Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college includes the Master, the Fellows of the College, and about 450 undergraduate and 170 graduate students. The college was founded by William Byngham in 1437 as God's House. In 1505, the college was granted a new royal charter, was given a substantial endowment by Lady Margaret Beaufort, and changed its name to Christ's College, becoming the twelfth of the Cambridge colleges to be founded in its current form. The college is renowned for educating some of Cambridge's most famous alumni, including Charles Darwin and John Milton.
Within Cambridge, Christ's has a reputation for highest academic standards and strong tutorial support. It has averaged 1st place on the Tompkins Table from 1980–2006 and third place from 2006 to 2013, returning to first place in 2018.
|University of Cambridge|
First Court, Christ's College
|Location||St Andrew's Street (map)|
|Motto||Souvent me Souvient (Old French)|
|Motto in English||I often remember|
|Established||1437; refounded 1505|
|Named for||Jesus Christ|
|Previous names||God's House (1437–1505)|
|Endowment||£95.5m (as of 30 June 2017)|
Location in Central Cambridge
Location in Cambridge
Christ's College was founded by William Byngham in 1437 as God's House, on land which was soon after sold to enable the enlargement of King's College. Byngham obtained the first royal licence for God's House in July 1439. The college was founded to provide for the lack of grammar-school masters in England at the time, and the college has been described as "the first secondary-school training college on record". The original site of Godshouse was surrendered in 1443 to King's College, and currently about three quarters of King's College Chapel stands on the original site of God's House.
After the original royal licence of 1439, three more licences, two in 1442 and one in 1446, were granted before in 1448 God's House received the charter upon which the college was in fact founded. In this charter, King Henry VI was named as the founder, and in the same year the college moved to its current site.
In 1505, the college was endowed by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, and was given the name Christ's College, perhaps at the suggestion of her confessor, the Bishop John Fisher. The expansion in the population of the college in the seventeenth century led to the building, in the 1640s, of the Fellows' Building in what is now Second Court.
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 a 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 Albert Richardson designed a new cupola for the Stevenson building, and a second building, the neo-Georgian Chancellor's Building (W staircase, now known as The Blyth Building), completed in 1950. Third Court's Memorial Building (Y staircase), a twin of the Chancellor's building, also by Richardson, was completed in 1953 at a cost of £80,000. Third Court is also noted for its display of irises in May and June, a gift to the college in 1946.
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. Design critic Hugh Pearman comments "Lasdun had big trouble relating to the street at the overhanging rear". 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.
Christ's College is one of only 5 colleges in Oxford or Cambridge to have its own swimming pool. It is fed by water from Hobson's Conduit. Recently refurbished, it is now known as the 'Malcolm Bowie Bathing Pool', and is thought to be the oldest outdoor swimming pool in the UK, dating from the mid 17th century. The other four swimming pools within colleges belong to Girton College (indoor pool), Corpus Christi College (outdoor pool), Emmanuel College (outdoor pool) and Clare Hall (indoor pool).
|Christ's College, Cambridge, from above|
With a deserved reputation even within Cambridge for the highest academic standards, Christ's came first in the Tompkins Table's twentieth anniversary aggregate table, and between 2001 and 2007, it had a mean position of third. Academic excellence continues at Christ's, with 91% of students in 2013 gaining a first class degree or an upper second (II.i). This is significantly higher than the University average of 70%.
Christ's is noted for educating two of Cambridge's most famous alumni, the poet John Milton and the naturalist Charles Darwin, who, during the celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the University, were both placed at the foreground as two of the four most iconic individuals in the University's history. The college has also educated Nobel Laureates including Martin Evans, James Meade, Alexander R. Todd, Baron Todd and Duncan Haldane. It is the University's 6th largest producer of Nobel Prize winners.
Some of the college's other famous alumni include comedians Sacha Baron Cohen, John Oliver and Andy Parsons, Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma, South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts, historian Simon Schama, theologian William Paley and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Professor in Pediatric Oncology Michael Whitehead, husband of Canadian author Louise Penny, completed both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree at Christ’s College. Her fictional character French native speaker Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is said in her first book Still Life to have learned English while an undergraduate at Christ’s College, where according to A Great Reckoning he read for a degree in History.
