Ripon College Cuddesdon

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Ripon College Cuddesdon
College viewed from the road
Location Cuddesdon
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Former name(s) Cuddesdon College
Ripon Clergy College
Founded 1854
Founder(s) Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford
Functional status Theological college
Heritage designation Grade II listed
Architect(s) G. E. Street
Style English Gothic Revival
Parish Cuddesdon
Diocese Diocese of Oxford
Province Canterbury

Ripon College Cuddesdon is a Church of England theological college in Cuddesdon, a village 5.5 miles (8.9 km) outside Oxford, England. It is the largest ministry training institution in the Church of England.


Ripon College Cuddesdon was formed from an amalgamation in 1975 of Cuddesdon College and Ripon Hall. The name of the college, which is incorporated by royal charter, deliberately contains no comma.

Cuddesdon College[edit]

Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, founded Cuddesdon College in April 1853 as the Oxford Diocesan Seminary to train graduates from Oxford and Cambridge. Its original buildings, designed by the Diocesan Architect for Oxford G. E. Street, were built opposite the Cuddesdon Palace. The Neo-Gothic buildings are regarded as the first important design by Street, and influenced much of his later work.[1] The College opened in June 1854 and quickly became known as Cuddesdon College. A larger chapel, built at first-floor level and with decorations by Clayton and Bell, was added by Street in 1874–5. The north west wing opposite the chapel was built in 1904, the south east wing in 1920 and the service wing in 1925.[2] Traditionally "Cuddesdon", as it is commonly known, was in the Catholic tradition of the Church of England.

Ripon Hall[edit]

Ripon Hall was founded in Ripon, Yorkshire, in 1897 or 1898. It was originally a hostel for theological students, known as Bishop's College, founded by the then Bishop of Ripon, William Boyd Carpenter. In 1902 it was merged with Lightfoot Hall, Birmingham and became known as Ripon Clergy College. In 1919 the college moved from Ripon to a site in Parks Road in Oxford and was renamed Ripon Hall. There it became known as a liberal Anglican college. In 1933 Ripon Hall moved again, to a house then known as Berkeley House at Boars Hill near Oxford, the former home of the 8th Earl of Berkeley. The college remained there until the merger with Cuddesdon in 1975 when the site, renamed Foxcombe Hall, became the regional headquarters of the Open University.[3]


Currently, men and women who come with a range of previous experience, but are not necessarily graduates, take a two or three-year course of study incorporating pastoral and academic training. There are about seventy full-time students taking courses of study as Oxford University students matriculated by the college or courses validated by Oxford Brookes University. Nowadays, Cuddesdon students come from across the spectrum of the Church of England but it retains a liturgical approach to worship and a broad approach to theology. It maintains a regular and disciplined approach to daily prayer and seeks to train students in a modern critical approach to the Christian tradition of the Church of England. From 2008 the part-time Oxford Ministry Course, with about fifty ordinands, has been integrated into the college, which now also incorporates the West of England Ministerial Training Course which trains clergy and readers principally in the dioceses of Hereford and Gloucester. The college also runs a fortnightly part-time programme for those interested in theology and ministry, the Cuddesdon School of Theology and Ministry. In 2011 a new programme of training for pioneer ministers has been set up in partnership with the Church Mission Society. The college also hosts a research centre for practical theology, the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology (OxCEPT). The college is currently the headquarters of the Bloxham Project, which aims to promote Christian education in schools.

The current acting principal (following the installation of Martyn Percy as Dean of Christ Church on 4 October 2014) is the Revd Mark Chapman, Vice Principal, Dean of College and Reader in Modern Theology at the University of Oxford. The Revd Joanna Collicutt teaches psychology; the Revd David Heywood is Director of Pastoral Studies; Hywel Clifford teaches Old Testament and Hebrew; the Revd Grant Bayliss and the Revd Philip Tovey teach liturgy; the Revd Tim Naish teaches mission and is Dean of the Oxford Ministry Course. The college also incorporates the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology, headed by Cathy Ross, who also teaches contextual theology. In 2012 the college became the new home of the Sisters of the Community of St John Baptist and Companions of Jesus the Good Shepherd as part of a major building programme to provide more teaching and residential accommodation, named after Harriet Monsell, founder of CSJB, as well as a new chapel named in honour of Bishop Edward King, sometime principal of Cuddesdon.[4]

Since 2011, the college has hosted the biennial international "Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives" conference,[5] a gathering of scholars and practitioners across disciplines to discuss issues in contemporary congregational music.


On 1 February 2013, the Bishop Edward King Chapel was dedicated by the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, at a celebration of the Eucharist for the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham, preached the sermon and the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, assisted in the solemnities.

List of principals[edit]

Ripon Hall
Cuddesdon Theological College
Ripon College Cuddesdon

Notable former staff[edit]

Among the college's previous staff members are:

When Robert Runcie retired from the archbishopric his barony's territory was "of Cuddesdon in the County of Oxfordshire".

Notable alumni[edit]

See also Category:Alumni of Ripon College Cuddesdon.

Sources and further reading[edit]

  • Chapman, Mark D. (ed.), Ambassadors of Christ: Commemorating 150 Years of Theological Education in Cuddesdon 1854–2004, Burlington (Ashgate) 2004.
  • Chapman, Mark D., God's Holy Hill: A History of Christianity in Cuddesdon, Charlbury (The Wychwood Press) 2004.


  1. ^ Sherwood & Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Penguin Books Ltd, 1974), p.564.
  2. ^ Sherwood & Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (Penguin Books Ltd, 1974), p. 564.
  3. ^ "Seeking God – the Story of Ripon Hall" in Oxfordshire Limited Edition, supplement to the Oxford Times, May 2009
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Graham, Elaine (17 October 1998). "Obituary: The Rev Professor Anthony Dyson". The Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Rev., Series 3, Episode 2

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°43′29″N 1°08′02″W / 51.72472°N 1.13389°W / 51.72472; -1.13389