Geographical and Historical information from the year 1750.
[Transcribed information from Stephen Whatley's Gazetteer of England - 1750]
(unless otherwise stated)
"CAMBRIDGE, (Cambridgeshire) is situate on the banks of the Cam, which divides it into two parts that are joined by a stone bridge, 44 cm. 52 mm. from London. 'Twas known to the Romans by the name of Camboritum, and was a nursery of learning in the earliest days of Christianity, at least 500 years before Oxford. It suffered much by the Danes, who kept a garrison here till Edw. the elder took it in 921, to awe the rebellious monks of Ely. Will. the Conq. built a castle here; of which the gatehouse still remains, and is the Co. gaol. Roger de Montgomery destroyed the T. with fire and sword, to be revenged on K. Wm. Rufus; but K. Hen. I. to repair its damages, granted it many privileges. It was often plundered in the Baron's wars by the outlaws from the Isle of Ely, 'till Hen. III. secured it by a deep ditch on the E. side of it, which still goes by the name of the king's ditch. Wat Tyler and Jack Straw, in their rebellion against K. Rich. II. burnt the U. records in the Mt. place. The Jews being encouraged to come over by the Ks. Will. I. and II. were very populous here for several generations. They inhabited all that part of it, now called the Jewry; and the round Ch. is thought to have been their synagogue. In 1388 K. Ric. II. held a Pt. here. This T. has given title of E. to several of the royal family, as it did that of D. to his present Majesty, when Pr. of Wales. 'Tis governed by a mayor, high-steward, recorder, and 13 ald. 24 C.C. a townclerk, &c. It has 14 p. Chs. but is a dirty ill-built place. It's greatest glory is its U. not inferior to any in christendom. It consists of 12 colleges, and 4 halls which have the same privileges as the colleges; has 406 fellowships, and 662 scholarships, with 236 exhibitions; and the whole body of the U. which is commonly about 1500, enjoys very great privileges granted by several Ks. but it was K. Ja. I. who impowered it to send two members to Pt. as the T. had done from the first. The U. is governed, 1. By a chancellor, who is always some nobleman, and may be changed every three years, or continued longer by the tacit content of the U. 2. By a high-steward, chose by the senate, and holding his place by patent from the U. 3. By a vicechancellor, who is the head of some college or hall, and chose yearly on the 3d of Nov. by the body of the U. the heads of the colleges naming two persons. 4. By 2 proctors, chose every year, according to the cycle of colleges and halls; as are also 2 taxers, who with the proctors regulate the weights and measures, as clerks of the Mt. The proctors also inspect the behaviour of the scholars, who must not be out of their colleges after 9 at night. The library of the U. was augmented with 30000 volumes, the books of Dr. Moor, Bp. of Ely, a present from K. Geo. I. who gave 7000 l. for them; and a fine marble statue of that Great Prince was created in the senate-hall of King's- college in 1739, by the decree of the U. but at the expence of Charles, the late Vis. Townshend. In 1724 his late Majesty also established a professor of modern history and modern languages in this U, with a salary of 400 l. for himself and two persons under him qualified to instruct in that branch, 20 scholars to be nominated by the K. each of which is obliged to learn two at least of the languages. Dr.Woodward, a professor at Gresham college, London (who died in 1728) left a sum of money to this U. for creating a professorship for natural philosophy, with a provision of 150 l. a year for ever. Dr. Addenbroke also left it 4000 l. towards building and furnishing a hos. for the cure of poor diseased people gratis: of which charity the master and fellows of Catherine-hall are trustees. A fellowship was lately founded at Magdalen-college, appropriated to the gentlemen of Norfolk, and called the Travelling ' Norfolk Fellowship'; and, it is observed, that as all the libraries in Oxford are ' studying libraries'; those at Cambridge, excepting that of King's college, are ' lending libraries'; because any person qualified may borrow out of them what book he wants. There are ch. scs. here for teaching above 300 children (of whom 50 are cloathed) which are maintained by subscription of 230 l. a year; by an estate of 30 l. a year left them for ever by Mr. William Wortes, and by the sacrament money given by some of the colleges, which have each their chapel for worship, though the publick sermons are preached at St. Mary's. Ch. King's-college-chapel here is reckoned the finest in the world, and strikes the spectators with a sort of awe and veneration. 'Tis 304 foot long, 73 broad, and 94 high to the battlements, without one pillar to support it. Its choir was adorned with K. Hen. VIII. with the finest carved work ever seen; and the intire building, roof, and all, is of freestone. K. Hen. IV. granted this U. a power to print all books of any kind within itself, a privilege which Oxford then had not. Hobson, a noted carrier in the R. of K. Ja. I. who got a great estate both by driving and feeding cattle, not only relieved the poor of this T. but built a publick conduit in the Mt-place. The Mt. is S. and the Fairs June 28 for a week, and Aug. 15. In pursuance of the will of the abovementioned Mr. Wortes, a fine road is compleated, of about 4 m. in length from this T. to Gogmagoghills; and adjoining to the town-hall, a new shire-house was lately built at the expence of the Co."
[Description(s) transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2011]