Founded 1437 as God’s House by William Byngham. Refounded as Christ’s by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1505. Named after Jesus. Sister College – Wadham College Oxford. Men and Women – Undergraduates 420 Postgraduates 170
Christ’s College can trace its ancient roots back before the (more or less) official foundation in 1505. At first the establishment was known as God’s House, founded in 1437 by William Byngham, a London priest, with the intention of training grammar school masters. Henry VI requested this desirable riverside site for his own King’s College project, and moved God’s House north, to an agreeable location with a favour owed.
Lady Margaret takes an interest
So, in 1448 God’s House moved to the current site in the very centre of Cambridge and caught the interest of Henry’s wife, Lady Margaret Beaufort. Following her husband’s death and the crowning of her son Henry VII, Lady Margaret looked around for good causes and found one in God’s House. With focused energy and a word in the ear of her son the institution was re-established as Christ’s College in 1505 with, what was in effect, its third Royal Charter.
The institution started life as a Catholic chantry and displayed a keen sense of survival and political awareness to negotiate Henry VIII’s rage with the pope, and the subsequent Dissolution (1536-41). By Elizabethan times Christ’s had become one of the hardcore Puritan colleges of Cambridge. In 1625 John Milton was admitted as a member – he was later destined