The colleges and halls: St Catharine's

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.

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'The colleges and halls: St Catharine's', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge, (London, 1959) pp. 415-420. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section


Foundation and Early History.

St. Catharine's College. Gules a Catherine wheel or. [Recorded by the heralds, 1684]

St. Catharine's College (fn. 1) was founded by Robert Woodlark (or Wodelarke), Provost of King's College, on St. Catharine's day, 25 November 1473. Until 1860 it was known as Catharine Hall. The site was the north-west of the present court, and the front faced Milne Street, now Queens' Lane. The whole of the island site formed by Queens' Lane, Silver Street, Trumpington Street, and King's Lane with the exception of a short strip north of the Bull Hotel has been acquired by the College in small lots at various times.

The old buildings were enlarged by additions in 1517, 1610, 1611, 1622, and 1630. The last, Bull or Walnut-tree Court, is the only part of the additions still surviving; of red brick relieved by stonework it fixed the style adopted in the great rebuilding scheme of the 17th century, in fact that of all later developments. Poorly constructed, probably of wood and stone, the original buildings soon fell into decay, and, the cost of repair being heavy, in 1673 they were, with the exception of Bull Court, pulled down and gradually replaced by the modern court, the last addition being the chapel in 1704.

The large benefaction of Mrs. Ramsden resulted in the building, some 50 years later, of a and b staircases, and in the laying out of the forecourt, which was planted with elms, and now became the front of the College instead of Queens' Lane. Mrs. Ramsden wished the Trumpington Street front to be the site of her new buildings, and such a plan was in the air 70 years earlier, as may be seen from Loggan's print of 1688. Rejected for financial reasons, the scheme was revived in 1913, only to be abandoned on artistic grounds. The Master's Lodge was built in 1875, while the years 1930 and 1935 saw the erection of Hobson's Building and Johns Building. Woodlark Building, a block corresponding to Hobson's Building, was erected in 1951 on the site of the old porter's lodge, making the College archi- tecturally complete. Several houses in Trumpington Street, and the old Bull Hotel, are now also part of the College precincts.

The founder himself drew up statutes for the government of his College, and in the still-existing list of his possessions, drawn up in his own handwriting and known as the Black Memorial, he gives some of his ideals for the new foundation, and a few of the difficulties in the way of their realization. A small society of priests, whose duties were to pray for their founder, and to complete their education by a study of theology and philosophy, medicine and law being expressly excluded, was the original form of what is now a great teaching institution. Undergraduates were not contemplated either by Woodlark or by his immediate successors. His College was for seniors, and the few juniors admitted on sufferance, probably not more than four at first, performed menial duties in return for their privilege. When paid servants took their place cannot be exactly determined. There was a student cook and a student butler in 1558, but they had been replaced by servants 100 years later; the books of account show student porters as late as 1743. The first record of a paid servant is in a deed of 1517, appointing a College laundress.

Pre-Reformation bequests were numerous, and all were subject to the condition that religious offices were to be performed by the College for the donor or his relatives and friends. They were intended for the improvement of the College or for the foundation of fellowships; only two, that establishing the Bible-clerkship in 1506 and that setting up the office of butler in 1514, contemplate anything similar to a modern exhibition.

Woodlark's ideal lasted for some 60 or 70 years. It certainly proved a success, for in that period three fellows of St. Catharine's were elected to Masterships of Cambridge colleges, Edmund Natures (Clare 1514), William Capon (Jesus 1516), and Robert Swinburn (Pembroke 1534). A deed dated 1537 shows the liberal and enlightened policy pursued by the College during this period. In it Edward Moore, fellow of the College, was granted leave of absence for three or four years, with all his emoluments, in order to study abroad. This is a very early, possibly the first, instance of a travelling studentship.

The Reformation.

