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St John's College

 St John's College

Welcome to St John's College

Founded in 1909, St John’s College boasts a lively and diverse mix of students and is like no other Durham college.

Set in a series of beautiful listed buildings in Durham's historic heart, the College enjoys stunning views of the Norman Cathedral and River Wear.St John's is one of the smallest colleges, and is renowned for its welcoming and supportive atmosphere.

St John's has two distinctive yet engaged communities at its heart: a diverse community of undergraduates, postgraduates and academics studying for University degrees in all disciplines, and Cranmer Hall, a thriving Anglican theological college in which people are educated and formed for church leadership.

The College has a degree of independence within the University, both financially and in its governance. Our students study for University degrees alongside members of other colleges, but we have the freedom to do things a little differently.

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St John's College,Durham University
St John's College,Durham University
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Death of Canon Tim Yates

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Canon Tim Yates, former Warden of the College, member of our Development Board and one of the leading thinkers in Anglican missiology.


Tim was a member of staff of St John's from 1963 to 1979 and Warden of Cranmer Hall from 1971 until 1979 . With the then Principal John Cockerton, Tim saw the College through changing times, not least in the acceptance of women into the College. Together with his wife, Mally, who was the first female tutor in the College, they influenced a generation of students. Their love and support of the College continued. Tim wrote the first history of the College as a contribution to the College's celebration of its seventieth anniversary in 1979, with second and third editions printed in 1981 and 2001. For the past eight years he served as a member of the College Development Board, giving his time in fundraising and consulting on the design for the new Learning Resource Centre.


Tim was one of the leading Anglican missiologists of his generation and shaped an area of thinking long neglected in the UK. We were delighted to host a book launch for his 'The Conversion of the Maori', an outstanding book combining Tim's skills as historian and theologian. 'Christian Mission in the Twentieth Century', 'Twentieth Century Missiology: Issues and Thinkers' and 'The Expansion of Christianity' leave a legacy of essential reading for anyone interested in mission either home or abroad.


We will so miss Tim's graciousness, his prayerfulness, his sense of fun and his deep commitment to what St John's can achieve for both the Church and the University.


The Principal

(4 Feb 2016)

Play Breathes New Life into Darwin’s Discovery Process

With only a few chairs, a ladder, three dusty books, and some pieces of parchment as props, actor Andrew Harrison brought the story of Charles Darwin to life before an audience at St. John’s College. Written and directed by Murray Watts, the play Mr Darwin’s Tree depicts Darwin’s life from his school days spent avidly collecting beetles, to his five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle, and finally to the controversial publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859.

(4 Feb 2016) » More about Play Breathes New Life into Darwin’s Discovery Process

Watch the 2015 Borderlands Lecture

On 19th October 2015 Lord Peter Hennessy delivered the St John's annual Borderlands lecture on “History, politics and Government: living on the borders and the rims”.

The lecture can now be viewed in full here:

(4 Feb 2016) » More about Watch the 2015 Borderlands Lecture

Vice-president of College becomes Chair of the House of Laity of the Church of England

Canon Dr Jamie Harrison was elected as Chair of the House of Laity of the Church of England’s General Synod on 21st December 2015. He joins the two Archbishops, the two clergy elected representatives from the Northern and Southern Provinces (the prolocutors), and the Lay Vice-Chair, as officers of the Church’s parliament.

Jamie is Durham City-based, being a retired GP, a Reader at St Nicholas Church and a Lay Canon at Durham Cathedral. He is Vice-President of the Council of St John’s College, Durham and Chair of its Cranmer Committee. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and of St John’s College, Durham – writing and teaching on areas of Healthcare and Religion.

Jamie has been a lay member of the General Synod for Durham Diocese for 20 years and was involved in planning the legislation that allowed women to become bishops in the Church. He will now become a member of the Archbishops’ Council, which meets regularly to shape and direct the future of the Church of England.

Jamie is both excited and daunted by the prospect of this new challenge, not least as he seeks to represent lay people in the Church.

(21 Jan 2016)

St John's hosts fracking and climate change conference

St John's College is hosting six conferences on fracking and climate change. Senior church leaders across all denominations will attend to hear leading scientists such as Richard Davies and a range of faculty staff from the Earth Sciences Department alongside theologians such as Ruth Valerio (ARocha), Bob White (Faraday Institute) and Cranmer alumnus Michael Roberts. The conference is held by Rev. Prof. David Wilkinson and Professor Tom McLeish and is funded by the Templeton Charitable Foundation.

(12 Jan 2016)

Contact Details

St John's College
3 South Bailey

0191 334 3500

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