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vost has absolute authority within the precincts; and by special composition between this Society and the University, its undergraduates (under certain restrictions) are exempt from the power of the Proctors and other University Officers, within the limits of the College ; neither by usage do they keep any public exercises in the Schools, or are any way examined for their Bachelor of Arts' degree.
This College, which is situated between Trumpington-street and the river, originally consisted of the Chapel and a court to the north of it, about 120 feet long and 90 broad, which was very lofty, and built of stone ;* but this building becoming much decayed, it was determined, about the beginning of the last century, to erect a large quadrangle, to the south of the Chapel, suitable to the dignity and wants of the College. This grand undertaking
Pope Clement VII. also by his Bull, dated the 4th of the Nones of November, 1528, empowered Cardinal Wolsey to dissolve such Monasteries as contained but 6, 4, or 3 monks, to the amount of 8000 ducats of gold, and transfer their property towards the increase of the revenues of the Collegiate Church at Windsor and of this College.—Johnston's Assurance, of Abbey Lands, p. 44.
* The University have lately purchased this court for the purpose of enlarging the University Library. It was originally intended (according to Fuller) only for the Choristers. The exquisitely beautiful gateway that looks upon Clare Hall, is soon about to be removed to some other part of the University. A fine view of it has been engraved by Messrs. Storer.
was accordingly commenced in 1724, under the direction of Mr. Gibbs, the well-known architect of St. Martin's Church in London, and he erected the Fellows' Building (which will be described below), as the west side of the intended square, and a specimen of the manner in which the whole was to have been finished. But as it happens that plans on such an extensive scale are sometimes not fully carried into execution, so it was in this instance. The design of forming a grand quadrangle was then abandoned; but afterwards resumed, and the new buildings were commenced in 1824. On the 12th of July in that year, the first stone was laid by the Rev. Samuel Berney Vince, Vice-Provost; and the whole has been since completed in the gothic style, under the direction, and according to the plans, of William Wilkins, Esq. M.A., late Fellow of Caius College, and Architect of Downing and Corpus Christi Colleges, and of the King's Court at Trinity.
This grand Quadrangle measures 280 feet in length, and about 270 in breadth, and contains the Hall, Library, Chapel, and rooms for the Fellows and Scholars. It is entered by a magnificent gateway from Trumpington-street, from which it is separated by a screen.
The Hall, on the south side, is a noble room, 102 feet long, 36 feet broad, and 45 feet high. It has a beautiful pendant cieling, after the fashion of Crosby Hall in London: the arch is of the Tudor
form, richly decorated with tracery of the most elaborate workmanship. The ends of the Hall above the passages, are converted into Music-galleries, which are entered by staircases at the back of the building.
The screen at the west end is light and elegant. The roof is surmounted externally with two lanterns of stone, highly finished ; and the oriel window is covered with a dome of beautiful workmanship.
The Fellows' and Scholars' apartments are on each side of the Hall. The building at the western end contains also the Combination-Rooms, the largest of which measures about 40 feet in length, and 20 in breadth.
Adjoining is the Library, a handsome structure, adorned with buttresses and pinnacles, and a beautiful perforated parapet. The staircase is at the western end of the Fellows' apartments. The lower part is appropriated to the officers of the lodge. There is a complete stone floor
iron bearers, to prevent accidents by fire. The interior of the Library is 93 feet long, 27 feet broad, and 18 feet high, and is elegantly fitted up with projecting bookcases of carved oak, well furnished with a scarce and very valuable collection of books, among which is a rare and curious MS. of the Book of Psalms, written upon parchment, about 4 spans long by 3 broad,—said to have been taken from the Spaniards at the siege of Cadiz, in 1691. It contains also the valuable collection of the late
Jacob Bryant, Esq. consisting of between 2000 and 3000 volumes, amongst which are many very rare and early printed classics, from A.D. 1470 to A. D. 1500.
The Screen on the east side is 280 feet long; and the gateway is 82 feet from the ground to the top of the Dome Tower. Each corner of this tower, rising from a square base, is finished by octagonal turrets and spires, and the exterior extended corners of the building with pinnacles. In the centre is a clock with four dials. The
open windows on each side of the entrance are richly ornamented, and are 30 feet high.
The Grecian Building at the west side, is the one to which we have before alluded, as erected by Mr. Gibbs. Its dimensions are,—236 feet in length, 46 in breadth, and 56 in height. It is built of Portland stone, with a grand Doric Portico in the centre, leading to the lawn, and comprises in three lofty stories, twenty suites of rooms for the Fellows, elegantly fitted up.
The Provost's Lodge, although connected with the other range of buildings, may be considered as unique in its design, and exhibits a highly ornamented specimen of the Tudor domestic style. The variety of the front, which is 98 feet in length, with the richness of the detail, and the fine and interesting landscape forming the back ground, render the view of this building from the west end of the chapel truly gratifying to the beholder; and when
we add to these, the extensive lawn in front, and the modern bridge of one arch, which connects it with the walks and fields beyond the river, it will be felt that scarcely any thing is wanting to complete the picturesque beauty of this part of the College precincts. The interior of the Lodge is tastefully fitted up in the Grecian style, and contains some fine and spacious apartments : the state rooms measure 35 feet long and 20 broad.
The Lodge contains a curious portrait, on board, of Jane Shore; also a half-length of Sir Robert Walpole, by Dahl; and a good portrait of Dr. John Sumner, late Provost.
The Chapel, which forms the principal object of attraction on account of its magnitude, is universally considered to be one of the finest Gothic edifices in the kingdom; and exhibits the perfection of the style in which it is built. The eastern end is the most ancient, and the purest part of the structure. The walls at the west end were the last completed of the main body. The perforated battlements to the porches and small chapels were not completely finished till after the year 1530. The extreme length of the Chapel is 316 feet; the breadth 84 feet; the height from the ground to the summit of the battlements 90 feet; to the top of the pinnacles more than 101 feet; and to the top of each of the four corner turrets 146} feet. The interior length is 291 feet; the breadth 45); and the height 78 feet.