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The 3rd oldest College with a stunning Chapel, designed by Sir Christopher Wren

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Old Courts
Wren Chapel
Garden Cafe
It was on Christmas Eve in 1347 that Marie de St Pol was granted the license to found a new College at Cambridge University. The third oldest College in the University, Pembroke was born, although then it was called The Hall of Valence Mary. Marie de St Pol was the widow of the Earl of Pembroke, and the institution became known as Pembroke College in 1856.

Pembroke College, previously Marie Valence Hall, established 1347
Source WikiMedia (PD)

College Motto

A legend claims that the founder of Pembroke College, Countess Pembroke, was a maid, wife and widow all in a single day - her husband was apparently killed while jousting on their wedding day.

The arched gatehouse

One of the stairwells around the inner court
The architecture and grounds of Pembroke College are truly something to marvel at. They contain buildings from almost every century since its establishment – and so a varied plethora of architecture is on display. One of the most magnificent pieces is the Chapel, designed by Christopher Wren. Incidentally, Pembroke College was the first University College to have a chapel.

Inside the Chapel, designed by Christopher Wren

Did You Know?

One of Pembroke's fellows and Chaplain to the future King Charles I, Matthew Wren, was imprisoned by Oliver Cromwell. On his release after 18 years he fulfilled a promise by hiring his nephew Christopher Wren to build a great chapel in his former college. The resulting chapel was consecrated in 1665.

The historic old buildings and central court of Pembroke College

Its grounds are also well known for being some of the most immaculately kept in Cambridge

Students relaxing in the sunshine

Did You Know?

Among the well-kept gardens at Pembroke, you will find an immaculate bowling green, which is claimed to be oldest in Europe still in use.

Overlooking the gardens you will find the Pembroke Cafe, open 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Famous people associated with Pembroke College include alumni Edmund Spenser, author of the now widely studied The Fairie Queene, and William Pitt, Britain’s youngest ever Prime Minster under whose regime the slave trade was abolished. The College’s dramatic society, The Pembroke Players, has turned out actors such as Peter Cook, Clive James and Bill Oddie. Finally, the current Master of the College is Richard Dearlove. He was previously the head of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service. Rumour has it that his students get away with nothing.

Statue of William Pitt
Visitor Information
Pembroke College is open to visitors daily, dawn to dusk. Entrance is FREE. Tel: 01223 338 100

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