With the Reformation monastic ideals became unpopular, and financial difficulties led the College to increase its income by becoming a teaching body. An interesting document, the original of which must have been drawn up about 1550, outlines the studies and discipline of junior students for four years of residence, the officer in charge being called praelector. Numbers now began to increase. The list in the University Registry gives 18 as the membership of the College in 1558. In 1564 there were 21 members, in 1573, 32, in 1621, 56, and in 1641, 102. Scholarships, not fellowships, were now founded by benefactors; the first was given in 1587, to be followed by others at various dates between 1610 and 1743. Fellowships were founded in 1473, 1478, 1503, 1506, and 1515, after which there were none founded except byefellowships until 1919. These two lists bear eloquent testimony to the change from Woodlark's ideal of a learned and religious society to the modern ideal of a body of young students served and educated by a few teaching fellows.

New statutes were imposed in 1549, but the constant interference of the Crown in University matters seems to have affected St. Catharine's very little, although the commission of Queen Elizabeth I, 1559, probably removed Dr. Cosyn from the Mastership, and on 28 March 1577 a letter of the same Sovereign appointed Edmund Hownde as Master. Within, the College was stirring to new life. The records show a praiseworthy effort to improve the corporate finances and their administration, and, as has been said, numbers were steadily rising in the second half of the 16th century. On the other hand, there are signs that the spirit of contentiousness, always the evil genius of St. Catharine's, was already becoming a serious hindrance to development. From 1580 to 1582 the Master was engaged in a struggle with John Furmary, who, he said, had forfeited his fellowship by absence from College and by acceptance of ecclesiastical preferment inconsistent with the statutes. Ten years later another quarrel occurred with four fellows, apparently in connexion with the Master's expulsion of Robert Cansfield, another fellow, for a similar reason. Then in March 1598 the fellows quarrelled over the election of a new Master, and the dispute was not settled until Queen Elizabeth I appointed John Overall.

Such were the birth-pangs which preceded a very happy time in the history of the College. But before this happiness could fully mature, another quarrel occurred. At this period the business affairs of St. Catharine's were partly in the hands of the Master, who apparently was not subject to audit. Between 1610 and 1623 fresh benefactions were received and new buildings were being erected. The Master held the strings, and the holder of the office in 1623, John Hills, was unbusiness-like, unpopular, and untruthful. The fellows, probably under the able guidance of Thomas Buck, the steward (i.e. bursar), revolted. The dispute was finally settled in the University Court, the Master being forced to pay back all College money in his possession, and to place in the treasury an inventory of all College property kept in the Master's Lodge.

The Great Rebuilding.

Hills died in 1626, and for 60 years the College enjoyed a spell of great prosperity, broken only by the ejection of the whole society in 1650 for refusing to take the 'Engagement' to support the House of Commons without King and House of Lords. A succession of able Masters, Sibbes, Brownrigg, Spurstow, Lightfoot, Eachard, Dawes, and a really remarkable body of hard-working fellows, carried the College to a height of success never attained again until recent years. The College books show that nearly all of the fellows undertook tutorial duties, while several incidents are recorded tending to show the loyalty and good feeling that animated the society. This excellent spirit expressed itself in a determination to rebuild the College, a work begun in 1673 and completed in 1704 when the chapel was consecrated. The most active worker in this project was John Eachard, Master 1675–97.

The archives of St. Catharine's supply full information about the methods used to raise the money for this rebuilding. No real estate was sold, but much College plate was, and fetched a mere trifle. Subscriptions, loans, and especially borrowings on annuities, were the chief means employed. The last might have caused considerable embarrassment had not many of the annuitants after a time given release. Eachard's ways were perhaps risky, but he was a tremendous worker and succeeded in his efforts to rebuild the College.

The Great Decline.

The 18th century was for St. Catharine's a period of steady decline both in prestige and in numbers. The number of freshmen, which had been usually between 20 and 30 during the 17th century, only once, in 1772, was above 9 from 1733 to 1807, and this exception is due to the magnificent benefaction of Mrs. Ramsden, who by her will, dated 3 November 1743, founded 6 fellowships and 10 scholarships, and erected 12 new sets of chambers to house the new-comers.

