King Henry VIII ordered the university to disband its Faculty of Canon Law and to stop teaching "scholastic philosophy".
By the late 12th century, the Cambridge region already had a scholarly and ecclesiastical reputation, due to monks from the nearby bishopric church of Ely.
However, it was an incident at Oxford which is most likely to have formed the establishment of the university: two Oxford scholars were hanged by the town authorities for the death of a woman, without consulting the ecclesiastical authorities, who would normally take precedence (and pardon the scholars) in such a case, but were at that time in conflict with King John.
The Cambridge Mathematical Tripos is competitive and has helped produce some of the most famous names in British science, including James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin and Lord Rayleigh. Pure mathematics at Cambridge in the 19th century had great achievements but also missed out on substantial developments in French and German mathematics. As a consequence the university first received systematic state support in 1919, and a Royal Commission appointed in 1920 recommended that the university (but not the colleges) should receive an annual grant.
Pure mathematical research at Cambridge finally reached the highest international standard in the early 20th century, thanks above all to G. The university was one of only eight UK universities to hold a parliamentary seat in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Before 1918 the franchise was restricted to male graduates with a doctorate or MA degree.
For many years only male students were enrolled into the university.
They produced many "non-conformist" graduates who greatly influenced, by social position or pulpit, the approximately 20,000 Puritans who left for New England and especially the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Great Migration decade of the 1630s. Although diversified in its research and teaching interests, Cambridge today maintains its strength in mathematics.
Oliver Cromwell, Parliamentary commander during the English Civil War and head of the English Commonwealth (1649–1660), attended Sidney Sussex. Cambridge alumni have won six Fields Medals and one Abel Prize for mathematics, while individuals representing Cambridge have won four Fields Medals.
The most recently established college is Robinson, built in the late 1970s.