The Junior Combination Room (JCR), represents the undergraduate students. It organises social and welfare events, and negotiates on the students' behalf on important issues. The JCR has a standing committee and a common room for all the students. The JCR's counterpart, the Middle Combination Room (MCR) represents the graduate students of the College, and has its own bar. The MCR organises regular Graduate Halls. A Garden Party is held by both the JCR and the MCR every June in the Fellows' Garden. The Senior Combination Room (SCR) is composed solely of fellows of the College and holds two feasts each year.
The Acting Chaplain of the college is Michael Dormandy.
Other societies in Christ's include:
Christ's, like most other Cambridge Colleges, also hosts a biennial May Ball in the time after undergraduate examinations which is by students commonly known as May Week. A separate society called "Christ's College May Ball Committee" is set up every two years to organise and direct this event. In 2010, Two Door Cinema Club headlined the entertainment. The May Ball in June 2012 featured a Rio de Janeiro carnival theme. The previous May Ball, named "L'Esprit Nouveau", was held on 15 June 2010 and featured a 1920s Parisian theme.
The College Grace is normally said before any dinner held in the Formal Hall of the College. Though the student body rises for the recitation of the Grace, Christ's is one of the only Colleges in Cambridge where the students do not rise when the Fellows enter and leave the Dining Hall. This is said to be the result of a historical conflict between the Students and Fellows at Christ's, who were on opposite sides during the English Civil War. The words of the Grace are as follows:
|Exhilarator omnium Christe
Sine quo nihil suave, nihil jucundum est:
Per te Dominum nostrum,
|Christ, the gladdener of all,
Without whom nothing is sweet, nothing pleasant:
Through you, our Lord,
|HRH Prince Ra'ad bin Zeid Al-Hussein||1936||Iraqi Prince|
|HRH Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein||1964||UN High Commissioner for Human Rights|
|William Ames||1576||1633||Reformed Theologian|
|Thomas Baines||1622||1680||Physician, original Fellow of Royal Society|
|Richard Bancroft||1544||1610||Archbishop of Canterbury, Organiser of James I Bible|
|Jasmine Birtles||1962||British financial and business commentator, television presenter, author and journalist|
|Jagdish Chandra Bose||1858||1937||Indian physicist|
|C. Delisle Burns||1879||1942||Atheist and secularist writer and lecturer|
|Brian Cantor||1948||Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford and previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of York|
|Sir Anthony Caro||1924||2013||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||British author and journalist|
|John James Cowperthwaite||1916||2006||Credited with policies allowing Hong Kong's economic boom in the 1960s|
|John Cridland||1961||Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry|
|Charles Darwin||1809||1882||British naturalist|
|Patrick Arthur Devlin, Baron Devlin||1905||1992||Jurist, Lord of Appeal in Ordinary|
|Jill Duff||1972||Bishop-designate of Lancaster|
|George Dwyer||1908||1987||Archbishop of Birmingham; Council Father of the Second Vatican Council|
|James Chuter Ede||1882||1965||Home Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons|
|Sir Martin Evans||1941||Biochemist, Nobel laureate in medicine|
|Dee Ferris||1973||British Painter|
|John Finch||1626||1682||Ambassador, original Fellow of Royal Society|
|Nina Gold||1964||BAFTA-winning casting director|
|Edmund Grindal||1519||1583||Archbishop of Canterbury|
|Alfred Cort Haddon||1855||1940||Father of modern anthropology|
|Duncan Haldane||1951||Physicist, Nobel laureate in physics|
|Yusuf Hamied||1936||Chemist and industrialist|
|Natalie Haynes||1974||Writer and broadcaster and a former comedian.|
|John Healey||1960||British politician|
|Derry Irvine, Baron Irvine of Lairg||1940||Lord Chancellor|
|David Konstant||1930||Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds|
|John Kotelawala||1897||1980||Prime Minister of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)|
|John Leland||c 1506||1552||Father of English history|
