Lodge and Garden. Foundress Court was finished in 1997. The building also contains a new Master’s Lodge (Pembroke’s fourth Lodge), as well as two Fellows’ sets, bedsitting rooms adapted for use by disabled students, sound-proofed rooms for musical events and practice, an exercise room with multigym, a new computer room, a seminar room and an extra common room.

    In 2001 the Fellows gave the Cambridge architect Tristan Rees-Roberts the job of adding an extension and basement to the library to house the College’s rare book archive and to provide additional reading space, disabled access, a law library and a new seminar room. Further seminar rooms and Fellows’ studies were gained with the acquisition in 2008 of Chris Adams House on the corner of Pembroke Street and Free School Lane, with fine views of Caroe’s Bridge and the College roofscape. In 2011 the College engaged the architect Nicholas Ray to renovate the Waterhouse Hall, installing discreet twenty-first century technology and enlarging its capacity.

    * – Gardens – *

    Pembroke College gardens are unusual not only in their planting but also in their accessibility. Walk into College from bustling Trumpington Street and you can stroll through Old Court where the medieval College began, to Library Lawn with its rose borders and statue of prime minister William Pitt, then on into what was once the Fellows’ garden but is now open to all their students as well as visitors.

    Here there is an orchard with fruiting trees including a mulberry and a medlar, and a great Avenue of London planes standing tall like sentinels guarding their newest accommodation for students, Foundress’ Court. Also, beyond the deep pond created from a wartime watertank, an ancient bowling green – not ‘the oldest in Europe’ as twittering generally has it, but possibly unique in having a rub, that is a ridge running down the centre which was a feature in the ancient game and is used metaphorically by Hamlet in his famous soliloquy: ‘To be or not to be… ay, there’s the rub,’ i.e. impediment. Only Fellows play here, with wooden bowls going back to the 18th century which are sliced rather than spherical. The green is otherwise regarded as precious, to be sat around rather than walked over.

    Students do play croquet on the nearby New Court lawn which is surrounded on three sides by an exquisite stone wall border made up of many unusual plants with a variety of shrubs on the court walls. The path that leads back towards the 17th century Ivy Court with its formal yews and lavender (but no ivy), bears the name of Nicholas Ridley, one time student, Fellow and Master who in 1555 was burned at Oxford for his Protestant faith. As he reviewed his life he recalled how: ‘In thy orchard (the walls, buts and trees, if they could speake, would beare me witnesse) I learned without booke almost all Pauls Epistles…Of which yet the sweet smell thereof I trust shall carry with me into heaven.’

    Ridley’s Walk retains something of its sweet savour with herbaceous beds by the Junior Parlour and, on the other side, a little (largely) white garden focused around a small, shallow pool. Opposite in a more ‘tropical’ bed is a banana tree, Musa basjoo, which has survived in the warmth of this corner and once borne a hand of fruits.

    Turn left by the delightful memorial sundial before Ivy Court and another large herbaceous bed skirts the orchard filled with plants recommended by the Financial Times and ends with a winter garden. Beyond the Library by Red Buildings a newish bed, the gift of a Pembroke family, has been planted to brighten up this Victorian corner of the College.

    All these gardens are edged by the rooms of students and Fellows giving wonderful views and vistas in which all can share. No wonder that students frequently say that what tipped them in favour of coming to Pembroke was the gardens.

    * – Visiting – *

    Visitors are welcome to walk round the grounds of Pembroke and to visit the Chapel if there is no service taking place; the interiors of other College building, including the Library, are private. The College is open from 2pm to 5pm every day, but is closed to visitors during the main exam period (mid May to mid June). Visitors to the College are asked to respect the College and to remember that it is a place of study.

    Groups wishing to come round the College or anyone wishing to film in the College are asked to contact the Bursar’s Office to make arrangements. Assistance dogs are welcome. Please click here for a virtual tour and gallery of the college. Unfortunately, no car parking facilities are available in College. The nearest public car park is the Grand Arcade, off Pembroke Street.


    Location : Pembroke College, Cambridge CB2 1RF

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then bus or taxi. Bus routes: 26 and busway route U stop close by.

    Opening Times : Grounds - Dawn till dusk;  College - 14:00 to 17:00 daily (except exam time).

    Tickets : Free.

    Tel: 01223 338100

    St John's, New Court

    St John's, New Court

    Bridge of Sighs

    Bridge of Sighs


    * – St. John's College – *


    St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge (the full, formal name of the college is The Master, Fellows and Scholars of the College of St John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge). The college was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort. In constitutional terms, the college is a charitable corporation established by a charter dated 9 April 1511. The aims of the college, as specified by its Statutes, are the promotion of education, religion, learning and research.

    The college's alumni include the winners of ten Nobel Prizes, seven prime ministers and twelve archbishops of various countries, at least two princes and three Saints. The Romantic poet William Wordsworth studied at the college, as did William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, the two abolitionists who led the movement that brought slavery to an end in the British Empire. HRH Prince William was affiliated with St John's while undertaking a university-run course in estate management in 2014.

    St John's College is also well known for its choir, its members' success in a wide variety of inter-collegiate sporting competitions and its annual May Ball. In 2011, the college celebrated its quincentenary, an event marked by a visit of HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

    The site was originally occupied by the Hospital of St John the Evangelist, probably founded around 1200. By 1470 Thomas Rotherham Chancellor of the University, extended to it the privileges of membership of the University. This led to St. John's House, as it was then known, being conferred the status of a college. By the early 16th century the hospital was dilapidated and suffering from a lack of funds.

    The Lady Margaret Beaufort, having endowed Christ's College sought to found a new college, and chose the hospital site at the suggestion of John Fisher, her chaplain and Bishop of Rochester. However, Lady Margaret died without having mentioned the foundation of St John's in her will, and it was largely the work of Fisher that ensured that the college was founded. He had to obtain the approval of King Henry VIII of England, the Pope through the intermediary Polydore Vergil, and the Bishop of Ely to suppress the religious hospital, by which time held only a Master and three Augustinian brethren, and convert it to a college.

    The college received its charter on 9 April 1511. Further complications arose in obtaining money from the estate of Lady Margaret to pay for the foundation and it was not until 22 October 1512 that a codicil was obtained in the court of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In November 1512 the Court of Chancery allowed Lady Margaret's executors to pay for the foundation of the college from her estates. When Lady Margaret's executors took over they found most of the old Hospital buildings beyond repair, but repaired and incorporated the Chapel into the new college. A kitchen and hall were added, and an imposing gate tower was constructed for the College Treasury. The doors were to be closed each day at dusk, sealing the monastic community from the outside world.

    Over the course of the following five hundred years, the college expanded westwards towards the River Cam, and now has twelve courts, the most of any Oxford or Cambridge College. The first three courts are arranged in enfilade. St John's College first admitted women in October 1981, when K. M. Wheeler was admitted to the fellowship, along with nine female graduate students. The first women undergraduates arrived a year later.

    * – Buildings and grounds – *

  • The Great Gate.  •
  • St John's distinctive Great Gate follows the standard contemporary pattern employed previously at Christ's College and Queens' College. The gatehouse is crenelated and adorned with the arms of the foundress Lady Margaret Beaufort. Above these are displayed her ensigns, the Red Rose of Lancaster and Portcullis. The college arms are flanked by curious creatures known as yales, mythical beasts with elephants' tails, antelopes' bodies, goats' heads, and swivelling horns. Above them is a tabernacle containing a socle figure of St John the Evangelist, an Eagle at his feet and symbolic, poisoned chalice in his hands. The fan vaulting above is contemporary with tower, and may have been designed by William Swayne, a master mason of King's College Chapel.

  • First Court.  •
  • First Court is entered via the Great Gate, and is highly architecturally varied. First Court was converted from the hospital on the foundation of the college, and constructed between 1511 and 1520. Though it has since been gradually changed, the front (east) range is still much as it appeared when first erected in the 16th century. The south range was refaced between 1772–6 in the Georgian style by the local architect, James Essex, as part of an abortive attempt to modernise the entire court in the same fashion.

