Magdalene College, Cambridge: Wikis


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Magdalene College redirects here, see also Magdalen College, Oxford

Coordinates: 52°12′37″N 0°6′58″E / 52.21028°N 0.11611°E / 52.21028; 0.11611

Colleges of the University of Cambridge

Magdalene College

The Second Court of Magdalene College, Cambridge
College name The College of Saint Mary Magdalene
Founders John Lytlington, Abbot of Crowland (1428)[1]
Thomas, 1st Baron Audley (1542)[2]
Named after Mary Magdalene
Established 1428[1]
Refounded 1542[2]
Previously named Buckingham College (1428–1542)
Admittance Men and women
Master Mr Duncan Robinson
Undergraduates 345[3]
Graduates 239[3]
Sister college Magdalen College, Oxford
Location Magdalene Street (map)
Magdalene College heraldic shield
Garde ta Foy
(Old French, "Keep the faith")
College website
Boat Club website
Magdalene College backs on to the River Cam.

Magdalene College (pronounced /ˈmɔːdlɪn/ "mawdlin") is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.

The college was founded in 1428 as a Benedictine hostel, in time coming to be known as Buckingham College, before being refounded in 1542 as the College of St Mary Magdalene, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Magdalene College has some of the grandest benefactors including Britain's premier noble the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Chief Justice Sir Christopher Wray.[4] However the refoundation was largely the work of Sir Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII. Audley also gave the College its motto — garde ta foy — keep the faith, in Old French. Audley's successors in the Mastership and as benefactors of the College were however prone to dire ends; several benefactors were arraigned at various stages on charges of high treason and executed.[4]

The College's most famous alumnus is Samuel Pepys, whose papers and books — including love letters from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn — were donated to the College upon his death, and are now housed in the Pepys Building, perhaps the most beautiful building within the College. The College boasts a portrait of the famous diarist by Sir Peter Lely, which hangs in the Hall. Magdalene is noted for its 'traditional' style, boasting both a well-regarded candlelit formal hall (held every evening) and the distinction of having been the last previously all-male College in Oxford or Cambridge to admit women in 1988 (Oriel College was the last in Oxford, admitting women in 1985). This resulted in protests by male undergraduates, including the wearing of black armbands and flying the college flag at half-mast.[4]

Aesthetically, Magdalene's old College buildings are beautiful if representative of the College's ramshackle growth from a monks' foundation into a centre of education. It is also distinctive in that most of the old buildings are in brick rather than stone (save for the frontage of the Pepys Building). Magdalene Street divides the most ancient courts from more recent developments. One of the accommodation blocks in the newer part of the college was built by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the early 1930s.

Magdalene remains, despite this 20th-century expansion, one of the smaller colleges within the University, at last count numbering over 300 undergraduates and an expanding postgraduate community. Opened in 2005 was Cripps Court, on Chesterton Road, featuring new undergraduate rooms and conference facilities.


Notable alumni

See also Category: Alumni of Magdalene College, Cambridge

Honorary Fellows have included

See also Category:Fellows of Magdalene College, Cambridge


The "Master of Magdalene College" is the name given to the Head of House. The post has been held by Duncan Robinson since 2002.

Under the College Statutes, the Master is appointed by the Visitor of the College and usually serves until reaching the statutory fellowship retirement age of 67. Exceptionally, this period may be extended until the Master in question reaches 70. This has occurred in the case of the current Master.

With the position of Master comes College-based residency in the form of the Master's Lodge, which may be populated and decorated according to the wishes of the Master. Traditionally, every Sunday, the Master attends the service in the College Chapel before sitting at the head of the High Table in Hall for the evening meal.

See also a List of Masters of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

College Grace

Benedic Domine nobis et donis tuis quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi, et concede ut illis salubriter nutriti tibi debitum obsequium praestare valeamus, per Jesum Christum Dominum et Servatorem Nostrum, Amen.

Bless us Lord and your gifts, which from your bounty we are about to receive, and grant that we, healthfully sustained by them, may render to you our dutiful service, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Servant, Amen.

May Ball

The College's famous May Ball had been a biennial fixture since 1911. Magdalene May Ball is known as the most lavish and prestigious Ball in Cambridge for several reasons: it is the only remaining Cambridge ball to insist on white tie dress code and it is the only ball in Cambridge to sell a majority of dining tickets over non-dining.


"Magdalene to go co-ed: State school pupils to be admitted" — headline in student newspaper Stop Press (now known as Varsity) in the mid-1980s at the time of dispute over admission of women.

See also


  • Cunich, Peter; Hoyle, David; Duffy, Eamon; and Hyam, Ronald (1994). A History of Magdalene College Cambridge, 1428–1988. Cambridge: Magdalene College Publications. ISBN 0-9523073-0-8.  


  1. ^ a b "College History, The Early Days". Madgalene College website. Retrieved 2009-08-03.  
  2. ^ a b "College History, Tudor Times". Madgalene College website. Retrieved 2009-08-03.  
  3. ^ a b "Undergraduate Admissions: Magdalene College". University of Cambridge website. Retrieved 2009-08-02.  
  4. ^ a b c Magdalene College, Cambridge
  5. ^ The prospectus of Magdalene College, Cambridge (2008 Open Day), page 10

External links



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