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Durham University

St John's College


Thank you so much for your generous sponsorship towards the Holy Island to Durham bike ride. Martin (staff member) and the four students who took on this challenge really enjoyed their day and hope that their efforts to raise some money for St John’s College benefits current and future John’s students when the new Learning Resource Centre is opened.

Please follow this link to read Martin’s report of their ride:

Social media

Did you know you can follow us on social media for the latest updates on College life and events?

Check out our accounts - Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Bishop of Europe to lead St John’s College Council

St John’s College, Durham has appointed the The Right Reverend Dr Robert Innes as the next Chair of College Council. St John’s College is a recognised college of Durham University and home to the theological college Cranmer Hall, which trains ordinands for the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion. As Chair of College Council, Bishop Robert will take up office in December.

The Revd Professor David Wilkinson, Principal, comments: “We are delighted that Bishop Robert has accepted the position and we look forward to welcoming him back to Durham. He brings a breadth of experience and continues our tradition of having a bishop as chair of our governance board.”

Bishop Robert was born in Wolverhampton. He studied engineering at Cambridge University and worked in the electric power industry until 1989 when he went to train for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall. Following his BA (in Theology) in 1991 he stayed to complete a PhD graduating in 1995.

Bishop Robert served in Durham for many years. He was made a deacon at Petertide in 1995 and ordained a priest the next year. He has been a lecturer in systematic theology at St John's College, Durham while serving two titles/curacies: he was ordained to the title of St Cuthbert's Church, Durham and then served a curacy at Sherburn, Pittington and Shadforth from 1997. He remained in these posts until 1999, when he was appointed as vicar of St Mary Magdalene Church in Belmont.

Bishop Robert moved to Brussels, taking his first Diocese in Europe post in 2005, as Chancellor and Senior Chaplain (i.e. the priest-in-charge) of Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral, Brussels; he was additionally appointed a Chaplain to the Queen (an honorary post) in 2012. He was appointed Bishop in Europe in 2014; he was consecrated as a bishop on 20 July 2014 and installed at Gibraltar Cathedral on 4 September 2014. As Bishop in Europe, his residence is in Waterloo, Belgium.

Bishop Robert co-authored ‘Clergy in a Complex Age’ with Jamie Harrison (published in 2016).


There will be a 5 Year Reunion at College on 14th-16th September 2018.

The next Summer Reunion and Convocation in Durham will be held in summer 2019, from 20th-22nd September. At this reunion there will be the choice to attend the formal dinner on the Friday or Saturday evening (or both!).

The 5 Year Reunion in 2019 will take place 13th-15th September.

If you have any further enquiries about reunions and other upcoming events please email us at

Head of the River Races

This message is from Toby Lehain, President of the St John's College Boat Club.

SJCBC raced at both the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race and the Eight’s Head of the River Race on 10th/11th March 2018 at Cygnet Rowing Club.

Thanks to all alumni, parents and rowers who joined us this weekend in London. We saw some brilliant racing - but most importantly a special ceremony, naming our first VIII with Peter Wake and his family.

The weekend was incredibly memorable for the club, and for me personally. I am deeply proud of everything we accomplished, sending two women's eights to WEHoRR for the first time and seeing admirable performance across the board. It was particularly rewarding seeing our two novice crews enjoying themselves both when rowing on the water, as well as when supporting each other on the banks. The boat naming ceremony was a moving moment for all, and it was a great honour to name our
first VIII with Peter Wake, his family, and principal David Wilkinson. Seeing many old friends and alumni keeping their connections with SJCBC and with each other reminded me once again of how many memories are
created by our little club on the Wear. An album of photos from the WeHoRR weekend can be viewed here.

Our next event, at the prestigious (and warmer) Durham Regatta is on the 10th and 11th of June.

Royal Visit

We were delighted to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to St John's College on Thursday 15th February. The Prince first visited the chapel, where he met College representatives and saw the memorial stone of his ancestor, Dame Elizabeth Bowes. HRH then greeted many members of the crowd before unveiling a commemorative plaque in honour of Dame Elizabeth at Bowes House.