    The most dramatic alteration to the original, Tudor court, however, remains the Victorian amendment of the north range, which involved the demolition of the original mediaeval chapel and the construction of a new, far larger set of buildings in the 1860s. These included the Chapel, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, which includes in its interior some pieces saved from the original chapel. It is the tallest building in Cambridge. The alteration of the north range necessitated the restructuring of the connective sections of First Court; another bay window was added to enlarge the college's hall, and a new building constructed to the north of Great Gate. Parts of First Court were used as a prison in 1643 during the English Civil War. In April 2011, Queen Elizabeth II visited St John's college to inaugurate a new pathway in First Court, which passes close to the ruins of the Old Chapel.

  • Dining Hall.  •
  • The college's hall has a fine hammerbeam roof, painted in black and gold and decorated with the armorial devices of its benefactors. The hall is lined to cill level with linenfold panelling which dates from 1528–9, and has a five-bay screen, surmounted by the Royal Arms. Above is a hexagonal louvre, dating to 1703. The room was extended from five to eight bays according to designs by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1863. It has two bay windows, containing heraldic glass dating from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries. In 1564, Queen Elizabeth rode into the college's Hall on horseback, during a state visit to Cambridge.

  • Second Court.  •
  • Second Court, built from 1598 to 1602, has been described as 'the finest Tudor court in England'. Built atop the demolished foundations of an earlier, far smaller court, Second Court was begun in 1598 to the plans of Ralph Symons of Westminster, and Gilbert Wigge of Cambridge. Their original architectural drawings are housed in the college's library, and are the oldest surviving plans for an Oxford or Cambridge college building. It was financed by the Countess of Shrewsbury, whose arms and statue stand above the court's western gatehouse.

    The court's Oriel windows are perhaps its most striking feature, though the dominating Shrewsbury Tower to the west is undoubtedly the most imposing. This gatehouse, built as a mirror image of the college's Great Gate, contains a statue of the benefactress Mary Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, added in 1671. Behind the Oriel window of the north range lies the Long Gallery, a promenading room that was, prior to its segmentation, 148 feet long. In this room, the treaty between England and France was signed that established the marriage of King Charles I of England to Queen Henrietta Maria. In the 1940s, parts of the D-day landings were planned there. Second Court is also home to the college's famous 'triple set', K6.

  • The College Library.  •
  • The Old Library was built in 1624, largely with funds donated by John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln. Hearing of the college's urgent need for greater library space, Williams donated £1,200 anonymously, later revealing his identity and donating a total of £2,011 towards the library's total cost of £3,000. The Library's fine bay window overlooks the River Cam, and bears the letters ILCS on it, standing for Iohannes Lincolniensis Custos Sigilli, or John of Lincoln, Keeper of the Seal. The original intention of the college had been to construct an elegant, classical building supported by pillared porticos, but Bishop William insisted on a more traditional design. Thus, though the college lays claim to few examples of neo-classical design, the college Library stands as one of the earliest examples of English neo-Gothic architecture.

  • Third Court.  •
  • Third Court is entered through Shrewsbury Tower, which from 1765 to 1859 housed an observatory. Each of its ranges was built in a different style. Following the completion of the college library in 1624, the final sides of Third Court were added between 1669 and 1672, after the college had recovered from the trauma of the English Civil War. The additions included a fine set of Dutch-gabled buildings backing onto the River Cam, and a 'window-with-nothing-behind-it' that was designed to solve the problem of connecting the windowed library with the remainder of the court.

  • Kitchen or Wren Bridge.  •
  • This was the first stone bridge erected at St John's college, continuing on from Kitchen lane. The crossing's chief distinction is the use of illusory intaglio; Wren's bridge is carved from a limestone monolith incised to give the appearance of masonry. The crossing lies south of the Bridge of Sighs, and was a replacement for a wooden bridge that had stood on the site since the foundation's early days as a hospital. Though Sir Christopher Wren submitted designs for the bridge, it was eventually built on a different site by a local mason, Robert Grumbold, who also built Trinity College Library. As with the Library, Grumbold's work was based on Wren's designs, and the bridge has become known more famously as 'the Wren Bridge'.

  • Kitchen Court.  •
  • This tiny court, formed within the walls of the old Kitchen Lane, is used as an outdoor dining area.

  • The Bridge of Sighs.  •
  • Though it bears little resemblance to its namesake in Venice, the bridge connecting Third Court to New Court, originally known as New Bridge, is now commonly known as the Bridge of Sighs. It is one of the most photographed buildings in Cambridge, and was described by the visiting Queen Victoria as "so pretty and picturesque". It is a single-span bridge of stone with highly decorative Neo-Gothic covered footwalk over with traceried openings. There is a three-bay arcade at the east end of the bridge. The architect was Henry Hutchinson.

  • New Court.  •
  • The 19th-century neo-Gothic New Court, probably one of the best known buildings in Cambridge, was the first major building built by any of the colleges on the west side of the river. Designed by Thomas Rickman and Henry Hutchinson, New Court was built between 1826 and 1831 to accommodate the college's rapidly increasing numbers of students. Despite the college's original intention to get the architects to build another copy of Second Court, plans were eventually accepted for a fashionably romantic building in the 'Gothic' style.

    It is a three-sided court of tall Gothic Revival buildings, closed on the fourth side by an open, seven-bayed cross-vaulted cloister and gateway. It is four storeys high, has battlements and is pinnacled. The main portal has a fan vault with a large octagonal pendant, and the interior of the main building retains many of its original features including ribbed plaster ceilings in the mock-Gothic style. Its prominent location (especially when seen from the river) and flamboyant design have led it to be nicknamed "The Wedding Cake". Hutchinson was suitably proud of his creation, and it is said that he once dashed up a staircase to reprimand an undergraduate for spoiling its symmetry by sitting too near one of its windows.

  • College Chapel.  •
  • The Chapel of St John's College is entered by the north west-corner of First Court, and was constructed between 1866 and 1869 to replace the smaller, mediaeval chapel which dated back to the 13th century. When in 1861 the college's administration decided that a new building was needed, Sir George Gilbert Scott was selected as architect. He had recently finished work on the chapel at Exeter College, Oxford, and went about constructing the chapel of St John's College along similar lines, drawing inspiration from the Church of Saint Chapelle in Paris.

    The benefactor Henry Hoare offered a downpayment of £3000 to finance the chapel's construction, in addition to which he promised to pay £1000 a year if a tower were added to Scott's original plans, which had included only a small fleche. Work began, but Mr Hoare's death in a railway accident left the college £3000 short of his expected benefaction. The tower was completed, replete with louvres but left without bells. It is based on Pershore Abbey. The tower is 50 metres high, and is the tallest structure in Cambridge (followed by the Cambridge University Library and King's College Chapel).

    The Chapel's antechamber contains statues of Margaret Beaufort and John Fisher. Inside the building is a stone-vaulted antechapel, at the end of which hangs a 'Deposition of the Cross' by Anton Rafael Mengs, completed around 1777. The misericordes and panelling date from 1516, and were salvaged from the old chapel. The chapel contains some fifteenth-century glass, but most was cast by Clayton and Bell, Hardman, and Wailes, in around 1869. Freestanding statues and plaques commemorate college benefactors such as James Wood, Master 1815–39, as well as alumni including William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson and William Gilbert.

    The college tower can be climbed, and is accessed via a small door on First Court. However, this access was closed in 2016 for the duration of important structural repairsto be carried out to the tower Pinnacles and roof.

