St Edward King and Martyr Church

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Things to do


Date of travel

May, 2016

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Set behind Kings Parade and near the market, this is a big church surrounded by its tiny graveyard. It is a lovely setting and very peaceful being well away from the bustle of Cambridge.

The church is thought to have Anglo-Saxon origins, although nothing is left of of them. The large square tower at the west end of the church is C13th and the oldest part of the church. The church was rebuilt around 1400 and the chancel arch and nave arcade date from then. The rest of the nave and side aisles is a bit later. The chancel aisles were added in 1446 to provide space for Trinity Hall and Clare College before they had their own chapels. The large windows are C19th.The tower stands out from the rest of the church as it is rendered in ochre coloured plaster and has a brick parapet. The side aisles are heavily buttressed and used as bicycle park by students.

The Church has an unusual name and there aren’t many churches dedicated to King Edward who succeeded his father Edgar, as King of England in 975. Although he was the eldest son, he wasn’t the kings acknowledged heir. Edward was the choice of the church and was crowned king. Unrest broke out in support of his younger half brother Æthelred the Unready. Edward was murdered three years later, aged only 16 or 17, by his step mother at Corfe Castle as she wanted the crown for her son Ethelred. His body was buried with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey and he was canonised around 1001.

The church is associated with the start of the Reformation in England as a group of evangelicals, including Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer, preached from the church.

Entry is either through the vestry door or the west door.

The first impressions on entering are the size of the church. It feels much bigger than it looked from the outside. Even on a very bright sunny day, the interior is gloomy making photography difficult. Arcades of tall, slender arches soar to the ceiling. The chancel arch and first pillar in the north arcade really do lean like this, giving a lopsided look.

Latimer’s pulpit dates from around 1510 and has lovely linen fold panels. The elaborately carved C16th font is tucked away at the back of the south aisle.

The large stained glass windows in the chancel and south chapel contain C19th stained glass.

The windows in the north aisle are C20th and commemorate the grant of the church to Trinity Hall College by Henry Vi in 1446. They are cleverly designed to look like medieval glass.

The church is open most days between 11-2 as long as the verger is there. It is worth popping into if passing. There is no parking for the church. The post code is CB2 3PP and the grid reference is TL 449584.

There are more pictures “here.”:


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