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The history of St Botolph's

700 years of worship in our church


We do not enter this church alone. We follow in the footsteps of parishioners and visitors for seven hundred years before us.   Here came founders of several neighbouring ancient Colleges, the servants who worked in them, and the neighbours who lived in the surrounding streets and lanes of the city.  Scholars such as Erasmus heard the very bells which still ring from the tower, as did visitors from London and elsewhere, entering the town by its ancient gate; in 1660 Samuel Pepys was taken to hear a sermon, and duly noted the text in his diary. 

Astronomical observations which were eventually to lead to the discovery of black holes were made by a former Rector John Michell, in the eighteenth century, and two centuries later, the naturalist Charles Darwin’s grandson, Sir Charles Galton Darwin, a director of the National Physical Laboratory and Master of Christ’s College, was given a memorial here.  James Essex, the eighteenth-century architect who worked all over Cambridge has his tomb in the churchyard and his family monument in the north Aisle, its words calling us to remember the Judgement. The evangelical president of Queens’ College Isaac Milner knew this pulpit.

Cambridge Bibles up to at least the mid twentieth century, many of them still in use, were printed in the parish and the men from the University Press who fell in the Great War are commemorated in the side chapel. Under our feet and on the walls are memorials to Cambridge citizens buried here in the hope of a joyful Resurrection. All these tokens unostentatiously witness to the faith of our forebears and show how St Botolph’s has influenced the lives of innumerable people, town and gown, residents and visitors, as it still does today. 


Hello and welcome to St Botolph's. If you are a new visitor, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

Welcome to St Botolph's 


The following information is specifically for those planning a first visit, so that you know beforehand what to expect on a Sunday morning.

Where and When

Our services are at St Botolph's church in the centre of Cambridge (details below). On Sundays these always start at 11.00am.  We suggest planning to arrive 10-15 minutes early, especially if driving as parking spaces are in short supply in central Cambridge, and to find somewhere to sit before the service begins. When you arrive, you should be greeted by a sides person who will help you find somewhere to sit and will give you a hymn book and a prayer book, or a service sheet.

We serve tea, coffee and biscuits after the service and we hope very much that you will stay for a chat. It is a great way to meet people, or simply take time to find your bearings. All refreshments are free.

Plan your journey: 

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access. Please let the sides person know on your arrival and they will help you. Please note access to the toilet requires a step.


The service

Our Sunday service begins at 11am and follows the Book of Common Prayer.  On the first, second, fourth and fifth Sundays we have a Sung Eucharist.  On the third Sunday we have Choral Mattins with a said service of Holy Communion at 8am.  There will be organ music before the service and the bell will ring for about five minutes before the service starts.  All services will have a sermon from the Rector or a visiting preacher.  These usually last for around 10-15 minutes.  The choir plays a part in all services, leading hymns and sung elements of the service.  The service ends with an organ voluntary.  Many people sit and listen to this for five minutes or so.  Others will start to congregate around the tea and coffee table for a chat.

What about children?

We welcome children of all ages and no one should be embarrassed if young ones cry or older ones wander around.  We do not have a Sunday School so children remain in the service with their parents.  There is a carpeted area in the side chapel which is available for parents and small children who want to step away from the main church for a while.

Getting in touch

Helping with services and the life of the church

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make our services run smoothly, please let us know.  We are always looking for help with anything from flowers, to refreshments, to opening the church for visitors during the week and a hundred and one other tasks that keep the life of the community. 

Get in touch with us to plan your visit
If you would like to come and visit the church beforehand you are more than welcome! Get in touch and we can arrange a time that suits you.
Email Address:
Comments / Questions or anything you would like to say?

Next, we will contact you by email to say hello and help arrange anything necessary for your visit.


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The Rev'd Jonathan Collis, Rector   Sarah Eastwood, Churchwarden
We hope that you will feel at home at St Botolph's.

Best Wishes,
All at St Botolph's