Theological Colleges attended by Welsh ministers and priests


The original concept was to discover which theological colleges Welsh nonconformist ministers and Anglican church priests attended and was based on the perusal of the individual entries in The Dictionary of Welsh Biography, 1941-70, Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 2001 (up to the surname Jones). The numbers included against the individual colleges listed below represent the frequency that people listed in DWB studied there; quite a few of these were in England, many ministers also went to an university (details not extracted), others didn't appear to have attended any theological college (or university) at all.

Until the first reasonably-permanent theological college was founded at St Bees in 1816, candidates for the Church of England's ministry would usually study for a degree at one of the universities (which was generally regarded as an adequate training for ordination), or else they would be assessed on the basis of whatever form of schooling or private study might be prescribed by ordaining bishop (such non-graduate candidates were sometimes referred to as 'literates').  Up to the 19th century, nonconformists were largely excluded from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.  This encouraged the development of varying types of dissenting academy

The background notes have subsequently been greatly expanded by introducing material from other quoted sources.
I am especially indebted to Aidan Jones for providing me with most of this supplementary data (with much of the major revision of Dec 2004 to the Anglican Church section being based on the booklet by Nicholas Groves).

Additional material was subsequently introduced from The Dictionary of Welsh Biography, down to 1940, Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1959. This is again on the basis of material up to the surname Jones only.

The various colleges are grouped in sections relating to particular towns, it is possible  that some of the descriptions and statistics as extracted from DWB actually refer to the same place.

It should be remembered that basic information about careers of the clergy may be obtainable from printed sources, such as Crockford's Clerical Directory for the Anglican churches (issued in many editions since 1858), or from the generally less-detailed year books of the nonconformist denominations. Collections of ordination papers from the ancient Welsh dioceses can be found in the National Library of Wales. Obituary notices might appear in many types of publication. A few major universities and public schools have published parts of their older registers. Nevertheless when reference is made to the archives of particular theological colleges, it should NOT be assumed that these will necessarily include records of individual students.

Archives Hub, a national gateway to the archives of UK universities and colleges, offers additional details for a number of the larger institutions mentioned below.  

Family Tree Magazine, February 1999, included an article by John Titford on "Registers of Denominational Higher Education: Nonconformists", which contains many bibliographical references to different dissenting academies, mainly in England and Wales, and sometimes including lists of students.  

The data is contained in these separate sections;

Historical Background to the Anglican church

The Church in Wales, that is the four Welsh dioceses which since the Norman conquest had been firmly placed under the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury, was notoriously poor ... the burden of poverty fell on the unbeneficed and underprivileged mountain clergymen.  They were the products of poverty-stricken countryside where there was a void between the gentleman and the peasant ... those who presented themselves for ordination from the one class, who had the means to go to one of the universities, usually stayed in England where the prospects were better. Those from the other class were usually too poor to avail themselves of the meagre educational facilities that lay nearer at hand.  

Yet many of these literate persons were men of considerable ability, as Bishop Lloyd of St Asaph reminded the archbishop of Canterbury in 1686:
"But yet of those whom I have ordained, the graduates have not always been the best scholars.  I have more than once seen them shamefully outdone by men that never saw the university, and I have never ordained any but them that could perform the exercise required by the thirty-fourth Canon of the Synod of 1603. "

This canon required that every ordinand should either be a graduate or at least be able to preach a discourse in Latin on one of the main articles of the Faith: there were also to be letters testimonial from heads of colleges or from three or four devout ministers.  In 1685 Archbishop Sancroft got the bishops to agree to a number of articles relating to ordinations and institutions: no man should be ordained who hath not taken some degree of school in one of the universities of this realm.  Bishop Lloyd [of St. Asaph] objected to it, but he agreed when the saving clause was added:
"unless the archbishop, in some extraordinary case, and upon the express desire and request of the bishop ordaining, shall think fit to dispense with this particular."  
Lloyd then told the archbishop that the regulations were not practical in the Welsh dioceses:
"We have a great many more cures of souls than we have graduates in this country; and as most of the people understand nothing but Welsh, we cannot supply the cures with anyother but Welshmen."

Of the Welsh dioceses, Bangor was exceptional in having a majority of graduates amongst its ordinands, the ordination lists in the registers of the bishops of St David's tell their own story.  In the first half of the eighteenth century, about a third of those ordained were graduates, but later the proportion was very much smaller.  Of those admitted to deacon's orders 1750-1799, forty-five were graduates and six hundred and eighty were literates.  Another thirty-seven had been at Oxford or Cambridge, but had not taken a degree, the literates were men who had been educated in the local grammar schools.

Owain W Jones in The Mountain Clergyman: His Education and Training (included in Links with the Past: Swansea & Brecon Historical Essays, pp. 166-167, edited by O W Jones & David Walker, Llandybie,1974).  


Although the English clergy were by no means monochrome in their educational or social backgrounds, they were the product of different educational processes to a far lesser extent. Alan Haig [in The Victorian Clergy, London & Sydney, 1984] has shown that in the province of Canterbury in 1865 (excluding the four Welsh dioceses) 78 per cent of ordinands had been educated at Oxbridge and only 3 per cent were literates; the remaining 19 per cent had been educated in a variety of newer institutions.  In the province of York, 46 per cent had been to Oxbridge and 4 per cent were literates, with the remaining 49 per cent educated elsewhere.  In Wales, however, the picture was very different: 25 per cent were Oxbridge educated: 20 per cent were ordained as literates and 55 per cent had been educated elsewhere - the majority would have been at Lampeter . Moreover, it appears to be the case that the Welsh ordinands were generally older than their English equivalents, in Wales obtaining ordination was a long haul and it was often embarked on as a second career after the youthful years had been spent in teaching or in trade.

Frances Knight in The Education of Welsh Ordinands in the Rowland Williams Era and Beyond (included in The Welsh Journal of Religious History, vol. 1, Bangor, 2006).  



Historical background to Dissenting academies

Here are some snippets  from A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd, 1939, which outline the early history of these academies ;

  • "Dissenting academies represented the Nonconformist attempt to provide higher education for Dissenters at a time when the Penal Laws closed the older universities to all but conformists......they could not obtain the charters which would have enabled them to confer degrees, but in principle the work which they did was university work (i.e they were not 'schools') and during the C18 the standard actually attained compared quite favourably with that reached by the vast majority of students at the universities...."
  • "Their weakness was the almost total absence of endowment.......the universities when they had shaken off their torpor.....quickly outdistanced the academies....and their position was further undermined by the opening of new university institutions in the C19 and finally by the opening of Oxford and Cambridge to Nonconformists".
  • "The better academies, (such as the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen), developed into theological colleges proper, the lesser (ones) abandoned a not discreditable struggle for existence."

And some further quotations of background relevance ;

By W G Evans, contributor to Cardiganshire County History Vol III p548-9, 1998

  • "Nonconformists, debarred from Oxford and Cambridge, were also active in establishing academic and private adventure schools in Cardiganshire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They provided education which varied in quality from advanced elementary and secondary to preparatory courses for the ministry which were often of university standard. It was quite common in the years 1750-1850 for Nonconformist ministers, particularly Unitarians and Congregationalists, to establish private academies and schools. Working in very modest premises, able teachers were still able to make a significant impact on students - Anglicans as well as Nonconformists - several of whom later gained considerable distinction. Many students prepared for the ministry, though many also became famous in other spheres and professions, notably law, medicine, teaching, and the army ... In Cardiganshire during these years ... small academies and schools which became well-known and popular included the Revd. John Pugh's Motygido Academy at Llanarth; the Revd John Jones's academy at Llangeitho; John Evans's 'The Mathematical and Commercial School' at Aberystwyth 1818-60; Pantydefaid Grammar School 1813-60; the Revd Rees Davies's Grammar School at Ystrad, Llanwnnen and Cribyn 1825-57; Atpar Academy 1839-58; the Revd David Evans's Grammar School at Llandysul 1831-53; the Revd Griffith Griffiths's school at Llechryd 1788-1818; and the Revd J M Thomas's school at Cardigan 1810-50. At Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn, there were also private, boarding and day schools of varying quality for girls in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Some boys in north Cardiganshire were also taught classics by James Henderson at Pwllpeiran between 1802 and 1807."

