Trinity Hall, Cambridge

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Trinity Hall
University of Cambridge
Entrance to Trinity Hall on Trinity Lane
Coat of Arms of Trinity Hall.svg
Arms of Trinity Hall
Arms:Sable, a crescent ermine a bordure (engrailed) of the last [1]
Scarf colours: black, with two equally-spaced narrow white stripes
Location Trinity Lane (map)
Coordinates 52°12′21″N0°06′57″E / 52.2057°N 0.1157°E / 52.2057; 0.1157 (Trinity Hall)
Full nameThe College or Hall of the Holy Trinity in the University of Cambridge
AbbreviationTH [2]
Founder William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich
Established1350;674 years ago (1350)
Named after The Holy Trinity
Sister colleges
Master Mary Hockaday
Undergraduates401 (2022-23)
Postgraduates205 (2022-23)
Fellows65 [lower-alpha 1]
Endowment £286.67m
Boat club
Cambridge centre map.png
Red pog.svg
Location in Central Cambridge
Location map Cambridge.png
Red pog.svg
Location in Cambridge

Trinity Hall (formally The College or Hall of the Holy Trinity in the University of Cambridge) is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. [4]


Founded in 1350, it is the fifth-oldest surviving college of the university, having been established by William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich, to train clergymen in canon law after the Black Death.

Trinity Hall has two sister colleges at the University of Oxford: All Souls and University College.

Notable alumni include theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Nobel Prize winner David Thouless, Australian Prime Minister Stanley Bruce, Pakistani Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin, Canadian Governor General David Johnston, philosophers Marshall McLuhan and Galen Strawson, Conservative cabinet minister Geoffrey Howe, Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, writer J. B. Priestley, and Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz.


The devastation caused by the Black Death in England of the 1340s included the loss of perhaps half of the population; Bishop Bateman himself lost nearly 700 of his parish priests, and so his decision to found a college was probably centred on a need to rebuild the priesthood. The site that Bateman chose was the original site of Gonville Hall, which had been founded three years earlier, but was financially struggling. Bateman's clerical aim for the Hall is reflected in the foundation of 1350, when he stated that the college's aim was "the promotion of divine worship and of canon and civil science and direction of the commonwealth and especially of our church and diocese of Norwich." This led the college to be particularly strong in legal studies, a tradition that has continued over the centuries. [5]

At first all colleges in Cambridge were known as "Halls" or "Houses" and then later changed their names from "Hall" to "College". However, when Henry VIII founded Trinity College next door, it became clear that Trinity Hall would continue being known as a Hall. The new foundation's name may have been a punishment for the college's master, Stephen Gardiner, who had opposed the king's remarriage and had endured much of the college's land being removed. It is incorrect to call it Trinity Hall College, although Trinity Hall college (lower case) is, strictly speaking, accurate. A similar situation had existed once before when Henry VI founded King's College (in 1441) despite the existence of King's Hall (founded in 1317). King's Hall was later incorporated in the foundation of Trinity College in 1546.

Trinity Hall, in addition to having a chapel, also had joint usage of the Church of St John Zacharias with Clare Hall, until the church was demolished to enable the construction of King's College in the 15th century. After this, the college was granted usage of the nearby Church of St Edward, King and Martyr on Peas Hill, a connection which remains to this day.

Allegations of misconduct

2015-2020 allegations of sexual misconduct

In 2019 and 2020, the College experienced unwelcome publicity after the reporting of allegations of sexual misconduct scandals involving Dr William O’Reilly, the former Acting Senior Tutor, and Dr Peter Hutchinson, a former fellow.

In 2015, 10 students submitted formal complaints of verbal sexual harassment by Dr Peter Hutchinson, a college fellow. Hutchinson was asked, and agreed, to withdraw permanently from further teaching and from attending social events at which students might be present. [6] However, due to an alleged error by the College in 2017, Hutchinson was invited to a college event, which was also open to students. His attendance was in breach of the prior agreement and resulted in an outcry among students and alumni.

