Christ's College, Cambridge

Christ's College, Cambridge
Colleges of the University of Cambridge

Christ's College

Christ's College First Court
Founders William Byngham (1437);
Lady Margaret Beaufort (1505)
Named after Jesus Christ
Established 1437,
Refounded 1505
Previously named God's House (1437-1505)
Admittance Men and women
Master Frank Kelly
Undergraduates 395[1]
Graduates 95[1]
Sister colleges Wadham College, Oxford
Branford College, Yale
Adams House, Harvard
Pforzheimer House, Harvard
Location St Andrew's Street (map)
Christ's College heraldic shield
Souvent me Souvient
(Old French, "I often remember")
College website
JCR website
Boat Club website

Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.

With a reputation for high academic standards, Christ's College averaged top place in the Tompkins Table from 1980-2000 [2]. In 2011, Christ's was placed sixth.


College history

The college grew from God's House founded in 1437 on land now occupied by King's College Chapel. It received its first royal licence in 1446. It moved to its present site in 1448 when it received its second royal licence. It was renamed Christ's College and received its present charter in 1505 when it was endowed and expanded by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII.


The original 15th/16th century college buildings now form part of First Court, including the chapel, Master's Lodge and Great Gate tower. The gate itself is disproportionate: the bottom has been cut off to accommodate a rise in street level, which can also be seen in the steps leading down to the foot of L staircase in the gate tower. The college hall, originally built at the very start of the 16th century was restored in 1875-1879 by George Gilbert Scott, the younger. The lawn of First Court is famously round, and an impressive wisteria sprawls up the front of the master's lodge.

Second Court is fully built up on only three sides, one of which is formed by the 1640s Fellows' Building. The fourth side backs onto the Master's garden.

The Stevenson Building in Third Court was designed by J. J. Stevenson, in the 1880s and was extended in 1905 as part of the College's Quadcentenary. In 1947 Professor Richardson designed the second building, the neo-Georgian Chancellor's Building (W staircase), completed in 1950. Third Court's Memorial Building (Y staircase), a twin of the Chancellor's building was completed in 1953 for £80,000.[3] Third Court is also noted for its display of irises in May and June, a gift to the college in 1946.[4]

The controversial tiered concrete New Court (often dubbed "the Typewriter") was designed in the Modernist style by Sir Denys Lasdun in 1966-70, and was described as "superb" in Lasdun's obituary in the Guardian.[5] Design critic Hugh Pearman comments "Lasdun had big trouble relating to the street at the overhanging rear".[6] It appears very distinctively in aerial photographs, forming part of the northern boundary of the college.

An assortment of neighbouring buildings have been absorbed into the college, of which the most notable is The Todd Building, previously Cambridge's County Hall.

Through an arch in the Fellows' Building is the Fellows' Garden. It includes two mulberry trees, of which the older was planted in 1608, the same year as Milton's birth. Both trees have toppled sideways, the younger tree in the Great Storm of 1987, and are now earthed up round the trunks, but continue to fruit every year.[7]

ChristsCollege Overhead.jpgGreat GateFirst CourtChapelMaster's LodgeHallLibrarySecond CourtFellows' BuildingThird CourtStevenson BuildingTodd BuildingFour StaircaseNew Court (Lasdun Building)Fellows' Garden
1 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Great Gate
2 white, blue rounded rectangle.svg First Court
3 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Chapel
4 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Master's Lodge
5 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Hall
6 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Library
7 white, blue rounded rectangle.svg Second Court
8 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Fellows' Building
9 white, blue rounded rectangle.svg Third Court
10 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Stevenson Building
11 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Todd Building
12 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Four Staircase
13 white, red rounded rectangle.svg New Court (Lasdun Building)
14 white, green rounded rectangle.svg Fellows' Garden
The Great Gate on St Andrew's Street.

