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Bible Dictionaries

1910 New Catholic Dictionary

University of Cambridge, England

The actual date of its foundation is unknown, but in the 13th century religious orders began settling at Cambridge and attracted numerous students, the Benedictines establishing the first college, Saint Peter's or Peterhovse, in 1284. The university was incorporated under Queen Elizabeth, 1571, and was an Anglican institution until 1881, when all religious tests were abolished except for degrees in divinity. Thirteen of the existing colleges, which are listed below, are of Catholic foundation.


  • Saint Catherine's, founded 1473 by Dr Robert Woodlark (Wodelarke).

  • Christ's, founded 1505 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, incorporating God's House, established by William Bingham, 1439, and refounded by Henry VI, 1448.

  • Clare, known as University Hall, founded 1326, endowed 1338 by Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Clare, and noted for a strong ecclesiastical tendency.

  • Corpus Christi (called Corpus), founded 1352, by the guilds of Corpus Christi and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and known in early times as Saint Benet's from the church connected with the Corpus guild, which served as the college chapel for nearly three centuries. It has a famous collection of books confiscated from the dissolved monasteries.

  • Downing, founded 1800, according to the will of Sir George Downing.

  • Emmanuel, founded 1584 on the site of a Dominican monastery, by Sir William Mildmay, chancellor of the exchequer under Queen Elizabeth; for centuries a stronghold of Puritanism.

  • Gonville and Caius known as Caius, (pronounced Keys), founded 1348, as the "Hall of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary" by Edmund Gonvil (Gonevill); refounded and enlarged by John Caius, 1557; the chief medical college.

  • Jesus, founded on the site of the Benedictine convent of Saint Radigund, 1498, by John Alcock, Bishop of Ely, as the college of "the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist, and the glorious virgin Saint Radigund"; Blessed John Fisher was an alumnus.

  • King's, founded 1441, by Henry VI, in connection with Eton.

  • Magdalene (pronounced Maudlin), founded 1519, by the Benedictines.

  • Pembroke, founded 1347, by Mary de Saint Paul, Countess of Penmbroke, endowed by Henry VI; a noted nursery of Anglican bishops.

  • Peterhouse or Saint Peter's, founded 1284, by Hugh de Balsham, prior of the Benedictine monastery of Ely, and Bishop of Ely; modelled on Merton College, Oxford; the scholars were housed in Saint John's Hospital.

  • Saint John's, founded 1511, by Lady Margaret Beaufort to replace the Hospital of Saint John (13th century), and whose designs were carried out by her executor, Blessed John Fisher.

  • Queen's, founded 1448, by Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI, and endowed 1465 by Elizabeth Woodville, consort of Edward IV; Erasmus was an alumnus.

  • Selwyn, a public hostel, founded 1882, in memory of George Augustus Selwyn, Anglican bishop of New Zealand and Lichfield; restricted to members of the Church of England.

  • Sidney Sussex, founded 1595, by Lady Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex, on the site of a Franciscan monastery.

  • Trinity, founded 1546, by Henry VIII, absorbed several earlier institutions including King's Hall (1336), Saint Michael's or Michaelhouse (1323), and Fyswick or Physick's Hostel, belonging to Gonville Hall; the largest college in any English university and the principal legal college of Cambridge.

  • Trinity Hall, founded 1350, by Sir William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich, on the site of the former school of the monastic students from Ely.


  • Saint Edmund's, institution for students preparing for the secular priesthood, occupying a house purchased for them by the Duke of Norfolk.

  • Saint Benet's, founded 1896, by the Benedictine community of Downside, as a small house of studies for their members.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Entry for 'University of Cambridge, England'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. 1910.

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