Trinity College, Cambridge

Template:Oxbridge College Infobox

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The Great Gate is the main entrance to the college, leading to the Great Court. A statue of the college founder, Henry VIII, stands in a niche above the doorway. In his hand he holds a table leg instead of the original sword and myths abound as to how the switch was carried out and by whom.
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Clock tower in Great Court
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Close-up of Great Gate
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Great Court

Trinity College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Trinity is the largest and richest of all the colleges in Cambridge (and indeed Oxford), with around 650 undergraduates, 320 graduates, and over 160 Fellows. It has an endowment of around half a billion pounds. When measured in terms of the number of its students, Trinity is one of the wealthiest educational establishments in the world.

Trinity has a very strong academic tradition, with members having won thirty-one Nobel prizes and four Fields Medallists (mathematics).

Trinity College and King's College were for decades the main recruiting grounds for the Cambridge Apostles, an elite, intellectual secret society that once boasted members of real distinction but which now - if it still exists - no longer has any presence in the university.

Trinity's sister college is Christ Church, Oxford, which was founded by Henry VIII in the same year.

Trinity has many college societies: its rowing club is the First and Third Trinity Boat Club. The college May Ball is regarded by many as one of the highlights of the Oxbridge social calendar.



The college was founded by Henry VIII in 1546, from the merger of two existing colleges: Michaelhouse (founded by Hervey de Stanton in 1324), and King's Hall (established by Edward II in 1317 and refounded by Edward III in 1337). Most of the college's major buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Thomas Nevile, who became Master of Trinity in 1593, rebuilt and re-designed much of the college. This work included the enlargement and completion of Great Court, and the construction of Nevile's Court between Great Court and the river Cam. Nevile's Court was completed in the late 17th century when the Wren Library, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was built.


Great Court (principally 1599-1608, various architects)
The brainchild of Thomas Nevile, who demolished several existing buildings on this site, including almost the entirety of the former college of Michaelhouse. The sole remaining building of Michaelhouse was replaced by the current Kitchens (designed by James Essex) in 1770-1775.
King's Hostel (1377-1416, various architects)
Located to the north of Great Court, behind the Clock Tower, this is (along with the Great Gate), the sole remaining building from King's Hall.
Nevile's Court
(1614, unknown architect): Located between Great Court and the river, this court was created by a bequest by the college's master, Thomas Nevile, originally 2/3 of its current length and without the Wren Library. The appearance of the upper floor was remodelled slightly 2 centuries later.
Wren Library (1676-1695, Christopher Wren)
Located at the west end of Nevile's Court.
Bishop's Hostel (1671, Robert Minchin)
A detached building to the south-west of Great Court, and named after John Hacket, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. Additional buildings were built in 1878 by Arthur Blomfield.
New Court (or King's Court; 1825, William Watkins)
Located to the south of Nevile's Court, and built in Tudor-Gothic style, this court is notable for the large tree in the centre. Many other "New Courts" in the colleges were built at this time to accommodate the new influx of students.
Whewell's Courts (1860 & 1868, Anthony Salvin)
Located across the street from Great Court, these two courts were entirely paid for by William Whewell, the then master of the college. Note: Whewell is pronounced "Hugh-well".
Angel Court (1957-1959, HC Husband)
Located between Great Court and Trinity Street.
Wolfson Building (1968-1972, Architects Co-Partnership)
Located to the south of Whewell's Court, on top of a podium above shops, this building resembles a brick-clad ziggurat.
Blue Boar Court (1989, MacCormac Jamieson Prichard and Wright)
Located to the south of the Wolfson Building, on top of podium a floor up from ground level, and including the upper floors of several surrounding Georgian buildings on Trinity, Green and Sidney Street.
Burrell's Field (1995, MacCormac Jamieson Prichard)
Located on a site to the west of the main College buildings.


The Great Court Run is an attempt to run round the perimeter of Great Court (approximately 367 metres), in the 43 seconds taken for the clock to strike twelve. Students traditionally attempt the complete the circuit on the day of the Matriculation Dinner. The only people believed to have actually completed the run in time are Lord Burghley in 1927 and Sebastian Coe when he beat Steve Cram in a charity race in October 1988.

One Sunday each June (the exact date depends on the university term), the College Choir perform a short concert immediately after the clock strikes 12 noon. Known as Singing from the Towers, half of the choir sings from the top of Great Gate, while the other half sings from the top of the Clock Tower (approximately 60 metres away), giving a strong antiphonal effect. Midway through the concert, a brass band performs from the top of Queen's Tower. Later that same day, the College Choir gives a second open-air concert, known as Singing on the River, where they perform madrigals (and arrangements of popular songs) from a raft of punts on the river.

Another tradition relates to a wooden duck (known as the Mallard), which resides in the rafters of the Great Hall. Students occasionally move the duck from one rafter to another (without permission from the college), having been photographed with the mallard as proof. This is considered very difficult, as access to the Hall outside mealtimes is not allowed, the rafters are high and so it has not been done for several years. It currently resides, facing west, on the rafter just to the south of the centre of the Hall.

The college remains a great rival of St. John's who are their main rival in sports and academia. This has given rise to a number of anecdotes and myths. It is often cited as the reason why the courts of Trinity generally have no J staircases, despite including other letters in alphabetical order.

Scholarships and Prizes

Trinity offers a Junior Scholarship (principally a monetary award and also, as of present, preference in the 3rd year room ballots) to undergraduates who achieve a first-class result in their first part of Tripos. Undergraduates who achieve such a result in subsequent parts of Tripos are granted a Senior Scholarship. This award can also be gained by first year undergraduates who finish very close to the top of their year. High achievers may also be offered financial support for proceeding with a Masters or PhD thesis. The highly regarded right to walk on the grass in the college courts is exclusive to Fellows of the college. Scholars do however have the right to walk on Scholar's Lawn, but only in full academic dress.

Related pages

Notable Alumni

Trinity Nobel Prize winners

Other notable alumni

College Officials

List of Masters

The head of Trinity College is the Master. The first Master was John Redman who was appointed in 1546. The role is a Royal appointment and in the past was sometimes made by the Monarch as a favour to an important person. Nowadays the Fellows of the College, and to a lesser extent the Government, choose the new Master and the Royal role is only nominal. A complete list of the Masters of Trinity is below.

List of deans

Colleges of the University of Cambridge Arms of the University

Christ's | Churchill | Clare | Clare Hall | Corpus Christi | Darwin | Downing | Emmanuel | Fitzwilliam | Girton | Gonville and Caius | Homerton | Hughes Hall | Jesus | King's | Lucy Cavendish | Magdalene | New Hall | Newnham | Pembroke | Peterhouse | Queens' | Robinson | St Catharine's | St Edmund's | St John's | Selwyn | Sidney Sussex | Trinity | Trinity Hall | Wolfson

de:Trinity College (Cambridge)

fr:Trinity College (Cambridge) zh:剑桥大学三一学院


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