College societies

The Junior Combination Room, Christ's College Students' Union, is involved in every aspect of student life. Representative of the student body, it organises social and welfare events, and negotiates on the students' behalf on important issues. The Middle Combination Room (MCR) represents the graduate students of Christ's College.

The Marguerites Club is one of the oldest surviving College societies, reformed in 1899 by Gilbert Jessop the then captain of CUCC. It is believed to have originally formed some ten years earlier, but was soon disbanded. Originally the society was confined to captains and secretaries or those with colours in three sports. The name originated from the club's original blazer, which was navy blue in colour with the Foundress's 'rebus' or badge, signifying her name, embroidered on the pocket. Described in the 1908 issue of the college magazine: "The Marguerites have been the premier club of the College in the past, and claim to represent something more than mere athletic distinction".

The oldest College sports society still active is the Christ's College Rugby Football Club (CCRFC). It was founded in 1875 by Alfred Cort Haddon [8], considered the father of modern anthropology. He would later go on to become a Fellow of College and the CCRFC's first Honorary President, and his portrait is now found in Christ's College's Formal Hall. In the 1960 Varsity Match, eight of the starting team were students at Christ's and all points were scored by Christ's players[9]. The CCRFC is nicknamed "The Brown Rings" due to the brown and white hoops featured on the match kit.

The college football team, CCAFC, prides itself on being the most successful Cambridge football side, having won the inter-collegiate Cuppers competition more times than any other.

Also of note is the rowing club, Christ's College Boat Club; the college drama society, CADS; Christ's College Medical Society; Christ's Films, who use the theatre to screen films weekly; the Music Society(founded 1710) and the Chapel Choir: Christ's College Chapel Choir.

The College hosts a biennial May Ball with the most recent, L'Esprit Nouveau, occurring on 15 June 2010 with a 1920s Parisian theme.

Graduate Society

Christ's College Graduate Society comprises a community of approximately 130 graduate students from every part of the world and with diverse academic interests. All members of the Graduate Society also belong to the Christ's College Student Union (CCSU) and share their canteen-style Upper Hall. In addition, the college provides graduates with generous travel bursaries for academic and vacation travel and their own computing facilities. Most graduates are accommodated for three years, either in college or in nearby flats and shared houses.

The Graduate Society is one of the few in Cambridge to run its own bar, specializing in Belgian beers and malt whiskies. There are regular graduate Formal Halls and other events, including wine and cheese tastings, a brewery trip, punting, and outings to Oxford, Ely and Norwich. A Garden Party is held every June in the Fellows' Garden.

Biological Sciences

Christ's College is especially strong in Biological Sciences and has produced alumni that have gone on to become heads of various landmark research institutions. These have included: Hugh Pelham, Director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology [10]; Daniel St. Johnston, Chairman of the Gurdon Institute [11]; Jim Smith, Director of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research [12]; Richard Treisman, Director of CRUK London Research Institute [13] and Peter Lachmann, Founding President of The Academy of Medical Sciences [14].

Proctors of God's House

  • 1439-1451 William Byngham
  • 1451-1458 John Hurt
  • 1458-1464 William Fallan
  • 1464-1477 William Basset
  • 1477-1490 Ralph Barton
  • 1490-1505 John Sickling

Masters of Christ's

See also: Category: Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge and Category: Honorary Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge.

  • 1505–1507 John Sickling
  • 1507–1510 Richard Wyot
  • 1510–1517 Thomas Thompson
  • 1517–1530 John Watson
  • 1530–1548 Henry Lockwood
  • 1548–1553 Richard Wilkes
  • 1553–1556 Cuthbert Scot
  • 1556–1559 William Taylor
  • 1559–1582 Edward Hawford
  • 1582–1609 Edmund Barwell
  • 1609–1622 Valentine Carey
  • 1622–1646 Thomas Bainbridge
  • 1646–1654 Samuel Bolton
  • 1654–1688 Ralph Cudworth
  • 1688–1722 John Covel
  • 1723–1745 William Towers
  • 1745–1754 George Henry Rooke
  • 1754–1780 Hugh Thomas
  • 1780–1808 John Barker

