Relhan Collection : 91 Cambridge St John’s College. Entrance Gateway

Relhan, Richard, 1782-1844

Relhan Collection

<p style='text-align: justify;'><p>1818</p><p>St John’s College was planned and officially founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, but she died in 1509 before land was requisitioned from Cambridge’s hospital, which owned it. Her plans were implemented by her Confessor, Bishop John Fisher, and work began after the last patients were removed in 1511. The College opened 1516. The gatehouse (1511 - 1516) is, together with the First Court, one of the great red brick buildings of its period, with dressings of freestone and clunch. It was built fronting the high street, now St John’s Street, and contained the porters’ lodge and a treasury. It has 3 storeys and is designed in the grandest baronial style of the militaristic period that preceded it but with ornamentation that emphasises its Tudor regal style in quite a feminine way. Daisies, speedwells, rabbits, a fox and goose and vines provide abundant decoration, with many crowned Lancastrian roses and portcullis. Lady Margaret’s arms, supported by 2 yales, are prominently displayed, all celebrating the founder and the power of the new Tudor dynasty. Although it was built before the Reformation in England the only religious symbolism is the later figure of St John, high up in a niche, made by George Woodruff 1662-3 and celebrating the acceptability of religious figures after Charles II’s Restoration. Elaborate oak doors (by Thomas Loveday 1516) have linenfold panels, lattice work, mouldings etc. The gatehouse was restored 1934/5, when some turrets were reconstructed, parapets replaced, and the carvings were repainted and gilded (supervised by Prof Ernest Tristram).</p><p>RCHME 1959; VCH 1959</p></p>

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