Great St Mary’s is the perfect Cambridge venue for the study of medieval and Reformation history.
With revolting peasants burning books, generous donations from both sides of the Wars of the Roses, a famous visit from Queen Elizabeth I herself, and a Reformation theologian burnt at the stake after his death, the overarching national themes of historical study link with local realities here in Cambridge.
Students can also engage with big philosophical and religious questions while deepening their understanding of scripture and the architecture of sacred space.
We’re happy to liaise with local museums and the colleges to arrange a half-day or full day of activities for you in the historic city centre.
Cambridge Medieval Trail
Students studying medieval times can walk a trail around Cambridge taking in some of the amazing buildings that survive from the middle ages and beginning to understand the tensions between town and gown.
In Great St Mary’s, we explore how a medieval church looked different to a modern Anglican church today, and discuss the Peasants’ Revolt, when local people dramatically turned against the University and the teenage King Richard II.
Cambridge Tudor Trail
This self-led walk around Cambridge introduces students to the big religious conflicts of the Reformation and the kings and queens who left their mark on Cambridge. It also touches on the differences between rich and poor in Tudor England.
If you are walking to Great St Mary’s from school or from a coach stop, we can often provide bespoke resources to help make the most of your journey.
The Reformation Rollercoaster and the mystery of Martin Bucer
By uncovering the gory story of the theologian Martin Bucer, who was buried in the church before being dug up and burned as a heretic, the ups and downs of the Reformation come to life.
Students will also discuss examples of Protestant visual propaganda from the Reformation.
800 Years of Cambridge History
Students explore Cambridge history by using our interactive touchscreens. Encountering beautiful historic images, they review Cambridge history from medieval times by filling the gaps on their own timeline.
If you have time, students can deepen and consolidate learning by linking pictures and dates to make a big human timeline of the church’s history as part of this session.
Belief, Bible and Buildings
Students hunt for Bible quotes and sketch the different parts of the church, discovering how Christian beliefs are linked to scripture and reflected in architecture and worship.
You can extend this session by having students design their own church for a modern congregation.
Exploring the Easter windows at King’s College Chapel
The breath-taking stained glass and soaring stonework is something that everyone growing up in or around Cambridge should see! We can also liaise with King’s to help arrange your visit.
We currently have a self-led session looking at the Easter windows in King’s College Chapel.
We can also provide guidance on using the windows to explore parables and the complex links made between Old and New Testament stories.
Discovering the Eucharist
Focusing on the altarpiece in our sister church, St Michael’s, students discover the story of the Last Supper.
By reading a passage from Scripture and â€˜hot-seating’ different characters, they explore the drama and spiritual significance of Christ’s sacrifice.
There is also an opportunity to roleplay the sacrament of the Eucharist using clerical vestments and Eucharistic vessels.
Conferences and Debates
We can also host events for sixth formers studying Religious Studies where invited speakers debate issues of religion, philosophy and ethics.
If you are looking for a venue for a conference or debate, please get in touch.
That’s not all…
We frequently adapt our sessions and develop new ones.
Please get in touch with the heritage education officer to discuss a visit that will link with your scheme of work.