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History of Jesus College, Cambridge.
Although Jesus College was not founded until 1496, it has the distinction that the
chapel and several other buildings date from the 12th and 13th centuries. Originally
it was the Benedictine Convent of St Mary and St Radegund, which was dissolved by
John Alcock, Bishop of Ely.
The Chapel was founded in 1157 and took until 1245 to complete, was cruciform in
shape, the nave had both north and south aisles. A high, pitched roof was surmounted
by a belfry and steeple, this collapsed in 1277. The chapel was also used as the
parish church of St Radegund. Twice the chapel was ravaged by fire, 1313 and 1376.
When the college took over the precincts, the parish was renamed after the college
as Jesus parish, with the churchyard still being used for burials, this however,
was short lived, as by the middle of the 16th century Jesus parish was absorbed into
that of All Saints.
The chapel was much modified, with the western two thirds of the nave being converted
into college rooms.
The period after Henry VIII’s split from Rome until the restoration of the monarchy,
was turbulent to say the least, and may best be read in the Official Jesus College
website. Subsequent ages have brought much in the way of restoration to the chapel’s