    The Chapel is surrounded on three sides by large tabernacles which form part of the external buttresses. Each contains a statue of a prominent college alumnus, alumna or benefactor. The persons commemorated are, beginning with the buttress next to the transept on the south side:

  • Sir William Cecil, Lord Burleigh ·
  • Lucius, Viscount Falkland ·
  • John Williams, Archbishop of York ·
  • Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford ·
  • William Gilbert, natural philosopher ·
  • Roger Ascham, instructor to Elizabeth I ·
  • Mary Cavendish, Countess of Shrewsbury ·
  • Richard Bentley, classicist ·
  • Edward Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester ·
  • John Overall, Bishop of Coventry, Lichfield and Norwich ·
  • Peter Gunning, Bishop of Chichester and Ely ·
  • Sarah Alston, Duchess of Somerset ·
  • Thomas Clarkson, abolitionist ·
  • Brook Taylor, natural philosopher and mathematician ·
  • Thomas Linacre, founder of the Royal College of Physicians ·
  • Two plinths left vacant ·
  • Thomas Baker, historian
  • * – The Master's lodge and garden – *

    St John's Master's lodge is located in a grassy clearing to the north of Third Court. It was built at the same time as the new chapel was being constructed, and has Tudor fittings, wainscot, portraits and other relics from the demolished north wing of First Court. It has a large garden, and in the winter its westmost rooms have excellent views of the college's old library, the River Cam, and the Bridge of Sighs. The architect was Sir George Gilbert Scott.

    * – Buildings and courts since 1900 – *

  • Chapel Court, North Court, Forecourt.  •
  • Located to the west of the Chapel tower lies Chapel Court, which was constructed together with North Court and Forecourt in the 1930s to account for an increase in student numbers. North Court is located just north of Chapel Court and Forecourt is situated to the east, facing St John's Street. The latter is used partly as a car park for fellows and night entrance to the college. All three courts were designed by the architect Edward Maufe.

  • Cripps Court, Upper & Lower Rover Court.  •
  • Further increases in student numbers following WWII prompted the college to again increase the number of accommodation buildings. Cripps Court was built in the late 1960s to satisfy this demand. It is located just behind New Court and forms two courts (Upper & Lower River Court). Designed by architects Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya, the building is Grade II* listed having received an award from the British Architectural Institution. It is considered an exemplar of late 20th-century architectural style and is named after its main benefactor, Humphrey Cripps. In 2014, the building went through an extensive refurbishment program, which saw renovated accommodation and structural repairs, including the cleaning of the Portland stone which the building is made of.

  • School of Pythagoras and Merton Hall.  •
  • To the west of Cripps Court lies the School of Pythagoras. Built around 1200, it predates the college with 300 years and is both the oldest secular building in Cambridge and the oldest building continuously in use by a university in Britain. The building now serves as the location for the College Archives. Next to the School of Pythagoras lies Merton Hall. From 1266 until 1959 both the School of Pythagoras and Merton Hall were property of Merton College, Oxford. Merton Court is the college's eleventh and westernmost court.

  • Fisher Building.  •
  • In 1987 the construction of the Fisher Building was completed. Named after cardinal John Fisher, the building contains teaching rooms, conference facilities, and the student-run college cinema. It was designed by the architect Peter Boston.

  • All Saints Yard.  •
  • Located directly opposite the college's Great Gate is All Saints' Yard. The complex is formed from the buildings of the so-called 'Triangle Site', a collection of structures owned by the college. An extensive renovation project finished in Michaelmas Term 2012 had a budget of approximately £9.75 million. The centrepiece of the Yard is Corfield Court, named after the project's chief benefactor, Charles Corfield. The site can be entered through one of two card-activated gates, or through the School of Divinity. The School of Divinity is the largest building on the site, and was built between 1878 and 1879 by Basil Champneys for the University of Cambridge's Divinity Faculty on land leased by St John's College. Control of the building reverted to St John's when the Faculty of Divinity moved to a new building on the Sidgwick site in 2000.

    The original Chapel still exists and is today known as the Old Library. The Hall was originally a single-storey building with a pitched roof, however the roof was removed in 1452 and a flat ceiling installed above the Hall allowing a new library to be built (the Foundress provided in early statutes for a librarian, but the location of the original library is uncertain). The original Master’s Lodge consisted of a couple of rooms to the south of the Hall; before the Reformation the Master was unmarried. After 1549, when the College acquired more land, the Master’s quarters were extended south: the Master could now marry.

    * – College Choir – *

    The Choir of St John's College has a tradition of religious music and has sung the daily services in the College Chapel since the 1670s. The services follow the cathedral tradition of the Church of England, Evensong being sung during Term six days a week and Sung Eucharist on Sunday mornings. The choir is currently directed by Mr Andrew Nethsingha, who has previously been Director of Music at Gloucester and Truro Cathedrals. The boys of the choir are all educated and board at St John's College School. During university vacations the choir carries out engagements elsewhere. Recent tours have taken it to places including the Netherlands, the US and the Far East.

    The choir has an extensive discography of nearly 100 commercial releases dating back to the 1950s, when it was signed to the Decca/Argo label under George Guest. The Choir has since had successful recording contracts with Hyperion Records and Chandos Records, resulting in many critical accolades including a Gramophone (magazine) Editor's Choice selection for 2015's collection The Call. In 2016 the choir signed to Signum Records on its own St John's College imprint. The first recording of this new venture was a collection of music by the contemporary composer Jonathan Harvey (composer) released in May 2016 to a number two position in the UK specialist classical charts. The imprint will also release non choral recordings by current and former members of the College.

    The men of the choir, or choral scholars, also form their own close harmony group, The Gentlemen of St John's. Their repertoire spans the 15th century through to the modern day, and concert tours have taken them to Europe, the US and Japan. They provide a mixture of classical a cappella music and folksongs, as well as covers of recently chart hits and light-hearted entertainment.

    * – Traditions and Legends – *

  • Consumption of Swan.  •
  • Fellows of St John's College are the only people outside the Royal Family legally allowed to eat unmarked mute swans. Swan traps were originally built into the walls of the college alongside the river, but these are no longer used. The Crown (the British monarch) retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but the Queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries. This ownership is shared with the Vintners' and Dyers' Companies, who were granted rights of ownership by the Crown in the fifteenth century, and was extended to the college via ancient Royalist ties.

  • Ghosts.  •
  • According to popular legend, St John's College is inhabited by a number of ghosts. In 1706, four fellows exorcised some ghosts from a house opposite the college by the simple method of threatening to fire their pistols at the positions the moans and groans were coming from. Second court is apparently still haunted by the ghost of the former undergraduate and master, James Wood. Wood was so poor that he could not afford to light his room, and would often do his work in the well-lit stairway.

  • New Court's Clock Tower.  •
  • New Court's central cupola has four blank clock-faces. These are subject to various apocryphal explanations. One legend maintains that a statute limiting the number of chiming clocks in Cambridge rendered the addition of a mechanism illegal. No such limitation is known to exist. More likely explanations include Hutchinson's fear that the installation of a clockface would spoil the building's symmetry, and that the college's financial situation in the early nineteenth century made completion impossible.

    Other legends explaining the absence of clockfaces claim that St John's College and its neighbour, Trinity College, were engaged in a race to build the final (or tallest) clocktower in Cambridge. Supposedly, whichever was finished first (or was tallest) would be permitted to house the 'final' chiming clock in Cambridge. Trinity's Tower was finished first (or, in another version of the same story, was made taller overnight by the addition of a wooden cupola), and its clock was allowed to remain. In truth, the completion of New Court and Trinity's Clock (which is in King Edward's Tower) was separated by nearly two centuries. Trinity's famous double-striking was installed in the seventeenth century by its then-Master, Richard Bentley, a former student of St John's, who dictated that the clock chime once for Trinity, and once for his alma mater, St John's.

  • Shield and Arms.  •
  • St John's College and Christ's College, Cambridge both bear the arms of the Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of Henry VII. These arms are recorded in the College of Arms as being borne by right, and are described as: Quarterly: 1 and 4 azure three fleurs-de-lis gold (France, Modern); 2 and 3 gules three lions passant gardant or (England); all within a border compony silver and azure. In addition, both foundations use the Beaufort crest, an eagle displayed arising out of a coronet of roses and fleurs-de-lis all gold, but their title to this is more doubtful. When displayed in their full achievement, the arms are flanked by mythical yales.

