Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Cambridge University

Cambridge University. This is a society of students in the liberal arts and sciences incorporated by the name of "The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge." "In this Commonwealth are seventeen Colleges and two Public Hostels." It is controlled by statutes, the present having been confirmed by Queen Victoria in Council in the year 1882. Subject to these it has powers of self-government. The legislative body, called the Senate, consists of all persons (male) who have attained, at least, to the degree of Master of Arts or some equivalent one, and retain their names upon the University Register. They are between 6,000 and 7,000 in number. A vote of the Senate is called a Grace, its meeting a Congregation. Members of it resident for more than fourteen weeks in the year within a mile and a half of Great St. Mary's church, together with certain officials, form a body called the Electoral Roll. By this body a Council is elected, consisting of the chancellor, vice-chancellor, four heads of colleges, four professors, and eight other members of the Senate. Every Grace offered to the Senate must be previously sanctioned by the Council.

The chief officials of the University are: - A Chancellor, a High Steward, a Vice-Chancellor, the Sex Viri (a court of six members, with the vice-chancellor, for offenders no longer in statu pupillari), a Public Orator, a Librarian, a Registrary, an Assessor (to assist the vice-chancellor in causis forensibus), two Proctors (who, among other functions, are guardians of the public peace and of morals in the University), four Pro-proctors (their assistants), two Moderators (appointed to conduct the mathematical examinations), two Esquire Bedells, attendants on the chancellor or vice-chancellor; two Members, representatives of the University in Parliament, and sundry other officials.

For purposes of giving instruction, Professors are appointed (generally by the University) in various branches of learning, with subordinate teachers, designated Readers, Lecturers, etc. For the management of different departments, the discussion of propositions, and the like, committees, called Syndicates, and boards are appointed by the Senate; but these must refer all matters of importance to it for sanction. Almost all the members of the Senate and of the junior students of the University (persons in statu pupillari) belong to colleges, but some of the latter are members either of hostels or simply of the University. The undergraduates (students preparing for a degree) number nearly 3,000, about nine-tenths being members of colleges.

Each college is a corporation in itself, governed by statutes sanctioned by the Crown, capable, like the University, of holding landed and other property. Its revenues, after the payment of all necessary expenses (including contributions to the University), are divided among the members of the corporation. These are (1) a Master, (2) the Fellows, (3) the Scholars; the last being still in statu pupillari; from these, as a rule, the Fellows are selected, both distinctions being the reward of learning. The college is governed by the Master and the Fellows, or certain of the Fellows. Students at a college who do not belong to the Foundation are called Pensioners; these, of course, are in the majority. In most colleges a few students are received (on the ground of poverty as well as of learning) at a much reduced charge. These are called Sizars. Much of the instruction of the students is carried on within the walls of the colleges by tutors, lecturers, and other officials, appointed by their respective governing bodies. This is especially the case in such subjects as classics and mathematics. As a rule, the University requires from a student only certificates of due residence and good behaviour (given by his college) before admitting him to an examination. In certain cases, however, attendance upon the lectures of a University professor is demanded. A college has no power of conferring a degree; and is bound by the general laws of the University, but, subject to these, has full authority over its members in all things lawful. The University, like the colleges, awards scholarships, money rewards, and prizes, but not Fellowships.

Information as to the early history of the University of Cambridge is very scanty, and much of it is legendary. By whomsoever and in what manner founded, the University of Cambridge appears to have been in existence early in the thirteenth century. Probably its development was gradual, and its origin was a school conducted by monks of the Benedictine order in connection with the conventual church at Ely. Thus Cambridge may have been a place of study prior to the days of King Alfred, but the existence of a University in anything like the modern sense of the word must be placed much later. The earliest authentic legal instrument containing any recognition of Cambridge as a University is a writ dated in the second year of Henry III. (1217). Other religious orders joined in the work of education, but some colleges from the first were secular foundations. The Franciscans settled at Cambridge about 1224, the Dominicans fifty years later; the Carmelites came about the middle, the Augustinians near the end of the century. The University at this era was not a place of peace. The students not seldom were in conflict one with another and with the townsfolk, and these broils sometimes terminated in formidable riots, during which the buildings of the University and the colleges were occasionally sacked or even destroyed with their contents. Hence, probably, the paucity of early records. On one occasion a number of the students actually migrated for some time to Northampton. Gradually the University began to assume something of its present form, notably after the suppression of the monasteries, but the statutes granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1570, by which it was long governed, mark, perhaps, one of the most important epochs of change. The statutes of the colleges also have been altered from time to time, those at present in force dating from or about the year 1882. Religious tests have been abolished in the case of all degrees, except those in divinity, and of almost all offices and emoluments. in the University or the colleges.

