The college was founded in 1437 by William Byngham and it was called God’s House. It was used as training grammar school masters. It did not receive its royal license until 1446. It was moved to its present site the following year. It was also during that time that the college received its second royal license. It was expanded by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1505 and it was also renamed Christ’s College in the same year. The college is notable for its disproportionate gate which has the bottom cut off to accommodate a rise in the street level.
The original buildings of the college now form what is called First Court. The college hall was restored from 1875 to 1879. It was restored by George Gilbert Scott, the younger. The First Court is famous for its impressive Wisteria sprawls and for its round shape. The Second Court is built up only on three sides of the Fellows Building. The fourth side of the Second Court is backed on the Master’s Garden.
The school became the leading Puritan college during Elizabethan times. It admitted numerous students who wanted to harmonise traditional Christian beliefs with new scientific discoveries. Some of the most popular students during this time were William Paley and Ralph Cudworth.
Ghosts of Christ’s College
It is said that the ghost of one of the school’s fellows, Christopher Round, still continues to haunt the grounds. Christopher Round and his colleague were courting the same local lady and one night they were both drunk when the other fellow fell onto the school’s swimming pool. Round disliked the man very much and instead of helping him, Round grabbed the branch of an old tree to prevent him from surfacing. The man died of drowning. Round felt remorseful and his ghost walks in sorrow through the grounds. People can still see his ghost circling the pool and the old tree.
Members of the faculty, as well as students, have also reported hearing the sound of someone or something mounting the steps of the college first floor.