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Emmanuel College was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I, on the site of a former Dominican Priory. It is set in spacious gardens and the former monk’s fishpond is still stocked with fish and is also the home to a large number of ducks.
The West Front of the College was built between 1769 and 1775 in neo classical style to designs by James Essex. The pavilions at each end flank a two storey range with a pediment above the entrance supported by ionic columns.
In the late 17th century, the College commissioned a new chapel, cloister and gallery, designed by Christopher Wren. The grade 1 listed chapel is built of Ketton limestone. Front Court is approached beneath a portico in the west range and bounded on the east by the Chapel and cloister, on the north by the Hall range and on the south by the Westmorland Building. It is forbidden to walk on the grass in Front Court unless you are a duck or a Don.