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St John's College, Cambridge f.12

St John's College, Cambridge f.12

Artist: Buckler, John Chessell

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1835

Shelfmark: Additional MS 36360

Item number: f.12

Length: 19.1

Width: 26.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

Cambridge University has been in existence since the early 13th century, at which time there were a number of monastic houses in Cambridge, including the Hospital of St John. In 1280, the Bishop of Ely admitted scholars into the Hospital, but the monks and academics didn't get on! The theologians stayed where they were and the academics went on to found the first Cambridge college, Peterhouse.

By the early 16th century, the Hospital had fallen into a dilapidated state. The Bishop of Rochester approached Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, to persuade her to refound the hospital as a college. She died in 1509 before the affair had been fully finalised, but the Bishop persevered with the executors of her will. The Charter of the College of St John the Evangelist was eventually granted in 1511.

This drawing shows the first quadrangle or court, completed in 1520. It was the first part of the college to be built and contained living quarters, the chapel, library and hall.

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