Pembroke College, Cambridge
Pembroke College
Pemboke is the 3rd oldest among Cambridge colleges. It was founded in 1347 (on Christmas Eve to be exact) by Marie de St. Pol, Countess of Pembroke. The college is composed of courts linked by attractive gardens and lawns.
The original buildings of Pembroke - chapel, hall, kitchen, and lodgings - were built around a single court, now called First Court. The chapel at Pembroke was the first at a Cambridge college and required a papal bull to establish. Until that time, colleges at Cambridge did not have their own chapel, worshipping instead at nearby parish churches. The chapel was later converted to use as the college library, and now goes by the monicker "Old Library".
Curiously, it was the influence of three Pembroke Fellows that convinced Henry VI to found neighbouring King's College. Henry also bequeathed valuable property to Pembroke College. A Pemboke student, Laurence Booth, later Archbishop of York, established a library at the college in the late 15th century.
Several Pembroke men were burned at the stake under Queen Mary, including Bishop Ridley. A path on the north side of the Bowling Green is known as Ridley's Walk in memory of the Protestant martyr.
Pembroke College Chapel
Pembroke College Chapel
In the English Civil War the college was staunchly Royalist, and sent its plate to support the king. One Pembroke man who suffered in the war was Mathew Wren, Bishop of Ely. Wren was held in the Tower of London for 17 years, and he swore that if he were released he would build a chapel at his former college. When he did gain his freedom, Bishop Wren carried out his vow, choosing as his architect his own nephew, Christopher Wren. The Pembroke Chapel was Wren's first architectural commission, and the first chapel of Cambridge University to be built in the classical style. Wren's sucessful design set the fashion for classically-styled college chapels. Wren himself went on to design another chapel at Emmanuel College and the library at Trinity College.
Wren designed the chapel by first creating a small scale model. The model is still in the posession ofd the college. The chapel was dedicated by Bishop Wren on St. Matthew's Day (21 September) 1665. Matthew Wren died two years later and is buried in the vault of the chapel he caused to be built.

The college was extended in the 17th century with the addition of two east residential ranges which together with the hall formed Ivy Court. Poet Thomas Grey was one of the first notable residents of Ivy Court,m and his original manuscript of Elegy is preserved in the college. William Pitt, soon to become England's youngest Prime Minister, inhabited Grey's rooms in 1773. A statue of Pitt stands outside the clock tower of the library.

The 1870s saw a great deal of rebuilding and remodeling at Pembroke, with the unfortunate loss of some medieval buildings. A new Hall was created, a new Library added to augment Wren's old one, and the chapel extended by George Gilbert Scott.

About Pembroke College
Address: Pembroke Street, Cambridge, Pembrokeshire, Cambridgeshire, England, CB2 1RF
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Website: Pembroke College
Phone: 01223 338 100
Fax: 01223 338 163
Location map
OS: TL450 582
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology - 0 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences - 0 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Cambridge University Museum of Zoology - 0 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Whipple Museum of the History of Science - 0.1 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Emmanuel College - 0.1 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating

Corpus Christi College - 0.1 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating

Little St Mary's, Cambridge - 0.1 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

St Bene't's (St Benedicts), Cambridge - 0.1 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

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Tourist Information Centre
Peas Hill
Tel: 01223 791 500
Alternate Tel: 01223 791 501 (Tours)
Closed Sundays November - March