  • Motto.  •
  • The college motto is souvent me souvient, supplied by Lady Margaret Beaufort, and written in Mediaeval French. It is inscribed over gates, lintels and within tympana throughout the college, functioning as a triple pun. It means 'often I remember', 'think of me often' and, when spoken (exploiting the homonym souvent me sous vient), 'I often pass beneath it' (referring to the inscriptions). The college shares its motto with Christ's College, Cambridge and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

  • College Grace.  •
  • The College Grace is customarily said before and after dinner in Hall. The reading of Grace before dinner (ante prandium) is usually the duty of a Scholar of the College; Grace after dinner (post prandium) is said by the president or the senior fellow dining. The Graces used in St John's have been in continuous use for some centuries and it is known that the Ante Prandium is based upon mediaeval monastic models. The Grace is said shortly after the fellows enter the Hall, signalled by the sounding of a Gong, and accompanied by the ringing of the college's Grace Bell. The Ante Prandium is read after the Fellows have entered, the Post Prandium after they have finished dining.

    * – Visiting – *

    Visitors and tourists are welcome to visit St John's and experience this unique environment. The College is open to visitors and tourists all year round at the following times. Tourist access is through the Great Gate in St John’s Street only.

  • •1 March 2018 - 31 October 2018: 10am - 5.00pm.
  • •Other dates (off-season): 10am - 3.30pm.
  • •The College is closed from 25 December 2018 - 2 January 2019.
  • The College will be closed to groups from 14 May 2018 - 28 June 2018, and closed to the public from 16-28 June 2018. Please note that the College can also close at other times at short notice. Contact them at or by phone: 01223 338606 if you have any queries.

    A guided tour of the College is strongly recommended, and a special entry rate of £5.00 per visitor is available for those visiting with a registered guide. Bespoke tours of St John's College and other sites of interest in Cambridge are organised by See Cambridge Differently. Guided tours are also organised by Visit Cambridge. You can view and download the St John's Visitor Guide here, and the St John's Chapel Windows Guide here.

    General tourist charges are as follows:

  • •Adult: £10;
  • •Children under 12: Free;
  • •Children (12-17), senior citizens & students: £5.00;
  • •Members of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge residents and those visiting the College for academic purposes may enter free of charge.
  • The tourist route is accessible by all visitors; however the main route enters the Chapel via steps. A map indicating a route that is accessible for those visitors using a wheelchair to enter the Chapel via a ramped route is available from the main entrance.


    Location : St John's College, St. John's Street, Cambridge CB2 1TP

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then 1 mile, bus or taxi. Bus routes: 8, citi5, citi6, X3 and X8 stop close by.

    Opening Times : March through October 10:00 to 17:00; Off season 10:00 to 15:30; see above.

    Tickets : Adults £10.00; Concessions (see above) £5.00; Children under 12 Free.

    Tel: 01223 338606

    The Bursar's Garden

    The Bursar's Garden

    Corpus Christi Dining Hall

    Corpus Christi Dining Hall


    * – Corpus Christi College – *


    Corpus Christi College (full name: "The College of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary", often shortened to "Corpus", or previously "The Body") is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It is notable as the only college founded by Cambridge townspeople: it was established in 1352 by the Guild of Corpus Christi and the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary, making it the sixth-oldest college in Cambridge. With around 250 undergraduates and 200 postgraduates, it also has the second smallest student body of the traditional colleges of the University (after Peterhouse).

    The College has traditionally been one of the more academically successful colleges in the University of Cambridge. Corpus ranks among the wealthiest Cambridge colleges in terms of fixed assets, being exceptionally rich in silver. The College's endowment was valued at £104.9M at the end of June 2017, while its net assets were valued at £227.4M.

    The guild of Corpus Christi was founded in Cambridge in 1349 by William Horwode, Henry de Tangmere, and John Hardy in response to the Black Death. They determined to found a new college in the University of Cambridge, the sixth in the University's history. Later the same year the new guild merged with an older guild, the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which had been decimated by the Plague. The united guilds acquired land in the centre of town and their patron, the Duke of Lancaster, applied to King Edward III for a licence to found a new college, which was granted in 1352.

    Construction began immediately of a single modest court near the parish church and in 1356 it was ready to house the Master and two fellows. The college's statutes were drawn up in 1356. The united guild merged its identity with the new college, which acquired all the guild's lands, ceremonies, and revenues. The grandest of these ceremonies was the annual Corpus Christi procession: a parade through the streets to Magdalene Bridge, the host carried by a priest and several of the college's treasures carried by the Master and fellows, before returning for an extravagant dinner. The parade continued until the English Reformation, when the Master, William Sowode, put a stop to it in 1535. The college continues to have a grand dinner on the feast day of Corpus Christi, the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.

    The newly constructed court could house 22 fellows and students. The statutes laid down the rules governing the behaviour of fellows only. Students were not part of the foundation at this stage and would not come within the scope of the statutes for another 200 years.

    In its early centuries, the college was relatively poor and so could not construct new buildings; thus Old Court has survived to the present day. It had no chapel, so the members worshipped in St Bene't's Church next door. For many years, particularly during the Reformation when Catholic references were discouraged, Corpus was known as St Bene't's. By 1376 it possessed 55 books, and many more would be donated or bequeathed over the succeeding centuries, including, most significantly, those donated in the 16th century by Archbishop Matthew Parker, who is celebrated by the college as its greatest benefactor.

    During the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, the college was sacked by a mob of townspeople (and apparently some students) led by the mayor which, according to the college, carried away its plate as well as its charter to be burned while gutting the rest of the college buildings. Corpus was the only University college, although by no means the only University building, to be attacked. The revolt, which ironically took place during the Corpus Christi week, focused on the college as centre of discontent due to its rigid collection of "candle rents". The college claimed £80 in damages.

    In 1460 during the Wars of the Roses, the college paid for armaments including artillery and arrows, and protective clothing to defend the college's treasures from a "tempestuous riot".

    Elizabeth, Duchess of Norfolk, and her sister Lady Eleanor Botelar née Talbot, who is believed by some to have been secretly married to Edward IV, endowed the college with scholarships in the 1460s and financed repairs to the college buildings. As a monument a 'talbot', the heraldic supporter of the Talbot family, was placed on the gable of Old Court and can still be seen today. At the same time the Master, Thomas Cosyn, built the college's first chapel and a passageway between Old Court and St Bene't's Church. Over the next few centuries, garret rooms were added in Old Court increasing student numbers.

    Although spared the worst of the religious tumult that the Reformation brought to England, the college produced adherents and indeed martyrs to both traditions. Notable are William Sowode who cancelled the Corpus Christi procession, St Richard Reynolds who was martyred by Henry VIII and Thomas Dusgate and George Wishart who were both burned as Protestants.

    It was during this time that Matthew Parker became Master. He donated his unrivalled library to the college, much silver plate and its symbol, the pelican. In order to ensure the safety of his collection Parker inserted into the terms of his endowment one which stated that if any more than a certain number of books were lost, the rest of the collection would pass first to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and then (in the event of any more losses) to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Every few years, representatives from both of those colleges ceremonially inspect the collection for any losses. Parker placed a similar condition on the silver that he bequeathed to the college and these stipulations are part of the reason why Corpus Christi College retains to this day the entirety of the library and the silver collection: they were unable to sell off (or melt down) the less valuable parts of either collection without losing both.

    So assiduous was Archbishop Parker in his acquisition of books and manuscripts he earned himself the epithet of "Nosey Parker", bringing about a phrase still used today. Parker was forced to resign as Master in 1553 by the accession of Mary I but was elected Archbishop of Canterbury upon the succession of Elizabeth I.

    The playwright Christopher Marlowe is perhaps the college's most-celebrated son, having matriculated to Corpus in 1580. Although little is known about his time there, it is often believed that it was during his study for his MA that he began his work as a spy, a claim based on only a single cryptic statement by the Privy Council. In 1953 during renovation of the Master's Lodge a portrait of a man "in the 21st year of his age" was discovered. As the painting is dated 1585, the year Marlowe was 21, it has been claimed as a portrait of the playwright himself.