Had it not been for this gift St. Catharine's, a small and poor foundation, would never have survived the continuous fall in values since the foundation; even with it so good a judge as G. F. Browne, Bishop of Bristol, thought in 1900 that amalgamation with another college would have been wise. But in spite of its munificence the gift proved for a time a failure, because of the precise but short-sighted Rules and Orders that Mrs. Ramsden insisted on drawing up for her new foundation. The result was, in very truth, a house divided against itself. The new régime, which came into effect with the election of six Skerne fellows, as Mrs. Ramsden wished her foundation to be called, on 10 November 1772, resulted in a bipartite society of six foundation fellows, with full powers of government, combined with six bye-fellows in receipt of a fixed stipend but with no powers in the management of affairs. The financial side of the matter may be best judged by considering the fact that in 1773 a Skerne fellow received annually, under Mrs. Ramsden's Rules and Orders, £52, while a foundation fellow received his statutory stipend of £5 13s. 4d. along with a dividend of a residue of college moneys when all statutory demands had been met. So, as against the Skerne fellow's £52, a foundation fellow received, as stipend and dividend, £75 16s. 3d. in 1773, £51 13s. 2d. in 1778, and £66 8s. 7d. in 1791. Later on some addition to the Skerne fellows' income was made from the surplus of the Ramsden income. It is obvious that there was here the material of much misunderstanding, which resulted in many disputes and quarrels from 1777 to 1854, ending only with the amalgamation of these foundations under the statutes of 1860. These quarrels were rendered more harmful to the two foundations by the long feud, beginning in 1790, between two sections of the foundation fellows. This feud began with the dispute about the election of a successor to Philip Gardner in 1790 and did not end until 1809.

Later History.

Then occurred a revival of the College under the guidance of Procter and Philpott (1799–1861), when annual entries rose from none in 1800, 1801, and 1802, to 33 in 1828, with an average of about 20 from 1800 to 1850.

In 1861, however, there took place the greatest disaster in the history of the College, from which it did not recover until after the First World War. The elevation of Philpott to the see of Worcester created a vacancy in the Mastership. There were five voters, two of whom, Charles Kirkby Robinson and Francis James Jameson, were candidates. Jameson and another voted for Robinson, two for Jameson, but Robinson, following an old tradition of the College, voted for himself, and so secured the election. Unfortunately there was some misunderstanding, the nature of which is still a mystery, and Jameson considered himself aggrieved. Instead of exercising his right of appealing to the Visitor, he began, or allowed his friends to begin, an agitation among members of the University. This he did in spite of the oath he had taken at his election to a fellowship not to divulge secrets which if made public might be to the detriment of the society. It is surprising that the University took part in a domestic dispute with which it had no concern, but interfere it did, condemned Robinson, and 'sent him to Coventry'. A pamphlet war ensued lasting for several years, and the College rapidly declined in popularity and efficiency because of the inferiority complex created by the treatment it underwent. The disaster was all the worse because of the length of Robinson's term of office. He continued as Master until his death in 1909, and the condition of St. Catharine's during the later years of this long Mastership was deplorable. The efforts of the tutors between 1892 and 1895, while resulting in the acquisition of a playing-field and in the restoration of the chapel, were powerless to remove the aversion everywhere shown to the College, and at length they gave way to apathy and inefficiency. The undergraduates shared the general odium, and not unnaturally came to be drawn in great part from an inferior stratum and to fall in number. In spite of this, many if not most of them struggled hard to uphold the honour of their College, and it may be said with truth that they were not altogether unsuccessful. Several of those still alive are gratefully conscious of the beneficial effect upon their characters of this struggle against adversity.

Dr. Johns, who succeeded to the Mastership in 1909, resolutely took in hand the work of uprooting the old and planting the new, but the difficulty of the task, and the disappointments caused by the First World War, proved too severe a strain, and he died, worn out by his efforts, in 1920. He was a pioneer to whom the present St. Catharine's owes its very existence. Johns was followed by Bishop Drury, an old man, but with such a spiritual character that the 'Robinson complex' became a thing of the past. During the Mastership of Drury the Act of Parliament of 1714, whereby a canonry at Norwich Cathedral had been attached to the office, was discussed by the society, which finally secured another Act dissociating the two appointments. Accordingly in 1927 was elected the first lay Master, F. M. Rushmore, who as post-war tutor had been responsible for the rebirth of the College in 1919.

