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A lovely college with three famous gates marking the stages of academic life

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Inner Court
College Gates
This College is often shortened to just Keys, and has strong links with medical teaching, due to its second founder, John Keys, who was a physician. It is a very traditional Colleges, being one of the only remaining few which enforces students attendance at Hall - communal dinners, served in two sittings, at the second of which students must wear formal gowns. Students must also acquire exeats, which are permissions to leave the College, at the start of terms form their tutors. If they fail to acquire these exeats, they are fined for leaving the College!

Gonville and Caius College, Established 1348
Source WikiMedia (PD)
One of the most historic and distinguished features of Gonville and Caius college is its iconic trio of gateways. The Gateways of Humility, Virtue and Honour can be found in the grounds of the college. They are said to symbolize the pathway of academic life.
Upon matriculation, one arrives through the Gateway of Humility, humble before the task of academia before you. In the centre of the college is the Gate of Virtue. Students must pass regularly through this gate during life at the college, representing the values of virtue that creator Keys saw as synonymous with learning. Finally upon graduation students pass through the Gate of Honour on their way to receive their degrees at the Senate House.

The Gate of Honour
Photo © James F (CC)
The Gates themselves are in a varying state of repair. From the fragmented remains of the original Gate of Humility, which is now the Porters Lodge, to the well kept and impressive Gate of Virtue, with its accompanying decadent sculptures. The Gate of Honour is a magnificent monument with a classical triumphal arch.

The Gate of Virtue
Photo © hchalkley
The students of Gonville and Keys joke that a fourth gate also exists in the college grounds, the Gate of Necessity – which links some of the colleges courts to the toilets!

Tree Court, the largest of the Old Courts, where John Caius planted an avenue of trees
Photo © Yakinodi (CC)

The College Chapel, the oldest University College Chapel
Photo © Andrew Stawarz (CC)
The college gateways are a testament to the trials and tribulations of student life at Cambridge, from humble beginnings, to the hope of the honour of success. Whether Keys knew so many great minds would pass under them is unknown, but they have allowed some of academia’s best thinkers to enter the world through them.
Visitor Information
Gonville Caius College is open to visitors daily, 9am to 2pm (limited access during mid May to mid June). Entrance is FREE. Tel: 01223 332 400

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