    As the number of students rose a bigger chapel became necessary. In 1578 Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, who had already endowed several scholarships to the college, donated £200 for the construction of a new chapel. This sum was not nearly great enough to build a chapel, and despite the efforts of the Master and fellows, the project outran estimates and nearly bankrupted the college. The college sold all of its silver, apart from the gifts from Parker, and the building work was not completed until 1662. Other contributors included Elizabeth I and Sir Francis Drake.

    Owing to disputed appointments to the Mastership, Elizabeth I imposed the appointment of John Jegon as Master in 1590. The college did not appoint its own Master for some time. Although not the college's choice, Jegon extricated the college from its financial difficulties by instituting fellow commoners, who would stay for one or two years and were never technically members of the University. Their parents were required to pay with a silver cup or tankard, which would then be melted down.

    The next notable Master was Henry Butts, who was also Vice Chancellor of the University. When the plague returned to the city and the rest of the University had fled, Butts stayed at his post, trying to limit the pestilence while staying alone in the college. He was unrewarded for his bravery and this experience seems to have had a terrible effect on him. In 1632, when Butts failed to turn up to deliver the University Sermon on Easter Day, he was found to have hanged himself.

    Corpus maintains an impressive collection of silver as it was the only college not to sell its silverware in support of either side during the Civil War. That, and its unrivalled collection of manuscripts and massive collection of rare wines and ports, fuels rumours that it is Cambridge's richest college per student. This is a moot point, since these assets cannot be sold and the majority of them cannot be valued.

    Unlike other Oxbridge colleges, the college managed to remain neutral during the Civil War. This was due to the ministration of Richard Love who was Master throughout the Civil War and the Commonwealth. According to college legend, the silver plate was distributed to the fellows to keep it from being requisitioned by the warring factions. When the fighting finished the plate was returned and melted down to pay for repairs. Twelve college heads were removed from their posts, but Love and three others were retained. The college also escaped the worst excesses of the puritan Commonwealth. When William Dowsing inspected the college he found "nothing to amend". St Bene't's Church was not so lucky and indeed there was much disturbance in the fellowship as many were forced out and reinstated as circumstances changed through the period.

    In 1688 the college was attacked once again by a mob, this time with an anti-Catholic bent. They made for the rooms of the bursar, Clement Scott, whom they suspected of popery. He hid himself from the mob so they destroyed his books and papers.

    The college continued to grow throughout the 18th Century and did produce several distinguished scholars and clergymen including the so-called Benedictine Antiquaries, a dozen or so men all well known for antiquarian research including such figures as Richard Gough, Brock Rand and William Stukeley.

    In the 1740s Archbishop Thomas Herring left £1000 for the rebuilding of the college and this led to several abortive attempts to start construction. In 1770 Matthias Mawson, former Master and Bishop of Ely, bequeathed £3000 to defray the costs of demolishing and rebuilding the college but this was not enough. It was not until 1822 when £55,000 had accrued in the rebuilding fund that efforts started. William Wilkins, who had recently completed major works at Downing, King's, and Trinity, was appointed architect and the New Court was completed in 1827 in a neo-gothic style. This involved the demolition of several buildings, including the Elizabethan chapel. The chapel currently standing in New Court is part of the 19th Century construction. Completion of a new, larger court allowed for many more students and numbers increased from 48 to 100.

    During the 19th Century the college became associated with the Evangelical religious movement. In the 1860s its popularity grew so great that it became the third largest college in Cambridge. Corpus was always strongly clerical as, at the time, all the fellows had to be in Holy Orders of the Church of England. For many years the majority of the college's graduates went on to be clergymen. However, the University was changing quickly; with the repeal of the Test Acts and Catholic emancipation allowing Catholics to join the University for the first time. The syllabus also broadened and the fellow commoners faded away. In 1882, fellows were allowed to marry for the first time. This meant that being an academic fellow could be a lifelong career rather than a stop gap between study and becoming a country parson. Consequently, the demographics of the college fellowship changed significantly during this time.

    The first married fellow was Edward Byles Cowell who was the first professor of Sanskrit. Later in the century the college fell on hard times and the number of undergraduates dropped to fewer than 50. It was around this time that the infamous 'Chess Club' was founded. Despite their impeccant name they became notorious for hard drinking and partying. They were outlawed in the 1980s for their activities and there has been a blanket ban on all "drinking societies" since.

    Colonel Robert Caldwell was made Master in 1906 and was the first ever layman to be appointed to the post. He changed the policy of the college with regard to admittance of fellows and undergraduates encouraging men from other colleges and outside Cambridge to become fellows. The college was no longer chiefly training men for the clergy. Student numbers increased significantly and a new undergraduate Library named after one of the Burgesses for the University, Geoffrey Butler was completed. The college also began construction of its sports grounds in west Cambridge in 1939.

    During World War Two, the Master was Sir Will Spens, who was also Regional Commissioner for the Eastern Region: had Hitler invaded, he would have been in charge of running Eastern England. This has led to a persistent rumour of a network of tunnels under the college excavated for this purpose. While there are extensive wine cellars, there is no evidence of such tunnels. While there were fewer undergraduates, the space was taken by cadets and officers taking short courses. Due to the increase in student numbers in the 1930s, Corpus is one of the few British institutions to have lost more members in the Second World War than in the First. Their names are inscribed in the Chapel.

    Corpus owns The Eagle Pub, which is managed by Greene King. Watson and Crick are said to have refreshed themselves in this pub while studying the structure of DNA in the nearby Cavendish Laboratory. Upon making the discovery in 1952, they are said to have walked into the pub and declared, "We have found the secret of life". A blue plaque on the front of the pub commemorates the event. The Eagle is also well known as a haunt for RAF officers in World War Two; renovations revealed hundreds of signatures, drawings and messages written, or even burnt, onto the walls and ceilings.

    During the 1960s, central heating was extended across the entire college campus. Women were also allowed to join the college Chapel Choir and dine in hall. In 1963, the college's first bar was opened in New Court. In 2008, it was moved to Library Court and the old bar was converted into a post room, staffroom and a graduate student common room.

    In 1962, the college approved the conversion of the Leckhampton site to allow for more accommodation for fellows and postgraduate students. Further properties were purchased adjacent to the site and a new building, the George Thomson building, named in honour of a former Master, was completed in 1964.

    In 1983, women were first admitted as undergraduates. They had been able to become research students and Fellows for a few years before this. In the same year, the college completed building work in Botolph Court, adding further undergraduate accommodation. Similar renovation work was completed in Bene't Court above the Eagle pub in the 1990s along with the creation of the Robert Beldam building.

    In recent years, the College has spearheaded the Northern Ireland Initiative. It also has strong links with New Zealand, taking a student on a full scholarship from the country each year, paid for by the Worshipful Company of Girdlers. A former president is the historian and Cold War scholar Christopher Andrew. He also chairs the 'Cambridge Intelligence Seminar' which convenes regularly in rooms. The current college visitor is the Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Lord Sainsbury of Turville.

    In 2008, the college completed the renovation of an adjacent bank building and other college buildings to create Library Court, the third court within the main college campus.

    In January 2012, several pieces of silver worth a total of £11,596 were stolen from the college collection. The items, which included chalices and patens, were taken from the college chapel while it was open to the public. Several pieces worth £956 in total were recovered a fortnight later; the remainder was discovered to have been melted down. A local man was arrested and charged with the theft. None of the pieces lost were part of Parker's bequest.

    On 12 July 2017, the Fellowship of the College elected Professor Christopher Kelly, President of the College and former Senior Tutor, as the College's 52nd Master. Professor Kelly is due to begin his term as Master in Michaelmas 2018, succeeding Stuart Laing, the College's 51st Master.