Thereafter, in 2019, a formal agreement as to what events Hutchinson could attend was approved by the Governing Body. He remained an Emeritus Fellow of the College. This resulted in further protest from students and alumni as well as more widespread coverage. [7] The Guardian called it "a gross betrayal to (sic) the students" and "a dangerous environment for women students to study". [8] It was reported in November 2019 that Hutchinson had resigned. [9]

In February 2020, a Tortoise Media investigation alleged that William O’Reilly, the Acting Senior Tutor, had seriously mishandled a disciplinary process of a student he had a "close relationship" with, who was the subject of multiple allegations of sexual assault. [10] Tortoise reported that O’Reilly himself had given witness testimony on behalf of the student at the disciplinary hearings into the assaults. Moreover, during this disciplinary process O'Reilly was himself the subject of a further allegation of sexual assault, which he denied. Tortoise reported that the College's Master, Jeremy Morris, had been made aware of the allegations against O'Reilly, but had allowed him to continue teaching for a further five months and oversee the student disciplinary process until the complaints were investigated by police. Tortoise alleged that as of the date of publication, no formal investigation had been made into this complaint, and no safeguarding measures had been put in place.

In February 2020, Morris and O’Reilly agreed to "step back" from their roles in college pending investigation. [11] In March 2020, the Governing Body authorised an immediate independent external inquiry into the College’s handling of all allegations raised and matters referred to in the Tortoise article, to be led by Gemma White QC. [12] The inquiry recommended Trinity Hall consider disciplinary action against Morris in relation to his handling of one allegation. Morris resigned as Master in August 2021. [13]

In September 2022 the College published White's report alongside a response document that that indicated the actions it had taken to make improvements to the structures and culture of the institution. [14]

2018-2023 allegations of plagiarism

In June 2023, allegations of plagiarism by O'Reilly publicly emerged, having been first reported to the university in 2021. Documents shown to the Financial Times showed how nearly half of O'Reilly's published article 'Fredrick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis, Orientalism, and the Austrian Militärgrenze' in a 2018 volume of the Journal of Austrian-American History had been plagiarised from the work of a third-year undergraduate. O'Reilly had been responsible for marking the student's work and had commented that it "coined an original narrative." After a two-year investigation by the University, the plagiarism was found by a tribunal to be “the product of negligent acts but was not deliberate”. O'Reilly remained in post but Penn State University Press, the journal's publisher, retracted the paper concerned saying that it presented "material without credit." O'Reilly did not contest or dispute the retraction. [15] [16]


Front court Front Court Trinity Hall, Cambridge.jpg
Front court
The Jerwood Library in Latham Court backs on to the River Cam next to Garret Hostel Bridge. Jerwood Library Trinity Hall Cambridge.jpg
The Jerwood Library in Latham Court backs on to the River Cam next to Garret Hostel Bridge.

The College site on the Cam was originally obtained from Bateman's purchase of a house from John de Crauden, Prior of Ely, to house the monks during their study, with Front Court being built within the college's first few decades. The medieval structures remain unaltered, but with their façade altered to a more baroque style during the Mastership of Sir Nathaniel Lloyd in 1710-45. [17]


The Chapel was licensed in 1352 and was built by August 1366, when Pope Urban V granted the College permission to celebrate the Eucharist there. Its present decor stems from its 1729–30 renovation; Lloyd had pre-existing graves removed to the Ante-Chapel, and the walls decorated with wainscotting and the ceiling with past Masters' crests. The Chapel was extended east in 1864, during which the original piscina was discovered and hidden behind a secret door. The painting behind the communion table is Maso da San Friano's Salutation, loaned from the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1957, replacing an earlier painting by Giacomo Stella.

Dining Hall

The Dining Hall was rebuilt under Lloyd along similar lines to the Chapel, with rendered walls replaced by wainscotting and medieval beams by baroque carvings. A large portrait of Lloyd dominates the wall behind high table; Lloyd supposedly made it irremovable from its wainscot surroundings, so that his representation can never be erased from the College.


The college library was built in the late 16th century, with the permission of Elizabeth I and probably during the mastership of Thomas Preston, and is now principally used for the storage of the college's manuscripts and rare books; it is one of the few remaining chained libraries left in the country. The new Jerwood Library overlooking the river was opened by Lord Howe of Aberavon in 1999, and stores the college's modern book collection.


