Corpus Christi stands on the same road as Peterhouse, Pembroke, St Catherine's, King's, Gonville & Caius, Trinity and St John's, in other words right in the middle of the touristy bit of the city. Most people see it, lets be honest you can hardly miss such a huge gateway, everybody stands and looks at its bizarre new clock, but few seem to venture inside.
In fact a lot of folks stop at the gate and gawp in at the courtyard but then balk at paying the trivial sum charged for a peek at the rest of the building. Which is a shame as it has at least one feature that you'll not see replicated elsewhere.
Corpus Christi is one of the older colleges, founded in 1352, and is unique among the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge in that it was not founded by royalty or other wealthy backers from outside, but by the townspeople themselves in the shape of the city guilds. Presumably by this time the town, or at least some of its residents, were beginning to see the value of education.
For many years the college lacked a chapel and used the adjacent St Bene't's church, the oldest church in Cambridge, dating back to Saxon times. It's curious to think that when the first college buildings were being planned the tower had already been looking down on the site for over 300 years!
The present chapel dates from 1827 and was designed by William Wilkins along with the rest of New Court - yes all the buildings you've seen so far (apart from the ancient church, of course) are designated as "New", by which is meant nearly 200 years old and it was all designed by Wilkins. If you've been to England you'll almost certainly have seen some of Wilkins' work since he designed the National Gallery and had a large say in the development of Trafalgar Square.
But we can be fairly sure that he liked his work at Corpus Christi best as he chose to be buried in the chapel.
On the way out I noticed a pair of unusual and elaborate doorstops. The bird represented is a pelican, who, according to legend, stabs her own breast in order to draw blood to nourish her brood.
The unique feature I promised you is Old Court, parts of which at least date from the founding of the college and give a fairly good impression of what other college courts must have been like.
There's quite a large plaque to commemorate the fact that the playwrights Christopher Marlowe and John Fletcher both studied at the college. Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare but died at the age of 29. During renovation work on Old Court a painting was uncovered which is believed to be of Marlowe.
Fletcher followed Shakespeare as the writer for the Kingsmen and in his day was highly regarded.
Some of the windows in Old Court are supposed to be the original ones, which were originally designed to hold oiled canvas before the widespread use of glass. I don't know if this is one of those windows but it looks pretty ancient to me.
There is a Master's Garden, which you can't visit, and a Bursar's Garden which you should, if only to see the ancient mulberry tree, the leaves and branches of which overhang the picture above. The tree was allegedly given to the college by King James I as part of his attempt to encourage silk production. I must go back one day and get a better picture of the tree.