Document of the Term: Stones

Friday 28 April 2017

The Archivist would like to encourage you to walk around Main Court during exam term. It's all too easy to simply focus on revising if you are a student, or not to see the things around you if you are a regular leg-stretcher* around Main Court. Can you find the foundation stone that was laid at the start of the re-building of Main Court in 1674?


The stone was moved from its original spot when the steps up to what is now the SCR were moved in the late 19th century. The stone was subsequently used as the support for the scraper at the door of the Master's Lodge. It was placed into its current position in 1936. Although somewhat weather-worn the date can still be made out: MAY VII  MDCLXXIIII.

The building work the stone commemorates commenced in 1674, and resulted in the construction of the College gateway in Queens' Lane at the back of Main Court, the then Hall (now the SCR and Armitage Room), the then Master's Lodge (now Old Lodge), and the present C and D Staircases. The Hall was one of the first parts to be completed. The celebrations for the completion  held at Whitsuntide (2nd June) 1675 cost the College £119. 14s. 11d. , the equivalent to almost £10,000 today. The entry in the College Audit book shows the spending.

L-26 cropped.jpg

Reference: L/26, page 312

* leg-stretcher is a term dating from the 1600s and simply means a walker, someone who journeys or goes about on foot.