And by B Nightingale in The Story of the Lancashire Congregational Union, p51-53, 1906)

  • "The great universities of the nation being rigidly closed against all Nonconformists, an endeavour was made to supply the lack, by establishing various kinds of collegiate institutions where intending candidates could receive some sort of training for the work of the ministry. The point cannot be too strongly accentuated that the moment persecution abated, and it became safe for Nonconformity to show itself, these institutions began to appear ... Bishop Horsley, one of the most eloquent prelates in the Anglican Church, had said that the pastor of these 'new congregations of nondescripts is often, in appearance at least, an illiterate peasant or mechanic' ... the taunt comes with ill grace from those whose policy throughout has to make the great schools of learning their own close preserve; whilst examination tests are incessantly and emphatically showing how little ground for the taunt there is when Nonconformists are permitted a fair field and no favour ... The names, indeed, are legion of those who conducted small Theological Seminaries in their own houses, and who thus sought to equip men for the Congregational ministry in more or less adequate fashion. The multiplication of these small and inferior educational institutions may be regarded today as a very doubtful good; and yet it is difficult to see how otherwise the Churches could have been supplied with a trained ministry of any sort."

Nonconformist  theological colleges in Wales --- statistics are those mentioned in DWB (either edition).

In the Carmarthenshire Methodist ministers context there is a list of ministers and when/where they were ordained from taken from the book Hanes Methodistiaeth Sir Gaerfyrddin (The History of the Methodists in Carmarthenshire). By Rev James Morris. Published 1911  Translated by Ivor Griffiths, 1994.
See the section on the first page, Part 1, headed  'Ordination Year of the Ministers of Carmarthenshire' which covers the period 1811 - 1910


Abergavenny Academy

  • Abergavenny; DWB entry ---   2 Ind in period 1757-1775
  • DWB ( David Jardine 1732-66)"...... David Jardine was ordained at Abergavenny in 1754, where he also started a school ....... Because of a controversy over the question of doctrine taught at Carmarthen Academy  the Congregational Board (London) refused to give that institution a financial grant; Jardine was recommended as tutor of the Board's Academy in Wales; and in 1757 appointed head of the Academy at Abergavenny with Benjamin Davies as his assistant." (see Carmarthen/Benjamin Davies below)
  • In A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd, 1939, it states; "..... in 1757 the Congregational Board discontinued grants (to the Welsh Academy at Carmarthen) and set up a new foundation under David Jardine at Abergavenny --- today represented by the Memorial College at Brecon"
  • Roger Griffith's short-lived academy at Abergavenny was succeeded by the Carmarthen-based institution (see below)
    "Roger Griffith d 1708: Presbyterian Minister and Tutor ... in or about 1695 he became minister of Abergavenny; and in 1697, on the death of Samuel Jones of Brynllywarch [q.v.], the Presbyterian Board (but not the Congregational Board) placed its students under Griffith's care ... In 1698 [Griffith] began to exhibit leanings towards the Establishment, and in 1702 he resigned and conformed" [extracted from DWB].

Baptist College, Abergavenny

  • Baptist College (Academy), Abergavenny; DWB entries --- 9 in  period 1809-1835. (see Pontypool below)
  • In Reference Wales by John May (1992); 1807 1st Baptist college established at Abergavenny; later moved to Pontypool.


Aberystwyth Baptist College

  • Aberystwyth Baptist College; Removed from Haverfordwest 1894.  Part of a general move of the Welsh Baptist Colleges to the university towns, with Llangollen having moved to Bangor in 1892 and Pontypool to Cardiff in 1893.  Further reorganisation in 1899 led to the reduction of the Welsh Baptist colleges to just two: this involved the closure of the college at Aberystwyth.

Aberystwyth Theological College/United Theological College; opened 1906, closed 2002

  • Theological College, Aberystwyth; DWB entries ---5 Presb in period 1900-1920
    Note that the United Theological College, Aberystwyth was established in 1906.
  • According to Cardiganshire County History, Vol III (p502) the Theological College of the Presbyterian Church in Wales opened in Aberystwyth in 1906
  • In Reference Wales by John May (1992); 1906 Presbyterian United Theological College founded at Aberystwyth.
  • Aberystwyth United Theological College: The Theological College is a stone building fronting the pier, formerly a hotel: it was purchased by David Davies esq. M.P. in 1906 & presented to the Calvinistic Methodist Connexion as a residential theological college, at a total cost of about £30,000.  The professors & students of Trevecca College, Breconshire, were transferred hither in the autumn of 1906.  There are now (1910) about 30 students. ( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910)
  • The United Theological College at Aberystwyth closed in 2002, when the Presbyterian church relocated its ministerial training to Bangor.
  • The Presbyterian Church Year Book 2002 lists ; The United Theological College at Aberystwyth (the current theological college for the Presbyterian Church)

College of the Welsh Independents 

  • College of the Welsh Independents (Congregational), 38 Pier Street, Aberystwyth. Whittaker's Almanac entry (1995)
  • Following the cessation of Congregational ministerial training at Swansea (1981?), premises were shared with the United College at Aberystwyth, subsequently redesignated as The United Theological College and College of Welsh Independents.  The two colleges retained separate principals.  
  • The United Theological College (Presbyterian) and the College of the Union of Welsh Independents had separate Principals and premises, though they combined for teaching, much of which was done at UTC. (Rev.Prof.Alan Sell 1/08)

Jasper House Academy, Aberystwyth

  • Jasper House' Academy, Aberystwyth; DWB entry --- 1 Wes in 1865
  • Copies of the school magazines for 1898 are held in the National Library of Wales. The poet Alfred Noyes was apparently a former pupil.


Ammanford: Gwynfryn Academy/Watcyn Wyn's School

  • Gwynfryn Academy (or Watcyn Wyn's School) in Ammanford; DWB entries ---3 Cong, 1 Bapt, 1 Meth, 2 CM, 3 Presb in period 1882-1900
  • In A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd, 1939, it states with reference to Watcyn Wyn (1844-1905) ; "... he became a teacher and a leader of young candidates for the ministry of all denominations. Gwynfryn School attracted to Ammanford young men from all parts of the Principality; its head made himself a guide and pastor to scores of preachers".



Bala Theological College (Calvinist Methodist)

  • Bala Theological College (Calvinist Methodist) was founded as a preparatory school by David Charles and Lewis Edwards in 1837, soon becoming the theological college of that denomination.  
    Its principals have included:
    LEWIS EDWARDS 1837-1887; THOMAS CHARLES EDWARDS (formerly Principal of UCW, Aberystwyth) 1891-1900; ELLIS EDWARDS 1907-1915; DAVID PHILLIPS 1927-1947.
  • "Calendars date from 1895 and name students. Calendar 1940-41 contains list of students 1932-40"  (John Titford, in article mentioned above.)
  • DWB ( Thomas Charles Edwards 1837-1900); "...... he was the second principal at Bala College (1891-1900)......was born in 1837, the year his father Lewis Edwards, opened his academy at Bala..."
  • DWB ( Lewis Edwards 1809-87 --- for 50 years principal of Bala Calvinistic Methodist College) ; "......(In 1837) Lewis Edwards and his brother in law, David Charles III, opened a school in Bala which was promptly adopted as the preparatory school for ministers of the Calvinistic Methodist denomination."
  • DWB ( Ellis Edwards 1844-1915); "...... Before the end of 1873 he had been appointed tutor at Bala , where he remained until the end of his life, becoming vice-principal in 1889 and principal in 1907....... Before the college was converted into a purely theology institution in 1891, he............."
  • In Reference Wales by John May (1992); - 1837 1st Methodist College founded at Bala
  • The Presbyterian Church Year Book 2002 lists; - Coleg y Bala is now a centre for the Church's Youth Service