    * – Buildings and grounds – *

  • Old Court.  •
  • Built in the 1350s, Old Court contains some of Cambridge's oldest buildings, and retains many of its original features, such as sills and jambs used to hold oil-soaked linen in the days prior to the arrival of glass. The court is the oldest continually inhabited courtyard in the country (a claim disputed by Merton College, Oxford, which says the same of its Mob Quad).

    Possibly built from the core of an even older building, it is four-sided and typifies the model of construction of the colleges in Oxford or Cambridge. A passageway connects Old Court to Bene't Street. Due to its age the rooms are large and contain antique furniture but lack basic facilities and plumbing. In 1919 the ivy was removed from Old Court and a roughcast rendering was put in its place, followed by a major restoration in 1952 paid for by donations from old members.

    During the summer months students are permitted to sit on the lawn in Old Court and garden parties may be held whereas, like other Oxbridge colleges, normally only fellows are allowed to walk on the lawns. There is a large plaque, on the northern wall, dedicated to Christopher Marlowe and John Fletcher, both famous playwrights who studied at Corpus. Standing inside Old Court one can see the tower of St Bene't's Church, the oldest building in Cambridge, and the Old Cavendish Laboratory where the structure of DNA was solved by Watson and Crick and groundbreaking work on the structure of the atom was conducted by J. J. Thomson and Ernest Rutherford. Around 1500, the master, Thomas Cosyn built a brick gallery which connects Old Court with St. Benet's Church; the gallery is now part of an Old Court room set.

  • St Bene't's Church.  •
  • The adjacent St Bene't's Church served as the college's chapel until 1579 when one was built specifically for the purpose. The college remains the patron. The tower of St Bene't's is the oldest building in Cambridge dating back to before the Norman Conquest, built in the late Anglo-Saxon period. It is also notable for being the birthplace of the practice of ringing the changes, which was started by Fabian Stedman, a parish clerk, in 1670.

  • New Court.  •
  • New Court (completed 1827) was designed by William Wilkins, who is buried in the vaults of the college chapel. Although he went on to design the curtain wall in front of King's College, Cambridge and the National Gallery in London, he considered Corpus to be his favourite work and requested to be buried in the Chapel. A plaque commemorating him is in the entrance to the Parker Library within the court.

    This court also housed the Butler Library, the college's student library, directly below the Parker Library. Upon completion of the building works in 2008, it relocated to the new Library Court and was renamed the Taylor Library after the project's main benefactor John Taylor. Many of the more precious volumes in the Parker Library are now protected in vaults in what used to be the Butler Library. New Court was built to symbolise the harmony between the mind, body and soul with the Parker Library on the right representing the mind, the Hall and kitchens on the left representing the body and the Chapel in the centre representing the soul.

  • The Chapel.  •
  • The current chapel is the third the college has had and was completed in 1827 along with the rest of New Court. It was also designed by William Wilkins, but includes some Medieval glass and features, including the fellows' stalls, several memorials and the floor of the older Elizabethan Chapel, which was demolished in the construction of New Court. The first four stained glass windows date to around 1500 and are believed to come from the Abbey of Mariawald in Germany which had been dissolved by Napoleon.

    Some of the pews and the pulpit of the Elizabethan chapel can now be found in St Andrew's Church, Thurning, Norfolk. Hanging on the South wall is a depiction of the Madonna and Child by 17th Century artist Elisabetta Sirani. The Chapel also features an icon, something unusual for an Oxbridge college. The depiction of the Christ Pantocrator was painted for the college by a Greek Orthodox monk and is used as a focus for meditation.

    The Chapel was extended in the late 19th Century to make room for increasing student numbers and the chancel dates from this time. The ceiling, which had been a stone fan ribbed vault like the ceiling of the college gatehouse, was replaced by the painted wooden ceiling still in place today.

    Services are held daily and there are sung services three times a week: Evensong on a Wednesday evening, and on Sunday Holy Communion in the morning and Evensong in the evening. The Chapel choir is made up of students from both Corpus and other colleges in the University. They have released several CDs and tour regularly, previously visiting New York City and Italy. The current organ was built by Noel Mander MBE in 1968 and the casework was designed by Stephen Dykes Bower.[38] The previous organ was donated to Methodist College Belfast on their centenary in 1968.

  • The Parker Library.  •
  • The collection was begun in 1376 and much improved by a bequest from Matthew Parker, the college's Master between 1544 and 1553, who as Archbishop of Canterbury formed a fine collection of manuscripts from the libraries of dissolved monasteries. It is one of the finest and most important collections of medieval manuscripts in the world. The building was completed in 1827 in the construction of Wilkin's New Court. Currently the collection comprises over 600 manuscripts, around 480 of which were given by Parker, who also donated around 1000 printed volumes.

    Its most famous possession is the Canterbury Gospels, probably brought to England by St Augustine, when he was sent by Pope Gregory I to convert the people of Britain in 598 AD. The Gospels are still used in the enthronement of the Archbishops of Canterbury today and are transported to and from Canterbury by the Master and college representatives. It also contains the principal manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, works by Matthew Paris and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, to name only a few.

    In a joint venture between the college, the University Library and Stanford University in the United States of America the entire collection was digitised and is now available on the internet. Completed in 2010, the process involved the digitisation of over 200,000 separate pages.

  • Kwee Court (formerly Library Court).  •
  • In 2005, the lease of the bank adjacent to Corpus expired and the college reclaimed it to begin construction of Library Court. Due to be completed in 2007, the project overran due to archaeological finds and issues removing the bank vault. Library Court was completed in January 2008 and houses the college's student centre which includes the college bar, JCR and the Taylor Library along with new college offices. The Taylor Library was largely funded by and named after John Taylor, a former graduate of the college, inventor of the cordless kettle and former Chairman of Strix Ltd, an electric kettle thermostat manufacturer.

    While the outer facade of the bank building facing onto Trumpington Street, designed by architect Horace Francis, is Grade II listed, the interior was not. The inside was stripped out and a modern library was installed. The other rooms including the bar, student rooms, fellows rooms and student centre were remodelled within the existing building. Facing onto Library Court from the Taylor Library is a large window decorated by an engraving by Lida Kindersley. The project was designed by Wright & Wright Architects of London. The building has received several awards including the 2009 Royal Institute of British Architects Award in the East.

    On 19 September 2008, physicist Stephen Hawking unveiled a new clock called the Chronophage, which means "Time Eater" in Greek. It is situated facing onto the corner of King's Parade and Trumpington where the old entrance to the bank used to be. The clock is unusual not only because of its design but also because it is only accurate once every 5 minutes. The clock was conceived, designed and paid for by Taylor and donated to his alma mater. The clock is neon lit at night.

    In 2013, the Library Court was renamed Kwee Court after a large financial donation was made to the college. Students and fellows, however, continue to refer to the court by its traditional name. The donation - made by the Kwee family - was made on the condition that a balcony was built somewhere in the college. As most of the college buildings are Grade I listed, the only practical space for a balcony was in library court. The balcony (Kwee Balcony) is at the far end of the court from the entrance to the library.

  • Leckhampton House.  •
  • Leckhampton is a large, separate campus for postgraduate students. It is situated about a mile west of the main College site (which is traditionally referred to by postgraduate students as the 'Old House', to differentiate it from Leckhampton), just outside the city centre and is set off Grange Road. Here there are playing fields, 9½ acres (38,000 m²) of gardens and an open-air swimming pool.

    The site is made up of a Victorian mansion called Leckhampton House and the grade-II listed George Thomson Building, as well as five substantial detached houses on Cranmer Road, one house on Selwyn Gardens, and two houses on Barton Road; all of which back on to communal gardens and constitute a single site. In 2012, a new, purpose-built accommodation building was built to house additional students. The new building was opened on 14 September 2012 by the College Visitor and Chancellor of the University, the Lord Sainsbury of Turville. The site is known by students of the College as 'Leckers'.