You can read more about the Prince's visit to St John's College and Durham University here:

Find out what happened when HRH met Cranmer Hall students in the Chapel here:

LRC ground breaking ceremony

Following demolition of 17 South Bailey last summer, we’ve had an extended period of archaeological excavations. The archaeologists have uncovered a medieval well and buildings relating to earlier phases of the Parsonage, as well as finds of Anglo-Saxon and prehistoric origin. The archaeologists are now finishes on site, making way for construction to begin.

On Tuesday 20th February students, staff, contractors and benefactors shared in a dedication service to mark the official start of construction. The building will be open in early 2019 and will provide new teaching and seminar space as well as two floors of library and study space. The Principal, Revd Professor David Wilkinson, is pictured here holding the foundation stone alongside architect David Darbyshire. The foundation stone reads 'grace and truth'.

We are very grateful to all our donors for supporting the College. For more information on this project, or if you would like to donate, please contact our alumni team at


Cranmer Hall Diamond Jubilee!

October 2018 sees the 60th anniversary of the founding of Cranmer Hall as part of St John’s College Durham.

To launch a year of special events we are having a Diamond Jubilee Service at Durham Cathedral on Saturday 29 September 2018 at 11am, followed by a Celebration Buffet Lunch in College.

All Cranmer Hall alumni and friends are warmly invited and it promises to be a wonderful occasion to thank God for his many blessings and meet up with those who have been part of the special story of Cranmer Hall, Durham. 

Please save the date in your diaries and watch out for more details in the New Year.

Philip Plyming and David Wilkinson

Warden, Cranmer Hall and Principal, St John’s College

(31 Oct 2017)

Celebrating the success of St John's alumni

One of John’s former students, Charlotte Hurst, has won an award for Young Plant Scientist of the year for her PhD research in Dundee.

(9 Aug 2017)

Regatta Blue Club

For many years, St Johns College Boat Club has held a special place in the hearts of many students who’ve been at the college. It’s forged some of the strongest friendships as well as causing some of the greatest physical pain experienced by many of us in our sporting careers. We take great pride in our status as the current leader of intercollegiate competitions, and our thriving squads who are setting their sights on national level competition. Over the past few years the Regatta Blue Club, our alumni association, has grown from nothing to over 60 members, and we’re always looking to find more! The RBC will be hosting events in London as well as in Durham over the next year and we hope to be joined by many of you. If you would like to keep in touch with SJCBC’s success, join us at any of our events, or take part in any of alumni races – sign up the Regatta Blue Club using this link

By becoming a member of the newly formed Regatta Blue Club you would receive the following benefits;

  • A regular newsletter keeping you up-to-date with our achievements
  • Invitations to all alumni events, includes Durham Regatta event (which is a great excuse to revisit Durham and meet old friends), and the Head of the River event hosted in London in March.
  • Opportunities to have an outing in one of our boats (doubles, pairs or IV’s).

Our College is the second smallest in Durham, yet our Boat Club is one of the biggest. This represents a beautiful passion and pedigree for rowing within our community. We hope that you will accept this invitation so that you can be a part of something which is very special to us.

This is completely free to any past member of St John’s College Boat Club regardless of whether you were a rower, cox or social member. If you are interested in becoming a member then please send your full name, email address and year of graduation to

We also have a facebook page which we will be keeping up-to-date with up and coming events.

Helping the homeless in Durham

This December members of our Catering Department teamed up with the St John's SCA (Student Community Action) Representative to collect donations for the Shoebox Appeal for the Homeless. Over 35 boxes were filled with warm clothes, blankets, toiletries, food and more. Thank you to all who generously donated items and special thanks to Christine Davison, Nicky Seal and Joanne Brown in Catering. It is wonderful to see the St John's community work together to help those in need.

Joanne, Nicky and Christine pictured with the shoeboxes.

John's Eagles

Our careers network is still in its infancy, yet we already have over 60 ‘Eagles’ who have volunteered to mentor or offer advice to current or recent John’s students in their specialised area. If you are interested in becoming an Eagle, we would be delighted to talk to you. Find out more

St John's College Merchandise

Please keep in mind that St John’s College Merchandise is available to purchase. If you would like to treat someone (or yourself!) with a little reminder of College then we have ties, scarves, cufflinks, thermal mugs and more if you contact St John’s Boat Club has also prepared a catalogue of their memorabilia and promotional items which are available to purchase, all proceeds will go back into the Club. Find out more

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.