Bala Independent College/Bala Congregationalist College

  • Independent College, Bala; DWB entries 5 in period 1857-c 1878
    Bala Congregationalist College; DWB entry --- 1 Cong in 1849
  • Bala Independent College (Congregationalist) had been founded at Weirglodd Wen, Llanuwchllyn, in 1841 by the first principal, MICHAEL JONES, and it was transferred to Bala the following year.  MICHAEL JONES remained principal from 1841 up to the time of his death in 1853. His successor in 1854 was his son, MICHAEL DANIEL JONES, a forceful personality and an early advocate of Welsh Nationalism, who ran the college in his own home, Bodiwan, Bala. During the 1870s Michael D Jones became involved in a controversy over the college government.  He led the "Old Constitution"party, favouring the original subscribers.  The rival "New Constitution"party, led by the distinguished Congregationalist historian, Rev. JOHN THOMAS of Liverpool, now argued for the appointment of individual church representatives, leading in due course to a proposed union of three existing Congregational colleges into a single college at Brecon.  M D Jones had suffered heavy financial losses in a scheme to establish a Welsh colony in Patagonia and he was eventually forced to sell Bodiwan to the college committee, which ultimately decided on his dismissal in 1879.  Jones refused to recognise their verdict and he continued to run his own "Old Constitution"college at Bodiwan, whilst a rival "New Constitution"college began to operate at Plas-yn-dre, Bala.
    This was headed by THOMAS LEWIS, a former tutor at Bodiwan, and it eventually moved to Bangor in 1886.  Jones persisted in asserting his principalship at Bodiwan right up to the time of his death in 1898.  However, he eventually agreed to a scheme which in 1892 saw the reunion of the two rival colleges, with their main site at Bangor.  This formed the Bala/Bangor College, under a new principal, EVAN HERBER EVANS.
  • In Reference Wales by John May (1992); 1841, Congregational College founded at Bala; later moved to Bangor.
  • (Further details on  https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/index.html)
  • The original Bala college building opposite the Welsh Congregational Church [i.e. the premises in Mount Street which were used before the 1870s controversies involving Principal Michael D Jones] now bears the following plaque;

GORFF 28 1984





  • Bala-Bangor Theological College ; DWB entries ---6 Congregational/Independent ; 7 Presbyterian. All in period 1892- 1938. Also 24 CM in period 1832-1887.
    The above DWB figures also include entries in DWB referring  variously to Bala Theological College; Bala College; Bala (CM) Theological College or Bala-Bangor College.

(see also under BALA and BANGOR)



Bangor Baptist College/Bangor Theological College/North Wales Baptist College

  • Bangor Baptist College; DWB entries ---1 Bapt in 1890s.
  • Ffordd Ffriddoedd, Bangor. Also known as "Y Coleg Gwyn". Provided accomodation for the Welsh Presbyterians (Calvinist Methodists), 2002, after the closure of the United Theological College at Aberystwyth.  
  • (See also under Llangollen Baptist College, which moved to Bangor in 1892.)

Bangor Congregational College/Bangor Independent College (1886)

  • Bala/Bangor Independent College (see also Bala Congregational College 1841]: The Congregationalists had established another theological college at The Poplars, College Road, Bangor, in 1886. By this time the original Bala (Congregational) College had split into two, "the consequence of severe division concerning the constitution of a single college" ( The University College of North Wales 1884-1927  by J Gwynn Williams).
    The new college later moved to Ffriddoedd Road, Bangor [see https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/index.html ] In 1890 the two Bala colleges were reconciled and by the end of 1892 a single Bala/Bangor College was in full operation at Bangor, under the principalship of E. Herber Evans. (This lasted until the union with the Aberystwyth Theological College in 1988, after the retirement of Principal R. Tudur Jones)
    DWB mentions that despite the eventual reunion of colleges, first year students remained at Bala for some time after 1890, under the principalship of Michael Daniel Jones of Bodiwan (the chief defender of the original Bala constitution).    
  • Congregational (later United Reformed) Church: Bala-Bangor Independent College, Bangor.  Whittaker's Almanac entry (1995)
  • (Further details on  https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/index.html)




Memorial College/Congregational College/Independent College, Brecon

  • Memorial College, Brecon; DWB entries --- 9 Cong, 1 missionary and 1 Presb in period 1858-1920
  • Brecon College ; DWB entries --- 7 Ind in period 1841-1870
  • Independent College, Brecon; DWB --- 3 Ind in period 1840-1848
  • Foundation dates variously cited as 1869, 1862, 1839 - see details under Newtown Academy, or 1757 - see details under Abergavenny Academy
  • See also below under Newtown.
  • "The Memorial College, opened in 1862, prepares students for the Congregational ministry. It is dedicated to the memory of the nonconforming clergy of 1662." (H. L. V. Fletcher, in The Queen's Wales, South Wales, p50 (1956))
  • "The Congregational Memorial College, Camden road, erected at a cost of about £12,000, opened in Sept 1869, is a building of stone in the Gothic style, consisting of the college proper in the centre, with residences for two tutors on each side.  The number of pupils in the college is about 36.  The course extends over six years - three years for the study of arts at the University College, Cardiff, & three years for the study of theology at Brecon.  The college is associated with the University of Wales, It was established a separate institution in 1757 for the education of suitable young men for the Congregational ministry, more especially in Wales. Candidates must be unmarried, & the period of study, including nine months' probation, is six years." ( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910)
  • The Memorial College, Brecon was transferred to Swansea in 1959 and from Swansea to Aberystwyth in 1981.( based on tributes seen to Rev. David Eurig Davies and Rev. W T Pennar Davies )
  • "Album Aberhonddu 1755-1880, by T Stephens, Merthyr Tydfil, 1898, contains biographies of hundreds of students, arranged chronologically with a name index ... printed entirely in Welsh".  (John Titford, in article mentioned above.) The book also mentions that the college had previously operated in Abergavenny, Oswestry, Wrexham and Newtown, as well as in Brecon  (Fenni, Croesoswallt, Gwrecsam, Drefnewydd, Aberhonddu).

(see also under Trevecca College, Breconshire)

Christ's College, Brecon - the public school, founded in 1541

  • Brecon: Christ's College; The College of Christ of Brecknock stands on the banks of the river Usk & is built on the site of a priory of Dominican friars.  It was made collegiate in 1541 by Henry VIII who, for the purpose of teaching "good manners to the surrounding population" removed to Brecon a college that existed at Abergwili, in Carmarthenshire.  The college, as founded by the king, was a collegiate church, with its deans & prebends or canons, on a foundation similar to that of Westminster Abbey.  By the Cathedrals Act the ecclesiastical character of the institution was destroyed and a new institution of purely educational nature was created in its stead. The only traces of its ecclesiastical character are now found in its beautiful chapel & the Divinity Lectureship attached to it.  The college is now a public school administered under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, by a body of governors. Formerly the scholars were largely drawn from the town of Brecon, but they are now chiefly boarders resident in the head master's & assistant masters' houses. ( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910)
  • In A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd, 1939, it states that the foundation stone of St David's College was laid in 1822; hitherto candidates for holy orders were obliged to spend seven years in one of the licensed grammar schools. From 1829 no candidate for the church was accepted from one of the grammar schools who hadn't also taken the full time course at Lampeter or graduated at one of the universities. The grammar schools so licensed in the diocese of St David's  were Queen Elizabeth in Carmarthen, Lampeter, Brecon, Ystradmeurig and Cardigan.

  Brecon teacher training college

  • DWB ( Evan Davies 1826-72); " Evan Davies's college career coincided with the inception of the Nonconformist 'Voluntary' school movement in South Wales ........ and the supporters of that movement decided to set up a training college for teachers at Brecon (1846) of which Davies was appointed principal ....... In 1849 the college was removed to Swansea but the collapse of the Voluntaryist movement brought it to an end in 1851 ...... in later years it was to become the Swansea Training College for women teachers.."


