The College of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Founded 1352 by The Guild of Corpus Christi and The Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sister College – Corpus Christi College Oxford.
Men and Women – Undergraduates 253 Postgraduates 220.
Corpus Christi is unique in the university for being the only college founded by ‘town’ and not ‘gown’ – in other words established by town’s people and not the ruling class or clergy. The Guild of Corpus Christi and the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary pooled resources and were granted a licence by Edward III to build what was the eighth Cambridge college, in 1352.
City mayor reminds college of its roots
The original court was modest and ...view middle of the document...
Given its roots, it is not surprising that the college has a stated policy of widening access, which embraces current students committed to that cause along with a schools’ liaison officer. What is surprising is that a high proportion of around 60% of home admissions are from independent schools (fee paying). The gender split favours men by a similar percentage. These figures are way higher than the liberal hot beds of Clare and King’s.
The priceless Parker Library collection
A steady accumulation of wealth resulted in an impressive collection of silver and other fabulous treasure. However the real jewel in the crown is the Parker Library, which contains priceless medieval manuscripts, dating back to 597 AD. This includes the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’. Much of the material was obtained from monasteries dissolved by Henry VIII.
Civil war strategy
Unlike all the other Cambridge colleges that had to negotiate the English Civil War (1642-51), Corpus surprisingly did not donate any of its silver to either side, which must have left its neighbours both impressed and angry. It was cunningly distributed among fellows, who were given a leave of absence until less troubled times. Master, Dr Love was the only head of a Cambridge college to remain in post during the Cromwellian period.
It is said to be one of the richest colleges, per student, in the world. In practice this is meaningless; most assets are impossible to value and not for sale.
The original Old Court, remains largely intact and is one of the oldest most romantic buildings in Cambridge – a delightful and gentle medieval gem, set round a lawn with rounded edges, where students are allowed to sit and work in the spring (Easter) term. Originally there was no chapel, the college adopted the adjoining 11th century St Benet’s church, and indeed Corpus was often referred to as St Benet’s College.
The window jams that held oil soaked linen before glass became affordable can still be seen. There is a disputed claim (Merton College Oxford)...