Queens College is one of the hidden gems of Cambridge. Although it is just off Spring Street, it is often overlooked by tourists. This is unfortunate as it is rich in history and its collection of buildings is architecturally much different than its neighbors.
Queens' was the brainchild of Andrew Dokett, the Rector of St. Bololph's Church and Principal of St. Bernard's Hostel. In 1446, he successfully petitioned Henry VI for a charter to establish a College of St. Bernard. However, he soon discovered that the college was in need of a wealthy patron. Inasmuch as Henry had recently founded King's College combined with the fact that no queen had yet founded a college, the idea of becoming the partoness of Dokett's college appealed to Henry's young wife Margret of Anjou. Accordingly, Dockett named the new college Queen's College.
This happened during the War of the Roses and Henry (a Lancastrian) was replaced on the throne by the Yorkist Edward IV. With the demise of Henry also went the college's patroness. Therefore, Dokett petitioned the new queen, Elizabeth Woodville, to assume that role. With her agreement, the college was re-founded and the name changed to Queens' College.
Above: Queens from the Cam.
Below: Flowers along the wall of the President's Garden.
Above: Queens' College Chapel.
At the northeast corner of Cloister Court is the entrance to a passageway that runs under the President's Lodge and into Walnut Tree Court.
Walnut Tree Court and Friar's Court beyond are primarily Victorian. However, the Erasmus Building was one of the first modern buildings added to one of the old Cambridge colleges. It was opened in 1961 by the late Queen Mother.
Queens' has a peaceful atmosphere. Perhaps because much of it is enclosed it feels removed from the city even though it is in the heart of Cambridge. Its buildings are not overpowering but rather on a human scale.
Above: The passageway between Cloister Court and Walnut Tree Court. In the 1970s, the pavement had a concave shape created by centuries of footsteps. Disappointingly, by the late 1980s, the walkway had been re-paved flat, undoubtedly in the interest of safety.
Next, we take a look at Trinity College
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For more about cruising to England:
Click here for our index of England travel features
Click here for a walk through Whitehall and Westminster
Click here for our feature on Kensington Palace
Click here for our article on Maritime Greenwich
Click here for our page on the City of London
Click here for our article on the Tower of London
Click here for our article on the Changing of the Guard
Click here for our article on the Banqueting House
Click here for our article on Windsor Castle
Click here for our article on Leeds Castle
Click here for our article on the New Forest
Click here for our article on visiting Exbury Gardens
Click her for our article on The Beatles' Liverpool
Cruise destination guide - England - Cambridge - Queens' College