St John's College, Nottingham

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St John's School of Mission, founded as the London College of Divinity and later known as St John's College, Nottingham, is a Church of England theological college situated in Bramcote, Nottingham. The college stands in the open evangelical tradition and states that its “core purpose is to inspire, equip and grow Christians to serve and lead in God’s mission.”[1][2]

St John’s trains Anglican ordinands and ordinands from other denominations as well as independent students. In addition to academic theological courses, the college offers courses in children’s and youth ministry (through the Centre for Youth Ministry), counselling and pastoral care. The college offers residential and distance learning courses, with options for full-time, part-time and occasional study.

St John's is the only Anglican theological college in the East Midlands.


The college was established as the London College of Divinity in 1863. It was founded by the Reverend Alfred Peache and his sister, Kezia, who had inherited their businessman father’s fortune in 1857. The college was established to provide an evangelical theological education to ordinands who could not go to university. The Reverend Thomas Boultbee was appointed as the first principal and a college council and governing body was formed with Lord Shaftesbury chosen to be its president. The first premises were near Kilburn High Road Station and the very first student, Frances Browne, a lieutenant in the Merchant Navy, was welcomed on 23 November 1863. These early premises had been called St John’s Hall and this title for the college stuck. In 1866 the college moved to Highbury, which was its home for nearly 80 years.

As the Second World War approached, the college was flourishing under the leadership of T. W. Gilbert. In May 1942, however, members of the college were evacuated to Wadhurst School in Sussex as the Highbury buildings had been damaged by air-raids and were requisitioned by the National Fire Service.

Following the sudden death of Gilbert, Donald Coggan became principal in 1944. During this time, a new site in Northwood, London, was bought for the college to replace the war-ruined buildings which now contained just three students. For the 10 years that Coggan was principal, the college was based in one of the houses at Harrow School and then at Ford Manor in Lingfield, Surrey.

It was under Coggan’s successor, Prebendary Hugh Jordan, that discussion of a move away from London began. Jordan believed that the college’s future lay outside of the capital city and nearer to a university, and he learnt that a site was available in Nottingham. In 1970, Michael Green, who succeeded Jordan as principal, oversaw the move from London to the college’s current location in Bramcote, Nottingham.

List of principals

The current principal of the college is the Revd David Hilborn, who was appointed in April 2012.

Notable alumni


  1. Kings, 2003. "Canal, River and Rapids: Contemporary Evangelicalism in the Church of England" by Graham Kings, published in the journal Anvil (Vol 20 No 3, September 2003, pp. 167-184). Retrieved September 9, 2006.
  2. St John's, Nottingham prospectus.
  3. Marchant, G. J. C. "Robin Ernest Nixon" (pdf). Churchman. Church Society. Retrieved 16 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Christina Ann BAXTER". People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 16 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Revd Dr David Hilborn - CV" (PDF). St John's School of Mission, Nottingham. Retrieved 16 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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