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St John’s Hospital / St John’s College

History of St John's College

The main hospital in Cambridge during medieval times was St John’s. It was built on an area of marshy land next to the river. Founded about 1200 it received many large endowments from local people such as the Dunning family. Its purpose was to care for the sick with the exception of pregnant women, lepers, the wounded, paralysed cripples and the insane, who were supposed to go to St Radegund’s, the Leper hospital and St Anthony’s.

Hugh de Balsham, bishop of Ely, used it to provide hostel accommodation for his monks. However, in 1284, the bishop removed the students into hostel on Trumpington Street, the origin of Peterhouse.

The hospital was turned into a college on the initiative of Lade Margaret, mother of Henry VII, in 1511. The chapel survived until 1868 when it was demolished and replaced.

A detailed history of the hospital can be found here:

General information about St John’s College can be found on Wikipedia.

The School of Pythagoras is the oldest secular building in Cambridge and was constructed around the middle of the 12th century.

Originally called the Stone House, it belonged to the Dunning family. Eustace Dunning occupied it with his wife and three children.

Rattee and Kett constructed (1866-1869) the entire interior of the chapel – woodwork, oak stalls, screen etc. The architect was Sir Gilbert Scott.  A more detailed description can be found here:’s_College,_Cambridge#College_Chapel


John S Wood, president, 58, clerk in holy orders, b Yorks

John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor, fellow, 56, clerk in holy orders, b Ceylon

Peter H Mason, fellow, 54,  clerk in holy orders, b Hants

John W Peiten, fellow, 57, clerk in holy orders, b Middlesex

Henry Mussell, fellow, 58, clerk in holy orders, b India

Philip T Mann, fellow, 40, college lecturer, b Kent

Charles Taylor, fellow, 40, clerk in holy orders, b London

William Emerton Heitland, fellow, 33, college lecturer, b Norfolk

Joseph T Ward, fellow, 27, clerk in holy orders, b Oxon

Donald MacAlister, fellow, 26, demonstrator of physics, b Scotland

Richard E Verdon, fellow, 35, university lecturer, b Lancs

Henry A Mead, MA, 29, university extension lecturer, b Norfolk

John S Hill, BA, 26, student, b Ireland

Daniel W Samways, 24, undergraduate, b Hants

John H Winter, 21, undergraduate,  b Northumberland

Robert A H MacFarland,  20, student, b Northern Ireland

William E Cleaver, 22, student, b Middlesex

Francis Woodward Clementson, 18, student, b Staffs

George C Herbert, 18, student, b Salop

Thomas C Ward, 21, student, b Nottingham

Algernon C Clifford, 18, student, b Sea

Arthur J Wells, 20, student, b India

Edward S Chapman, 21, student, b Australia

Dudley E C Falcks, 22, undergraduate, b Middlesex

Frank Hill, 18, undergraduate, b Leics

Jeremiah Cohmaw, 21, undergraduate, b Middlesex

Alleyne Fitzherbert, 21, undergraduate, b Derbysh.

Edward J Mapson, 19, undergraduate, b Somerset

John T Knight, 20, undergraduate, b Northants

Charles S Middlemiss, 21, undergraduate,  Yorks

Henry A Thomas, 23, undergraduate, b Wales

Frederick F P Penruddock, undergraduate, b Wilts

Alexander Cameron, visitor, 20, candidate for scholarship, b N Ireland

Nathaniel H Garland, 21, undergraduate, b Derbyshire

Richard B Davies, 20, undergraduate, b Herefordshire

Edward Ackroyd, 20 undergraduate, b Yorkshire

Roger N Goodman, 18, undergraduate, b Cambridge

Harry G Chance, 19, undergraduate, b Gloucestershire

Ernest H Ellison, 20, undergraduate, b Yorks

John H Edwards, 21, undergraduate, b Lancs

John B Ridges, 25, undergraduate, b Staffs

Joseph R Tanner, 20, undergraduate, b Somerset

Alfred c Scott, 19, undergraduate, b Surrey

James Peiris, 21, undergraduate, b Ceylon

James B Whitehead, BA, 23, b Trieste

Leonard T Horne, undergraduate, 20, b Hants

John H Haviland, undergraduate, 21, b Sussex

Hugh L Dawson, undergraduate, 21, b Lancs

Walter M Landers, visitor, 20, b Lancs

Frank W Graham, undergraduate, 20, b Durham

Leonard Wilkinson, undergraduate, 19, b Surrey

Thomas Clarke, 20, undergraduate, b Lancs

Henry E Mills, 20, under gate porter, 33, b Sussex


St John’s College gateway


Joseph Larmor, 43, teacher, b Northern Ireland

Jean Etienne Reenen de Villiers, 26, barrister, b South Africa

Frederick F Blackman, 34, teacher, b London

William H Barker, 21, college porter, b Cambridge

St John’s College, 1903


Frederick Frost Blackman, 44, reader in Botany Cambridge University, b London

Charles Gawthrop, 36, college servant gate porter, b Histon


St John’s College, 1912 (photo H Skelton)


Cambridge Standard 13.9.1935: Last year, when the front of the college was restored the two gateway turrets facing St John’s Street were demolished and rebuilt; now the turrets within the court are being renovated. Restoration work has disclosed old oak panelling.

For life of bedder at St John’s, see Janet Haggar interview.


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