Founded in 1326, Clare College is the second oldest college in Cambridge.
Clare College has perhaps the best location of all the Cambridge colleges: a site that spans both sides of the river, and is right in the city centre, off the pedestrianised and picturesque Trinity Lane.
Set in the heart of the old University quarter and on the Backs (the beautiful riverside sites), Clare’s neighbours include King’s College, Trinity College and Trinity Hall.
Endowed by Lady Elizabeth de Clare, a granddaughter of King Edward I, the college was known as Clare Hall for over five hundred years of its history, between 1338 and 1856.
The earliest name of the college, from its inception in 1326, to 1338, was simply ‘the house (or hall) of the University of Cambridge’. Since Clare was one of the oldest colleges of the University, it bore this representative name.
In 1966, the academic community of Clare founded a second college, which was then called Clare Hall.
The Scholar’s Garden at Clare, with King’s Chapel in the background.
The College’s founding statutes provided for a community of fifteen scholars, of whom no more than six were to be bound by ties to the priesthood, and ten ‘paupers’, poor students who were maintained by the College until they reached the age of twenty.
Today Clare College has a large community of nearly 800 students in many subjects, and the college is particularly known for excelling in Music.
Many Clare students play instruments and its choir performs all over the world. Along with most other Cambridge colleges, Clare College students are allowed to keep a piano in their college room.
Clare Bridge is the oldest of Cambridge’s current bridges.
View from the Fellows’ Garden, looking across the river towards Trinity Hall.
Clare College has lovely riverside gardens, which are the perfect place to wander around on a summer day.
The naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough is an alumnus of Clare College. Attenborough went up to Cambridge in 1945 and studied geology and zoology, earning a degree in Natural Sciences.
Exploring the Fellows’ Garden is a pastime in itself. The large striped lawn is edged with deep beds of colourful flowers.
The grounds consist of several intersecting miniature gardens, including an ornamental pond with water lillies, and cobbled pathways winding among exotic plants.
At the top end of the Fellows’ Garden you can watch punts going past on the river. The River Cam and its traffic transect Clare College.
A view from the front entrance of Clare College, looking towards the college railings lined with bicycles. The University’s Old Schools lie opposite Clare, and their decorative architecture can be seen here beyond the railings.