In 1496, when the College was founded by Bishop John Alcock, it was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist and the Glorious Virgin Saint Radegund. The College took over the buildings of the twelfth-century Benedictine nunnery of St Mary and St Radegund, which remain at the core of the college to this day. While other Cambridge colleges share the dedication to St Mary and St John, St Radegund is unique to Jesus.
Around 552, Radegund, after fleeing the court of her husband Clothaire of Thuringia, established the Convent of Our Lady of Poitiers. Living under the Rule of Caesaria of Arles, the cloistered sisters were required to be able to read and write, and to devote several hours of the day to reading the scriptures and copying manuscripts, as well as such traditionally female tasks as weaving and needlework. So, in retrospect, it is pleasing that the College can be associated with a saint who fostered female learning.
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