Wesley House

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Wesley House
Theological College
Wesley house, Cambridge.JPG
Location Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Coordinates 52°12′32″N 0°7′18″E / 52.20889°N 0.12167°E / 52.20889; 0.12167
Established 1921
Named for John Wesley
Principal The Revd Dr Jane Leach
Website wesley.cam.ac.uk

Wesley House was founded as a Methodist theological college (or seminary) in Jesus Lane, Cambridge, England. It opened in 1921 as a place for the education of Methodist ministers. It was a founding member of the Cambridge Theological Federation. While serving as a gateway to theological scholarship for students and scholars of the Wesleyan and Methodist traditions from around the world, it is independent of the University of Cambridge.


The college was founded and endowed by Michael Gutteridge, a Methodist businessman in Naples, well known in Italy for philanthropy. After four years at 2 Brookside, Cambridge, in co-operation with Cheshunt College, it moved in 1925 to its present site, which was purchased from Jesus College.[1]

The principal's house was completed in 1929, and the chapel, which originally contained paintings by Harold Speed, in 1930. The buildings were designed by Maurice Webb. The garden was designed in 1925 by Sir Aston Webb in a Tudor revival style.[2]

The chair of Systematics and Pastoral Theology was held by the first principal, Dr. Henry Maldwyn Hughes, from 1921 to 1937. He was the author of several works on Christian belief.[3] That of New Testament Language and Literature was held by the Revd Robert Newton Flew from 1927 to 1937, when he succeeded Hughes both as principal and professor. One of the earliest students was Donald Soper.[1] Flew, principal up to 1955, was one of the moving forces behind the establishment of the World Council of Churches.[4] Another alumnus was Bolaji Idowu, who headed the Methodist Church Nigeria from 1972 to 1984.

The three-sided court fronted by iron gates and railings became enclosed in 1973 by a new building housing flats for married students and a lecture theatre.[1] This building no longer belongs to the college.

New buildings[edit]

On 1 September 2014 the Jesus Lane site was sold to Jesus College and a long lease taken out by the Trustees of Wesley House on the eastern part of the site. The Principal's House and Chapel were retained, whilst a new gatehouse building containing a library, dining hall and teaching rooms were constructed on Jesus Lane, as was a block of student accommodation at the back of the site. The new buildings opened in time for the 2015–16 academic year.[5][6]


The College is administered by a board of trustees. There is room for some 28, mostly graduate students, and for guests.[7] The present Principal is Rev. Dr Jane Leach,[8] who has written on faith development and pastoral care.[9] Students working for the degrees of BTh, BA, MPhil and PhD are attached to a secular Cambridge University college as well as Wesley House, while Wesley staff serve as associate lecturers of the university.[10]

Wesley House works in partnership with several other Methodist institutions worldwide, including Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary in South Africa, Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC, Kenya Methodist University, and the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Notable staff[edit]

List of principals[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Westcott House, a Church of England theological college, also in Jesus Lane.
  • Paul Stuart Glass: The History of Wesley House (Leeds: University of Leeds, 1993).


  1. ^ a b c British History Online: Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  2. ^ Parks & Gardens UK site: Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  3. ^ E. g. Christian Foundations: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine ([London]: Epworth Press, 1928, rev. 1933); a short biography of Hughes: Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  4. ^ ODNB entry for Robert Newton Flew: Retrieved 18 September 2011. Subscription required.
  5. ^ Cambridge News Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  6. ^ Original plans Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  7. ^ Accommodation Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  8. ^ Wesley House contacts: Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  9. ^ The Appeal of Faith Development Theory : A Sociological Perspective (Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University, 1997); with Michael Paterson: Pastoral Supervision : A Handbook (London: SCM Press, 2010). ISBN 0-334-04325-5
  10. ^ Wesley House partnerships: Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  11. ^ "FLEMINGTON, Rev. William Frederick". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. April 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "BECK, Rev. Brian Edgar". Who's Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Dr Jane Leach". Faculty of Divinity. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 

Bibliographical details are taken from the records of the British Library.

External links[edit]