In recent years accommodation for undergraduates has been increased by the addition of Hobson Building in 1930, Johns Building in 1935, and Woodlark Building in 1951. Baths and similar conveniences have been liberally supplied wherever possible; a senior combination room, on the site of the old choir room, has made it possible to turn the old combination room into a gallery-annex to the hall.

It is difficult to describe the transformation that has come over St. Catharine's since 1918. Numbers have multiplied fourfold. The number of fellows has more than doubled. Success in honours examinations has increased and is increasing, while the triumphs in sport, especially Rugby football, have been phenomenal. In 1937 the captains of University Rugby, of Association football, and of cricket were St. Catharine's men.


The founder's statutes were replaced by the Edwardian statutes of 1549. Woodlark decreed that his fellows were to be clergy, and to confine their studies to divinity. They lost their fellowships if they entered a religious order, or if they came into possession of property yielding 10 marks a year. Rules were given for the regulation of the fellows' studies, but none for those of undergraduates, although some fellow commoners were allowed. The annual stipend of the Master was £5, of a fellow £4.

The Edwardian statutes increased these stipends to £6 and £5 respectively, with 8d. a week for a Master's servant. Of the fellows, now six in number, two at least must be priests, and one a deacon. The president, the only officer other than the Master to be mentioned in the founder's statutes, was to receive 6s. 8d. as his annual stipend. A senescallus seu receptor was now appointed, with an annual stipend of 40s., to prepare an annual audit on St. Catharine's day. These statutes omit everything peculiar to the Church of Rome.

There was no alteration in these statutes until 1860, when a new code amalgamated the original foundation and that of Mrs. Ramsden, abolished bye-fellowships, legalized a dividend of £300 a year, and raised the number of fellows to a possible nine. No restrictions were imposed upon fellows' studies. In 1882 new statutes were imposed whereby the statutory number of fellows was reduced to six and the dividend to £250. The tutorial side of College work was recognized. One fellowship was to be professorial, and any fellow could declare to the Master in writing his wish to become a supernumerary. Permission for the first time was given to elect to honorary fellowships.

St. Catharine's in 1921 put itself under new statutes at its own request. These among other changes set up a pension scheme, gave greater freedom in the granting and renewal of fellowships, and permitted election to supernumerary fellowships. In 1926, when new statutes came into force for all colleges, slight alterations made in the statutes of 1921 were all that was necessary to bring them into line with those of the rest of the University. The dividend was raised to £300. The present statutes were granted in 1953.


The washing and repair of the main court carried out in 1951–2 enabled visitors to form an estimate of the skill, one might say genius, of the 17th-century builders. What may be called the pattern of all subsequent developments was the staircase in Walnut-tree Court, erected about 1630. Its characteristic 'notes' are red brick with stonework, three stories and dormers, but with no eaves. The woodwork is very good, particularly the newel posts and the carved dark oak over the fireplace in the south room on the first floor. This block cannot be seen from the main court, being screened by the north side, which contains the buttery, hall, library, and chapel.

The appearance of the main court, which is built on three sides only, is very impressive. The features of its pattern are reproduced, but improved, or rather ennobled. The three sides are higher than Walnuttree Court, particularly on the north and south; the shape of the windows is varied; there are eaves, and the archway leading into Queens' Lane, which was the entry to the College down to the middle of the 18th century, is a gap in a beautiful stone section stretching from the ground to the roof. This section is divided into two parts, each of which is flanked by two pillars. The dates of the building are: hall 1675, old lodge, c and d about 1679, chapel 1704, a and b 1757. These form an harmonious whole with subtle differences that enable the expert to tell the order in which they were built. In 1869 an oriel window was added to the south-east end of the hall, and the windows of this part of the court were taken out and replaced by others with Gothic tracery.