Brynllywarch, Glamorgan - see below under Presbyterian College, Carmarthen


Cardiff: Cardiff Baptist College/South Wales Baptist College

  • Baptist College, Cardiff; DWB entries ---2 Bapts in period 1890s-1928
  • South Wales Baptist College, Richmond Road, Cardiff ; The Baptist College, founded in Abergavenny in 1807, but removed to Pontypool in 1836. It was moved to Cardiff in 1893 when the University of Wales was established and the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire founded in Cardiff, it was decided to remove the Baptist Academy from Pontypool to Cardiff in order that it should benefit from closer links with the University of Wales
  • Cardiff: Baptist Theological College: Founded in Abergavenny in 1807, removed to Pontypool in 1836 & to Cardiff in 1893. ( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910)



Presbyterian College, Carmarthen

  • Presbyterian College, Carmarthen; DWB entries --- 14 Cong/Ind , 2 Pres, and 3 Unitarian in period 1804-1903. I CM in 1798 and 1 in 1844
    Carmarthen Academy; DWB entries --- 14 Ind, 1 CM, 2 Pres, 7 Unitarian  & 4 Arian in period 1712-1835
    Carmarthen College; DWB entries --- 2 Cong & 2 Unitarian in 1834-1855
  • Old College School, Carmarthen; DWB entries --- 4 Cong/Independent and 1 Presb in period 1896-1906.
    DWB ( Thomas Rees 1869-1926); "...... He (Thomas Rees) went to the Old College School at Carmarthen, which was kept by Evan Jones. In 1891 he was admitted at the top of the list to the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen ..... He was appointed principal of Bala Bangor College in 1909....."
  • Haverfordwest Academy; DWB entry --- 1 Ind in 1741 (see also Haverfordwest below)
    DWB ( Evan Davies 1694?-1770); ".... in 1741, on the death of Vavasor Griffiths, the 'Welsh Academy' was moved to Haverfordwest and placed in Davies's charge ........ but in 1743 the academy was united with the school kept at Carmarthen by Samuel Thomas, the Presbyterian and Congregational Fund Boards becoming jointly responsible ..... in 1754/5 the Congregational Fund Board withheld its support ...... Davies resigned in 1759."
    DWB ( Vavasor Griffiths, died 1741); ".... In 1733/4 the Presbyterian Board invited Vavasor Griffiths to to succeed Thomas Perrott at Carmarthen Academy ...... he agreed in 1735 on condition that the academy was moved to Llwyn-llwyd, near Hay, and amalgamated with the school already kept there by David Price.."
  • Carmarthen Presbyterian College; The Presbyterian College, on the Parade, is the continuation of the Academy founded by the Rev. Samuel Jones, M.A., sometime Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, & one of the two thousand ejected minister of 1662; & is maintained & governed by the Presbyterian Board, London, founded in 1689.  It is endowed in part by the will of Dr Daniel Williams (1644-1715), by the Jackson trustees & the Berman trustees.  The college exists for the purpose of educating young men for the Christian ministry amongst Protestant Nonconformists, & is open to students of all denominations without any profession of theological opinion being required.   The course of study extends over three years, & prizes of considerable amount are offered for competition at the close of every session; students who require pecuniary assistance are also eligible for bursaries provided by trustees of various funds in England & Wales. ( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910]
  • Note that it, the Presbyterian College, was restricted to theology from 1895. There are records for the period 1820-1951 at National Library of Wales.
  • The history of the original academy is long and convoluted, in A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd, 1939,  it states;
    "The 'Welsh Academy' originally established by the Joint Presbyterian and Congregational Fund Boards was moved to Carmarthen in 1704 ...... what is today (1939) the Presbyterian College ...... the natural resort of anyone desiring higher education --- not only Presbyterians and Independents and an occasional Baptist but even postulants for Holy Orders in the Established Church..."
  • An inscription still visible on the outside of the most recent building on The Parade, Carmarthen, reads: "Presbyterian College 1840-1963.  Continuation of Brynllywarch Academy 1672 or earlier."
    For Brynllywarch Academy, see the DWB or Oxford DNB entries for Samuel Jones (1628-1697).
    "Jones's great service to the nonconformist cause was to establish at Brynllywarch an academy for the education of dissenting ministers. His excellent academic credentials drew numerous able men to the academy, for example, James Owen, who was in fact the first known ministerial student, in 1672-3. The academy continued its work until near the end of Jones's life ... so the presbyterian and congregational funds supported ministerial students at Brynllywarch, preserving their names in their records. With hindsight, Brynllywarch was recognized as the first dissenting academy in Wales - indeed, its first 'university'- bringing Jones an enduring fame. It was succeeded by a series of other academies, in different places, finally settling at Carmarthen" [ Oxford DNB].
  • Brynllywarch was briefly succeeded from 1697-1702 by a further institution under Roger Griffith at Abergavenny (see above), which was itself succeeded after 1703 by William Evans's academy at Carmarthen.
  • "There are two colleges: one, the Presbyterian College, was founded in 1689, the oldest in Wales of its kind: the other (Trinity College, founded 1848)is a training college for teachers." (H. L. V. Fletcher, in The Queen's Wales, South Wales, p 146 (1956))
  • DWB ( William Evans, died c 1718) ; "... in 1702/3 he (William Evans) moved from Pencader to Carmarthen to superintent the Independent causes ....... to keep a school under the auspices of the SPCK.......and to act as tutor to young men preparing for the ministry ....... He trained several doughty Calvinists at his Carmarthen Academy ( which was in indirect succession to those at Brynllywarch and Abergavenny)
  • Oxford DNB ( William Evans died 1718 ).  "Independent minister and tutor ... of unknown parentage ... he was educated at Rhys Prydderch's school at Ystradwallter, and was later taught by Stephen Hughes. He was ordained at Pencader, Carmarthenshire, in 1688, where he then ministered and taught a school. With very slender means of subsistence, he had to rely largely on his wife's small private income. In 1703 he moved to Carmarthen to take charge of the Independent causes in the area, and to keep a school (assisted by the SPCK) for poor children. From 1704 he received in his house students for the dissenting ministry, thus establishing an academy which succeeded those at Brynllywarch and Abergavenny. He was patronized by the Presbyterian and Congregational funds in London and by wealthy dissenters" .  
  • DWB ( Soloman Harris 1726-85); ".... When Carmarthen Academy (then at Rhyd-y-gors) closed down, he (Soloman Harris) was appointed tutor, and the Academy was moved to him at Swansea. The students were, however, very few in number and Harris died within a year.
  • DWB ( Jenkin Jenkins, died 1780) ; "..... In 1759 he (Jenkin Jenkins) joined Samuel Thomas as tutor at Carmarthen Academy and at the grammar school connected with it .... and on Thomas's resignation in 1764 the academy was placed under his care ........ he was an Arian and his sermons and theological lectures displeased the orthodox.....from 1775 onwards there were continual squabbles between him and the Presbyterian Fund Board and in 1779 he was removed from office .."
  • DWB ( David Lloyd 1805-63); "...... In 1851 he (David Lloyd) was appointed tutor in classics at Carmarthen, and two years later became principal, an appointment which he held until his death in 1863. (with him it became customery to replace the old name 'Academy' by 'College'. During his earlier years at Carmarthen he also kept a grammar school thus carrying on a family tradition (and indeed the tradition of his predecessors at Carmarthen).
  • DWB ( Walter Jenkin Evans 1856-1927) ; "...... Walter Jenkin Evans was educated at Carmarthen grammar school and the Presbyterian College there; he became a tutor at the latter and principal in 1888 (an appointment which, on theological grounds, aroused considerable controversy among Welsh Unitarians ...... during his long term of office as principal he established close relations between the college and the University of Wales.."
  • DWB ( Benjamin Davies 1739?-1817); "..... Benjamin Davies ..... then went to the Academy grammar school at Carmarthen c 1754 and finally became exhibitioner (1760) of the Academy itself ........ he was also tutor at Abergavenny Academy (see above) in 1766 ....."
  • DWB ( John Griffiths 1731-1811); "... In 1754 he (John Griffiths) went to Carmarthen Academy but when the split occurred there he and four others went to Abergavenny (1756) which seems to show that his views were that of an evangelical Calvinist "
  • " Oriel Coleg Presbyteraidd Caerfyrddin, 1796-1899 by E Pan Jones, Merthyr Tydfil, 1909 ... consists of a chronological collection of biographies of students, many enlivened with photographs of the individuals concerned, and has an alphabetical index ... It has a smattering of biographies in English alongside those in Welsh." (John Titford, in article mentioned above.)
  • The Carmarthen Collection on 'Wales on the Web' - "The greater part of the library of the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen (founded before 1700) was transferred to Cardiff University when the College closed in 1963. The collection is rich in theology, Christian religion, philosophy and science, and is especially strong for 1650-1750 items. It also includes some STC and Wing items. It is a fine example of an eighteenth century dissenting academy library. A collection of early scientific instruments was also transferred with the library, and these are now displayed in the Arts and Social Studies Library"

Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Carmarthen

  • Carmarthen: Grammar School; Originally founded by letters patent of Queen Elizabeth, dated 1576, & the first school-house was built in Priory street, on the site now occupied by the Infirmary, from which place it was removed to a more suitable site in 1850.  In 1879 the old foundation was reorganised as a first-grade school, under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, & new buildings erected; these, completed in 1883, stand in grounds overlooking the town, & attached are large cricket & football grounds. ( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910)
  • In A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd, 1939, it states that the foundation stone of St David's College was laid in 1822; hitherto candidates for holy orders were obliged to spend seven years in one of the licensed grammar schools. From 1829 no candidate for the church was accepted from one of the grammar schools who hadn't also taken the full time course at Lampeter or graduated at one of the universities. The grammar schools so licensed in the diocese of St David's  were Queen Elizabeth in Carmarthen, Lampeter, Brecon, Ystradmeurig and Cardigan.