The college owns properties in the centre of Cambridge, on Bateman Street and Thompson's Lane, and on its Wychfield site next to Fitzwilliam College, where most of the college's sporting activity takes place. Mary Hockaday was appointed Master in May 2022 and took up the post in September that year. [18]

Student life

Combination Rooms

Trinity Hall has active Junior, Middle and Senior Combination Rooms for undergraduate, postgraduate and senior members of the college community respectively. The Middle Combination Room is located in Front Court, while the Junior Combination Room is adjacent to the college bar in North Court. Both the MCR and JCR have highly active committees and organize popular socials for their members across the term.


Trinity Hall Boat Club

Trinity Hall's oldest and largest society, the Boat Club was founded in 1827, and has had a long and distinguished history; notably from 1890 until 1898, when the college stayed Head of the Mays for 33 consecutive days of rowing, which remains to this day the longest continuous defence by a single club of the bumps headship. The college won all but one of the events in the 1887 Henley Royal Regatta, making it the most successful Cambridge college in Henley's history. The current boathouse, built in 1905 in memory of Henry Latham, is on the River Cam, a short walk from the college.

Trinity Hall Christian Union

Trinity Hall's Christian Union was founded in 1877, making it the second oldest JCR-listed society. It is part of the broader Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union. [19]


Trinity Hall's literary society, the Hesperides, was founded in 1923 by Neil McLeod Innes with the intention of discussing literary and artistic subjects. Named after the seminal work of the 17th-century poet Robert Herrick, in its early years the society hosted T. S. Eliot, J. B. Priestley and Nikolaus Pevsner at its various dinners and functions. Old Hesperideans have gone on to some notoriety, none more so than Donald Maclean, a spy and member of the Cambridge Five. The Hesperides disbanded in 1976, but was re-founded in 2020 to encourage literary activity after the COVID-19 pandemic; speakers have included Trinity Hall alumni Nicholas Hytner and Sophie Winkleman.

A panoramic view of Latham Lawn and the adjacent buildings TrinHall LathLawn.JPG
A panoramic view of Latham Lawn and the adjacent buildings

People associated with Trinity Hall


On 31 May 2022, Mary Hockaday was announced as the next Master. [20]


The current Dean is the Revd Dr Stephen Plant. The role of Dean incorporates that of Chaplain in other colleges.


Notable alumni

See also


  1. As at 30 June 2018. [3]

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  1. Arms of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, being the arms of Bateman, as used by William Bateman (d. 1355), Bishop of Norwich 1344–55, founder of Trinity Hall: as seen (with bordure engrailed) at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (over B staircase), impaled by the arms of the See of Norwich.
  2. University of Cambridge (6 March 2019). "Notice by the Editor". Cambridge University Reporter . 149 (Special No 5): 1. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  3. Trinity Hall, Cambridge. "Accounts for the Year Ended 30 June 2018" (PDF). Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  4. Walker, Timea (2 February 2022). "Trinity Hall". Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  5. "Trinity Hall -".
  6. "Statement of clarification". Trinity Hall. 24 October 2019. Archived from the original on 19 December 2019.
  7. "Cambridge harassment row fuels calls to reform college system". The Guardian. 24 October 2019.
  8. "Cambridge isn't the only university to fail at handling sexual misconduct complaints". The Guardian. 24 October 2019.
  9. "Cambridge University academic resigns after Trinity Hall row". BBC News. 6 November 2019.
  10. "A college with secrets". Tortoise. 18 February 2020.
  11. Chae, Howard (22 February 2020). "Trinity Hall Master and accused Fellow to stand down pending investigation". Varsity . Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  12. "Statement from Trinity Hall". Trinity Hall. 12 March 2020.
  13. "Cambridge University college master resigns over handling of sex complaints". BBC News. 31 August 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  14. "College Statement on Gemma White QC's Report for Publication".
  15. Cook, Chris; Staton, Bethan (16 June 2023). "Cambridge professor remains in post despite plagiarism". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  16. McGuirk, Colm (18 June 2023). "Irish Cambridge Professor Who Plagiarised Student's Work Keeps Job" . Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  17. The Philips Nichols Scandal of 1731
  18. "Mary Hockaday takes up post as Master".
  19. THCU CICCU Page
  20. "Trinity Hall Elects New Master".