Trinity College

Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Trinity College
Location: Cambridge
County: Cambridgeshire
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location

Performance Spaces


Trinity College is located between the River Cam and Trinity Street (formerly High Street), NW of the church of St Mary's on the Market.

The 16th c. college incorporated buildings from several private hostels and 2 14th c. foundations, Michaelhouse and King's Hall. Michaelhouse's 14th c. hall in the W range remained in use until ca. 1605 when a new hall was built, modelled on the Middle Temple's hall in London.

Performance History

Performances by touring entertainers are recorded at Trinity College in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Current Status

The buildings continue in use as Trinity College.

History of the Venue

1546 Michaelhouse and King's Hall united and refounded as Trinity College by Henry VIII. Many buildings incorporated in the new college plan, including the Great Gate of King's Hall and the hall, butteries and kitchen of Michaelhouse.

1555 New chapel begun on the site of the former King's Hall butteries, hall and chapel. Range of chambers N and S of the Great Gate added. Further building continued during the next 30 years.

1595--1608 Extensive building began at the initiative of the master, Dr Thomas Nevile, to complete the Great Court under the direction of Ralph Symons, including a library and a new hall. Some 1550s buildings demolished to clear the site, including most of the W range inherited from Michaelhouse and the S range. A new kitchen was added at a right angle to the hall.

After the construction of the early 17th c. new hall, the old hall was converted into kitchen space and a fellows' Combination Room. The walls and bay window were preserved but the interiors and windows were substantially altered.

by 1612 2nd court known as Nevile's Court built W of the Great Court towards the river by Nevile.

1669--71 Bishop's Hostel rebuilt.

1675--90 New library designed by Christopher Wren built in Nevile's Court.

1682 Portico probably designed by Christopher Wren added to the hall.

1774 Old Combination Room remodelled by James Essex, whose new room extended into the 17th c. kitchen (former Michaelhouse hall).

1823--5 New Court built S of Nevile's Court.

1859--68 Whewell's Court built SW of the Great Court.

20th c. Old kitchen converted into a dining room. Wren Library renovated.

1957--9 Angel Court built E of the Great Court.

Record Source

REED Cambridge 1.319, 337, 497, 634

Bibliographic Sources

  • Atkinson, Thomas Dinham. Cambridge Described and Illustrated: Being a Short History of the Town and University. London: Macmillan & Co., 1897.
  • Cooper, Charles Henry. Memorials of Cambridge. 3 vols. Cambridge: Macmillan & Co., 1860–6.
  • Little, Bryan. The Colleges of Cambridge 1286–1973. Bath: Adams & Dart, 1973.
  • Lyne, Richard. Plan of Cambridge. London: Richard Lyne, 1574.
  • Nelson, Alan H. Early Cambridge theatres: college, university, and town stages, 1464–1720. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus. Cambridgeshire. The Buildings of England. London: Penguin Books, 1999.
  • Roach, J.P.C. The Victoria History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely. Victoria History of the Counties of England. 10 vols. London: Institute of Historical Research, 1938–.
  • Royal Commission on Historical Monuments England. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Cambridge. 2 vols. London: Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, 1959.
  • Willis, Robert, and John Willis Clark. The Architectural History of the University of Cambridge, and of the Colleges of Cambridge and Eton. 4 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1886.