St Edmund's College, Cambridge

St Edmund's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England. It is the second-oldest of the four Cambridge colleges oriented to mature students, which only accept students reading for either masters or doctorate degrees, or undergraduate degrees if they are aged 21 or older.

Named after St Edmund of Abingdon (1175–1240), who was the first known Oxford Master of Arts and the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1234 to 1240, the college has traditionally Catholic roots. Its founders were Henry Fitzalan Howard, the 15th Duke of Norfolk, then the most prominent Catholic in England, and Baron Anatole von Hügel, the first Catholic to take a Cambridge degree since the revolution of 1688.[3] In recognition of this Catholic connection, the College Visitor is the Archbishop of Westminster (at present Cardinal Vincent Nichols).[4]

The college is located on Mount Pleasant, northwest of the centre of Cambridge, beside Lucy Cavendish College, Murray Edwards College and Fitzwilliam College. Its campus consists of a garden setting on the edge of what was Roman Cambridge, with housing for over 350 students.

Members of St Edmund's include the former Archbishop of Amagh, Eamon Martin, cosmologist and Big Bang theorist Georges Lemaître, the Bishop of Menevia, John Petit, and the Leader of the House of Commons, Norman St John-Stevas, Lord St John of Fawsley. Historically, St Edmund's was also the residential college of the university's first Catholic students in two hundred years - most of whom were studying for the Priesthood - after the lifting of the papal prohibition on attendance at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in 1895 at the urging of a delegation to Pope Leo XIII led by Baron von Hügel.[5]

St Edmund's College
University of Cambridge
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St Edmund's College Chapel
St Edmund's College crest
Arms of St Edmund's College
Blazon: Arms of the Duke of Norfolk and St Edmund of Abingdon a bordure componée Argent
LocationMount Pleasant (map)
Full nameThe College or House of St Edmund of Abingdon in the University of Cambridge
MottoPer Revelationem et Rationem (Latin)
Named forEdmund of Abingdon
Previous namesSt Edmund's House
Age restrictionAged 21 and older
Sister collegeGreen Templeton College, Oxford
MasterMatthew Bullock
Endowment£16.2m (as of 30 June 2017)[2]
VisitorCardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
St Edmund's College, Cambridge is located in Central Cambridge
St Edmund's College, Cambridge
Location in Central Cambridge
St Edmund's College, Cambridge is located in Cambridge
St Edmund's College, Cambridge
Location in Cambridge

History and buildings

St Edmund's House was founded in 1896 by Henry Fitzalan Howard, the 15th Duke of Norfolk, and Baron Anatole von Hügel as an institution providing board and lodging for Roman Catholic students at the University of Cambridge. After Catholic Emancipation, in particular after the repeal of the Test Acts in 1873, students who were Roman Catholics were finally admitted as members of the university. In its early days the college functioned predominantly as a lodging house, or residential hall of residence, for students who were matriculated at other colleges. Most of the students, at that time, were ordained Catholic priests who were reading various subjects offered by the university. The college was established in the buildings of Ayerst Hostel, which had been set up for non-collegiate students by the Reverend William Ayerst in 1884, and its founding master for Fr Edmund Nolan, then Vice-Rector of St Edmund's College Ware.[6] In 1896 Ayerst Hostel had to close due to lack of funds, and the property was transferred to the Catholic Church.[7]

Attempts to make St Edmund's House into a fully-fledged constituent college were made at various times after foundation, but were met by continuing hostility by the predominantly Protestant body of Cambridge MAs, graduates of the university who had the right to vote in the Senate House. Due to Cambridge's largely Anglican student body, large numbers of MAs scuppered any attempt to grant St Edmund's House full collegiate status as they viewed it as a "papist" institution.[8]

Despite the initial pushback, the college continued its development, and the chapel was officially consecrated in 1916 by Cardinal Francis Bourne, Archbishop of Wesminster.[9] A new dining hall was painstakingly constructed in 1939 and the membership of the college increased steadily as it became a recognized House of Residence of the university, just below official college status.


In response to growing postgraduate student numbers in the early 1960s, the Regent House of the university established several colleges primarily for postgraduate students, and St Edmund's House became one of the graduate colleges in the university (the others being Wolfson College, Lucy Cavendish College, Hughes Hall, Clare Hall and Darwin College). This spurred further progress regarding St Edmund's status within the university, and in 1965, the college was permitted to matriculate its own students and new fellows were elected. In 1975 St Edmund's acquired the status of an "Approved Foundation", and after the transfer of the college assets from the Catholic Church to the Masters and Fellows of the college in 1986, the college changed its name from "St Edmund's House" to "St Edmund's College" and received full collegiate status;[10] St Edmund's was also granted its Royal Charter in 1996.[11] The college now accepts students of all faiths and none; the Catholic character of the foundation is, however, still reflected in the chapel, which is unique among colleges of the universities of Cambridge and Oxford in following the Roman Catholic tradition.