The fourth side of the court is open to the north end of Trumpington Street, separated from it by a low wall with railings, which were restored in 1952 along with the handsome gate in the centre. The forecourt, which used to be planted with elms, is flanked by two blocks of very recent date, 1930 and 1951; Mr. G. L. Kennedy was the architect. In 1935 Johns Building, running south from b, was erected under the direction of Mr. H. L. Mullett. James Essex carried out the additions made in 1757, but the genius responsible for the features of the main court was Robert Grumbold, who was a masterbuilder working under Wren when the latter was engaged in Cambridge. The beauty of Grumbold's design is obvious at a glance, but it is only after a close study of details that a true appreciation is possible.

Included within the College precincts are the former Bull Hotel and also certain houses in Trumpington Street.


The chapel walls and roof were completed by 1676, but want of funds prevented the furnishing of the interior until 1704. It is a good example of Queen Anne architecture, designed by Robert Grumbold, though the Controller of the King's Works, William Talman, was consulted. The only specially remarkable features, however, are the fine oak panelling by John Austin with the carvings by Francis Woodward of the same date, and the organ, a splendid instrument, originally by Messrs. Norman and Beard, installed when the chapel furnishings were partly renewed in 1894, but rebuilt by Messrs. Harrison and Harrison in 1936. There are three stained-glass windows of recent date in the chapel and one in the ante-chapel. Buried in the chapel are two Masters, and John Addenbrooke, the founder of the hospital. The original chapel was in the centre of the lawn, and the present one is on the site of the stables of Hobson, the carrier, after whom the north flanking block is named.


Down to 1945 there was little in the library, which extends over the hall, except a few early printed books (fn. 2) and the standard works which were likely to interest the clerics who formed the majority of the fellows before 1860. But after the Second World War the librarian removed the useless lumber, using the space thus left to house the old junior library. So today the library is definitely one for undergraduate use, and the war memorial took the form of suitable furniture to adapt this part of the old library to its new use. The greatest of the old benefactors was Thomas Sherlock, who gave £600 for the renovation of the library in 1756, and increased this sum by £21 9s. 1d. in 1760. He left his books to the College, with land sufficient to pay £20 a year to the librarian scholar and £4 a year for his rooms. It must have been in connexion with this gift that James Essex was employed by the College at great expense to lay out the library in its present state.

Perhaps the most interesting thing in the library is the cabinet of drugs presented to the College by John Addenbrooke. It contains some geological specimens and a fine collection of materia medica. With the exception of Vigani's chest of about the same period which is in Queens' College, this is the only one of its kind in Cambridge.


The rectory of Coton was a gift to the College from the founder. Ridgewell vicarage (Essex) was bought in 1542 and augmented in 1816. The rectories of Gimingham and Trunch (Norf.) were given to the College by John Duke, of Kelsale (Suff.) in 1592. The only other living in the possession of the College is that of Little Shelford, which was bought in 1879 out of money left in 1842 by Charles William Burrell.

Famous Alumni.

