History of St Clement's Church
The first church on the site was built over a thousand years ago to serve the local Viking (or Danish) population. It was dedicated to St Clement who was popular with Danish seafarers. The present church was begun about 800 years ago. The oldest surviving features are the arches either side of the nave and the stone work surrounding the south door.
The church was substantially reconstructed in Tudor times to serve as a theatre for lectures and sermons. The roof was raised, to allow very tall aisle and clerestory windows, filling the church with natural light.
The chancel was rebuilt in brick in 1726, with windows in the early Georgian style. The chancel was reordered in the 1870s in Anglo-Catholic style – with false Gothic windows inside the rectangular Georgian ones still visible outside.
The west tower was built in 1821 and after redevelopment in 2021-22, now houses our ring of six bells.
More detailed information about the church’s history can be found in the document archive below. If you are aware of, or have access to, any additional historical material about St Clement’s Church, please let us know.
History of St Clement’s, Cambridge: from its founding to 1989
by Fraser Watts
A detailed and in-depth presentation of the history of St Clement’s, from the founding of the first church on this site, through to 1989.