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Ambient Travel Blog

The title of Duke of Cambridge, gifted by Queen Elizabeth II to Prince William on his wedding day, was first officially recognised in 1664, when James Stuart, son of the Duke of York by his first wife, was granted the title. It is named after the English University city of Cambridge.

The city has a long connection with royalty. In 1068, only 2 years after his successful invasion, William the Conqueror visited and ordered a castle to be built. The original wooden structure was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century.

At the time of the visit of the first King William, Cambridge was already an important and ancient settlement. This was largely as a result of its strategic position on a river that flowed into the Great Ouse that in turn flowed into the sea.

As early as the bronze and iron ages there were settlements on the site and, in the 1st century AD, the Romans built a fort on Castle Hill  After the Romans left, the Danes arrived and created a fortified town in 875. In the 10th century it was captured by the Saxons  At this time the river was named the Granta and the town Grantebryg (Granta Bridge). In 1010, the town was burnt to the ground by the Danes but quickly rebuilt and flourished into an administrative centre for the area that boasted its own mint  The Church of St Benet was built around 1025. By the time of the Domesday Book, in 1086,it had a population of around 2000 people

Over time, the original Saxon name had been modified to Cambridge, the river was renamed the Cam to match. Today the locals claim that the River is still the "Granta" above the Silver Street Bridge (in the City) and the "Cam" below it.

In the 13th Century Dominican, Carmelite and Franciscan Friars arrived to preach to the populous and a tradition of teaching and learning began. The School of Pythagoras was founded in 1200 and the University in 1209.  In the Middle Ages the first Colleges of Cambridge University were founded. The Bishop of Ely founded Peterhouse in 1284. This was followed by Clare College (1326), Pembroke (1347), Gonville and Caius (1348), Trinity Hall (1350) and Corpus Christi (1352).

In 1441, King Henry VI founded Kings College. Queens College followed in 1448, St Catherines College in 1473 and Jesus College in1497.

The the early 16th Century saw the foundation of further colleges such as Christ College in 1505 and St Johns College (1511).The administration of the colleges changed dramatically when, in 1538, Henry VIII  closed down all the Friaries 

In 1542, Magdalen College was created and in 1546 Trinity College was founded by Henry VIII himself . This was followed by Emmanuel College, in 1584, and Sidney Sussex in 1596.

Throughout the centuries Cambridge continued to flourish and new university colleges were founded such as Girton (1869), Newnham (1871), Ridley Hall and Westcott House (1881), Selwyn (1882) and St Edmunds Hall (1896).

By the 20th Century the University no longer dominated in the way it once did. Although still important to the economy, new industries,utilising the new technologies developed at the University, were set up. At the same time, the University continued to expand with the foundation of Hughes Hall in 1949,and other new colleges such as New Hall (1954), Churchill (1960), Darwin (1964), Lucy Cavendish and Wolfson (1965), Fitzwilliam (1966) and Robinson (1979).

Today,The University of Cambridge remains one of the worlds leading academic establishments and, for many, the catalyst for further acedemic, scientific, artistic, political and industrial achievement. Alumni represent the great and the good of literary, political, artistic and scientific achievement throughout the centuries.

Cambridge has so much to offer the visitor.

Apart from a unique sense of past history and history in the making, it offers an eclectic mix of ancient and modern architecture, good hotels, excellent restaurants and great shopping. The city is large enough to boast all the facilities that a visitor might need and yet is small enough to be able to see most of its attractions on foot. The River Cam offers a wonderful opportunity to view the city away from the crowds and a leisurely trip by punt is to be recommended.
Cambridge has excellent transport links making it easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Ambient Tours include visits to Cambridge as part of its ‘Tudor Poets and Playwrights’ and ‘Influential Tudors’ tour packages.

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