The University confers degrees in the following subjects: - Arts, Laws, Medicine, Surgery, Divinity, Science, Letters. Residence is not required for degrees in Music. In Arts, Surgery, and Laws, the degrees conferred are - firstly, Bachelor, and secondly, Master; in the last, that of Doctor also. In Medicine, Divinity, and Music, the degrees are Bachelor and Doctor, but for the second subject a degree in Arts must have been already taken. The degrees of Doctor in Science and Doctor in Letters are granted under certain conditions. The University has the power of conferring honorary degrees. In order to obtain the degree of Bachelor of Arts a student is required to reside within the precincts of the University at least three-fourths of nine terms. In each year are three terms. The first begins on October 1st, the third ends in the latter part of June. They amount at least to 227 days. He must also pass certain examinations. The first, or Previous Examination, may be passed in the first term of residence; the second, or General Examination, in at least the fourth term of residence; the third, or Special Examination (in some single subject such as Chemistry, Political Economy, History, etc.), in the ninth term of residence. But if a student wish to obtain a degree in Honours he may present himself, after passing the previous examination (with certain additional papers), for examination in one of the following subjects: - Mathematics, Classics, Moral Sciences, Natural Sciences, Theology, Law, History, Semitic or Indian or Mediaeval and Modern Languages. To the result of these examinations the name of Tripos is given. The successful candidates are divided into three classes. In the Mathematical Tripos those of the First Class are called Wranglers; in the Second, Senior Optimes; in the Third, Junior Optimes. The examination in some of the above subjects is now divided into two parts, but it is not generally necessary to pass the second of these in order to obtain a degree. For the Bachelor's degrees in Medicine and Divinity there are special examinations. There are examinations or other methods of ascertaining competency for all the higher degrees except those of Master of Arts or of Law, which are conferred on persons, otherwise duly qualified, after an interval of three years from their first degree.

The formal admission of a student as a member of the University is called matriculation. The majority of the students occupy rooms in their colleges, but not a few, with all non-collegiate students, are resident in licensed lodgings. They may remain, under conditions, during the vacations, and many students do so for part of the summer or Long vacation, when arrangements are made for instruction (in some cases by formal lecturing), or the services of private tutors can be obtained. The details of the methods of instruction and the social life of the University and colleges are too complicated for description within the limits of this article. It must suffice to say that the college is, to a large extent, both intellectually and socially, a unit. Within its walls a student might receive all his instruction and find all his companions; though, probably, such a case would be uncommon as regards the former, and very rare in respect to the latter. Among the various colleges a healthy and friendly rivalry exists, as between the masters' houses in a large public school.

Almost all the academical buildings in Cambridge are on the right bank of the river Cam. Roughly parallel with it is one of the principal streets in the town, and for a considerable distance the ground between them is almost wholly occupied by these buildings; the college gardens, fringing the water, being popularly termed the Backs. This street, at its northern end, joins the other main street of Cambridge, which leads to the railway station. Along it, or between the two, most of the other academical buildings are situated. The following are the chief university buildings: - (1) The Senate House, a hall for meetings and examinations, opened in the year 1730. (2) The Schools, Public Library and Geological (Woodwardian) Museum, an extensive group of buildings, of various dates from the fifteenth to the present century, chiefly occupied by the valuable library of the University, containing more than 250,000 volumes. The geological collection is also a very fine one. Opposite to the Senate House is St. Mary's or the University church, in which sermons are delivered by specially appointed preachers, and exercises for degrees were formerly held. These form a group. The Selwyn Divinity Schools, near St. John's College, were completed in 1879. The New Museums are an extensive group of buildings, erected mainly during the present century. In these the departments of chemistry, mineralogy, botany, comparative anatomy, zoology, physiology, and human anatomy are accommodated, the collections in their museums being in most cases very fine. Certain mathematical professors and the professor of engineering are also accommodated. Close to these buildings is the Physical (Cavendish) Laboratory, erected about 1872, the gift of the Duke of Devonshire, Chancellor of the University. The Fitzwilliam Museum, a fine "classical" structure, opened in 1848, was erected from funds, and contains a collection of pictures (with others), bequeathed in 1816 by Viscount Fitzwilliam. A museum of Archaeology was erected, at no great distance, in 1884. The Botanic Gardens are on the southern side of Cambridge; the Observatory, which lies to the north-west, was completed in 1824. Other institutions connected with the University are its Printing Press (built 1833), and Addenbrooke's Hospital.

