Clare College Cambridge

January 2012 - Breaking down the Battlements

Following up from January's Clare Through Time feature the following entry was found in the minutes for the meetings of Master and Fellows referring to the replacement of the Battlements on the South and East ranges of Old Court. The entry also includes some information about replacement of windows during this period.

This month's Clare Through Time features an extract from the fourth volume of the minutes of meetings of Master and Fellows (ref: CCGB/2/4) which covers the period 1713 - 1759. The minutes of the meeting predominantly record the College dealings and transactions regarding leasing of its property as can be seen in the pages reproduced below. Occasionally, however, unusual events in College including serious disciplinary matters were also recorded and in January 1729 it can be seen that such a case was brought before the meeting. The two students concerned were Samuel Paul and John Fisher who were expelled from the College for "throwing down part of the Battlements" and for also being "in company with a lewd woman in College", offences for which they were both sent down. Please click on the image below for a larger version of the pages.

It is also worth noting the use of the term 'battlements' which when looking at the Old Court buildings today is not the most obvious of terms to use to describe its architectural features. Originally, however, the design of the East, South and West ranges included crenellations along the top of the facing walls as can be seen from the scanned image below. By the mid 18th century these had been replaced to match the more fashionable balustrade on the North range (see the photograph below), although the 'throwing down of the battlements' may well have been the impetus for replacing them.