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Cambridge University The history of Cambridge began in the first century BC when an Iron Age tribe established a settlement on Castle Hill A ford was built at the foot of the hill to cross the River Cam originally known as Granta the river upstream of Silver Street Bridge still retains its old name Later the Romans took over this site which was an important crossing point marking the meeting place of the Roman Roads in particular the Via Devana which linked Colchester to Chester It was the Normans who built a castle here as a base for fighting Hereward the Wake the Saxon rebel The mound of William the Conquerors castle is still in existence from where on a clear day you can see the lantern tower of Ely Cathedral In the 12th century students attended schools attached to the Monasteries and Cathedrals and as Universities developed in Italy and France scholars migrated from one centre to another Some went from Paris to Oxford and later in the early 13th century groups arrived in Cambridge During the 12th century several religious orders came to Cambridge attracting sufficient numbers of students for the town to be recognised as a seat of learning by a writ for its governance made by Henry III in 1231 At this time students would gather around whichever religious or lay teachers ideas appealed to them and had to make their own arrangements for living accommodation Due to the unsatisfactory conditions in which the students had to exist hostels were set up in the care of the masters and from this the college system evolved It was not until 1284 that the first college came into being when Hugo de Balsham Bishop of Ely founded Peterhouse As the University grew and took over more of the town inevitably there were disagreements between residents and members of the University and for many years there were spasmodic outbreaks of trouble between town and
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