Ripon College Cuddesdon

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Ripon College Cuddesdon
College viewed from the road
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
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

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 northwest wing, and opposite the chapel, was built in 1904, the southeast wing in 1920 and the service wing in 1925.[2] Traditionally, "Cuddesdon", as it is commonly known, was in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England.

Ripon Hall

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 William Boyd Carpenter, Bishop of Ripon. 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, this time 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]

Ripon College Cuddesdon

The college incorporated the Oxford Ministry Course (OMC) in 2006 and the West of England Ministerial Training Course (WEMTC) in 2011, making it the largest provider of Anglican ordination training in the UK. The college partners the Diocese of Oxford in the delivery of Ordained Local Ministry training. In 2011 the college began a partnership with the Church Missionary Society to deliver training for Ordained Pioneer Ministers – the first partnership of this kind that pairs a theological college with a missionary society. In 2005, the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology (OxCEPT) was founded, which provides research and consultancy services to the wider church.

In 2010 the college launched a £10 million appeal to build a new education centre and chapel, as well as to raise funds for endowing bursaries, fellowships, studentships and research. The new Bishop Edward King Chapel and education centre (Harriet Monsell House) were completed and opened in 2013. The chapel - by architect Niall McLaughlin - has won many national and international awards for its design and building. Harriet Monsell House also included an enclosure for a community of five Anglican sisters who had moved from their base at Begbroke Priory. The sisters work alongside staff and students, supporting in prayer and spirituality, whilst continuing to develop their own ministries of spiritual direction.

Ripon College Cuddesdon became internationally more active during Percy's period as principal. It works closely with the Anglican Church in Hong Kong and continues to have links with Anglican colleges in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The college developed a programme of Christian-Muslim dialogue and related work, including a Visiting Fellowship for Islamic Scholars established at Cuddesdon in partnership with the Dubai-based Al Maktoum Institute.


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, either as matriculated students at Oxford University or on courses accredited by Durham University through the Church of England Common Awards Scheme which began in September 2014. Prior to this time, students not wishing to study at Oxford University were able to take courses of study accredited by Oxford Brookes University. With the introduction of the Common Awards Scheme, Cuddesdon also streamlined its Oxford University offerings. Where previously the college had offered three courses, the Bachelor of Theology (BTh), the Certificate in Theology (CTh) and the Batchelor of Arts (BA) in Theology, both the BTh and CTh are no longer offered and Cuddesdon students wishing to study at Oxford University must now take the BA.

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. It is a sponsor of the Society for the Study of Anglicanism.

The current principal is Humphrey Southern, former Bishop of Repton; the Vice Principal is Mark Chapman, Dean of College and Reader in Modern Theology at the University of Oxford. Joanna Collicutt teaches psychology; David Heywood is Director of Pastoral Studies; Hywel Clifford teaches Old Testament and Hebrew; Grant Bayliss and Philip Tovey teach liturgy; 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 Edward King (Bishop of Lincoln), 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.

Bishop Edward King Chapel

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

List of principals

Ripon Hall
Cuddesdon Theological College
Ripon College Cuddesdon

Notable former staff

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

See also Category:Alumni of Ripon College Cuddesdon.

Sources and further reading

  • 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
  6. Graham, Elaine (17 October 1998). "Obituary: The Revd Professor Anthony Dyson". The Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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