You might remember Paddy and Plunkett spotting this rather lovely place from their punt trip along the River Cam a couple of weeks back…
Plunkett was especially taken with the beautiful buildings of King’s College, and decided to make it his first port of call the minute his paws were back on dry land!
On the way there, the Beasties passed the front gate of another of Cambridge’s many colleges…
This is Trinity College, which has the reputation of being the wealthiest of all the city’s educational establishments. It was founded by Henry VIII, who at that time was going around the country closing down monasteries and helping himself to the land they owned. The colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, being religious organisations and quite moneyed, were next in his sights. They appealed to Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, and managed to reach a compromise – instead of closing some of Cambridge’s existing colleges down, they were amalgamated as Trinity College AND given a nice little gift of some of the confiscated monastery lands to get them started! To this day, it remains one of the biggest landowners in Britain. Henry VIII is still here keeping an eye on things, too – that’s his statue standing guard over the entrance!
But this isn’t where we’re going… Onwards to King’s College! Nearly there now!
Plunkett couldn’t wait to get inside, but it seems that Paddy is dragging his paws a little…
“Please keep off the grass? But it’s such a beautiful day!”
Of course, Paddy has a knack for bending the rules to suit himself…
“Ha! It’s still the same lawn, y’know!”
Rebellious impulses satisfied, it was finally time for Plunkett to get his history fix!
King’s College formerly went by the less snappy name of “The King’s College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge”, and a good number of British monarchs were involved in its founding and construction. Henry VI got the ball rolling in 1441, and he also laid the first stone of the College’s famous chapel in 1446. His original plan for a modest establishment for “12 poor scholars” was abandoned when he learned about a bigger, fancier college that William of Wykeham had founded in Oxford (60 years earlier – I guess news travelled more slowly in those days), so he updated the charter of King’s College, calling for a superior institution with more grandiose buildings and a larger number of students. Unfortunately, he then got tied up in the Wars of the Roses, and work slowed due to lack of funds. It took another two generations of King Henrys to finish the chapel, which was the only part of Henry VI’s plan to actually be realised. Let’s go and take a look, shall we?
“Huh. I don’t get it, Plunkett… What’s the big deal?”
“Paddy, look up!”
And even Paddy’s breath was taken away by the fantastic fan-vaulted ceiling!
It’s the largest of its kind in the world, and Plunkett could have gazed at it all day.
Luckily, Paddy was good enough to point out that the glorious stained glass windows were also worth a look!
This chapel is still very much in use, and is most famous for its choir, who perform in services almost every day during term time. But the biggest event in the King’s College Chapel calendar is the annual Carol Service on Christmas Eve, which has been broadcast on the BBC for decades, to a global audience!
There are also lots of beautiful little details to be spied, if you stop to look at things from a Beastie-eye point of view. Plunkett found this very fine door lock, although he was a little confused about which step he was supposed to be minding…
“Step? What step? It’s been completely worn away by big stomping human feet!”
Meanwhile, Paddy had ended up somewhere far spookier… The Tomb Chapel!
Trust him to find the most ghoulish thing on offer here! I expect he’ll be waiting in the shadows to jump out at Plunkett when he wanders in…
“Who, me? Never!”
Uh-huh. I’ll believe that when I see it, Paddy!
More from Paddy and Plunkett in a couple of weeks! And next Tuesday, look out for a new Explorer Beastie adventure – see you then!
23 thoughts on “A College Fit For a King… Or a Beastie!”
Tombs! King’s College! grassy piles! Awesome. I have some academic colleagues over yonder–but I have not been to see the glory of the architecture myself. So glad P&P had a fun adventure there 🙂 I love the shot of Paddy in the pile! ha!
The colleges look amazing, don’t they? I reckon you need to start inventing excuses to visit those colleagues of yours – conference! Research! Essential face-to-face discussions that absolutely cannot be done remotely! 😀
Nice pics! P&P had fun!
They sure did… But then they usually do! 😀 Thanks for your comment!
That looks to have been another splendid day out.
Doesn’t it? I’ll have to tag along with these two one of these days! Thanks, Laura! 😀
Amazing photos, thanks for the tour! Youve satisfied my wanderlust for today. Looks like everyone had a grand day.
Thanks, Nina! And yes, I think they did 😀
Awww love me some Cambridge besides being a rival Oxford gal myself! I have to say, P&P are fitting in very naturally with their distinguished surroundings–I bet several students stopped to ask them for directions. Great photos!
Why thank you! It does seem to be a very Beastie-friendly city, and so pretty too. Maybe they’ll let me tag along with them next time…
Ah, nothing like keeping up with the Joneses for architectural grandeur. Or rather keeping up with the Wykehams (which is a bit catchier, if you ask me). Great photos and a terrific history lesson, but I am worried about Paddy getting composted in that “lawn” he found!
Eeek! I suppose with his lovely green skin he does blend in quite well there… I’m just glad there’s photographic evidence that he made it out without getting mulched! 😀
Wonderful sights and history at Trinity and King’s College, Helen. Those ceilings are just amazing! And I love the little step that has been worn down by all the walking – a real testament to how very long the buildings have been around. Wow!
I know, isn’t it crazy? That must have been one busy doorway over the years! Thanks for joining us for the tour! 😀
Nice to see them exploring Cambridge more – I’ll have to keep an eye out for them I may bump into them! 🙂
How’s things Helen?
Yes… watch out, there are Beasties about! 😉 I’m well thanks, been away for a few days but looking forward to getting caught up with everybody again now. How are you?
I’m good… Liking forward to catching up with you and the beasties! 😊
Ha ha, Paddy in the grass bin is hilarious! What a cheeky beastie. 🙂 Wow, those pictures are just awesome. I’m with Paddy for checking out Tomb Chapel, I wouldn’t be able to pass that one up either.
Yes, Paddy’s a Beastie after my own heart… Always eager to explore anything vaguely spooky or ghoulish! 😆
Nice. I think I might have a similar Paddy streak, creepy stuff is just so interesting!!
Totally! Graveyards, abandoned buildings and anything like that lure me in every time! 👻
Love this! Thanks for sharing, Helen.
No problemo! Thanks for reading! 😀