Religious & Hospital Foundations

Religious Houses : Medieval Churches

Religious Houses

Frairs, or Mendicant Friars, lived lives of poverty and begged on the streets.

Monks, or Canons, had stable lives based on their properties and lives of seclusion.

Hospitals cared for both body and soul, with prayers being as important as physical treatments.

Austin Friars

Site is now the New Museums Site. The gateway was roughly where Barclay's Bank (Benet St.) now is, with remains of the foundations still under the 1910 Scientific Periodicals Library.

Barnwell Priory

Originally founded in 1092 by the first Sheriff, Picot, at St Giles Church, next to his castle. The Austin canons of St Giles church were moved in 1112 by the second Sheriff, Pain Peverel, to an area apparently known as children's springs - Barnewelle. (It seems every year, at Midsummer's Eve, children gathered there for games, attracting traders.) It became the largest religious foundation in the town and gained the right to hold Midsummer Fair. The site ran from Newmarket Road down to the river, east of what is now Elizabeth Way. The church of St Andrew the Less (now Christ Church) on Newmarket Road was associated with it. The Priory site was levelled between 1810-12.

Carmelites (Whitefriars)

Site roughly opposite the Granta pub, having previously been in Chesterton.
c1300 they moved as winter floods cut them off from the town, to the site which is now Queens' College.

Dominican Friary (Blackfriars or Order of Preachers)

Site is now Emmanuel College. St Andrew's Street used to be called Preachers Strret.

Franciscans (Greyfriars or Friars Minor)

Site is now Sidney Sussex College. For their first 40 years in the town they shared a house on Market Hill with the town gaol. They constructed a water supply which still exists.

Gilbertine (White) Canons of Sempringham

They were given a large site, including the chapel of St Edmund, roughly where the Judge Institute - Old Addenbrookes - now is.

Hospital of St John the Evangelist

Founded in 1125 for old & infirm men by the Bishop of Ely, with Austin canons from Ely as staff. Peterhouse started here in 1280 but the scholars were moved out in 1284. By 1511 it was heavily in debt and was refounded as St John's College.

Leper Hospital

The chapel survives in a field just off Newmarket Road by the railway bridge, the remnant of the early medieval Leper Hospital of St Mary Magdalene. The Hospital was granted a charter for an annual fair, which became Sturbridge Fair. By 1279 it had no patients.

Friars of St Mary

?-early C14
Castle End

Friars of the Penance of Jesus (Sack Friars)

Site now Peterhouse/Fitzwilliam Museum.

St Rhadegund Nunnery or Priory

Later King Malcolm IV of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon, added ten acres to the Nunnery and Bishop Nigel of Ely another four. The nuns had the right to have a stall on their land and then in 1150 a fair, which became Garlic Fair. This right survived until 1808 when Garlic Fair Passage was created (subsequently Park Street). By 1497 the Priory had decayed to just two nuns, with rumours of dissolute behaviour, and was abolished by the Bishop of Ely, who founded Jesus College instead.

Medieval Churches

It was a medieval custom to site churches opposite the gateways of colleges (St Andrews - Christ's; All Saints Jewry - St John's). However in many cases the churches are much older than colleges.
All Saints by the Castle
Was at the corner of Mount Pleasant and Castle Street. The Black Death in 1349 killed so many that the parish was amalgamated with St Giles and the church fell into ruin.
St Giles
Castle Hill, below the mound.
St Peter
On the opposite side of Castle Street.
Now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.
St Clement
Bridge St.
There was almost certainly a Danish (Viking) settlement here - the dedication is typical.
Holy Sephulchre
Or St Sephulchre or Round Church, Bridge St.
All Saints, St John's St.
Or All Hallows or All Saints Jewry (being in the 12th-century Jewish quarter). After a major rebuild in 1820, the base of its tower projected over the pavement, with a through archway. The church was auctioned off publicly and demolished in 1865 and a new one built in Jesus Lane. The churchyard, to the south, is now a small park and holds regular craft fairs.
All Saints, Jesus Lane
Built to a design by G.F. Bodley and with Pre-Raphaelite decorations, featuring work by William Morris, Morris & co., Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Maddox Brown.
St Michael
Trinity St., opposite the main entrance to Gonville & Caius College
Holy Trinity
St Andrew's St./Market St. corner
St Andrew
St Andrew's St., opposite Christ's College
St John Zachary
Where King's College now is, approximately west of the chapel.
St Mary
Great St Mary's, Senate House Hill
St Edward
St Edward's Passage
St Benet
Benet St.
St Botolph
Botolph Lane
St Peter
Now St Mary the Less (Little St Mary's), Little St Mary's Lane


King Malcolm IV of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon

In 1157, when still a young boy, he was confirmed as Earl of Huntingdon and Earl of Northampton by King Henry.

Cambridge : History