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Did you know these facts about Clare College?

Old Court Clare College Cambridge


Founded in 1326, Clare College is the second oldest of Cambridge University’s colleges and the oldest college on the River Cam. The West Range of Clare’s Old Court, beside King’s College Chapel, forms part of the most photographed view in Cambridge. Though famous for these very reasons there is much that is not widely known about the college. Here are some of the things that you might not have known about Clare College.

The Clare College Crest

Clare College’s foundress, Lady Elizabeth de Clare, was married three times to influential noblemen. After the death of her third husband, in 1322, she did not remarry. Upon close inspection of the Clare College crest you will notice the edge contains tears which are symbolic of Lady de Clare’s mourning.

Asymmetry of Old Court

Old Court Cambridge

The positioning of Old Court’s archway is not central. This is because the North Range (to the left) was designed to be longer than the other ranges because of the importance of the rooms it contained. There are nine windows to the left of the gateway and seven to the right.

David Attenborough

Clare has numerous famous alumni, including royal chaplain Hugh Latimer (1485-1555) and poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886 – 1967). David Attenborough, the prominent broadcaster and naturalist, was also an undergraduate at Clare College. A bust of Sir David is displayed in the buildings at Old Court and the nose of the brass bust is rubbed by students for good luck.

Clare Cellars

Clare College JCR

Clare College has an underground bar which is part of the Junior Common Room. Located underneath the Chapel, the space was formally a crypt.

Date posted: February 28, 2017