In 2000, a new residential building housing 50 students was opened, named after Richard Laws, one of the former masters. In 2006, two new residential buildings, including rooms for 70 students as well as apartments for couples, were opened; these were named after the former master of the college, Sir Brian Heap, and the former vice-master, Geoffrey Cook.

In 2016, major plans were announced for the development of two new courts and several buildings which will expand the college and provide modern, world class facilities for the scholars and students of St Edmunds College. While contemporary, the buildings external features and material will be in the traditional architectural vernacular that is found elsewhere in the college. Large brick buildings with close detail will form the perimeter of the two new courts and a new multi-million pound student centre will frame the west side of the college. The expansion plans were approved by Cambridge city councillors in June 2017.[12]

Academic profile

St Edmund's is one of the most international colleges of the university, with students from over 70 countries (2008-2009 academic year). The full spectrum of academic subjects is represented in the college. The fellowship of the college (academic staff) represents many academic disciplines, spread across arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, and veterinary medicine.

The college has two research institutes: the Von Hügel Institute founded in 1987 to carry out research on Catholic Social Teaching; and the Faraday Institute which explores the relationship between religion and science. The Von Hügel Institute is another link with the Roman Catholic origins of the college.

The overall examination results of the college's comparatively few undergraduates tend to be in the middle among the Cambridge colleges, with St Edmund's ranking 21st on the Tompkins table in 2018.[13]

St Edmunds dining hall
St Edmunds College, Dining Hall

Student life

The college is younger than some of the older, more traditional colleges of the university. Despite this St Edmunds maintains many ancient Cambridge traditions including formal hall, albeit with some college modifications. Fellows at most Cambridge and Oxford colleges dine at a "high table" (separately from the students), however St Edmund's has no such division, allowing undergraduates, postgraduates and Fellows mix over dinner and other social activities. St Edmund's students are still strictly required to wear their academic gowns during formal halls, ceremonies, and college occasions. The St Edmund's gown is fashioned from distinctive black cloth with close detailing around the neck and sleeves. The robe may only be worn by members of St Edmund's College, Cambridge

The college has a long sporting tradition, including the St Edmund's College Boat Club. In recent years members have competed in varsity teams representing Cambridge University against Oxford University in a wide variety of sports, most notably, at The Boat Race and The Varsity Match.

On 15 September 2017, a team of four rowers from the college broke the World record for the ‘Longest Continual Row’ in the male 20-29 small team category by over an hour.[14] The following year, on 13 April 2018, a team of ten rowers from the college went on to set the British and World record for "One Million Meters" on the indoor rowing machine in the male 20-29 large team category.[15][16]

People associated with St Edmund's College, Cambridge

Sir Edmund Huddleston

Sir Edmund Huddleston

List of Masters of St Edmund's College


  1. ^ University of Cambridge (6 March 2019). "Notice by the Editor". Cambridge University Reporter. 149 (Special No 5): 1. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017" (PDF). St Edmund's College, Cambridge. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Baron Anatole von Hügel — Von Hügel Institute". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  4. ^ "St Edmund's College - University of Cambridge". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Baron Anatole von Hügel — Von Hügel Institute". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Baron Anatole von Hügel — Von Hügel Institute". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  7. ^ E Leedham-Green 1996 A concise history of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge University Press: 171-2.
  8. ^ Leader, Damian R. (April 1998). "A concise history of the University of Cambridge. By Elisabeth Leedham-Green. Pp. xiv+274 incl. endpapers, 45 plates and 5 figs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. £27.95 (cloth), £9.95 (paper). 0 521 43370 3; 0 521 43978 7". The Journal of Ecclesiastical History. 49 (2): 329–380. doi:10.1017/s0022046997435832. ISSN 0022-0469.
  9. ^ "St Edmund's College - University of Cambridge". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  10. ^ "History — Von Hügel Institute". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  11. ^ Master's Development Fund - The Future of Our College. St Edmund's College Cambridge. 2016. p. 16.
  12. ^ St Edmund's College, Cambridge
  13. ^ "Tompkins Table 2013: The Results". Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  14. ^ "St Edmund's College rowers break world record".
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "M&C Saatchi". Retrieved 21 November 2018.

Further reading

  • Garret Sweeney, St Edmund's House, Cambridge: The First Eighty Years, Cambridge, 1980 (ISBN 0-9507177-0-3)
  • Michael Walsh, St. Edmund's College, Cambridge. 1896-1996: A Commemorative History, Cambridge, 1996 (ISBN 0-9507177-1-1)

External links

Coordinates: 52°12′46″N 0°06′33″E / 52.2127°N 0.1093°E

Alban McCoy

Alban McCoy OFM Conv is a British Catholic writer and priest.

