Cambridge: the city of crocuses and daffodils on the Backs, of green open spaces and cattle grazing only 500 yards from the market square.
The Cambridge of Brooke, Byron, Newton and Rutherford, of the summer idyll of punts,' bumps', cool willows and May Balls.
Cambridgeshire travel, UK Brington Tourist Attractions
Yet Cambridge was important long before the University existed. Here, at the meeting of dense forests to the south and trackless, marshy Fens to the north, was the lowest reliable fording place of the River Cam, or Granta. In the first century BC an Iron Age Belgic tribe built a settlement on what is now Castle Hill. Around AD40 the Romans took over the site and it became the crossing point for the Via Devana which linked Colchester with the legions in Lincoln and beyond.Petra
The Saxons followed, then the Normans under William the Conqueror, who raised a castle on a steep mound as a base for fighting the Saxon rebel, Hereward the Wake, deep in the Fens at Ely. The motte of William's castle still stands and Ely Cathedral is visible from the top on a clear day.
The first scholars didn't arrive in Cambridge until 1209 and another 75 years passed before Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, founded Peterhouse, the first college. Clare (1326), Pembroke (1347), Gonville and Caius (1348), Trinity Hall (1350) and Corpus Christi (1352) were established in the first half of the fourteenth century. Ten more Cambridgeshire tourism colleges were founded during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, including Christ's (1505), King's (1441), Queens' (1448), Jesus (1496), St. John's (1511), Trinity (1546), and Emmanuel (1584).