The church of the Holy Sepulchre, better known as Cambridge’s Round Church, was built around the 1130’s, a fine example of Romanesque Templar architecture, its shape inspired by the rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The land upon which it was built, was given to the Fraternity of the Holy Sepulchre by Abbot Reinald of Ramsey. The Fraternity is believed to have connections with the Crusades and the Holy Land. Its purpose, to protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem.
The church is built of stone, and consists of a circular nave. The chancel contains north and south aisles, along with a vestry. Over the nave is the upper level with a conical spire. To the north of the church, we find an octagonal bell-turret containing two bells. One dated 1663 cast by Robard Gurney the other a priest’s bell, cast by J.Sturdy of London between 1440 and 1458.
Located between the ambulatory and the nave, are eight large Norman columns and round arches. Each column carries a different design upon it.
Located above the nave is the triforium which contains double designed Norman arches.
In the chancel and north aisles, we find carved angels, attached to corbels, which support the roof. Some of these angels are holding or playing musical instruments.
The communion table, is a later addition, dated 1843 and made by Joseph Wentworth.
In 1842 tiles were laid in the chancel and choir stalls, depicting the Royal Coat of Arms, of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, with animals in each corner to represent evangelists.
The building’s exterior features two cylindrical levels, containing round-arched windows and a conical roof. Access to the building, is by way of the west door, topped with an arch, with Norman zigzag decorations, and with three carved capitals located on each side.
Stained glass windows were introduced during the 19th century restoration, following destruction in 1942, with an image depicting Christ in Majesty.