Magdalene College (// MAWD-lin) is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college was founded in 1428 as a Benedictine hostel, in time coming to be known as Buckingham College, before being refounded in 1542 as the College of St Mary Magdalene. Magdalene counted some of the greatest men in the realm among its benefactors, including Britain's premier noble the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Chief Justice Christopher Wray. Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII, was responsible for the refoundation of the college and also established its motto—garde ta foy (Old French: "keep your faith"). Audley's successors in the Mastership and as benefactors of the College were, however, prone to dire ends; several benefactors were arraigned at various stages on charges of high treason and executed.
The college's most famous alumnus is the 17th century chronicler Samuel Pepys. His papers and books were donated to the college upon his death and are housed in the Pepys Library in the Pepys Building. A portrait of the diarist by Peter Lely hangs in the Hall.
Magdalene is noted for its 'traditional' style: it boasts a well-regarded candlelit formal hall (held every evening) and was the last all-male college in Oxford or Cambridge to admit women in 1988 (Oriel College was the last in Oxford, admitting women in 1986). This change resulted in protests by some male undergraduates, including the wearing of black armbands and flying the college flag at half-mast.
Magdalene's old buildings are representative of the college's ramshackle growth from a monks' foundation into a centre of education. It is also distinctive in that most of the old buildings are in brick rather than stone (save for the frontage of the Pepys Building). Magdalene Street divides the most ancient courts from more recent developments. One of the accommodation blocks in the newer part of the college was built by Edwin Lutyens in the early 1930s. Opened in 2005, Cripps Court, on Chesterton Road, features new undergraduate rooms and conference facilities.
Magdalene remains one of the smaller colleges in the University, numbering some 300 undergraduates. Magdalene has been an academically strong-performing college over the past decade, achieving an average of ninth in the Tompkins Table and coming second in 2015.
Magdalene College was first founded in 1428 as Monk's Hostel, which hosted Benedictine student monks. The secluded location of the hostel was chosen because it was separated from the town centre by the River Cam and protected by Cambridge Castle. The main buildings of the college were first constructed in the 1470s under the leadership of John de Wisbech, then Abbot of Crowland. Under the patronage of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, the institution was renamed Buckingham College.