Trinity Hall College and Chapel

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Things to do


Date of travel

March, 2016

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Not to be confused with its larger neighbour, Trinity College, Trinity Hall College is one of the oldest colleges dating from 1350. It was founded by Bishop Bateman of Norwich in response to the Black Death to promote the study of canon and civil law. The college still maintains its tradition for law.

I found the college almost by accident after visiting King’s College. To be honest, I thought it was Trinity College. I’d picked up an information leaflet which someone had dropped in “King’s College”: and was heading there. I began to have my doubts as the map of the grounds bore no relationship to the college I was in and the descrition of the chapel was wrong too! It took a while to sort out exactly where I was.

Thrinity Hall College is a complete contrast and is much smaller and more intimate than many of the more well known colleges. A major bonus is that it is free to enter. I was the only visitor, having checked with the porter’s lodge that I could visit the chapel and take photographs.

It is an attractive set of building around a grassy court, with archways leading through into smaller courtyards. The north court was full of student’s bicycles reminding me of how important the bike still is as a means of transport in Cambridge.

The chapel is tucked away in the south west corner of the front court and from the outside is a fairly insignificant building. Although it dates from the C14th it was completely refurbished in the C18th. Wood panelling was added round the bottom of the walls, stained glass was removed and the black and white tile floor added. The chancel was increased in length in the C19th, creating a raised platform for the altar. An organ gallery was added in 1922, the first time music was played in the chapel.

Above the altar is Manzuoli’s painting of the Salutation from about 1570, which is on permanent loan from the Fitzwilliam Museum. It depicts the pregnant Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.

The small wood panelled ante-chapel outside is very much a storage area. The two stained glass windows commemorate the appointment of Robert Runcie, a former dean of the college as Archbishop of Canterbury.

The chapel is open daily. The post code is CB2 1TJ and the grid reference is TL 447585.

There are more pictures here.”:


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