skip to content

Cambridge University Library


A service held on the first Sunday in November each year, except when that Sunday is appointed as Remembrance Sunday, in which case the Commemoration takes place either on the following or the preceding Sunday. The commemoration of benefactors can be traced back to the performing of exequies for university and college benefactors from the earliest times. The first post-Reformation form of service that survives is University Archives Collect.Admin.43, compiled in 1639 and updated to 1671. Numerous subsequent versions are also in the Archives reflecting the addition of new names and, from time to time, the removal of some of the more fanciful early entries. In a Report dated 26 July 1954, the Council of the Senate suggested that the list of Benefactors contained in the existing Form of Service and its Appendices what inadequate as an historical record, whilst the list of names recited by the preacher was much too long in the context of the service. They recommended that the only benefactors to whom the preacher should refer by name should be the first and most outstanding in each class, and that the rest should be commemorated compendiously. A list of benefactors was accordingly printing in the Supplement to the Historical Register for 1950-55 (pp. 46-71) and this has been updated in all subsequent Supplements . Many of the major benefactions to the University prior to 1905 are recorded in J. W. Clark’s Endowments of the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, 1904).