  • Castellhywel, Vale of Cletwr. DWB ---  1 Pres in 1784 & 2 Unitarian in period c 1811-1825
  • DWB ( David Davis 1745-1827) ; ".... About 1782 he (David Davis) moved to Castellhywel in the Vale of Cletwr and from that time on was known as Dafis Castellhywel. Here he kept a school for over 30 years and his reputation as a teacher spread throughout Wales; for many years candidates for Anglican orders were ordained direct from the school.  The names of 111 of his former pupils are to be found in the list of subscribers to Telyn Dewi...."
  • Castellhywel, Pont-sian, Llandysul: "Kept by the Unitarian, the Revd David Davies, in a building near his home, Castellhywel, Llandysul, from 1783 to 1827. For over forty years, 'Davis Castellhywel', an excellent classicist, gained a high reputation and attracted pupils from a very wide area. Until Bishop Horsley of St David's objected, Anglican ordinands, as well as Nonconformists attended. As well as teaching classics and English, Welsh was used for purposed of translation." (W G Evans, contributor to Cardiganshire County History Vol III p548)


Glandwr School, Pembrokeshire

  • Glandwr School, Pembs; DWB entry --- 1 Ind in 1785



Haverfordwest Academy

  • See Haverfordwest Academy under Carmarthen

Haverfordwest Baptist College

  • Baptist College, Haverfordwest. DWB entries --- 7 in period 1843-68
  • Noted in DWB to have started up in 1839, see also below under Bristol
  • In Reference Wales by John May (1992); - 1839, A Baptist College founded at Haverfordwest; later moved to Aberystwyth.
  • Haverfordwest Baptist College; Opened 1 August 1839; remained in the town at different addresses until
    removal to Aberystwyth, 1894.  (R C Roberts, Baptist Historical Sketches in Pembrokeshire, 1907)
    Minute books 1853-1877 and 1893-1897 at National Library of Wales (MSS.3131b  and 6856].


Llangollen: Baptist College

  • Baptist College, Llangollen. DWB entries --- 9 in period 1862-84 
  • DWB ( Gethin Davies 1846-96); "The foundation of the University College of North Wales at Bangor in 1884 raised the question of whether the Baptist College should be removed there ..... in the Face of much opposition ... the removal from Llangollen to Bangor was effected in 1892..." .
  • Non DWB source; --- Llangollen College was founded 1862 , and moved in early 1892 to Bangor (formerly Bangor Theological College) becoming the North Wales Baptist College, Ffordd Ffriddoedd, Bangor.
  • In Reference Wales by John May (1992); 1862 North Wales Baptist College founded at Llangollen


Llanfihangel Genau'r Glyn

  • The following book reference from this parish's Genuki page is of interest;
    "Samuel, David. 'Ysgol Llanfihangel Geneu'r Glyn'. Cymru Vol 35 No VI 1894. pp. 277-284.
    Llanfihangel School.  Translated in 1998 by Randall Enoch.
    The original article is an account of the history of this school which operated from c1806 to 1870.  It tells of the schoolmasters, who were in the main ordinands awaiting training, and scholars some of whom went onto Oxbridge and became well-known clergy and ministers.  The old school building is still standing and is listed though it is now a private residence.  This article is a unique and very valuable resource.  It is in the NLW, copies available from the translator."
  • Together with this from the 1847 Commissioners' Report:
    "This school used to prepare youths for the Church, and several used to be ordained from it"


Llanfyllin - see under Wrexham Academy, Newtown Academy


Llansawel (Carmarthenshire): Ffrwd-y-fal

  • Ffrwd-y-fal, Llansawel, Carmarthenshire: a private academy run by for many years by Dr William Davies (1805-1859)
  • The Congregational church historian John Thomas was briefly a pupil there.  ( DWB)
  • ".....The Rev Ben Davies (Independent, 1864-1937], born in Cwmllynfell, was a pupil at Llansawel Academy preparing for Bala College...." ( A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd)
    We wonder if these can be the same institution as Dr William Davies apparently left his academy at Ffrwdyfal in 1854.


Llanuwchllyn - see under Bala


Newtown: Newtown Academy

  • Newtown Academy (Independent); DWB entries --- 3 Ind and 1 missionary in period 1822-1827
  • See also below under Wrexham
  • DWB ( Edward Davies); "..... entering Llanfyllin Academy, then under George Lewis (1763-1822), in 1817..... in 1821 the Academy was moved to Newtown where ...... Lewis died in 1822 and Davies was made theology tutor ...... Davies carried on under great difficulties until 1839 when the Academy was removed to Brecon and renamed 'Brecon Independent College'... even then he was not made principal." ( Edward Davies 1796-1857)
  • In Reference Wales by John May (1992); - 1839, a Congregational College founded at Brecon


Neuadd Llwyd Academy, near Aberaeron

  • Neuadd-lwyd Academy (near Aberaeron) ; DWB entry --- 3 missionaries in period 1811-1824, 3 Ind in period 1807-     c 1830
  • Neuadd-lwyd Academy (1810): "At Neuadd-lwyd, near Ffos-y-ffin, Dr Thomas Phillips, (1772-1842, a native of Llanfihangel-ar-arth)educated at Castellhywel and Carmarthen, opened an academy in 1810, initially to prepare young men for the Congregationalist ministry. By 1842 all denominations, including the established Church, as well as students from England and Ireland, were represented by the 200 young men educated in an establishment more akin to a seminary for the training of ministers than to a grammar school" (W G Evans, contributor to Cardiganshire County History Vol III p548]. A former student David Jones was to lead missions in Madagascar


Oswestry - see under Brecon Memorial College?  



Pontypool Academy

  • Pontypool Academy; DWB entries --- 1 Cong in 1887

Pontypool Baptist College

  • Pontypool Baptist College; DWB entries --- 5 in period 1838-1885
  • DWB ( Thomas Thomas 1805-81); ".... In 1836 he (Thomas Thomas) accepted a call to Pontypool, the presidency of a new Baptist College (transferred from Abergavenny --- see above).."

Trosnant Baptist Academy (near Pontypool)

  • Trosnant Baptist Academy (near Pontypool ) ; DWB --- 1 in 1743
  • DWB ( Miles Harry 1700-76); "..... He (Miles Harry) helped to found the Trosnant Baptist Academy......"
  • Thomas Llewelyn (in DWB and also in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) was a pupil there in 1740.


Pontypridd Academy

  • Pontypridd Academy; DWB entry ---  1 CM c 1880



Swansea Academy/Swansea Independent Academy

  • Swansea Academy (Independent); DWB entries --- 2 Ind and 1 Pres in period 1784-1843
  • National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth: The guide mentions: Archives of the Memorial College, Swansea, 1793-1973, including papers of several Congregational ministers and college professors. AR 1980-81, p.60.
  • See under Carmarthen re transfer from there

Swansea: Memorial College (Congregational)

