Westcott House, Cambridge

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Coordinates: 52°12′30″N 0°07′22″E / 52.208395°N 0.122663°E / 52.208395; 0.122663

Westcott House
Theological College
Cambridge Theological Federation
Westcott House old court
LocationCambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK
Named forBrooke Foss Westcott
Principalvacant (Acting: Paul Dominiak, Vice-Principal)

Westcott House is a Church of England theological college based in Jesus Lane in the centre of the university city of Cambridge in the United Kingdom (though it is not part of the university).[1] Its main activity is training people for ordained ministry in the Church of England and other Anglican churches. Westcott House is a founder member of the Cambridge Theological Federation. The college is considered by many to be "Modern Catholic" or "Liberal Catholic" in its tradition, but accepts ordinands from a range of traditions in the Church of England.


Westcott House began its life in 1881 as the Cambridge Clergy Training School. Brooke Foss Westcott, the then Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, was its first president. He later became the Bishop of Durham. A pioneering and respected New Testament scholar himself, the school was the product of Westcott's own passionate concern to raise the standard of clergy education and to equip clergy to meet the challenges of parish ministry.[2] Westcott was also exercised by the way in which the Church of England was increasingly dominated by parties and factions. Westcott himself eschewed any party affiliation. The college has often been associated with a "Liberal Catholic" ethos,[3][4] although its essential charism embraces the breadth of the Church of England and the wider church: 'As a scholar, educator, priest and prophet, Westcott's legacy to the Church of England challenges sectarianism, ignorance, complacency and empty faith. This is the spirit which Westcott House seeks to honour today, drawing students from all backgrounds to prepare them for ministry in this historic centre of Christian learning'.[5]

In response to the Faith in the City report, published in 1985, the college has retained a firm commitment to develop expertise and capacity in the field of urban ministry and mission.[6] Through its partnership with the Diocese of Manchester, the college has pioneered patterns of context-based learning and innovative approaches to contextual theology for over twenty years.[7] These approaches have been widely imitated and developed by other theological education institutions. The college has also developed a programme for continuing ministerial development through the Westcott Foundation.

The college provides training pathways in conjunction with the University of Cambridge and the University of Durham. It describes itself as "the home of a diverse, inclusive and international community of people who share a vision of ministry to all society".[8] Drawing on the inspiration of B. F. Westcott and others, its ethos is expressed in a rule of life which was adopted in 2014.[9]

List of principals[edit]

The head of Westcott House is known as the principal. All the principals of the Clergy Training School and of Westcott House have been Anglican priests.

1916–1919: Closed during World War I

Notable staff[edit]

Besides the aforementioned principals, notable staff have included:

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni of Westcott House and of the Clergy Training School include:



  1. ^ Westcott House website, Home page [1]. Retrieved on August 27, 2006.
  2. ^ a b Westcott House website, "The History of Westcott House", Retrieved on 13 February 2013.
  3. ^ Coles, Richard (2014). Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0297870302. Westcott House, the Liberal Catholic theological college in Cambridge
  4. ^ Heck, Joel D. ""Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism" in Context" (PDF). Wheaton College. Retrieved 10 August 2015. Westcott House reflects the liberal catholic position
  5. ^ "History". Westcott.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  6. ^ "SO YESTERDAY : Urban Ministry 25 Years On From Faith In The City" (PDF). Churchgrowthrd.org.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Westcott House : 2010 – 2011 The Year in Review" (PDF). Westcott.cam.acuk. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Principal's Welcome". Westcott.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Rule of Life". Westcott.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  10. ^ "New Principal". News. Westcott House. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b [2]

External links[edit]