Selwyn College, Cambridge

From Academic Kids

Template:Oxbridge College Infobox Selwyn College is one of the colleges of the University of Cambridge. It was founded in memory of the Rt Revd George Augustus Selwyn (18091878), the first Bishop of New Zealand (18411868) and, at the end of his life, Bishop of Lichfield (18681878). The Selwyn College coat of arms incorporates the arms of the Selwyn family impaled with those of the Diocese of Lichfield.

With an explicitly Christian foundation, and no great endowments, Selwyn remains relatively poor in cash terms. However, it is also one of the smaller colleges, and encourages a friendly, inclusive atmosphere.



Selwyn was originally founded as a "Public Hostel" of the university in 1882, but was formally approved as a College on March 14, 1958. It originally admitted only men, but was of the first colleges to become mixed when women were admitted from 1976.

Selwyn College has two main courts, Old Court and Cripps Court, with ancillary buildings. Old Court, built in red brick in the Tudor Gothic style, was largely designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield and comprises seven staircases (A-G), together with a tower and gateway, master's lodge, chapel and hall. Cripps Court, named after the Cripps Foundation that donated a large part of the funds to build it (and which also funded developments at St John's College and Queens' College), was built and formally opened in 1969 on land on the opposite side of Grange Road which was originally owned by Jesus College. It comprises a further seven staircases (H-N) and is home to all of Selwyn's first-year undergraduates as well as a mix of other undergraduates and postgraduates.

As of 2005, the college has planning permission to add two further courts to the north of Old Court. This work is to be undertaken over the next twenty years in five phases. Work on the first phase of the first court, to be called Ann's Court after one of the principal donors to the costs of construction, is intended to be completed in May 2005, and a new block of 44 ensuite rooms and 15 administrative offices is due to be opened in time for the 2005-06 academic year. The other phases of the building project will extend the college's red-brick facade along Grange Road to the corner of West Road, adding two further accommodation blocks, a new library and an auditorium.

The six acres (24,000 m²) of farm land, between Grange Road, West Road and Sidgwick Avenue, where Old Court stands were acquired from Corpus Christi College, and the site was originally thought to be too far from the centre of Cambridge (indeed, an alternative site on Lensfield Road, where the Catholic church now stands, was rejected as being too small). However, the University of Cambridge has subsequently grown and Selwyn College now stands between the West Cambridge science developments and next to the Arts faculties on the Sidgwick Site.


Missing image
Selwyn College main gate, showing the College motto and spring blossom, April 2005

Selwyn College began to use its Arms long before an official grant by the College of Arms (they are displayed above the main gateway, built in 1881, and on the Common Seal, first used in 1882). Arms were finally applied for and granted in the 1960s, and are emblazoned as follows:

Per pale Gules and Argent a Cross potent quadrate Argent and Or between four crosses paty those to the dexter Argent those to the sinister Or For the See of Lichfield inpaling Argent on a Bend cotised Sable three Annulets Or for Selwyn all within a Bordure Sable And for Crest On a Wreath Or & Purpure In front of a Book erect bound Gules edged clasped and garnished Or a representation of the Pastoral Staff of Bishop Selwyn.

The dexter half of the arms (those of the See of Lichfield) are unusual, with or (gold) countercharged on argent (silver), violating the rule of tincture, which prohibits a metal to be charged with another metal. This is thought to refer to the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which also famously violates this rule. The Pastoral Staff of Bishop Selwyn is based on a hardwood Maori staff which is held in the College Chapel.

The College was also granted a badge, A Mitre Or within an Annulet Purpure.

The College motto is a biblical quotation from 1 Corinthians 16 in Greek, ΑΝΔΡΙΖΕΣΘΕ, translated as "quit ye like men", and also appears as part of a longer quotation over the main College gate.

Famous alumni

Missing image
Selwyn College in the snow, early 2004

See also

  • Selwyn College, Otago (which bears no relation to Selwyn College, Cambridge though both Colleges are named after the same person)

External link

Colleges of the University of Cambridge Arms of the University

Christ's | Churchill | Clare | Clare Hall | Corpus Christi | Darwin | Downing | Emmanuel | Fitzwilliam | Girton | Gonville and Caius | Homerton | Hughes Hall | Jesus | King's | Lucy Cavendish | Magdalene | New Hall | Newnham | Pembroke | Peterhouse | Queens' | Robinson | St Catharine's | St Edmund's | St John's | Selwyn | Sidney Sussex | Trinity | Trinity Hall | Wolfson


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