The colleges enumerated in the order of their foundation are as follow; several, however, of these were constituted from one or more older institutions: (1) St. Peter's College (Peterhouse), founded in 1257; master and eleven fellows; buildings of various dates, the more conspicuous 17th and early 18th century. (2) Clare College, founded 1326; master and fifteen fellows; buildings form one court, chiefly 1635-56. (3) Pembroke College, founded 1347; master and thirteen fellows; an extensive group of buildings of various dates, but a large part has been erected since 1870. (4) Gonville and Caius College, founded 1348; master and twenty-two fellows; three courts, parts dating from the 15th century, but very much rebuilt between 1850 and 1870. (5) Trinity Hall, founded 1350; master and thirteen fellows; two courts with annexes, 18th and 19th centuries. (B) Corpus Christi College, founded 1352; master and twelve fellows; two courts, one chiefly 14th century, most of the rest 1823-7. (7) King's College, founded 1441; provost and forty-six fellows; the chapel was built 1446-1515, most of the magnificent windows of stained glass were made about 1530; of the other buildings, one block 1724, the rest of the present century. (8) Queen's College, first foundation 1448; president and thirteen fellows; two principal courts, a considerable part of the buildings dating from later half of 15th century, with subsequent alterations and additions. (9) St. Catharine's College, founded 1473; master and six fellows; one court with annexe, buildings chiefly from 1674 to 1757. (10) Jesus College, founded 1496; master and sixteen fellows; three courts, the chapel is part of the conventual church of St. Radegund, much of it circ. 1200; of the buildings, considerable portions, circ. 1500, with alterations and additions, especially since 1869. (11) Christ's College, founded 1505; master and fifteen fellows; main court erected circ. 1510, but transformed in 18th century, restoration of recent date, block of buildings at back about 1640. (12) St. John's College, founded 1511; master and fifty-six fellows; four courts with annexes; some of first court circ. 1510, partly altered 1772, and again about 1865 (new chapel); second court, 1599; library, 1624; rest of third court about 1670; the fourth, connected by a covered bridge over the Cam, about 1830. (13) Magdalene College, founded 1519; master and seven fellows; main court, partly circ. 1520, with great alterations in 18th century, and restorations about 1875. (14) Trinity College, founded 1546; master and sixty fellows; five courts; the main court (the largest in Cambridge) of various dates, some older, mostly in latter half of 16th century, with recent restorations; second court about 1614, with library 1680; third court about 1825, two small courts across the street 1860-73. (15) Emmanuel College, founded 1584; master and thirteen foundation fellows; one court with annexes, various dates from 1633 to 1871. (16) Sidney Sussex College, founded 1598, master and ten fellows; two courts, various dates from 1596 to 1833. (17) Downing College, founded 1800; master, two professors, and six fellows; buildings of present century.

Of the public hostels, both Cavendish College and Selwyn College were thus constituted in 1882; the buildings of both are modern. Ayerst Hall, opened in 1884, is a hostel. Ridley Hall, for graduate theological students, is also modern, Women resident at either Newnham College or Girton College are admitted to the examinations of the University and their performances attested, but they cannot proceed to degrees. "Local" examinations are held by the University at various centres, to which boys and girls (juniors under 16, seniors under 18 years of age) are admitted. Also "Higher" examinations for men and women. The University also grants certificates of proficiency in various subjects, examines schools, and arranges for the delivery of lectures in various parts of England.