College Court, Sidney Sussex College
College Court, Sidney Sussex College

Sidney Sussex College was founded in 1594 by Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex, who had been dead for 5 years! The story goes that the Countess left £5000 in her will for the founding of a new college at Cambridge. In the event that the funds were not sufficient to found a college, the money was to go to Clare College.

The money did indeed prove insufficient, but the Countess's executors went ahead with a new college, making up the shortfall out of their own pockets. The original aim of the college was to prepare clergy for Church of England service.

One amusing sidenote is that by the terms of the Countess's will, all graduates of her college were to be termed her "issue" (i.e. her children).

The site used was a former Franciscan Friary, owned since the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Trinity College, which had used the friary buildings as a source of building materials. Trinity was compelled to sell the site only after Elizabeth I herself brought her influence to bear.

The most famous student at Sidney Sussex College was Oliver Cromwell, who spent a brief year here in 1616. In 1960 the college received the rather macabre gift of Cromwell's head. It was buried with great secrecy in the antechapel, and its precise location remains closely guarded.

About Sidney Sussex College
Address: Sidney Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, CB2 3HU
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Website: Sidney Sussex College
Location map
OS: TL451 587
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


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

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