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Cambridge College Gardens: A History from Medieval and Tudor Times

Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BE
Date and Time
6 June 2023
1:00pm - 2:00pm
From £3.00

Cambridge College Gardens: A History from Medieval and Tudor Times

by Dr Ann Benson FSA FRHistS

Oxford has its quads but Cambridge has its courts. The difference? All is explained as Dr Ann Benson uses her current ground-breaking research to describe how the early history of Cambridge as a market town produced colleges with tennis courts and bowling greens attached to buildings grouped around lawns, orchards, groves and even a deer park. The dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII had a significant impact on the landscape of Cambridge and resulted in the creation of new colleges from monastic buildings and their grounds. Colleges were variously founded and supported by kings, queens and eminent aristocrats such as Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. Richly illustrated throughout, Ann reveals how the college grounds have changed across time due to their association with notable college members, for example, Sir Issac Newton at Trinity, head gardeners, and landscape designers such as Capability Brown. The contributions of more recent landscape designers in the 1950s are also included, for example, Sylvia Crowe at Saint John’s College and Professor Nevill Willmer at Clare College where he used his scientific research on optics to design colourful herbaceous borders. The collections of the Society of Antiquaries are used to describe and illustrate the college gardens and particularly for the Tudor period and the late seventeenth century. For example, accounts kept at the Society enable us to know that in August 1564, Elizabeth I was handsomely entertained within the buildings and gardens of several Cambridge colleges. Apparently, she became bored and exhausted by all the long speeches in Latin, whereas the college elders were greatly impressed by her eloquence and intellect. Many Cambridge college gardens are open to visitors, particularly during the summer months. This lecture is not only of interest to lovers of gardens and history, but would also serve to enrich any future visit to Cambridge.

There will also be a small display of items related to Cambridge in the Meeting Room to look at after the event with the opportunity to ask questions about them.

This event will be both in person at Burlington House and online. Please select the appropriate ticket below.

Attendance at Burlington House:

  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows, Affiliates and General Public.
  • Places in person will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The event will begin at 13.00 BST. Please arrive in plenty of time.
  • Registration is essential.

Attendance by Live Stream:

  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows, Affiliates and General Public.
  • The event will be live-streamed to YouTube here
  • The event will begin at 13.00 BST.
  • You will receive an email reminder with the link to join the day before the lecture.

Please help the Society continue to deliver our FREE online Lecture Programme by making a donation to cover the cost of upgraded IT and software. We would really appreciate your support. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please contact us at communications@sal.org.uk

Disclaimer: All information was correct when the listing was prepared. Any questions about the event should be directed to the event organiser.

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