  • See under Brecon re transfer from there in 1959

Swansea teacher training college, 1849 - see under Brecon


Trevecca College, Talgarth, Breconshire

  • Trevecca College, Talgarth, Breconshire; DWB entries ---5 Presb and 19 CM in period 1782-1926
  • Talgarth (Brecon): "Howel Harris (the pioneer of the Calvinistic Methodist movement, born at Trefecca 1714)... was to found a society on the Moravian pattern which he settled ... at Trefecca, just outside Talgarth. It started with about 120 members in December 1752 . They were to live on a communal plan ... After a period ... he returned to Trefecca, where in 1768 Lady Huntingdon founded a college. It is now a Methodist preparatory college. He died in 1773." (H. L. V. Fletcher, in The Queen's Wales, South Wales, p67 (1956))
  • "In 1767 Trevecca House, in the parish of Talgarth ... was to be let on lease. Lady Huntingdon resolved, after consulting her friends, to open it as a seminary for the training of her ministers. Trevecca was opened by (George)Whitefield on 24 Aug. 1768, Lady Huntingdon's birthday ... Lady Huntingdon henceforward spent much of her time at Trevecca, taking a deep interest in her students, and sending them about to 'supply' the congregations under her patronage. After three years' residence they 'might, if they desired, enter the ministry either of the church of England or any other protestant denomination'." (Article on Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1791) in Dictionary of National Biography.)
  • Lady Huntingdon's original college moved to Cheshunt (q.v.) 1791. "The first college for candidates for the (Calvinistic Methodist)ministry was founded at Bala (q.v.) in 1837, with Lewis Edwards as principal, and in 1842 the South Wales Association opened a college at Trevecca, David Charles (co-founder of Bala College and grandson of Thomas Charles, the celebrated preacher)being principal, which in 1905 was transferred to Aberystwyth." ( Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1957: article on Calvinistic Methodism). The 1842 college "was established on the site of Lady Huntingdon's old institution at Trevecca" (Dictionary of National Biography: article on Thomas Charles).
  • Trefecca College, Talgarth, Breconshire: "An institution in which candidates for the ministry of all denominations, as well as lay students, are trained for matriculation is about a mile from the town.  The building was erected by Howel Harris, the founder of Welsh Methodism, & was originally the home of a community of about 120 persons, who settled here under Harris's governance & teaching, & had all things in common.  On the death of Howel Harris, the property was vested in this community or family, & in the year 1838 was handed over, by the few remaining descendants, to the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist body, who in 1842 opened it as a theological college, under the presidency of the Rev. David Charles B.A.  The college contains a valuable library of Welsh books & also the libraries of Howel Harris & of Williams Pantycelyn, the Welsh hymnist; the Howel Harris memorial chapel, a handsome building of stone, opened in 1873, stands in the grounds." ( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910)
  • The Presbyterian Church Year Book 2002 now lists Coleg Trefecca as the Church's Lay Training Centre

Usk Divinity School

  • Usk Divinity School; DWB entry --- 1 in 1822
    From the DWB entry for Evan Jenkins (1799-1877):   
    "In a letter 11 September 1822 to the bishop of Llandaff, he says that he was then about to finish three year's study at 'Usk Divinity School'."   (To date
    this appears to be the solitary single reference to this school)



Wrexham Academy

  • Wrexham Academy; DWB entries --- 6 Ind in period 1795-1811, 1 missionary in 1814
  • DWB ( George Lewis 1763-1822); "...... in 1812 Jenkin Lewis, head of the Independent Academy at Wrexham, moved to Manchester to take charge of a similar academy there and George Lewis was invited by the Congregational Board in London to manage the academy in Wrexham. In 1815 he received two calls, one from Liverpool and one from Llanfyllin...the Board were unwilling to allow the Academy to be moved from Wales but raised no objection to its being moved from Wrexham to Llanfyllin (1815-21) In 1821 he moved it again to Newtown (see above)"

Wrexham: John Hughes's School

  • DWB ( John Hughes 1796-1860); "..... in 1819 he (John Hughes) opened a school in Wrexham which acquired great repute, as he also took older pupils intending entering the ministry. The Calvinistic Methodist connexion had not at that time a seminary, and a number of its future prominent preachers went there .... he kept it going until 1834."

Nonconformist theological colleges in England --- any statistics are those mentioned in DWB (either edition).

These entries are not entirely in alphabetical order, those for particular towns have been grouped together.

The London and Manchester areas have their separate sections at the end of the main run.

  • Handsworth Theological College, Birmingham; DWB entries ---2 Wesl and 1 Meth in period 1887-1915
    • Non DWB source ; Handsworth College, Birmingham; ......born at Tre'rddol, Cardiganshire, July 15, 1858. Under the influence of family religion, and the religious atmosphere of the neighbourhood, he gave his heart to God early in life, and was accepted as a Candidate for our Ministry in 1881. After a course of training at Handsworth, he spent his ministry in Wales.........
      • Handsworth Theological College, near Birmingham (Methodist). Founded 1881. Amalgamated with Queen's College, Birmingham, 1970, to provide ecumenical training.  Since 1973, the original Handsworth building of 1881 has been converted into a residential hall of the University of Aston.
  • Baptist College(Academy), Bradford; DWB entries --- 3 in period 1823-1840
    • Bradford Baptist College: founded 1804; moved 1859 to Rawdon, near Leeds (which eventually became part of the Northern Baptist College, see Manchester below)
  • Bristol Baptist College; DWB entries --- 8 in period 1740s-1866
    Also Bristol (Baptist) Academy; DWB entries ---  2 Arminian or General Baptist in 1788 and Bapt in 1753
    • DWB ; "......Hugh Evans was in 1740 chosen as coadjutor to Bernard Foskett , minister of Broadmead Baptist church and head of the Bristol Baptist Academy; on Foskett's death in 1758 he succeeded him in both functions. His son Caleb Evans became his successor in 1781. (Hugh Evans 1712-81, from Brecknockshire)
    • Non DWB source;---Thomas Davies (1812-1895) ...... a Welsh Baptist pastor and president of the Welsh Baptist Union in 1874...... initial training at Bristol Baptist College from 1832-36....then ... pastor High Street Baptist Church in Merthyr Tydfil from 1836-56 and Bethesda Baptist in Haverfordwest from 1856-1895 where he was also President of the local Baptist College. His obituary by T. Witton Davies of Midland Baptist College in Nottingham states that the Haverfordwest Baptist College (see above) was moved to Aberystwith (see above)
  • Bristol, Western College (Congregational): an amalgamation of Bristol Theological Institute and Western College, Plymouth, 1891; Northern Congregational College   archives now include the archives of the Western College, 1845-1969
  • Didsbury College (Wesleyan), Westbury-on-Trym, near Bristol - see below under Manchester
  • Cheshunt College (Herts) ; DWB entries--- 2 CM in period 1842-1861
    • Cheshunt College: established at Cheshunt, Herts., in 1791 on removal of earlier college from Trevecca (q.v.). Moved to Cambridge 1905; merged with Westminster College, Cambridge, 1965.
  • Daventry - see under Northampton
  • Exeter Independent College (Western Academy); DWB entries --- 1 Ind & 1 Unitarian in period 1802-1827
    • Western Academy: established at Ottery 1752 by John Lavington ( Dictionary of National Biography]; later at Axminster before moving to Exeter in 1829 ( Dictionary of National Biography, article on George Payne]. Afterwards transferred in 1846 to a site between Devonport and Plymouth. Moved from Plymouth and amalgamated with Bristol Theological Institute to become Western College, Bristol (Congregational) 1891 (during principalship of Rev. C. Chapman, who retired 1910 and died 1922 - see 'Who Was Who'). Northern Congregational College archives now include the archives of the Western College, 1845-1969
  • Missionary College, Gosport ; DWB entry --- 3 missionaries in period 1817-1826
    • Gosport Missionary Academy: training college of the London Missionary Society, evolving from an institution established in 1780 by a local Congregational minister, David Bogue (Dictionary of National Biography], who in 1795 became one of the missionary society's founders.
  • Headingley Theological College, Leeds; DWB entry --- 1 Wes in 1877
    • Headingley College, Leeds (Wesleyan Methodist): founded 1868 (Dictionary of National Biography, article on John Farrar]. Surviving archives in the library of Wesley College, Bristol
  • See London Area below
  • See Manchester/Lancashire area below
  • Newport Pagnell Academy, Bucks; DWB entry --- 2 Ind in period 1816-1822
    • Newport Pagnell Academy: established c1776 by Rev. W. Bull ( Dictionary of National Biography - but DNB article on William Goode refers to T Bull)with encouragement from Rev. John Newton. Ran until 1850.
    • "It had ceased to exist before the end of the next century, possibly having merged with Cheshunt College ... 'The Newport Pagnell Academy' by J F Bull appears in Transactions of the Congregational Historical Society, iv, (1909-1910) pp 305-324 and gives a chronological list of students from 1782-1848."  (John Titford, in article mentioned above.)
  • Dissenting College(Academy), Northampton; DWB entries --- 1? in c 1798 and 1 Unitarian in 1790
    • Northampton Dissenting Academy: opened 1729 by Philip Dodderidge ( Dictionary of National Biography]; having been briefly established at Market Harborough.
      Upon Dr Dodderidge's death, the academy was transferred to Daventry (Oxford DNB entry for Caleb Ashworth, died 1775). He was followed in turn by Mr Robins and Mr Belsham. In 1789, the institution relocated to Hertfordshire and was renamed Wymondley College, remaining there until 1831-32. It then moved to Bloomsbury, London, becoming affiliated to University College, and once again being renamed - this time as Coward College. Finally, before the end of the 19th century, it was incorporated into New College, South Hampstead 
  • Midland Baptist College, Nottingham; DWB entries ---1 Bapt in 1895
    • Midland Baptist College ( founded 1798 as the Academy of the New Connexion of General Baptists, Mile End); moved to Wisbech, 1813 ( Dictionary of National Biography, article on Dan Taylor): by 1855 in Leicester; transferred from Chilwell to Nottingham in 1882; closed around World War I; most of assets transferred to Rawdon Baptist College (see below under Manchester---Northern Baptist College)
  • Dissenting Academy, Rathmell, Yorks; DWB entry --- 1 Pres in 1694
  • Hulmecliffe College (Wesleyan) at Calver, Derbyshire, near Sheffield.   Founded 1904 as Hulmecliffe College
    "In 1903 the Wesleyan home mission committee acquired Hulmecliffe College at Calver, Derbyshire, near Sheffield, as a new base for the Joyful News Training Home and Mission, a venture in lay training founded in Rochdale in the 1880s. From 1904 Chadwick travelled from Leeds to give a weekly lecture at the new Cliff College (as Hulmecliffe had become), and in 1907 he was appointed to the staff as biblical and theological tutor. The death of the principal, Thomas Cook, shortly after Chadwick's appointment to the South Yorkshire Coalfields Mission in 1912, led to Chadwick's immediate return to Cliff as acting principal and to his confirmation as Cook's successor in 1913."  [Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Samuel Chadwick]
  • Ranmoor College, near Sheffield ...Originally the Methodist New Connexion college, dating from 1863 or 1864; closed 1917?   See Commemorative Plaque


