Ruth Etchells

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Ruth Etchells
Principal of St John's College, Durham
In office
Preceded by John Cockerton
Succeeded by Anthony Thiselton
Personal details
Born Dorothea Ruth Etchells
(1931-04-17)17 April 1931
Died 8 August 2012(2012-08-08) (aged 81)
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality British

Dorothea Ruth Etchells (17 April 1931 – 8 August 2012) was an English poet and college principal who spent most of her working life in the University of Durham.[1]

From 1968, she taught in the English Department and soon became Vice Principal of Trevelyan College.[2] In 1979 she was appointed Principal of St John's College, Durham, a notable appointment because this made her both the first lay person and the first woman to be principal of a Church of England college, Cranmer Hall (part of St. John's), that trains clergy, who were in those days only male.[3]

She was a member of the Church of England's Crown Appointments Commission that recommends future appointments of the Archbishop of Canterbury.[4] In 1992 she was awarded a Lambeth Doctor of Divinity degree.[2]


Her many books include:


  1. ^ Tallentire, Mark. "Tributes to college principal Dr Ruth Etchells". Northern Echo. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  2. ^ a b Masson, Margaret (2010). "Ruth Etchells: Chancellor's Medal" (PDF). University of Durham. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  3. ^ "Dr Ruth Etchells". The Daily Telegraph. London. 12 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Gillian Boughton (27 August 2012). "Ruth Etchells obituary | World news |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-08-29.