Nevile's Court, Trinity College, Cambridge

Nevile's Court, Trinity College, Cambridge

Ask a question about 'Nevile's Court, Trinity College, Cambridge'
Start a new discussion about 'Nevile's Court, Trinity College, Cambridge'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Nevile's Court is a court in Trinity College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

, Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, created by a bequest by the college's master, Thomas Nevile
Thomas Nevile
Thomas Nevile was an English clergyman and academic who was Dean of Peterborough and Dean of Canterbury , Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge , and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge ....


The east side is dominated by the college's Hall, and the north and south sides house college rooms for fellows (and a few students) raised above the cloisters. The court is regarded as the sanctum sanctorum
Sanctum sanctorum
The Latin phrase sanctum sanctorum is a Latin translation of the biblical term: "Holy of Holies" which generally refers in Latin texts to the Holiest place of the Tabernacle of Ancient Israel and later the Temples in Jerusalem, but also has some derivative use in application to imitations of the...

 of the college by fellows and students on account of the difficulty of obtaining rooms there.

It was in the north cloister that Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

 stamped his foot to time the echoes and determine the speed of sound
Speed of sound
The speed of sound is the distance travelled during a unit of time by a sound wave propagating through an elastic medium. In dry air at , the speed of sound is . This is , or about one kilometer in three seconds or approximately one mile in five seconds....

 for the first time.

The initial court, completed in 1612, was approximately 60% of its current length and its west side consisted of a wall in which was set a gate leading to the river-bank. (The gate, known as the Nevile Gate, now stands as an entrance to the college from Trinity Lane.)

The west side was transformed from 1673 onwards when the master, Isaac Barrow
Isaac Barrow
Isaac Barrow was an English Christian theologian, and mathematician who is generally given credit for his early role in the development of infinitesimal calculus; in particular, for the discovery of the fundamental theorem of calculus. His work centered on the properties of the tangent; Barrow was...

, persuaded his friend Christopher Wren
Christopher Wren
Sir Christopher Wren FRS is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.He used to be accorded responsibility for rebuilding 51 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710...

 to design a library for the college. The Wren Library
Wren Library, Cambridge
The Wren Library is the library of Trinity College in Cambridge. It was designed by Christopher Wren in 1676 and completed in 1695.The library is a single large room built over an open colonnade on the ground floor of Nevile's Court...

 was completed in 1695 and is a masterpiece of the classical style. At the same time, the north and south sides were extended to reach the new library. Rooms on the north side of the range were paid for by Sir Thomas Sclater
Thomas Sclater
Thomas Sclater FRS was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1713 and 1736....

, who laid out 800l for the purpose. The "Old Guest Room" on the south side of the range bears the mottos 'Vernon
-USA:*Vernon, Alabama*Vernon, California*Lake Vernon, California*Vernon, Colorado*Vernon, Connecticut*Vernon, Florida*Vernon, Illinois*Vernon, Indiana*Vernon Parish, Louisiana*Vernon, Michigan...

 semper viret' and 'Le bon temps viendra' in lozenges on the ceiling.

Nevile's Court was extensively restored and remodelled in the 18th century when the gable
A gable is the generally triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a sloping roof. The shape of the gable and how it is detailed depends on the structural system being used and aesthetic concerns. Thus the type of roof enclosing the volume dictates the shape of the gable...

s, which are shown on the print of the College made by David Loggan, were removed.