McCoy is the author of An Intelligent Person's Guide to Christian Ethics (2004) and An Intelligent Person's Guide to Catholicism (2005, new ed. 2008). Since 1995, he has been the Religious Books Editor of The Tablet. Until 2013, he was the Catholic chaplain to the University of Cambridge. He is now Acting Dean, Praelector and Second Bursar of St Edmund's College, Cambridge.

Alex Hughes (priest)

Alexander James Hughes (born 3 October 1975) is a British priest in the Church of England. Since 2014, he has been the Archdeacon of Cambridge.

Anatole von Hügel

Anatole von Hügel (29 September 1854, in Florence – 15 August 1928, in Cambridge) was the second son of the Austrian nobleman Charles von Hügel and his Scottish wife Elizabeth Farquharson. His elder brother was Friedrich von Hügel and his sister was Pauline von Hugel.

His family moved to England in 1867 after his father's retirement, and he was educated at Stonyhurst College. From 1874 to 1878 he collected natural history specimens in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, and Java. He became an authority of Fiji, after his lengthy travels in the practically unknown interior of Viti Levu to record the original Fijian culture before the British colonization.

In 1880 he married Eliza Margaret Froude, daughter of William Froude and in 1883 he became the first curator of the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He remained curator until 1921, raising funds for the new building. In 1889 he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge and received an MA. Hügel was founder and first president (1895 to 1922) of the Cambridge University Catholic Association, and would go on to co-found St Edmund's College, Cambridge with Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk. There is a memorial plaque to Baron Anatole von Hügel on the wall in the St John Fisher chapel of the Catholic Church in Cambridge (Our Lady & English Martyrs, Lensfield Road, Cambridge). He was buried in Cambridge Cemetery on 20 August 1928, as was his wife, a member of the Cambridge Ladies Dining Society with 11 other members.

Hügel privately published a biography of his father in 1903.

Anthony Russell

Anthony John Russell (born 25 January 1943) is a retired British Church of England bishop. He was the Bishop of Dorchester from 1988 to 2000 and Bishop of Ely from 2000 to 2010.

Brian Heap

Sir Robert Brian Heap, (born 27 February 1935) is a British biological scientist.

He was educated at New Mills Grammar School in the Peak District, Derbyshire, and the University of Nottingham (where he earned his BSc and PhD). He also has an MA and a ScD from the University of Cambridge and Honorary DScs from Nottingham (1994), York (2001) and St Andrews (2007).

Chris Oti

Chris Oti (born 16 June 1965 in London) is a former English rugby union footballer. He was a rugby winger of prodigious pace who represented England on thirteen occasions between 1988 and 1991. He was a member of the England squad that appeared in the 1991 Rugby World Cup during which he made two appearances. Chris Oti is married with 3 children

Chris Rapley

Christopher Graham Rapley (known as Chris Rapley) CBE (born 8 April 1947) is a British scientist. He was Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme IGBP from 1994 to 1998, and Director of the British Antarctic Survey from 1998 to 2007. He was appointed Director of the Science Museum in 2007, stepping down in 2010. In 2008 he was awarded the Edinburgh Science Medal – "For professional achievements judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity" He is currently Professor of Climate Science in the Department of Earth Sciences, University College London. In 2014 he and playwright Duncan Macmillan were commissioned by the Royal Court Theatre to write a play on climate change, 2071, which he performed there in late 2014.

Christian Cormack

Christian Cormack (born 1 September 1976 in Hammersmith, London) is a British rowing cox. He competed for the British National Team between 1996 and 2004, winning four medals at the World Rowing Championships including a gold in 2002, two silvers and a bronze medal. In the World Rowing Cup series he won gold in 2001 Munich, silver in 1997 Munich, 1998 Hazewinkel and bronze at 1998 Lucerne and 1999 Lucerne. He retired from rowing after competing at 2004 Athens Olympics.

Cormack also coxed the winning Cambridge eight in the Boat Race in 2001. His crews won the Prince Philip Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 2003, and won the Head of the River Race five times – in 1999 and 2000 for Queen's Tower, and 2002, 2003 and 2005 for Leander Club.

Denis Alexander

Denis Alexander (born 1945) is the Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St Edmund's College, Cambridge, a molecular biologist and an author on science and religion. He is also an editor of Science and Christian Belief. He is an evangelical Christian.

Eamon Martin

Eamon Martin (born 30 October 1961) is an Irish Roman Catholic prelate, the incumbent Archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland.

Edward Acton (academic)

Professor Edward David Joseph Lyon-Dalberg-Acton FRHistS (born 4 February 1949) is a British academic and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia. His title from birth is The Honourable but is never referred as such professionally or on the University website.

