Search for the name, locality, period or a feature of a locality. You'll then be taken to a map showing results.

Trinity Hall, Cambridge


The college gardens at Trinity are divided, as with most of the Cambridge college gardens, into lawned areas known as courts, bisected with paths between the college buildings. The grounds, which cover about one hectare, also contain the more private and secluded Fellows' Garden.



There are five lawned areas that make up the courts of Trinity Hall: Front Court, North Court, South Court (which was replanted in 1994), Library Court and Latham Court.

Front Court encloses four panels of lawn divided by two central cruciform stone-and-cobble paths which give access to the other courts.

The Fellows' Garden is located to the south west of the college buildings and contains an expanse of lawn bordered by gravel paths and herbaceous borders, with a brick wall along the boundary with Clare College.

The garden features a row of horse chestnuts planted in 1710 and a large copper beech. The river terrace was re-landscaped in 1998 by designer Andrew Peter to include a pear tree and flowers with impressive foliage for which the college is apparently renowned. Andrew Peter also created new border and shrub plantings in the Fellows' Garden in 1990.

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

College courts and gardens, laid out between the 16th and the 20th century.



Trinity Hall lies at the centre of Cambridge, on flat ground on the east bank of the River Cam. The 1ha college is set within a group of city-centre colleges, bounded to the north by Garrett Hostel Lane, along part of which runs a 10m length of stone and brick wall (C16, listed grade II, probably the original wall built in 1545), and beyond this by Trinity College (qv). To the east the college is bounded by Trinity Lane and beyond this Gonville and Caius College, and to the south by Clare College (qv). To the west, beyond the river, the college gardens overlook The Backs, particularly Clare College Fellows' Garden, with views to the south-west, beyond Clare Bridge, over King's College Scholars' Piece, and north-west towards Trinity College grounds.


Trinity Hall is entered at its east end directly off Trinity Lane, beneath a classical archway in the east range of Front Court and through a short entrance passage into Front Court itself (C14, refaced in stone 1740s, listed grade I), which encloses four panels of lawn divided by two central cruciform stone and cobble paths. Passages through the north and south ranges lead to North Court (C20) and South Court (C19) respectively. A passage through a further classical archway in the centre of the west range opens onto the three-sided Library Court, bounded to the north by the C16 brick library (c 1584, listed grade I) and to the south by the Master's Lodge (C16, rebuilt A Salvin 1852, listed grade I) and adjacent buildings, enclosing a circle of lawn surrounded by paths.

The fourth, west side of the Library Court is largely open, giving onto an open lawn bounded to the north by the red-brick, Tudor-style Latham and Gatehouse Buildings (1890 and 1927 respectively, listed grade II). An archway through Gatehouse Building gives direct access to Garrett Hostel Lane to the north. The lawn, encircled by a perimeter path, is bounded to the west by a raised paved terrace (C20) with a brick retaining wall, with a low wall adjacent to the riverside and views west over the river into Clare College Fellows' Garden. To the south the lawn is bounded by the red-brick wall on a stone base separating this area from the Fellows' Garden to the south (C17, listed grade II).

Library Court, following the construction of the Library and Master's Lodge in the 1580s, was bounded to the west by the timber-framed Masters' Gallery, running along the top of a cloister. This allowed the Master direct, covered access between his Lodge and the Library (a small elevated doorway still exists in the south side of the Library to indicate the course of the gallery). A central opening in the cloister (Hamond, 1592; map of 1731 reproduced in Willis and Clark 1886) gave access to the 'Backside' area to the north (now the lawn overlooked by the Latham and Gatehouse Buildings) and the Fellows' Garden to the south.


The Fellows' Garden lies at the south-west corner of the college, bounded to the north by the C17 dividing wall with the lawn beyond, to the east by the C19 Master's Lodge on the site of a C16 building, to the south by the dividing wall with Clare College Master's Garden, and to the west by a low wall above the river. From it there are views across the river to Clare College Fellows' Garden and south-west through Clare Bridge towards King's College. The Garden is entered in the north-east corner from Library Court via an elaborate mid C18 wrought-iron gate (removed from the Hall screen) supported by brick piers, with a short length of iron railing on a low brick wall to the north, connecting with the north boundary wall. The Garden is laid largely to lawn, with a gravel perimeter path, an herbaceous border along the north side, and a low grass terrace running up to the riverside wall. Two large horse chestnuts stand adjacent to the south wall. A paved terrace (C20) with a central rectangular pool lies adjacent to the Master's Lodge, reached from the house via a garden door in the west front above a short flight of stone steps.

