Burgh, countess of Clare, re-endowed the hall, which took the name of Clare Hall, and only became known as college in 1856. There was a strong ecclesiastical tendency in this foundation; six out of the twenty fellows were to be priests when elected. The foundation now consists of a master and fifteen fellows, besides scholars, of whom three receive emoluments from the endowment of Lady Clare. The old college buildings were in great part destroyed by fire in 1521; the present buildings date from 1638 to 1715, and are admirable examples of their period. They surround a very beautiful quadrangle, and the back towards the river is also fine. Unconfirmed tradition indicates the poet Chaucer as an alumnus of this college; other famous men associated with it were Hugh Latimer the martyr, Ralph Cudworth, one of the “Platonists,” and Archbishop Tillotson.
Corpus Christi College (commonly called Corpus) stands on the east side of Trumpington Street. The influence of medieval gilds in Cambridge, the character of which was primarily religious, was exceedingly strong. About the beginning of the 14th century there is first mentioned the gild of St Mary, which was connected with Great St.Mary's church. The gild was at this time prosperous, but about 1350, when the idea of the foundation of a college by the gilds was matured, the fraternity of St Mary lacked the means to proceed save by amalgamating with another gild, that of Corpus Christi. The age of this institution, whose church was St Benedict's or St Bene’t's, is not known. By the two gilds, therefore, the “House of Scholars of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary” was founded in 1352, the foundation being the only instance of its kind. In early times it was commonly known as St Bene’t's from the church connected with the Corpus gild which stands over against the college, and served as its chapel for nearly three centuries. The foundation consists of a master and twelve fellows, with scholars of the old and later foundations. The ancient small quadrangle remains, and is of historical rather than architectural interest. The great quadrangle dates from 1823-1825. The library contains the famous collection of MSS. bequeathed by Archbishop Matthew Parker, alumnus of the college, in the 16th century.
Downing College is in the southern part of the town, to the east of Trumpington Street. Sir George Downing, baronet, of Gamlingay Park, who died in 1749, left estates to various relations, who died without issue. In this event, Downing's will provided for the foundation of a college, but the heirs contested the will with the university, and in spite of a decision against them in 1769, continued to hold the estates for many years, so that it was not until 1800 that the charter for the college was obtained. The foundation-stone was laid in 1807, and the two ranges of buildings, in classical style, represent all that was completed of an intended quadrangle. The foundation consists of a master, professors of English law and of medicine, six fellows and six scholars.
Emmanuel College overlooks St Andrew's Street. It was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay (c. 1520-1589), chancellor of the exchequer and privy councillor under Queen Elizabeth. The foundation, considerably enlarged from the original, consists of a master, sixteen fellows and thirty scholars. There are further scholarships on other foundations which are awarded by preference to pupils of Uppingham and other schools in the midlands. Emmanuel was noted from the outset as a stronghold of Puritanism; it is indeed recorded that Elizabeth rallied the founder on his intention that this should be so. Mildmay assuredly had the welfare of the church primarily at heart, and he attempted to provide against the life residence of fellows, which he considered an unhealthy feature in some colleges. The site of Emmanuel was previously occupied by a Dominican friary, and some of its buildings were adapted to collegiate uses. There is only a little of the earliest building remaining; the greater part of the present college dates from the second half of the 18th century. The chapel, however, is by Sir Christopher Wren (1677). Richard Holdsworth, Gresham professor, and William Sancroft, archbishop of Canterbury, were masters of this college; Bishops Joseph“Hall and Thomas Percy were among its alumni, as was John Harvard, principal founder of the great American college which bears his name.
Gonville and Caius College (commonly called Caius, pronounced Kees), stands mainly on the west side of Trinity Street. It arose out of an earlier foundation. In 1348 Edmund Gonvile or Gonevill founded the hall of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, which was commonly called Gonville Hall, for the education of twenty scholars in dialectic and other sciences, with endowment for a master and three fellows. This hall stood on part of the present site of Corpus, but on the death of its founder in 1351 it was moved to the north-west corner of the site of the present Caius, by William Bateman, bishop of Norwich and founder of Trinity Hall. The famous physician John Caius (q. v.), who was educated at this small institution, later conceived the idea of re-founding and enlarging it, obtained a charter to do so in 1557, and became master of the new foundation of Gonville and Caius College. The foundation consists of a master and not less than twenty two fellows, exclusive of the provision under the will of William Henry Drosier (d. 1889), doctor of medicine and fellow of the college, for the endowment of seven additional fellowships. Since its re foundation by Caius, the college has had a peculiar connexion with the study of medicine, while, besides many eminent physicians, Sir Thomas Gresham, judge ]efTreys, Robert Hare, Ieremy Taylor, Henry Whartonand Lord Thurlow are among its noted names, Three sides of the main quadrangle, Tree Court, including the frontage towards Trinity Street, are modern (1870). The interior of this court is picturesque, and the design of the smaller Caius Court was inspired by Caius himself. He also designed the gates of Honour, Virtue and Humility, of which the two first stand in situ; the gate of Honour is a peculiarly good example of early Renaissance work. Caius is buried in the chapel.
Jesus College lies apart from and to the north-east of the majority of the colleges. It was founded in 1496 by John Alcock, bishop of Ely. The site was previously occupied by a Benedictine nunnery dedicated to St Radigund, which was already in existence in the first half of the 12th century and was claimed by Alcock to have been founded from Ely, to the bishops of which it certainly owed much. The name given to Alcock's college was that of “ the most Blessed Virgin Mary, St John the Evangelist, and the glorious Virgin Saint Radigund, ” but it appears that the founder himself intended the name to be Jesus College. He provided for a master and six fellows, but the foundation now consists of a master and sixteen fellows, with twenty scholars or more. There are several further scholarships confined to the sons of clergymen of the Church of England. Architecturally Jesus is one of the most interesting colleges in Cambridge, for Alcock retained, and there still remains, a considerable part of the old buildings of the nunnery. The most important of these is the church, which Alcock, by removing most of the nave and other portions, converted into the usual form of a college chapel. The tower, however, is retained. The bulk of the building is an admirable example of Early English work, but there are traces of Norman; and Alcock added certain Perpendicular features. Of the rest of the college buildings, the hall is Alcock's work, the brick gatehouse is a fine structure of the close of the 1 5th century, while the cloister is a little later, and stands on the site of the nuns' cloister. Another court dates from the 17th and early 18th centuries, and there is a considerable amount of modern building. The most famous name connected with Jesus College is that of Cranmer. Among many others are Sir Thomas Elyot, John Bale, John Pearson, bishop of Chester, Hugh Peters, Gilbert Wakefield, Thomas Malthus, Laurence Sterne and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
King's College has its fine frontage upon the western side of King's Parade. It was founded by King Henry VI. in 1441. The first site was small and circumscribed, and in 1443 the existing site was with difficulty cleared of dwellings. The king designed a close connexion between this college and his other foundation at Eton; he provided for a provost and for seventy scholars, all of whom should be Etonians. In 1861 open scholarships