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Durham University

St John's College

Our history

St. John’s College is one of the oldest colleges in Durham. It was founded in 1909 as a theological college for the training of Anglican ordinands and matriculated five students. It was not until 1919 that it became a full constituent college of the university. It expanded in and flourished over the following decades until, in 1958, Cranmer Hall was established as a “distinct but integral part of the college”.

St. John’s has always been progressive and inclusive in its outlook and, in 1966, became the first Church of England theological college to train men and women together. This trend continued, and John’s became the first college in the entirety of Durham University to become co-educational, in 1973. The logical culmination of this egalitarian attitude came in 1978 with the appointment of Ruth Etchells as Principal.


List of Principals

List of Cranmer Wardens

1909–1911 Sidney Nowell Rostron

1911–1919 Dawson Dawson-Walker

1919–1945 Charles Steel Wallis

1945–1953 Ronald Williams

1954–1955 G.J. Cumming (acting)

1954–1969 Jim P. Hickinbotham

1970–1978 John C. P. Cockerton

1978–1988 Ruth Etchells

1988–1992 Anthony Thiselton

1992–1999 David V. Day

1999–2006 Stephen Sykes

2006–present David Wilkinson

1968–1970: John C.P. Cockerton

1971–1979: Tim Yeats

1979–1983: Christopher Byworth

1983–1992: Ian Cundy

1993–1996: John Pritchard

1996–2004: Steven Croft

2005–2011: Anne Dyer

2011–2016: Mark Tanner

2017–present: Philip Plyming

Contact us

St John's College 
3 South Bailey 

Opening hours: 08:00 – 23:00

T: +44 (0)191 334 3500


FIDES NOSTRA VICTORIA: A Portrait of St John's College, Durham (2009) tells the rich story of the College from before its founding.

St John's College, Durham is a recognised College of Durham University and incorporates Cranmer Hall. Charity No. 1141701 Limited Company No. 113496 (England and Wales) VAT No. 334 6364 57.