William Telfer

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Rev. Canon William Telfer MC (16 January 1886 - 13 January 1968)[1] was an English clergyman and academic, who specialised in early Christian studies.[2] Telfer served as Dean of Clare College, Cambridge (1921),[3] Ely Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University (1944–1947) and Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge (1947–1956).[4]

Telfer was born in Rochester, Kent, the son of a schoolmaster.[2] Having graduated from Clare College in 1908, he was ordained and became Vicar of All Saints Church, Rotherhithe, which would be destroyed by a bomb in 1944. Telfer returned to his old Cambridge college as a Fellow 1921. Following his career at Cambridge, he continued to write on theological subjects in his retirement.

Telfer worked as a chaplain during the First World War, earning the Military Cross in the 1916 Birthday Honours.[5]


  • The treasure of São Roque: A sidelight on the counter-reformation, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (1932)
  • Cyril of Jerusalem and Nemesius of Emesa, 1955, ISBN 978-0-664-23082-1
  • The Forgiveness of Sins: An Essay in the History of Christian Doctrine and Practice, 1959
  • Office of a Bishop, Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd (Dec 1962), ISBN 978-0-232-48211-9
  • Faversham Abbey and Its Last Abbot, John Caslock: a Paper Read Before the Faversham Society on Thursday 19 March 1964, Faversham Society (1965)


  1. ^ New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors
  2. ^ a b University of Cambridge - Faculty of Divinity. Ely professors
  3. ^ Clare News No 12, 2003 p.14/15
  4. ^ History of Selwyn College, Cambridge, 1973
  5. ^ "Rev Canon William Telfer". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 15 January 1968. p. 8. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
George Armitage Chase
Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Owen Chadwick