  • Other buildings.  •
  • There are several outlying college properties. These include Bene't Street Hostel, above The Eagle, Newnham House, located near to Newnham College and Botolph Court which is said to be built on top of a 17th-century plague pit and slowly sinking into it. The Robert Beldam Building, adjacent to Bene't Street Hostel, is a modern accommodation block completed in the 1990s. It includes the McCrum Lecture Theatre. Additionally, the college owns two houses (Nos 6 & 8) in Trumpington Street, known in the college as "T" Street, which are almost directly opposite the University Engineering Department.

    Between Trumpington Street and Library Court are a series of terraced houses, also designed by Wilkins, owned by the college. All have been reclaimed by the college for use as student rooms or part of the Library except for the block used by the Trumpington Street Medical Practice. The doors leading from Trumpington Street have been sealed and the buildings can only be entered through Library Court.

  • Gardens.  •
  • There are two main gardens in the main college campus, the Bursar's Garden and the Master's Garden, the latter being the private garden of the Master and his family attached to the Master's Lodge. The Bursar's garden is a small garden situated between New Court, the Chapel and Old Court. Students are allowed to sit there throughout the Easter term at certain times of day. It is notable for the Mulberry tree which was given to the college by King James I as part of his abortive attempt to found a silk industry in England. There is a door leading out onto Free School Lane accessible through the Bursar's Garden.

    * – Traditions and Legends – *

    Dramatically, each spring a duck chooses to lay her eggs in a flower pot in Old Court some 200m from the River Cam. When the ducklings hatch and are ready to leave for the water one of the porters must stop traffic on Trumpington Street to allow the duck and her offspring to cross. The porters from St Catharine's across the road open the gates of their college and take over the responsibility of getting them to the river from there.

  • College Ghosts.  •
  • The College is said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. Most famous, and feared, is the terrifying apparition of Henry Butts, hero of the plague of 1630, who hanged himself with his garters in the then Master's Lodge on Easter Sunday, 1632. Butts' ghost was subject to an attempted (and purportedly unsuccessful) exorcism by three students in 1904. The last sighting of Butts was in 1967 as a half length figure of a man in the passage between New Court and Old Court.

    Another is that of Elizabeth Spencer and her young lover (both died in 1667). Elizabeth was the daughter of the then Master, John Spencer and apart from the Master's wife, the only woman in college. One of the students, James Betts, became enamoured with her and they regularly had tea together. On one such occasion her father interrupted them and she bungled Betts into a wardrobe. She then went away for some time leaving him in the cupboard, which only opened from the outside. When she came back to the cupboard she discovered he had asphyxiated. Elizabeth, in a fit of grief, committed suicide, throwing herself from the roof of Old Court. Their ghosts are said to walk on Christmas Eve.

    There have been few sightings of either apparition since the early 20th Century. This may have been because the Master in the 1930s, Sir Will Spens, let it be known that anyone complaining of a ghost would be sent down.

  • Coat of arms.  •
  • The college's coat of arms consists of a quartered shield featuring a pelican on a red background in the top left and bottom right corners and three white lilies on a blue background in the top right and bottom left corners. The coat of arms was created by Robert Cooke, Clarencieux King of Arms in 1570 on the request of the Master, Archbishop Matthew Parker. It was through this that Parker introduced the college to its symbol, the mythical pelican which has the body of a swan and the head of an eagle.

    The pelican was believed in Medieval times to live in trees and lay three eggs. When they hatch the pelican quarrels with and inadvertently kills them. The mother pelican then plucks out her own breast spilling her blood on them, restoring them to life. This became a potent symbol for Christ feeding his followers spiritually with his body and blood. It was often associated with the Corpus Christi cult during the Middle Ages but not with the Cambridge guild until the creation of the arms in the 16th Century.

    The white lilies on a blue background are an ancient symbol of the Virgin Mary. The two symbols therefore incorporate the two constituent guilds of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Although the college officially has no motto, the college toast, Floreat Antiqua Domus (i.e. "May the old house flourish") is often used as such. The nickname 'Old House' has historically been used to refer to the whole college, but most usually to designate the main college buildings, as opposed to outlying places.

    The College colours used on scarves, ties, and various sports' kits are two white stripes on a cerise background. The Boat Club use maroon, rather than the cerise shade of pink, for their strips and oar blades. The other sports teams use maroon or sometimes a lighter pink. The Chapel scarf, worn by the choir or chapel wardens, is a dark maroon background with two white stripes on either side of a navy blue stripe running down the middle.

  • Grace.  •
  • Formal dinners are held in the college's hall on Friday, Sunday, and some Wednesdays. Before the meal starts, a gong is sounded and the attendees stand as the fellows and their guests come in from the Old Combination Room to sit at High Table. Before dinner at Leckhampton, the College's postgraduate campus, a silent grace is held, with diners pausing to collect their thoughts and silently offer their own thanks before sitting. This unique tradition stems from the first dinner at Leckhampton, when new students and fellows, not knowing if the College grace should be said, hesitated awkwardly before sitting for dinner.

    * – Visiting – *

    There is a regular programme of temporary exhibitions of manuscripts in the Wilkins Room (in the Parker Library), which is open to all members of College by appointment. Please contact a member of the Parker Library staff to arrange a visit.

    The Parker Library is also open to the public every Monday and Thursday afternoon. Tours, by Visit Cambridge, leave from the Tourist Information Centre at 2.30pm and last one hour. This typically includes a visit to both courts, the college chapel, and the Parker Library; though this programme is variable depending upon the College and University Calendars. Tickets should be booked in advance online, or by phoning 01223 791501. Adults are £10.00 plus £5.00 for a souvenir booklet.


    Location : Corpus Christi College, Trumpington Street Cambridge CB2 1RH

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then bus or taxi. Bus routes: 26, 199 and busway route U stop close by.

    Opening Times : Grounds - Dawn till dusk;  Tours - 14:30 Monday and Thursday.

    Tickets : Tours - £10.00 per adult.

    Tel: 01223 338000

    Punting on the Cam

    Punting on the Cam

    Swimming in the River

    Swimming in the River


    * – River Cam – *


    The River Cam is the main river flowing through Cambridge in eastern England. After leaving Cambridge, it flows north and east into the Great Ouse to the south of Ely at Pope's Corner. The Great Ouse connects the Cam to the North Sea at King's Lynn: The total distance from Cambridge to the sea is about 40 mi (64 km) and is navigable for punts, small boats, and rowing craft. The Great Ouse also connects to England's canal system via the Middle Level Navigations and the River Nene. In total, the Cam runs for around 69 kilometres (43 mi) from its furthest source (near Debden in Essex) to its confluence with the Great Ouse.

    Hope you are sitting comfortable and paying attention as this is rather confusing. The original name of the river was the Granta and (unusually) its present name derives from the city of Cambridge (Old English: Grantebrycge) rather than the other way around: After the city's present name developed in Middle English, the river's name was backformed to match. This was not universally applied, however, and the upper stretch of the river continues to be informally known as the Granta. It has been said that the river is the "Granta" above the Silver Street Bridge (in Cambridge) and the "Cam" below it. The Rhee tributary is also formally known as the Cam, and the Granta has a tributary on its upper stretch also known as the Granta.

    Cambridge had been an inland port due to its location on the River Cam prior to the draining of the Fens. As the university colleges rose in importance, the course of the river through the town, known as the Backs, was moved further to the east to accommodate their new buildings. A report conducted in 1618 by Richard Atkyns highlighted the problems caused by sandbanks above Clayhithe and watermills obstructing navigation. An order made by the parliamentary Committee of the Association in 1643 regulated use of the river for trade, but the biggest change was the construction of Denver Sluice on the River Great Ouse, which reduced river levels on the lower river as tidal waters were excluded from the Ouse. Both the university and the Corporation of Cambridge complained to parliament in 1697 that the trade route to the town from King's Lynn had been severely impaired.