  • Bishop's Hall, Bethnal Green, London; DWB entry --- 1 Pres in 1690
  • Coward College (derived from an 18th century nonconformist benefactor)], Torrington Square, London: 1831-53: some records including minutes, students letters, in Dr Williams's Library (web site no longer there), 14 Gordon Square, London  
  • Hoxton Theological Institute/College; DWB entries 3 Wes in 1834-7
    • Hoxton Academy/Hoxton Theological College, London: established by Samuel Pike ( Dictionary of National Biography)c1750; merged with Highbury (q.v.) 1830.
  • Hackney Academy (College); DWB entry --- 2 Ind in period 1820s-1832. 1 Unitarian in 1780s
    • Hackney Academy: dissenting academy opened in 1787 ( Dictionary of National Biography: article on Henry Beaufoy]; merged with New College, London, in 1924 ( Dictionary of National Biography: article on A E Garvie)
  • Homerton   College, London; DWB entry --- 1 Ind c 1820s
    • Homerton College began in London as a dissenting academy 1695; moved to Cambridge 1894;
  • Highbury College, London; DWB entry --- 1 Ind in 1843
    • Highbury College, London (Congregational): opened 1826 ( Dictionary of National Biography article on Robert Halley]; amalgamated with Homerton (q.v.) 1850 ( Dictionary of National Biography: article on Ebenezer Henderson)
  • Newington Green Dissenting Academy; DWB entry --- 1 Pres in 1694
    • Newington Green: dissenting academy established by Charles Morton ( Dictionary of National Biography)at (Stoke) Newington, c1675. Daniel Defoe was a pupil there.
  • Richmond College, London ; DWB entry --- 1 Wes in 1860s
    • Richmond College (founded 1843) was a constituent institution of the University of London until replaced in 1972 by a new international university on the same campus
  • Regent's Park College (Baptist): developed from London Baptist Education Society, 1752; acquired own premises in Stepney 1810; moved to Regent's Park, London, 1856; moved to Oxford 1927
  • Spurgeons College, London, (Baptist) ; DWB entries ---1 in 1902.
    • "It was only 6 years after his own conversion in 1850 at the age of 16 that Charles Haddon Spurgeon founded the college that bears his name. ...................During his lifetime nearly 900 pastors trained at the College .............."
  • Westminster College (Presbyterian/United Reformed): founded London 1844, moved to Cambridge 1895


  • Accrington Academy; DWB entries --- 1 Bapt in 1850s
    • Accrington Academy: three Baptist schools are mentioned in the town in Slater's Directories of Lancashire, 1855 and 1868 (under the "Schools and Academies" section. (Couldn't find any other references.)
  • Hartley Victoria College, Manchester - founded in 1881 as Manchester Theological College (Primitive Methodist).
  • Lancashire College, Manchester; DWB entries ---4 Cong/Ind in period 1890-1919
    • Lancashire Independent College/Lancashire Congregational College: originated with a college in Blackburn, 1816; moved to Whalley Range, Manchester, 1843; see also Northern Congregational College archives
  • Northern Congregational College archives
  • Manchester College (congregational academy): founded 1786 as successor to Warrington Academy (see below). Moved to York (1803); back to Manchester (1840); to London (1853) and finally became Manchester College, Oxford (1889)
  • Unitarian College, Manchester; DWB entries --- 1 in 1878
    • Unitarian College, Manchester (founded 1854)
  • Manchester Baptist College (founded at Bury 1866) --- see Northern Baptist College below
    • Manchester, Brighton Grove College: the Manchester Baptist College which was formerly located at 5 Brighton Grove ( Kelly's Directory of Lancashire, 1887)
    • Brighton Grove College, Manchester ; ........ great grandfather, Rev. David Howells, apparently entered  this college in 1878 although he was living and had attended school in Aberdare. He then became the first pastor of Bethel English Baptist Church, Treharris in 1882 aged 26yrs.
  • Northern Baptist College formed 1963 following a merger of Rawdon Baptist College (1859) and Manchester Baptist College (1866); became a part of an ecumenical federation during the 1970s.
  • Didsbury (Wesleyan) College, Manchester; DWB entries ---2 Meth , 3 Wes in period 1838-1902
    • Non DWB source; Didsbury College; George E Breeze, the oldest Welsh Methodist minister died in 2002 aged 99. Born Ffynnongroyw, 1903, apprenticed Mostyn Ironworks, then received the call to ministry. Went to Didsbury College, ordained Aberystwyth Conference 1933.
    • Didsbury College "the oldest Methodist theological college, founded in Manchester in 1842 and removed to Westbury-on-Trym, three miles from Bristol, in 1942. Now known as Wesley College. (said to be closed down in Feb 2012)
  • Rawdon: see Northern Baptist College
  • Warrington Academy; DWB entry --- 1 Arian in 1759 . See also Manchester College above
    • Warrington Academy (1757-1786)


Nonconformist theological colleges in Scotland

(in addition to the various Scottish universities, which have traditionally prepared students for the ministry)

Free Church College, Edinburgh, founded 1843


Scottish Congregational College/Scottish College, Edinburgh  

Hope Terrace, later Inverleith Terrace, Edinburgh.  Successor to a theological hall originally established in 1811.  The missionary and Olympic athlete Eric Liddell (portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire) was a student there in 1924-25.

"Today the institution is known as the Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College, or The Scottish College.  In 1995, the stock of the College library was amalgamated with the stock from the library of St Colm's College (Church of Scotland) and the Theological College Library of the Scottish Episcopal Church (formerly at Coates Hall) to form the United SCOC Library." [from Archives Hub  https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/index.html ]


The Anglican church---theological colleges (mentioned in DWB and other sources.)

Anglican theological colleges are generally listed in previous editions of Crockford's Clerical Directory. The 1910 edition shows none in Wales apart from Lampeter - but many Welsh would, of course, have studied in England or elsewhere.

"In these Colleges candidates receive their final preparation for ordination.  Before the 19th century various attempts were made to establish theological collages in England, notably by Matthew Sutcliffe, Dean of Exeter, in 1609, by G Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury (d1715) and by T Wilson, Bishop of Sodor & Man, in 1700; but nothing in the way of a permanent foundation was accomplished.  In 1816 St Bees' College was founded by G H.Law, Bishop of Chester, for non-university men, and in 1825 the Church Missionary Society started a college at Islington for those of its candidates who were not graduates.  Neither of these colleges has survived, St Bees College closing in 1895 and the Church Missionary College, Islington, in 1915."

