The King’s College of Our Lady and St Nicholas in Cambridge or Kings college to us was founded by Henry VI who also founded Eton, the school for boys. Initially King’s was to have a Provost and 12 impoverished students (the number of the apostles) but after work had begun on the Old Court, Henry decided on a much more ambitious plan. He now intended King’s to have 70 scholars (representing the 70 early evangelists chosen by Jesus) drawn exclusively from the king’s other foundation at Eton. For over 400 years King’s College admitted only Etonians and claimed the privilege that its students should receive degrees without being examined.
Henry wanted this to be the biggest, most impressive college. He put a huge amount of his personal fortune into it, but then the wars of the roses erupted. He took most of the money back out to finance his war. This is why buildings like the chapel took so long to complete and the college wasn’t finished here till the reign of Henry VIII.
The Cambridge Night Climbers
Cambridge also used to be home to a secret society who called themselves the Night Climbers. They would scale the city’s buildings by night with very little equipment and even less permission. They once climbed Kings College Chapel and left a traffic cone on the top left tower of the building. The master of the college saw what they had done and wasn’t impressed. The only way up there if you’re not a climber is with a lot of scaffolding. He called out builders and started erecting a scaffold. After several days they still weren’t all the way up, it had started to rain and they said “it’s not that far left to go we’ll just come back tomorrow and finish the job”. But during the night the student climbed back up that chapel and swapped the traffic cone over to the right tower. That has become a tradition since then, every imaginable object has found its way up there. They’ve had toilet seats, santa hats, a bicycle… but the college does now use a marksman to get things down.
Kings bridge, according the legend, is the last place in England you can still legally fight to the death so if you’ve got a set of pistols and an outstanding grudge… this is the place!
Xu Zhimo – Chinesse Poet
E M Forster – Novelist
John Maynard Keynes – Macroeconomist
Rupert Brooke – War poet