|Tony Lewis||1938||England and Glamorgan cricket captain; writer and broadcaster|
|Richard Luce||1936||Lord Chamberlain|
|Michael Lynch||1965||Founder of Autonomy Systems|
|Allama Mashriqi||1883||1963||Founder of the Khaksar Tehreek|
|Peter Mathieson||1959||Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh|
|David Mellor||1949||British politician|
|Sir Walter Mildmay||1589||Founder of Emmanuel College, Cambridge|
|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|
|Thomas Nelson, Jr.||1738||1789||Governor of Virginia; signer of the American Declaration of Independence|
|Davidson Nicol||1924||1994||Sierra Leonean academic, diplomat, physician, and writer|
|John Oliver||1977||British political comedian|
|J. Robert Oppenheimer||1904||1967||American theoretical physicist and 'father of the atomic bomb'|
|Andy Parsons||1967||English comedian and writer|
|William Paley||1743||1805||English theologian and philosopher|
|Steve Palmer||1968||Professional football player|
|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|
|Austin Robinson||1897||1993||British Economist and economic historian|
|Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham||1738||1786||British Foreign Secretary|
|David Say||1939||2006||Bishop of Rochester|
|Simon Schama||1945||British historian, author, and television presenter|
|Sir Nicholas Serota||1946||Director of the Tate Gallery|
|Walter William Skeat||1835||1912||Philologist|
|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|
|F. Gordon A. Stone||1925||2011||British chemist|
|Szeming Sze||1908||1998||Chinese Diplomat, WHO co-founder|
|Sir 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|
|Richard Whiteley||1943||2005||British television presenter|
|Rowan Williams||1950||British theologian, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge|
|Sir Christopher Zeeman||1925||2016||British mathematician|
Anthony Watson (died 10 September 1605) was an English bishop.Brian Downs
Brian Westerdale Downs, KNO (4 July 1893 – 3 March 1984) was an English literary scholar and linguist. He served as Master of Christ's College, Cambridge from 1950 to 1963 and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1955 to 1957. From 1950 to 1960, he was the Professor of Scandinavian Studies at Cambridge.Charles Swainson
Charles Anthony Swainson (1820–1887) was an English theologian, Norrisian and subsequently Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, Master of Christ's College, Cambridge and a canon of Chichester. His published works deal mainly with the Eastern Liturgies and the Creeds.Christ's College Boat Club
Christ's College Boat Club is the rowing club for members of Christ's College, Cambridge. It inhabits the oldest wooden framed boathouse on the river, the nearest to Jesus Lock.
Christ's has taken women's headship once during the 2015 Lent Bumps.Edward Hawford
Edward Hawford D.D. (died 1582) was an English churchman and academic, Master of Christ's College, Cambridge from 1559. While Hawford was a somewhat conservative and administrative-minded academic politician head of house, no friend of religious enthusiasm and suspected of covert Catholicism. Christ's became a Puritan centre under his mastership.Frederick Cornwallis
Frederick Cornwallis (5 March 1713 – 19 March 1783) was Archbishop of Canterbury, and the twin brother of Edward Cornwallis.George Henry Rooke
George Henry Rooke, D.D. (3 August 1702 – 7 February 1754) was a priest and academic in the eighteenth century.Rooke was born in Carlisle. He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1725 and MA in 1728. He became Fellow of Christ's in 1727; and was Master from 1745 until his death. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1745 to 1746. He held livings in Cambridge, Great Eversden, Little Abington, Foxton, Hadstock and Great Horkesley.Irven Edwards