There are many among the alumni of St. Catharine's who have given distinguished service to church and state. John Bradford, who by special grace of the Senate was granted the degree of M.A. after one year's residence, being in fact in all but name an advanced student, was burnt at Smithfield on 1 July 1555 for his views on the Lord's Supper. James Shirley (1596–1666) was a dramatist of some note, popular in his own day, but best known for his magnificent poem 'Death the Leveller'. John Ray (1627–1705) became a fellow of Trinity, serving that college as Greek lecturer, mathematical lecturer, humanity reader, praelector, junior dean, and steward. He made a name for himself as a botanist, his botanical research being so outstanding that a Ray Society was established in 1844. John Strype (1643–1737) was a diligent collector of historical material, dealing with the Tudor period, which is now in the British Museum. Lord Cutts was a lieutenant of Marlborough, who earned the nickname of 'the salamander' for his reckless bravery at the battle of Namur. A versatile man, he represented Cambridgeshire in five successive Parliaments, and Newport (I.W.) from 1702 to his death. He also wrote what has been described as 'not ungrateful verse' and Richard Steele was his private secretary. John Addenbrooke, the founder of the Cambridge hospital, was bursar in 1709 and graduated Doctor of Physic in the academic year 1710–11, in spite of the existing statutes, which limited the studies of fellows to 'theology, philosophy and the other arts'. He was probably the first fellow of the College to study medicine for a degree. Edward Capell (1713–81) was a devoted student of Shakespeare, who published besides Notes and Various Readings to Shakespeare (1779) a ten-volume edition of the dramas in 1768. Henry Philpott, senior wrangler in 1829, was Master from 1845 to 1861, when he became Bishop of Worcester. In some ways he was the greatest man educated at St. Catharine's; very businesslike and efficient he ruled the College wisely, and as Vice-Chancellor did much to reorganize the management of the University at a time when the scope of its teaching was rapidly being widened.

George Forrest Browne (1833–1930) carried on the organizing work that Philpott began. He was secretary to the Local Examinations Syndicate from 1870 to 1892, editor of the University Reporter for 21 years, served for a long time on the Council of the Senate and as secretary to the University Commission of 1877–81. He also did good work on various boards and syndicates. In 1887 he was elected to the Disney Professorship of Art and Archaeology. In 1895 he became Bishop of Stepney and in 1897 Bishop of Bristol. A prolific author in many fields he published in 1902 a very readable history of St. Catharine's. This is a remarkable record, and in 1930 a very old member of the College, in reply to a request for a subscription, wrote: 'For the sake of gentleman Browne, the best proctor ever known in 1870, as all undergrads admitted, because he always caught his man fair and square and treated him properly afterwards, I am sending you £1. He became a bishop later, but even that could not spoil him.'

Norman Moore was a distingished physician who worked for many years at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. From 1918 he was President of the Royal College of Physicians, and represented it on the General Medical Council. In 1914 he delivered the Rede Lecture, and was created a baronet in 1919. He was also a scholar and author, writing no fewer than 468 lives for the Dictionary of National Biography. John Neville Figgis, scholar and theologian, did much valuable work in English and Church history, and was sub-editor of Lord Acton's Cambridge Modern History. He was never a fellow of St. Catharine's, but in 1909 was elected to an honorary fellowship. His most interesting work to the ordinary reader is The Gospel and Human Needs (1909), his Hulsean Lectures. George Gordon Coulton was perhaps the finest historian of his generation. He wrote many works on medieval times, especially on church history. He also distinguished himself as a teacher and a lecturer. He died in 1947, at the age of 88. John Withers, a King's man who founded a celebrated firm of London solicitors, was elected a fellow in 1920 because of his services to the College in business matters. In 1926 he became a University burgess, and in 1929 was knighted. He died in 1939 after being for many years a great friend and helper to both King's and St. Catharine's.


St. Catharine's has a small collection exceptionally rich in good portraits of the latter part of the 17th and the earlier 18th centuries, to a few of which particular interest attaches. (fn. 3) The earliest portrait is perhaps a 16th- or early 17th-century picture on a wooden panel of John Gostlin, Regius Professor of Physic and Master of Caius, who left by will in 1626 the Black Bull Inn, later the Bull Hotel. The portrait of the founder was painted by a Mr. Freeman in 1772 for 12 guineas; the costume is later than that of Woodlark's period. Of the other portraits the most interesting are: Henry Burrough by T. Gainsborough, Richard Farmer, attributed to Romney, Lord Cutts, attributed to Kneller, and a portrait of a boy, probably Charles II, by an unknown artist. The portraits of recent Masters are all good likenesses and artistic paintings, but perhaps the finest picture belonging to St. Catharine's today is a group of Flemish artists in a picture gallery. It was painted by Gonzales Cocx (1618–84).