The Fellows' Garden and the enclosed compartment to the north existed in the late C16 (Hamond, 1592), planted with trees and enclosed and separated by walls. Further gardens existed north of Front Court, also shown on later maps, now (1998) gone beneath North Court. In the late C17 (Loggan, 1688, 1690) the enclosure north of the Fellows' Garden contained perimeter trees around a lawn, and the Fellows' Garden was divided by a path running from west to east into two rectangular lawns enclosed by low hedges, with a perimeter path and a raised terrace walk along the riverside. A small building straddled the dividing wall between the open lawn and the Fellows' Garden, with access apparently from both; what might have been a privy stood at the south-west corner of the Fellows' Garden. By the early C18 (map of 1731 reproduced in Willis and Clark 1886) the north compartment was known as the Backside, containing perimeter trees, a broad path along the south side, and what appear to be two privy buildings adjacent to the river on the site of the present terrace. The Fellows' Garden (labelled the 'Felos Garden for Walking') was divided by two cruciform paths into four elaborate rectangles with steps up to the terrace at the west end, and seats at the north and south ends of the terrace.

The Garden was much adorned in the early C18. Yew hedges, planted in 1705, bordered the rectangular plots, and from 1710 horse chestnuts were planted along the boundary with Clare. An old summerhouse at the riverside was removed in 1708 and four leaden figures (of the Four Seasons) were set up on the retaining wall of the riverside terrace which was coped with Portland stone in 1735. In 1722 Nathaniel Lloyd presented four more figures for the garden terrace (Crawley 1976). All this, except the horse chestnuts and the coping, was removed c 100 years later, and replaced by 1830 with something very similar to the present layout (Baker, 1830), seen in greater detail on the late C19 OS map (1888), by which time the compartment to the north had gained something close to its current form with perimeter path and trees surrounding a lawn, retaining the privies by the river.


Loggan, Cantabrigia Illustrata (1690)

H James, English Vignettes (1879) [reprinted in English Hours (1905), p 203]

R Willis and J W Clark, Architectural History of the University of Cambridge 4, (1886)

Architectural Review 50, no 601(January 1947), pp 13-18

Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire III, (1959), pp 362-8

N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire (1970), pp 178-82

C Crawley, Trinity Hall ... 1350-1975 /1976)

R Gray, Cambridge Colleges (1984), pp 65-7

M Batey, The Historic Gardens of Oxford and Cambridge (1989), pp 21, 36, 75


Lyne, Map of Cambridge, 1574

Hamond, Map of Cambridge, 1592

Loggan, Map of Cambridge, 1688 (from Cantabrigia Illustrata, 1690)

Custance, Map of Cambridge, 1798

Baker, Map of Cambridge, 1830

Copy of an old plan in Clare College Treasury showing layout of Fellows' and Master's gardens before C17 rebuilding (in Willis and Clark 1886)

OS 25" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1925

OS 1:500: 1st edition published 1888

Description written: February 1998

Register Inspector: SR

Edited: January 2001

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The Backs consists of the lawns and gardens to the rear of the colleges associated with Cambridge University. The public is allowed to traverse the historic park.


Centre of Cambridge city


The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


Trinity Hall was founded in 1350 by William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich, as a College of the Scholars of Holy Trinity, Norwich. Front Court was built gradually during the 14th century (and refaced in stone in the mid 18th century), with the addition in the 16th century of the library and the Master's Lodge (rebuilt mid 19th century), the latter overlooking the Fellows' Garden, laid out as a garden since at least the 16th century. Several additions were made to the college buildings during the later 19th and 20th centuries. The American author Henry James visited the college in 1878, and rhapsodised over the Fellows' Garden. The site remains (1998) in college use.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1625
  • Grade: II


  • College (featured building)
  • Description: Trinity Hall was founded in 1350 by William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich and is one of the fifth oldest surviving colleges of the University of Cambridge.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Lawn
  • Mixed Border
Key Information





Principal Building






Open to the public