Born in Zimbabwe, Edward Acton is the 4th son of John Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, 3rd Baron Acton and great-grandson of the historian John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton. He was educated at St George's College, Harare, the University of York (BA) and at St Edmund's College, Cambridge (PhD). He worked at the Bank of England, and then held academic posts at Liverpool and Manchester, before becoming Professor of Modern European History at the University of East Anglia in 1991. He was appointed Dean of the School of History at UEA in 1999, and served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) from 2004 until 2009, when he was appointed Vice-Chancellor. He is a member of the Athenaeum Club. He is an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge.

Johan Bäverbrant

Johan Bäverbrant (born 19 March 1968 in Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish diplomat.

Bäverbrant is known for his work against homelessness and participation in the trafficking debate. In 2006, he gathered more than seven thousand signatures against trafficking during the World Cup. He has a Master of Laws degree from the University of Cambridge. In 1996 he received the award of the Swedish King, Carl XVI Gustaf, for his work with the Council of Europe.

Bäverbrant is married and has three children.

Louise Lombard

Louise Lombard (born Louise Marie Perkins; 13 September 1970), is an English actress. She is known for her roles as Evangeline Eliott in the BBC drama series The House of Eliott (1991–94) and Sofia Curtis in the CBS drama series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2004–11).

Matthew Bullock (banker)

Matthew Peter Dominic Bullock (born 9 September 1949) is a former banker and chief executive. Since 2014, he has been Master of St Edmund's College, Cambridge.

The son of the historian Alan Bullock, Baron Bullock and his wife Hilda (née Yates), he was educated at Magdalen College School, Oxford and Peterhouse, Cambridge, graduating with a degree in History in 1970. From 1999 to 2011 he was the Chief Executive of Norwich and Peterborough Building Society.

Paul Luzio

J Paul Luzio FMedSci (born 15 August 1947) is a British biologist who is Professor of Molecular Membrane Biology, Department of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, and also Master of St Edmund's College, Cambridge and outgoing Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.

He was a student at Clare College, Cambridge reading Natural Sciences (Part II Biochemistry) as an undergraduate and studying for a Ph.D. in the Department of Biochemistry. After a period in Cardiff as a lecturer of medical biochemistry at the Welsh National School of Medicine, he returned to Cambridge where he became a lecturer in clinical biochemistry. He was subsequently promoted to Reader and then Professor.

Luzio's research is largely concerned with intracellular membrane traffic pathways in mammalian cells and his research group is funded by a programme grant from the Medical Research Council and project grant support from the Wellcome Trust.

He is an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge.

Richard Laws

Richard Maitland Laws CBE FRS ScD (23 April 1926 – 7 October 2014) was Director of the British Antarctic Survey from 1973 to 1987; Master of St Edmund's College, Cambridge from 1985 to 1996 and Secretary of the Zoological Society of London.

Robert Noel

Robert John Baptist Noel (born 15 October 1962) is an Officer of Arms (Herald) at the College of Arms in London.The younger son of The Hon. Gerard Eyre Wriothesley Noel, of Westington Mill, Chipping Campden, a barrister, he is in remainder to his grandfather's earldom.

Robert Noel was educated at Ampleforth College, Exeter College, Oxford (MA) and St Edmund's College, Cambridge (MPhil), before training as a shipbroker, then as a library assistant at the College of Arms before joining the auctioneers, Christie's of London. He was appointed Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms at the College of Arms in October 1992, and succeeded Sir Peter Gwynn-Jones (later Garter Principal King-of-Arms) as Lancaster Herald of Arms in Ordinary in September 1999.He is a Freeman of the City of London and has been admitted as a liveryman of the Glaziers' Company.

Noel married Rowena Hale in 2013; the couple live in London and have a son, William (born in 2014). and a daughter Phoebe born 2016.

Simon Mitton

Simon Mitton (born 18 December 1946) is an astronomer and writer. He is based at St Edmund's College, Cambridge. He has written numerous astronomical works. The most well known of these is his biography of fellow Cambridge astronomer Fred Hoyle.

St Edmund's College Boat Club

[[File:Cambridge boathouses - 99 & City.jpg|thumb|[[File:Stedmundscollege7.jpg|left|thumb|St. Edmund's College, Cambridge]]]]

St Edmund's College Boat Club (SECBC) is the boat club for members of St Edmund's College, Cambridge, England. St Edmund's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England. The boat club has considerable successful in recent years, for which its men's first boat (M1) has continually bumped in both Lent and May Bumps races.

SECBC was founded in the 1970s and uses the Cambridge '99 RC boathouse for training and storing its boats. The club has two boats: 'Lily', a men's eight and 'Dotty', a women's eight.

faculties, and
Student life

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