History

St Botolph’s Church is found in the city of Cambridge, England, at the intersection of Trumpington Street and Silver Street.

The Church is dedicated to St Botolph, a seventh century abbot in East Anglia, who is the patron saint of travellers. The most famous place named after him is Boston in Lincolnshire – “Botolph’s Town” – a place which gave its name to Boston in Massachusetts.

The church was by the south gate of medieval Cambridge, through which travellers from London entered the town. It was also the first church reached by travellers from the west who crossed the Cam where Silver Street Bridge now stands.

Norman and Saxon churches stood on the site prior to the existing church, which was built in 1350. The tower, which is crowned with carved symbols of the four Evangelists, was added in the next century. The four bells were cast in 1460. At the same time, the carved Rood Screen was added. This is now the only medieval Rood Screen remaining in the ancient parish churches of Cambridge. On it are painted panels depicting the angel announcing to Mary that she is to bear the child Jesus. These paintings date from the late 19th Century.

The font has a beautiful wooden cover and case that date from the time of Archbishop Laud (1637). The pulpit is over 300 years old; the lectern was made and given to the church in 1875 and the pews for the congregation in the nave were installed in the late 19th Century.

Queens' College have been the patron of the living since the 15th Century. The college was founded through the initiative of Andrew Doket, a 15th Century Rector of St Botolph's.

The north window in the Chancel is a memorial to Dr Campion, Rector of St Botolph’s1862-90 and subsequently President of Queens’ College. It shows St Botolph between St Bernard and St Margaret, the two patron saints of Queens’. Other windows in the Church bear representations as follows: over the altar, the Ascension of Christ; in the North Aisle, Faith, Hope and Charity and the Crucifixion; in the South Aisle, the Annunciation, and the Nativity and Baptism of Christ; and in the South Chapel, St George and St Michael, created in 1922 by famous artist Rachel Tancock

The Chancel was rebuilt in the 19th century by the Victorian architect Bodley. This work includes the beautiful decorated ceiling and Rood Screen paintings, which have just been completely restored. Bodley also designed the lectern, which was given to the church in memory of the Cambridge builder Kett.

There is a memorial to Darwin by the vestry door. Darwin's family were parishioners of St Botolph's.

The chapel on the south aisle was added in the 15th Century and contains a splendid monument to Thomas Plaifere - Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, who died in 1609. The chapel was refurbished in memory of those who died in the Great War.

The diagram below shows a plan of St Botolph's, indicating in which period each part of the church was constructed.