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Trinity celebrates 700 years since the beginning of King’s Hall

2017 marks 700 years since the beginnings of King’s Hall, the earlier of the medieval institutions from which Trinity was formed more than 200 years later by Henry VIII.

King’s Hall originated in a society of King’s Scholars, set up by Edward II in 1317, which 20 years later his son, Edward III, established as ‘The King’s Hall’.

Among the events marking the 700th anniversary are special concerts in the Chapel,  and a conference about the role of universities in the fourteenth-century.

Trinity Fellow, Professor David McKitterick, welcomed the initiative to celebrate the anniversary:

As well as a celebration, the anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on Trinity’s lengthy history, the achievements of its scholars and alumni, and the College’s future role in our fast-changing world.

The Master of Trinity, Sir Gregory Winter, said:

For 700 years Trinity has served as a crucible in which knowledge is transformed by the fire of critical and independent thinking to benefit society in many different ways. The College is committed to preserving and strengthening the unique environment which enables that to take place.

Walker & Boutall Ltd [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Historical plan of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1897

Events to mark the 700th anniversary of King’s Hall

Trinity College Choir performs Bach’s B Minor Mass
Trinity College Chapel
Wednesday 11 January 2017, 7.30pm

This concert is for members of College and will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Widely regarded as his greatest choral work, Bach’s B Minor Mass will be performed by the College Choir, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and an exceptional team of soloists.

The Wren Library
1 July – 31 October 2017

During the summer the Wren Library will display a selection of archival documents from the King’s Hall, charting its history and development from 1317 until is re-founding as part of Trinity College in 1546.

Universities in the Fourteenth Century
A conference to celebrate the 700th anniversary of King’s Hall, Cambridge
Winstanley Lecture Theatre
Tuesday 4 July – Wednesday 5 July 2017

This conference, organised by Trinity Fellow Professor John Marenbon, features specialists papers and two public lectures. Professor Marenbon said: ‘This celebration of Trinity’s ultimate origins aims to bring together the best experts on the different branches of university learning (logic, philosophy, science, law, medicine and theology) in the fourteenth century. We shall pay special attention to Cambridge and to King’s Hall in particular.’

All are welcome to attend the public lectures in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre (booking details available in due course):

  • Tuesday 4 July, 4.30pm, William Courtenay, Professor Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Wednesday 5 July, 5pm, Speaker TBC.

Anyone interested in attending the more specialized papers to be presented at the conference should email Professor Marenbon

The Chapel
4 July 2017, 6pm

Part of the Trinity Carol Roll
Part of the Trinity Carol Roll

Arranged by Trinity Fellows, Dr Sean Curran and Dr Teresa Webber, as part of the conference, this concert features the sound-world of fourteenth-century ritual as it might have been experienced by the King’s scholars, and masterpieces of musical composition from the century that followed.

The Gesualdo Six will perform the great Messe de Nostre Dame of Guillaume de Machaut, interspersed with the chants specified for a chapel’s dedication in the Sarum Rite – the English liturgical tradition from whose fund of ritual song the singers of the King’s Hall would have drawn.

In the later Middle Ages songs were also vehicles for transmitting historical knowledge and shaping narratives, sometimes within the liturgy, sometimes beyond it. The programme pairs a motet from the Roman de Fauvel, a satire about French royal politics whose unique musical manuscript source was probably compiled in Paris in 1317, with a carol celebrating the victory of Henry V at Agincourt in 1415, preserved in the Trinity Carol Roll, a music manuscript made in East Anglia in the early fifteenth century and given to the College by  H. O. Roe in 1838.

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