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 Conqueror's 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.The coming of the railways to Cambridge brought industry and employment opportunities, increasing the local population which redressed the balance of "town and gown".In the late 1800’s two colleges were founded for women, but it was not until the late 1940’s that they were awarded degrees.
By the 19th century the University underwent changes, introducing subjects such as natural science and history to its curriculum and vastly increased its numbers.
During the 16th century, at the time of the church reformation, Cambridge educated famous Protestant preachers such as Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley; all later became martyrs in Oxford, during the reign of Mary Tudor.
The Civil War brought Cambridge to the centre of events as Oliver Cromwell was a graduate of Sidney Sussex college and also the local member of parliament, while the University was mainly Royalist.
For those interested in rowing, they will be entertained by the “Bumps Races”, which take place on the River Cam.
These races between colleges take place several times a year; there are Lent Bumps, May Bumps and Bumps’ Races rowing eights in June and July.