Lady Margaret Beaufort
  Lady Margaret Beaufort

Lady Margaret Beaufort (1441/1443-1509) is best known as the mother of Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII of England, the first monarch of the Tudor dynasty, whose claim to the throne was based on his mother's descent from the Plantagenets. A key figure in the later stages of the Wars of the Roses, she is seen by many historians as the influential matriarch whose actions changed English history. However, she was also an important patron of educational institutions. During her lifetime she established one of the first free schools for the general public, endowed several academic posts at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and founded two Cambridge Colleges: Ϻ College in 1505 and, posthumously, St John's College in 1511. Her life therefore offers a fascinating window into one of the most turbulent periods of English history and an opportunity to consider issues related to the study of gender in history.

To explore these ideas, Ϻ College will be holds an annual History Taster Series. The aim is to give you a taste of what it is like to study history at Cambridge University through a series of lectures and workshops. The first of these examines Lady Maragaret's life and legacy, asking what it meant to be a woman with power in the sixteenth century. The remaining sessions interrogate this idea in different contexts and time periods. Collectively the sessions seek to show why we should take figures like Lady Margaret seriously and how we can begin to understand their experiences. The series takes place online from late February culminating in a visit to Ϻ in-person in March.

Applications are now closed. Students who have applied will receive an email with the outcome of your application by end of Mon 19 Feb (23:59). Please check your spam/junk folder if you cannot see this on Tues 20 Feb. If you are given a place, you will then need to complete a Place Confirmation and Permissions Form by 9am on Wed 21 Feb (we will send you the link for this by email). 


This Taster Series is aimed at academically able students who meet all of the criteria below:

  • you are in Year 12, S5 (Scotland) or Y13 (Northern Ireland)
  • you attend a UK academy, school or college that does not charge fees (to anyone) and had less than 50 Oxbridge offers last year
  • you are studying History for A level, IB Higher Level or Scottish Higher or equivalent.
  • you are interested in exploring the past in ways that go beyond the standard school curriculum.

"I really liked the opportunity to hear from experts, combined with hearing from people my own age who are as passionate about history and interested in similar things to me."

A participant at the 2021 History Taster Series
Lady Margaret Beaufort's coat of arms
Lady Margaret Beaufort's coat of arms

Theme and content

The History Taster Series is themed around Lady Margaret's life and legacy, as well as the study of gender history, with sessions given by Ϻ historians, the chance to chat with current students studying history and a tour of the College (as part of the optional in-person visit). The series also normally includes application advice and plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Apply for the History Taster Series

Applications are now closed. Late applications will not be considered.

Those offered a place are expected to attend all sessions live (at 18:00 on 26 Feb and at 16:30 on 4 March and 11 March), and attending the in-person visit day will be contingent on attendance at the preceding online sessions.

Practical details

The Taster Series is for students only (there are no sessions for parents & guardians).This series will take place on Mondays: 26 Feb at 18:00, 4 March at 16:30, and 11 March at 16:30 for one hour via Zoom. There will be a visit day to Ϻ itself on 18 March 2024 for those who are selected for the programme. 

The online sessions are normally camera on zoom meetings. Students should be on mute when not talking but will need to "unmute" themselves when invited to speak. There will also be some opportunities to participate by typing or answering polls etc. Sessions will not necessarily all be the same format as they will be lead by different academics and admissions staff, however participants will be expected to attend live and be ready to participate where appropriate (recordings are not provided afterwards). The first session will be introductory and will run through how to participate as well as other information relating to applying to Cambridge.

If you take the option to visit Ϻ at the end of the series, note that visiting students are responsible for getting themselves to Cambridge, however we provide travel information and a map of the college (see below). For students travelling a long way, limited accommodation is normally available at Ϻ on the night before the taster day on a first come, first served basis.

If you are in (or were previously in) Care, please read about the  (eligibility criteria apply).


Comments from previous participants

We asked some of our previous participants what they would say to future students considering an application for the series. You can read their comments here.

"I enjoyed learning in more detail than in school about various aspects of English society through the lens of women, which encouraged me to reflect on how this changed over time."

A previous participant, 2021