About the Chapel

The Chapel's appearance has changed relatively little since its completion and consecration in 1704. It was completed by Sir William Dawes, who was elected Master of the College aged only 25. 

His predecessor, Dr John Eachard, had raised enough money to begin completely rebuilding the medieval College, and had completed much of Main Court. Dawes continued this work, replacing the smaller Chapel with the one that stands today, and appointed the first permanent Chaplain of St Catharine's (who later became Archbishop of York). His wife Frances Dawes is buried under the Chapel altar, and also has a monument in the Ante-Chapel, which praises her (in Latin) as "a glory and ornament to the College".

An enthusiasm for High Church style in the nineteenth century led to a refurbishment of the rather plain interior, and a new, three-manual organ was installed in 1895. At this point, too, a full choir was established at the College, including boy choristers, establishing a musical tradition at St Catharine's which continues to this day. This has included a new organ built behind the old facade in 1978, and, in 2008, the creation of the St Catharine's Girls' Choir, which is unique amongst the colleges of Cambridge and Oxford, and of the specially-devised service of light, Luminaria.

In 2008, a partial refurbishment of the Chapel was carried out, including a new altar and altar frontals, crucifix and candlestick added, the Chapel bell restored, new lighting installed in the Ante Chapel and Chapel, and redecoration and restoration of the Chapel floor. In October 2012, a new stained glass window, the Wisdom Window, was installed.