At the time of the 17th-century rebuilding St. Catharine's sold much of its plate, presumably the finest pieces, to ease the strain on its finances. During the 18th and early 19th centuries the rest was melted down or exchanged for new pieces which were more serviceable or valuable. The result is that no piece is earlier than 1700, but there are 30 pieces the dates of which extend from 1702 to 1760. The plate sold before 1700 must have been valuable, or at least interesting, if we may judge from the extant inventories. Plate then consisted almost entirely of gifts from fellow commoners and friends, and continued to be such down to quite recent times. Some of the plate was lent to the Master and fellows for their private use, in particular beakers or 'cans', as they are usually called, handleless pots containing about a pint.

Of the 30 pieces mentioned above the following deserve special attention: Rosewater ewer and bowl, 33 oz. and 17 in. in diameter and 66 oz., maker Wm. Fadery, London, 1703. These, according to the College Order Book, 26 September 1704, were in exchange for the tankards of Sir John Rouse, Sir Charles Caesar and Mr. Kemp. ('Mr.' in the College records means fellow commoner.) Tankard with lid, 30 oz., maker Jos. Barbitt, London, 1702. Rosewater bowl, 16¾ in. in diameter, 54 oz., maker Anthony Nelme, London, 1709. Two sauce boats, each 30 oz., maker's name illegible, London, 1744. Two small candlesticks, each 22½ oz., and snuffer tray, 7 oz., maker Jas. Gould, London, 1732.

Arms and Seal.

York Herald in 1934 informed the bursar that the correct arms are, Gules, a Catharine wheel Or. There are eight spokes on the wheel with eight knives on the rim as continuations of the spokes. In the records of the College of Arms the number of spokes and knives varies, but York Herald's opinion agrees with the arms as given in John Ivory's Foundation of the University of Cambridge (1672) and with the stone carving over the Queens' Lane archway.

The College seal, of silver and slightly defaced, is probably the one used by the founder. It represents St. Catharine kneeling, with the wheel on her back. The legend probably is: sigillvm collegii sive avle scte katerine virginis de Cātebrigia.

Masters of St. Catharine's College

Robert Woodlark (or Wodelarke): 1473.

Richard Roche: 1475.

John Tapton: 1480.

John Wardall: 1487.

Richard Balderston: 1506.

Thomas Green: 1507.

Reginald Baindrigge: 1529.

Edwin Sandys: 1547.

Edmund Cosyn: 1554.

John May: 1559.

Edmund Hownde: 1577.

John Overall: 1598.

John Hills: 1607.

Richard Sibbes: 1626.

Ralph Brownrigg: 1635.

William Spurstow: 1645.

John Lightfoot: 1650.

John Eachard: 1675.

Sir William Dawes, Bart.: 1697.

Thomas Sherlock: 1714.

Thomas Crosse: 1719.

Edward Hubbard: 1736.

Kenrick Prescot: 1741.

Lowther Yates: 1779.

Joseph Procter: 1799.

Henry Philpott: 1845.

Charles Kirkby Robinson: 1861.

Claude Hermann Walter Johns: 1909.

Thomas Wortley Drury: 1920.

Frederick Margetson Rushmore: 1927.

Henry John Chayter: 1933.

Donald Portway: 1946.

Edwin Ernest Rich: 1 July 1957.


  • 1. This article is based on: G. F. Browne, St. Cath.'s Coll. (1902); W. H. S. Jones, Hist. of St. Cath.'s Coll., Camb. (1936) and Story of St. Cath.'s Coll., Camb. (1951); J. H. Hutton, Pics. in Possession of St. Cath.'s Coll. (1950). Also upon the following College muniments: 'Memoriale Nigrum', an account of the foundation written in the founder's hand; Audit Bks. from 1622; Admission Bk.; Order Bk.; and various letters.
  • 2. J. B. Bilderbeck, Early Printed Books in the Libr. of St. Cath.'s Coll. Camb. The library has few MSS., but there is in the muniment room a catalogue of the MSS. possessed by the College in its early days.
  • 3. J. H. Hutton, Pics. in the Possession of St. Cath.'s Coll. (1950).