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Cambridge and Its Colleges

Cambridge and Its Colleges
Title: Cambridge and Its Colleges
Release Date: 2018-06-03
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Cambridge and Its Colleges, by A. Hamilton(Alexander Hamilton) Thompson, Illustrated by Edmund H. New

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United Statesand most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost norestrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use itunder the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with thiseBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. If you are notlocated in the United States, you'll have to check the laws of thecountry where you are located before using this ebook.

Title: Cambridge and Its Colleges

Author: A. Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton) Thompson

Release Date: June 3, 2018 [eBook #57266]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8



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of the
Colleges & Churches


  • 1 Sᵗ. Botolph’s ch.
  • 2 Sᵗ. Benedict’s ”
  • 3 Sᵗ. Edward’s ”
  • 4 Sᵗ. Mary the Gᵗ.
  • 5 Sᵗ. Michael’s ch.
  • 6 Senate House
  • 7 Univʸ. Libʸ. & Mus. of Geology
  • 8 Guildhall & Free Library






The Gate of Honour

Caius Coll:



St John’s College

Illustrated by

“Ground where the grass had yielded to the steps
Of generations of illustrious men.”









So much has been written about Cambridgethat it is difficult to say anything new;and this little book is therefore merely an attemptto put together recorded facts in an orderly way.I have followed throughout the arrangementadopted by Mr Wells in his book on “Oxfordand its Colleges,” and have also borrowed hismethod of marking the portraits of collegeworthies with an asterisk. Every writer onCambridge must be under a great obligationto Willis and Clark’s Architectural Historyof the University; and Mr Atkinson’s latelypublished book gives a singular completeness tothe authorities for the architectural side of thequestion. Building at Cambridge, however, isa complex problem,—the history of Clare andthe University Church are cases in point—andto follow out carefully every date and markevery alteration would be beyond these limits.My endeavour has been, therefore, to indicatethe general date of every building rather thanto assign a date to every particular part of itsconstruction. For the historical part of thebook, the authorities, grave and anecdotal, aretoo numerous to mention. Among modern[xii]works on the subject, I owe a great deal toMr J. W. Clark’s “Cambridge: Historicaland Picturesque Notes” (Seeley, 1890). Iam sure, too, that whatever interest my ownpart in this book may lack, Mr New’s drawingswill more than supply.

April 23, 1898.



I. Cambridge 1
II. The University Church 18
III. Peterhouse 29
IV. Clare College 42
V. Pembroke College 53
VI. Gonville and Caius College 65
VII. Trinity Hall 76
VIII. Corpus Christi College 85
IX. King’s College 93
X. Queens’ College 120
XI. St Catharine’s College 135
XII. Jesus College 144
XIII. Christ’s College 160
XIV. St John’s College 174
[xiv]XV. Magdalene College 201
XVI. Trinity College 211
XVII. Emmanuel College 244
XVIII. Sidney Sussex College 254
XIX. Downing College 263
XX. Selwyn College, etc. 266
XXI. Girton and Newnham 272
XXII. The University Buildings 277
XXIII. The Churches of Cambridge 294



The Gate of Honour, Caius College Frontispiece
St Mary the Great 19
St Peter’s College 31
Clare College 43
Clare Bridge 47
Pembroke College 55
King’s College 95
King’s College Chapel 99
Queens’ College 121
The Bridge, Queens’ College 125
St Catharine’s College 137
Jesus College 145
Christ’s College 161
[xvi]St John’s College 175
St John’s College 179
Bridges of St John’s 183
Magdalene College 203
Trinity College 213
The Fountain, Trinity College 219
Sidney Sussex College 255
Newnham College 275
The Senate House 279
The Round Church 299


The drawings have been made from photographsmostly taken by Messrs Stearn of Cambridge andMessrs Valentine.



Dr Caius’ ingenious contention that Cambridgewas founded in 3538 B.C. byCantaber, a Spanish prince, has never receivedthe support which its audacity deserves. Thetown cannot pretend to so great an antiquity,nor is its Roman origin even certain. It stoodin the middle of a country intersected by Romanlines of road; in no part of England are Romanand British remains more plentiful and moreinteresting. The Via Devana, the great highroadfrom Colchester to Chester, was the roadwhich runs through the modern town from thestation to Magdalene Bridge, and continues ina straight line to Godmanchester and Huntingdon.The Via Iceniana, or Icknield Way,which ran straight across England from theEastern Counties, parts company with the Cambridgeroad on Newmarket Heath, and pursuesan undulating course south-westward to Roystonand Hitchin. Ermine Street, the Old NorthRoad, ran through Caxton, ten miles west ofCambridge, and met the Via Devana at Huntingdon.At Gogmagog Hills, five miles out ofthe town, we can trace the remains of Vandlebury[2]Camp, which commanded the course of theRoman roads, and looked over the southernFens and the Essex border. The familiarname of Grantchester is certainly of Romanorigin. Instances might be multiplied to showhow important this country was to Romanstrategy. But there is no direct evidence toprove that Cambridge of to-day represents theancient Camboritum. The Castle Hill, thatodd mound from which so good a view of thetown is obtained, is supposed to be in its originSaxon; it formed an important outpost againstthe Danes, who have left so many traces oftheir occupation in Norfolk and Suffolk. Andthe municipal history of Cambridge certainlybegins with Saxon times, and it was the seatof one of the earliest Gilds. Mr Atkinson, whohas so admirably traced the municipal constitutionof the town, gives us some details of the purposeand form of the Cambridge Gild of Thanes. Itwas what we should call to-day a friendly society;its members afforded each other mutual help.Such Gilds became common in Cambridge as inevery town during the Middle Ages; they werethe great aids to municipal life, and we shall findthat some of them grew rich and powerful enoughto found a College on their own account.

Our business is, however, with the University.One cannot fix a deliberate date of foundation.Universities, like every other great design, havesmall beginnings, and the origin of schools atCambridge was probably insignificant. Cambridgeis on the border of the Fenland, and the[3]Fenland contained the richest abbeys in England.Besides the

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