Cambridge Part 2: Christ’s College

“I feel very strongly indeed that a Cambridge education for our scientists should include some contact with the humanistic side.”
― William Lawrence Bragg

Christ’s College was founded as a proper college by Lady Margaret Beaufort, the formidable matriarch of the Tudor dynasty, in the 15th century. She gave birth to the eventual Henry VII at 13 (which is pretty horrifying), and then went on to successfully maneuver her way (to say nothing of her son’s) through the Wars of the Roses before settling into a bossy and busy old age. That’s a history to get behind.

As we poked out heads into the grounds, I realized that something was afoot. Unfortunately, though understandably, if you’re not a student or faculty member, you have to pay to view the Oxbridge colleges. Rates tend to be low and there are concessions for children, seniors, and external students, so I think they are well worth seeing if you get the chance. But! Far better to luck in on an Open Day when the fees are waived and the doors thrown open!

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The beautiful Great Gate. Old university towns are brilliant for history and medievalist nerds like me, there’s symbolism and art and artifacts every which way you look. As the name might hint, many of these colleges have religious origins…although Christ’s has a nice little twist for fundamentalists.

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Charlie D. himself graces the entry way! Darwin, Milton, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury are all famed alumni. As is Sacha Baron Cohen. The border between genius and madness, etc.

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All the grounds are beautiful, and each college has its own peculiar flavor that is fun to get to know.

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What’s really marvelous is how vast some of the grounds really are. From medieval or early modern buildings, most colleges now stretch to vast campuses that still retain their charm and personality in spite of modernization. Hidden behind stone walls, you’d never guess how much is there until you get a chance to sneak in!

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