The Great Court, Trinity Collegedetails

[Picture: The Great Court, Trinity College]
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The Great Court, Trinity College

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The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, though inheriting much from the earlier college—King’s Hall—which was set up by Edward II and his son Edward III, owes almost everything to King Henry VIII. It was typical of this monarch that, after somewhat maltreating Wolsey’s foundation at Oxford and paying not too much attention to Henry VI’s or King’s College at Cambridge, he should have set about founding Trinity with the plain intent of eclipsing both. The College as we see it to-day, is the largest and wealthiest in either University. It is founded for a Master, sixty Fellows at the least, and eighty Scholars. In full term the resident members number nearly eight hundred souls. From the first, the buildings were set out to accommodate an unusually large society. The Great Court, with its Chapel, Gatehouse, Hall, Master’s Lodge, and rows of chambers, broken here by a tower, there by a turret, occupies over two acres of ground. The character of its architecture is for the most part Tudor; for the restorations and alterations which have from time to time taken place have not been permitted to stray far from the traditional style of the Court. A further court—the Cloister or Neville’s Court—consists of two ranges of Jacobean design, modified by later hands so as to fare better than they otherwise would beside Sir Christopher Wren’s great Library building, which here occupies the entire western side of the quadrangle, even projecting above and beyond it on either side. In addition to these two spacious courts there are three other quadrangles, all of recent date. These are fortunately so situated that the sightseer can easily avoid looking at them.” (p. 12)

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