Trinity College

trinity college courtyard

This is the richest college in Cambridge and Oxford Universities combined, with a landholding worth £800 million.

This makes it one of the wealthiest estate owners in the UK (behind the Crown Estate, the National Trust and the Church of England). The lands owned are as diverse as the Port of Felixstowe, the O2 Arena, half of Tescos and the Cambridge Science Park. The annual rent is over £20 million.

The library is designed by Christopher Wren. It contains two Shakespeare folios and letters by Isaac Newton. The Great Court is where Harold Abrahams ran around the College Courtyard in the time it took for the clock to stirke 12. This was a scene shown in the movie Chariots of Fire.

Thomas Nevile, Master of Trinity in 1593, rebuilt much of the college, including the Great Court and Nevile’s Court. The Great Gate has a statue of it’s founder, Henry VIII. He holds a table leg in his hand instead of a sword. No-one knows when this was switched. The first astronomical observatory in the University was built on top of the gate, in 1704.

There are lots of tales about this college. Lord Byron kept a pet bear when he was a student here. Another tale is that Trinity is the inventor of an English version of creme brulee, ‘Trinity burnt cream’.

The college is a rival of St John’s and is reportedly why there is no ‘J’ on the alphabetical staircases. There are two small cannons on the bowling green also pointed at St John’s, although this may be coincidental.

Notable past students include; Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, Francis Bacon and Jawaharial Nehru. There is a large tree in New Court that some say bore the apples the fell on Newton’s head. However it is a chestnut tree, so no apples here.

Trinity has the most Nobel Prize winners. In the 20th Century, 32 were won by members of the colleges and five field medals in mathematics. Prince Charles obtained a lower second degree here in 1970. He still retains a private room at the back of the college for visits.

There are lovely lime and cherry trees lining the Avenue on the back entrance to Queen’s Road.

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