History & Art

For nearly a thousand years a structure has stood on this site offering solace, beauty, distraction, comfort and care to the people of Cambridge and its visitors.


The original church of St Giles was built almost a thousand years ago. By the 19th century it had been much altered and neglected, but still the congregation grew. It was swept up in the campaign to abolish ‘pew rents’ and to provide free seating for all. Up to 700 people were drawn to services.

Pressure of numbers and a new style of worship called for a larger building. In 1875 the current church was completed, incorporating the most ancient parts of the original structure. From the beginning this new church was ambitious in its social provision for residents of the surrounding slums, and during the Second World War the building housed evacuees.

Today’s community activities are a direct continuation of this important social heritage, which the Friends are keen to support.

Art & Architecture

With the rebuilding of the Church in 1875 came the opportunity to commission outstanding works from the most famous church designers of the time – Sir Ninian Comper and Sir Charles Kempe.

A copy of a work by Veronese was installed, along with wooden carvings imported from Bavaria, and a relief after Michelangelo. All of these are still to be seen in the Church.

The Friends will help preserve and enhance the Grade II* listed building and its precious interior.

Of outstanding quality by virtue of its collection of medieval and 18th-century survivals, together with 19th-century fittings by many of England's leading church decorators.

Historic England