King's College Grounds in 1564

The College was a very different place when the Queen visited in 1564. Since the early 19th century the College buildings have all been south and southwest of the Chapel but when the Queen visited, all the College buildings were located to the east and north of the Chapel. The Provost’s Lodge was on what is now called King’s Parade, and the rest of the buildings were in Old Court, now the Old Schools site.

Originally the plays were to be performed in the College Hall in Old Court. In 1564, royal progress from the Provost’s Lodge to the Hall would have been roundabout, probably either through the Chapel and out the north door or around the south and west sides of the Chapel, shown below on Loggan’s 1688 plan of the College site where ‘F’ marks the Old Court and ‘1’ is the Chapel. The approach from the Provost’s Lodge to the Provost’s entrance at the northeast corner of Chapel, however, was much more convenient and the Chapel was chosen over the Hall, to host the theatrical productions.

The images below show that the entrance to the Old Court was grand enough to suit the queen but the drawings of the gabled Hall show that it may indeed have been unsuitable for a royal entertainment. The Hall had been extensively repaired two years previously, possibly even enlarged to its 1635 size of 25 feet x 40 feet (7.6 x 15.2 m), but it was still less grand than the ante-chapel which is 40 feet wide and 120 feet long.

 

 

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