    In 1699, the Corporation sought to obtain an Act of Parliament which would allow them to improve the river from Clayhithe to Queens Mill at Cambridge. This was obtained on 27 February 1702 and created the Conservators of the River Cam, a legal body with authority to charge tolls for use of the river, which ranged from four shillings (20p) a ton for wine to one penny (0.4p) per person for passengers. The Conservators, of which there were a maximum of eleven, had powers to mortgage the tolls, in order to raise capital for improvements to the river immediately. This they did, and built sluices at Jesus Green, Chesterton, Baits Bite and Clayhithe. Most of the tolls were collected at Clayhithe.

    Prior to 1722, Denver sluice had been destroyed, and although Cambridge Corporation opposed its reconstruction, it was rebuilt by 1750. The river entered a period of steady profitability, with toll receipts rising from £432 in 1752 to over £1,000 by 1803. In 1835 they peaked at £1,995, and then declined slightly until 1846.

    The Convervators also raised some revenue from rents on the public houses which they owned adjacent to each of the sluices. Another Act of Parliament was obtained on 21 July 1813 which allowed the Conservators to alter the tolls and charge penalties, while the South Level Act of 1827 created Commissioners who had responsibility for the river below Bottisham. This act also appointed the vice-chancellor of the university and the mayor as navigation commissioners. The Conservators built locks at Baits Bite and Bottisham, and removed the sluice at Chesterton.

    The river was sufficiently profitable that the Conservators were able to contribute £400 towards the cost of rebuilding the Great Bridge, now called the Magdalene Bridge, in 1823, and a further £300 for the rebuilding of the Small Bridge, now Silver Street Bridge, in 1841. A year later they constructed a house at Clayhithe, which cost £880, and included a large room for meetings and banquets. Just three years later the Eastern Counties Railway reached Cambridge, and the navigation declined rapidly.

    Receipts dropped from £1,393 in 1846 to £367 in 1850, and were just £99 in 1898. Most commercial carrying on the river had stopped by World War I, although Banhams operated two steam tugs and three barges until the late 1930s, carrying gas water from Cambridge Gasworks to King's Lynn, where it was used in the manufacture of fertiliser. The last recorded passenger services had ceased nearly 100 years earlier, in 1839 and were started again in 2008 with the passenger vessel moored on Jesus Green.

    * – Recreational uses – *

    Like many rivers, the Cam is extensively used for several forms of recreational activity. These include angling, swimming and various kinds of boating.

  • Angling.  •
  • The water is not murky and is clean enough from its source to its confluence with the Great Ouse to support fish. The fishing rights on the west bank are leased annually to the Cambridge Fish Preservation and Angling Society. The Cam below Bottisham Sluice may still hold burbot, a fish thought to be extinct in English waters since the early 1970s. The last known burbot caught in Britain was in 1969, on the Cam, and in 2010 a fisherman reported spotting two in the Great Ouse. Above Hinxton and Great Chesterford the river holds a stock of wild brown trout, though it is also stocked by the Audley Fly Fishers club and other angling societies who own the rights.

  • Boating.  •
  • All boats require a navigation licence from either the Conservators of the River Cam or the Environment Agency. There are public moorings just below Jesus Lock on both sides of the river and on the western bank just north of the bridge at Clayhithe (both with a maximum stay of 48 hours), and unofficial moorings on the railings adjoining Riverside in Cambridge (unlimited stay, but usually fully occupied) which are under review by Cambridge City Council and likely to be reduced to eight or nine formalised residential moorings, or removed altogether. The moorings on the commons in Cambridge (Jesus Green, Midsummer Common and Stourbridge Common) are reserved by the City Council for holders of its long-term mooring permits. There are also some privately owned moorings. There is a public slipway next to the garden of the Green Dragon pub in Water Street, Chesterton. This is occasionally used for launching small boats.

  • Punting and Canoeing.  •
  • Punting is the most popular form of boating on the stretch of the river between Jesus Lock and Grantchester. Several of the colleges own punts, and they can also be hired from various companies, either with or without a person to operate them. The colleges and at least one private operator also own punts which are available for members of the public to travel on.

    Canoeing and kayaking, both recreational and competitive, are popular at all times of year, especially on the section above the Mill Pond towards Grantchester. Both Cambridge Canoe Club (on Sheep's Green) and Cambridge University Canoe Club (just upstream from Newnham) are based here.

  • Rowing and Sailing.  •
  • The lower river between Jesus Lock and Baits Bite Lock is the training and racing home of the Cambridge University Combined Boat Clubs' university and college, and the Cambridgeshire Rowing Association's town, rowing teams. The Cambridge Lent, May and Town Bumps rowing races, where boats set off at regular intervals, and the object is to catch and touch (that is, 'bump') the boat in front, are held here.

    The Cam Sailing Club was founded in 1899. It is based at Clayhithe near Waterbeach and organises sailing races most weekends between March and November.

  • Swimming.  •
  • The local swimming club's annual swim from the Mill pond to Jesus Green was cancelled for some years in the past because of higher pollution levels. Swimming on the upper river is popular in the summer, and people bathe at Grantchester Meadows all year round. Hardy bathers take part in the New Year's Day swim.

    * – Visiting – *

    The visitor can enjoy the delights and feeling of lazy contentment either through walking (and enjoying a rest or picnic) or by joining one of the many punt tours on offer. For an excellent description of the sights, as well as comprehensive easy-to-follow directions, for a most enjoyable walk please click here.

    There are a multitude of companies offering punt tours. This is a small selection:

  • Scudamore's Punting Company.  •
  • Discover the delights of the River Cam and enjoy a quintessentially English adventure on this 45-minute punting tour in Cambridge. Hop into your punt on the banks of the river and make yourself comfortable. Glide gracefully along the peaceful waterway as your guide points out sites of interest such as King's College Chapel, the Bridge of Sighs and the Mathematical Bridge, and gain insight into Cambridge’s fascinating history. In case the English summer takes a turn for the worse, your punt is equipped with blankets, cushions and umbrellas. From 9am until dusk. From £17.00

  • Let's Go Punting.  •
  • The River Cam winds by the rear of some of Cambridge’s university colleges, revealing perspectives that visitors sometimes miss. This chauffeured, shared punting trip takes you past key landmarks like the Bridge of Sighs and King’s College Chapel, and provides running live narration as you relax and enjoy the scenery. Plus, by booking the trip in advance, you're likely to save money on the on-the-day ticket price. From 11am to 4pm. From £12.00

  • Rutherfords Punting Tours.  •
  • The highlight of any Cambridge experience is a Rutherford's share tour. This Visit England quality assured 50 minute river tour takes you through the backs of the colleges, showing you the most breathtaking views Cambridge has to offer. Their professional chauffeurs will take you along the river and bring Cambridge to life with the fascinating story this city has to offer. Your tickets can be used on a walk-up basis - for the best deal buy before you arrive. There is no minimum or maximum age, all age groups are welcome. You will be sharing the boat with others - up to 12 people per boat. If you'd prefer a private tour, please get in touch with Rutherfords directly on 01223 322200. From 9.30am until dusk, tickets are from £16.00

  • Magdalene Bridge Punting Company.  •
  • They offer tours from Jesus Green along the famous college backs, providing one of the longest tours on the River Cam. Magdelene Bridge Punting Company encourage it's staff to provide a tailored tour to suit their customers, their guides are taught to read their passengers. They can give tales ranging from student pranks and embarrassing moments, to 800 years of in-depth history. Their tour is an ideal introduction to the beautiful city which they love so very much! The tour will take you underneath the famous ‘Bridge of Sighs’ through to the stunning ‘Wren Library’ which was Sir Christopher Wrens first commission. Other sites on the tour include King’s College Chapel and the beautiful Mathematical Bridge at Queens’ College. Tickets are from £13.50 (children £8.00).

    Disabled access for walking around Cambridge is very good. Assistance dogs are welcome and most requirements can be met by asking at the various College Porters' Lodges.


    Location : River Cam, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

    Transport: Cambridge (National Rail) then bus or taxi or 1 mile. Bus routes: 75, 199 and busway route U stop close by.

    Opening Times : Open 24 hours daily

    Tickets : Free; Punting tours see above.

    Tel: 01223 791500