See Christ's College by John Peile (1900)

Famous alumni

See also: Category:Alumni of Christ's College, Cambridge

Name Birth Death Career
HRH Prince Ra'ad bin Zeid Al-Hussein 1936 Iraqi Prince
HRH Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein 1964 Iraqi Prince
William Ames 1576 1633 Reformed Theologian
Richard Bancroft 1544 1610 Archbishop of Canterbury, Organiser of James I Bible
Jagdish Chandra Bose 1858 1937 Bengali physicist
Sir Anthony Caro 1924 Sculptor
Sacha Baron Cohen 1971 Comedian
John Cook 1918 1984 Prolific Anglo-American composer and organist
Frederick Cornwallis 1713 1783 Archbishop of Canterbury
John Cornwell 1940 author, journalist
John James Cowperthwaite 1916 2006 Credited with policies allowing Hong Kong's economic boom in the 1960s
Charles Darwin 1809 1882 British naturalist
Patrick Arthur Devlin, Baron Devlin 1905 1992 Jurist, Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
Colin Dexter 1930 Novelist
Sir Martin Evans 1941 Biochemist, Nobel laureate in medicine
Noel Gay 1898 1954 Composer
Edmund Grindal 1519 1583 Archbishop of Canterbury
John Healey 1960 British politician
Matthew Hutton 1693 1758 Archbishop of Canterbury
Derry Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg 1940 Lord Chancellor
David Konstant 1930 Bishop of Leeds
Sir John Kotelawala 1897 1980 Prime Minister of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Tony Lewis 1938 England and Glamorgan cricket captain
Richard Luce 1936 Lord Chamberlain
Michael Lynch 1965 Founder of Autonomy Systems
Allama Mashriqi 1883 1963 Founder of the Khaksar Tehreek
David Mellor 1949 British politician
Miles Millar c 1967 Hollywood screenwriter and producer
John Milton 1608 1674 English poet
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma 1900 1979 British Admiral of the Fleet and statesman
John Oliver 1977 British Political Comedian
Andy Parsons 1967 English comedian and writer
William Paley 1743 1805 English theologian and philosopher
William Perkins 1558 1602 Leading Puritan Theologian of the Elizabethan Era
Sir John Plumb 1911 2001 British historian
Thomas Plume 1630 1704 English clergyman, founder of the University's Plumian Chair of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy
Roy Porter 1946 2002 British historian
Beilby Porteus 1731 1809 Bishop of Chester and Bishop of London, leading reformer and abolitionist
Peter Rawlinson, Baron Rawlinson of Ewell 1919 2006 Attorney General for England and Wales
Forrest Reid 1875 1948 Cambridge apostle, novelist, literary critic
Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham 1738 1786 British Foreign Secretary
Nicholas Saunderson 1682 1739 British mathematician
David Say 1939 2006 British bishop
Simon Schama 1945 British historian, author, and television presenter
Jan Smuts 1870 1950 Prime Minister of South Africa, Field Marshal, and Commonwealth statesman
C. P. Snow, Baron Snow 1905 1980 British novelist and philosopher
Nicholas Tarling 1931 Historian
Jeffrey Tate 1943 Conductor
Henry Teonge 1620 1690 Naval chaplain and diarist
Andrew Turnbull, Baron Turnbull 1945 Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service
Kieran West 1977 Olympic gold medalist rower
Richard Whiteley 1943 2005 British television presenter
Rowan Williams 1950 British theologian, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury
Christopher Zeeman 1925 British mathematician
Szeming Sze 1908 1998 Chinese Diplomat, WHO co-founder


External links

Coordinates: 52°12′19″N 0°07′20″E / 52.205398°N 0.122223°E / 52.205398; 0.122223

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