Irven David Edwards (19 November 1907 – 14 February 1973) was an Anglican priest in the mid 20th century.Edwards was born at Stretton, East Staffordshire, the son of John Edwards, at one time a prebendary of Lichfield Cathedral, and his wife Beatrice. He was educated at Repton School and Christ's College, Cambridge. Ordained in 1935 he began his ordained ministry as chaplain of Christ's College, Cambridge. He was also general secretary of the Advisory Council for Training for the Ministry from 1935 to 1944. In 1940, he became rector of Milton, Hampshire and in 1947 vicar of Norton, County Durham. He became vicar of All Saints's Leicester and Archdeacon of Leicester in 1956. In 1963 he was appointed Dean of Wells, a position he held until his death in 1973.In 1938, Edwards married Diana Vernon Douglas Crick, the daughter of Douglas Crick, Bishop of Chester.James Cartmell
The Rev James Cartmell, D.D. (13 November 1810– 23 January 1887) was Master of Christ's College, Cambridge from 1849 to 1881.He went to Carlisle Grammar School, after which he spent the rest of his life at Christ's. He was successively undergraduate, fellow and tutor before his long mastership.John Covel
John Covel (2 April 1638 – 19 December 1722) was a clergyman and scientist who became Master of Christ's College, Cambridge and vice-chancellor of the University.John Covel was born at Horningsheath, Suffolk, the son of William Covel. He was educated at Bury St Edmunds school and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was made a fellow in 1659. In 1670 he went to Constantinople as Chaplain to the Levant Company. For a time he was in sole charge of the embassy there. He travelled widely in Asia Minor and described the buildings and plants which he saw. He purchased a lot of Greek manuscripts (including codices 65, 110, 321, 322, and ℓ 150). After his return and a period as Chaplain to the Princess of Orange in The Hague (1681-1685), he was elected the 15th Master of Christ's in 1688, a position he held until 1723. In his later years he developed the study of fossils.John Graham (bishop)
The Rev. John Graham (23 February 1794, Durham – 15 June 1865, Chester) was an English churchman and academic. He was master of Christ's College, Cambridge from 1830 to 1848 and Bishop of Chester from 1848 to 1865. Graham died at the Bishop's Palace, Chester, on 15 June 1865, and was buried in Chester cemetery on 20 June 1865. He tutored Charles Darwin at Cambridge from 1829 to 1830.John Kaye (bishop)
John Kaye (27 December 1783, Hammersmith – 18 February 1853, Riseholme, Lincolnshire) was an English churchman.John Peile
John Peile (24 April 1838 – 9 October 1910) was an English philologist.John Watson (Master of Christ's College, Cambridge)
John Watson , D.D. was a priest and academic in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.Watson was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1498; MA in 1501; and B.D. in 1513. He held livings at Elsworth, White Notley and St Mary Woolnoth in the City of London. He was Fellow of Christ's from 1501 to 1516; andMaster of Christ's from 1517 to 1531. He was twice Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge: from 1518 to 1520, and from 1530 to 1532.He died in March 1537.Samuel Bolton
Samuel Bolton (1606 – 15 October 1654) was an English clergyman and scholar, a member of the Westminster Assembly and Master of Christ's College, Cambridge.Thomas Bainbrigg
Thomas Bainbrigg (Bainbridge) (died 1646) was an English college head.Thomas Chapman (Master of Magdalene College)
Thomas Chapman (1717–1760) was an English churchman and academic, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge from 1746.Valentine Cary
Valentine Cary (died 1626) (alias Carey, erroneously Carew), was an English clergyman, who became Bishop of Exeter.Walter Curle
Walter Curle (or Curll; 1575 – 1647) was an English bishop, a close supporter of William Laud. Born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, he was educated at St Albans School and at Christ's College, Cambridge (matriculated c. 1592), transferring to Peterhouse (BA c. 1595; MA in 1598), of which college he later was elected Fellow.He was bishop of Winchester from 1632 to 1647. When in 1645 Parliamentary forces under Oliver Cromwell captured Winchester, he went into exile at Soberton.He was bishop of Rochester in 1628, and bishop of Bath and Wells from 1629 to 1632. His translation caused the vacancy as Rector of Bemerton that gave the poet George Herbert a living there. He was Dean of Lichfield 1622 to 1628. Curll's son Walter Curll was created a baronet in 1678 (see Curll baronets).