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The University Church, standing tall over the market place

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Tower Views
University Organ
Peal of 12 Bells
University Clock
The Church of St Mary the Great is the University Church for the University of Cambridge. It has played a role in the University’s history for many centuries. In fact, the first church on the site was built in 1205. It wasn’t until 1342 however that the ownership of the church came under that of Trinity College, which stills owns it today.

St Mary the Great viewed from King's Parade
In the Middle Ages, it became an important meeting place for debates from scholars and great thinkers of the University. It remained the hub of academic discourse in this way until 1730, when the University’s Senate house was built. The church still houses the University Clock, the University Organ and it hosts University Sermons. In the 1700s, it was compulsory to attend University Sermons if you were part of Cambridge University! Nowadays, the only compulsory caveat the church administers is that University Officers must live within 20 miles, and undergraduates within 3 miles.

The entrance porch

Inside St Mary the Great

The view down the Nave towards the Organ

One of the beautiful stained glass window panels

Did You Know?

The chimes of Great St Mary's was composed by a university professor and became known as Westminster chimes after it was adopted for Big Ben.

Climb the 123 steps to the top of the tower

The view over Cambridge from the top

The view down!
Locally the church is known as Great St Mary’s, or just GSM. It is designed in what is called the Late Perpendicular style. Its bells are famous for being rung by the Society of Cambridge Youths, which was formed in 1724 and they claim to be the oldest society of bell ringers in Britain.
Visitor Information
St Mary the Great is open to visitors daily, 9am to 5.30pm. Entrance is FREE, but there is a small charge to climb the tower. Tel: 01223 741 716

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