Founded 1496 as The College of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist and the glorious Virgin Saint Radegund.
Sister College -– Jesus College Oxford.
Men and women – Undergraduates 496 postgraduates 310.
When Jesus College was established in 1496 on the site of a Benedictine nunnery, it installed a master, along with five fellows, four youths and four boys who were taught by a schoolteacher. This scholarly collection was supported by five servants. By 1560 the college had a population of 82 residents. Today Jesus has 310 postgraduates and 496 undergraduates occupying the beautiful site that has grown extensively since foundation, just a parks width away from the picturesque ...view middle of the document...
As a fellow of the college, Archbishop Cranmer would have sworn a vow of celibacy and so gave up his fellowship in favour of family life. Unfortunately the woman died in childbirth, causing a distressed Thomas to return to his former life.
The English Civil war proved to be a tricky period to negotiate for Jesus. The college was broadly Royalist but had a prominent cell of very vocal Protestant propagandists including Geoffrey Downs, John Golding and John Edmunds as well as Thomas Cranmer. In 1642 Jesus did what was expected of it and donated plate worth £100 for the king’s cause. The Parliamentarian victory resulted in either imprisonment or ejection for all of the Royalist fellows.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the famous literary figure, was awarded a scholarship at Jesus, which had been put in place especially for the sons of dead clergymen. It is said he wrote poetry behind the cricket pavilion to escape from the pressure of his debts, which eventually, along with opium, wrecked his life.
Medieval cloisters expanded
Bishop Alcock expanded the original medieval cloisters and modified the chapel, lowering the pitch of the roof and updating the windows with fashionable perpendicular Gothic. However these modifications were ‘corrected’ some 350 years later when the great Victorian advocate of revival Gothic, Augustus Pugin (Houses of Parliament), put in a high pitch roof and tall lancet windows – retro Gothic replacing period perpendicular -– still some of the original fabric dates back to 1150. A new ceiling for the nave was designed by Arts and Craft genius William Morris in 1867.