"Queen's College, Birmingham, was founded in 1828 for medical and theological students, and in 1934 was reconstituted for theology alone. Chichester Theological College was established in 1839, and after that date others followed rapidly."

(The above two quotations based on " Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church", reprinted 1961.)  

Around a hundred such institutions in the UK are briefly described in the booklet Theological Colleges: their hoods and histories, by Nicholas Groves, published by The Burgon Society in 2004 .
Many of these colleges were short-lived, most being Anglican church foundations, commencing with St Bees, Cumberland, in 1816.  However, a small number of nonconformist foundations are also mentioned.  
Some of the longer-established or better-known colleges include:


  • Bishop's College, Cheshunt, 1909-1969. Used the premises vacated by the former nonconformist Cheshunt College after the latter moved to Cambridge in 1905.
  • Chichester Theological College, 1839-1994
  • College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, West Yorkshire  (founded 1902)
  • College of the Sacred Mission, Kelham, Nottinghamshire, 1891-1973 (at Kennington, London, 1891-1897 and at Mildenhall, Suffolk, 1897-1903.  The former college premises are currently used as offices by Nottinghamshire County Council).
  • Cuddesdon Theological College, Oxford, 1854-1975 (when it was merged with Ripon Hall and reconstituted as Ripon College, Cuddesdon
  • Ely Theological College, Cambridgeshire, 1876-1964
  • Exeter Theological College, 1861-1867
  • Gloucester Theological College, 1868-1897
  • King's College, London, founded 1829 was an Anglican foundation, becoming part of the federal University of London in 1836.   Some of its ordinand students would read for a BD (Bachelor of Divinity) in the main university, whilst others were registered only with the college, where they could study for qualification as an AKC (Associate of King's College).  This particular type of theological training ended in 1972.
  • Leeds Clergy School, 1876-1925.
  • Oak Hill College, Southgate, founded 1932
  • Queen's College, Birmingham, founded 1825
  • Ridley Hall, Cambridge, founded 1879
  • Ripon Hall, Oxford, 1902-1975 (originally a merger of Bishop's College, Ripon, and Lightfoot Hall, Edgbaston. Moved to Oxford in 1919 and merged with Cuddesdon College in 1975, thereafter becoming Ripon College, Cuddesdon)
  • Rochester Theological College (for late ordinands), 1959-1970
  • St Aidan's College, Birkenhead, 1846-1970
  • St Augustine's College, Canterbury, 1848-1961: a missionary college reconstituted 1961-1969 as The Central College of the Anglican Communion.  The former buildings are now used by Canterbury Christ Church University College.
  • St Bees College, Cumberland 1816-1895 (see also in the Wales section below)
  • St Boniface Missionary College, Warminster, Wiltshire. It operated from 1860-1944 as a missionary college and from1948-1969 as a postgraduate centre for King's College, London, after which it finally closed.
  • St Chad's College, Durham, founded 1904. Its training for the ministry ceased in 1971.
  • St John's College, Durham (Cranmer Hall) founded 1909
  • St John's College, Nottingham founded 1863 at St John's Wood, London.  It moved on several occasions, for many years operating in Highbury and later at Northwood, London, before finally moving to Bramcote, Nottinghamshire, in 1969.  Between 1934-1969 it offered the diploma of ALCD (Associate of the London College of Divinity).  
  • Sts Mary & John College, Lichfield (Lichfield Theological College) 1857-1976
  • Sts Peter & Paul Missionary College, Dorchester-on-Thames,1878-1944
  • St Paul's Missionary College, Burgh-le-Marsh, Lincolnshire, 1878-1936: for the earlier stages of missionary training.
  • St Stephen's House, Oxford, founded 1876
  • Salisbury Theological College, 1861-1972: amalgamated with Wells in 1972 to form Salisbury-Wells College. Became a non-residential resource centre in 1996 and was renamed Sarum College
  • Scholae Cancellarii, Lincoln (Lincoln Theological College) 1874-1995.
  • Trinity College, Bristol, founded 1972: an amalgamation of three separate Bristol colleges: Tyndale Hall, Dalton Hall and Clifton College
  • Truro Theological College (1877-1900)
  • Wells Theological College, 1840-1971: finally amalgamated with Salisbury as 'Salisbury-Wells College', on the latter's site, which was reconstituted as Sarum College in 1996
  • Westcott House, Cambridge, (formerly Cambridge Clergy Training School) founded 1881
  • Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, founded 1877

In more recent years several dioceses have established non-residential training schemes for future ministers.  



  • Edinburgh Theological College [after 1891 often simply referred to as Coates Hall]: foundation dates variously quoted between 1810-1826; closed 1994; absorbed into a more broadly-based Scottish Episcopal Church Theological Institute.  Established under the terms of the will of Miss K Panton of Fraserburgh, 1810. Between 1848-1876, the theological college was temporarily relocated, being incorporated into Trinity College, Glenalmond, Perthshire (an independent school founded 1847) before eventually returning to Edinburgh
  • College of the Holy Spirit, Cumbrae, 1850-1888 : The college became affiliated to the University of Durham in 1860 and some of its archives are currently held by the University of Dundee



  • Bishop Wilson College, 1879-1943: Originated as the Sodor and Man Theological School, under Dr Joshua Hughes-Games, who was also the principal of King William's College school and Archdeacon of Man.   Moved 1889 into the episcopal residence, Bishopscourt, Kirkmichael.



St David's College, Lampeter ; DWB entries ---15  in period 1827-1910.

Became part of the University of Wales in 1971.
Specific training for ordination, based at Burgess Hall, ended in 1978.

  • In A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd, 1939, it states that the foundation stone of St David's College was laid in 1822; hitherto candidates for holy orders were obliged to spend seven years in one of the licensed grammar schools. From 1829 no candidate for the church was accepted from one of the grammar schools who hadn't also taken the full time course at Lampeter or graduated at one of the universities. The grammar schools so licensed in the diocese of St David's  were Queen Elizabeth in Carmarthen, Lampeter, Brecon, Ystradmeurig and Cardigan.
  • Eliezer Williams (1754-1820); ".......In 1805 he was appointed vicar of Lampeter, where he founded a grammar school to train candidates for holy orders, which led to the foundation in this town of a graduating college of national importance.........." ( A History of Carmarthenshire)
  • Cardiganshire County History Vol. III (p.544-545) also gives foundation dates for the two other grammar schools mentioned by Lloyd above: 1653 for Cardigan and 1734 for Ystradmeurig. It refers to "four grammar schools licensed by Bishop Burgess to educate ordinands directly for the ministry of the Church of England. A seven-year course of study in classics, Hebrew and theology was given a deliberate sense of urgency by competitive scholarships and annual book prizes for the most successful pupils" (this chapter being contributed by W. Gareth Evans).
  • See also the description from Kelly's Directory 1910
  • (Further details on  https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/index.html and https://archives.wales/ )

Llandaff church training college at Abergavenny; DWB entry --- 1 in c 1850s

This single entry noted in DWB (but see first paragraph of this page)   probably relates to Rev David Howell, Dean of St David's (died 1903).  
According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, he "passed through the Llandaff Diocesan Institute, Abergavenny. He was ordained deacon in 1855."

Further clarification of what this particular institution comprised is given by Canon Owain W Jones in his history of St Michael's College.  He begins by quoting from Alfred Ollivant, Bishop of Llandaff (1851):   

"'In Wales ... there was a void between the classes of gentleman and peasant' ... Candidates for ordination from the one class, who could afford to go to one of the ancient universities, generally stayed in England ... Those from the other class ... had to be provided with some other means of training.  The dioceses made use of their grammar schools.   In Llandaff, 'divinity classes' were established in the grammar schools at Abergavenny and Cowbridge ... The Bishop of Llandaff admitted that until the middle of the century he had been mainly dependent on his divinity classes for his ordinands.  It was not until the death of the headmaster of Cowbridge in 1850, and the resignation of the headmaster of Abergavenny in 1855 that he had closed those classes."  [O W Jones, 'St Michael's College, Llandaff, 1892-1992', pp 5-6]   


Llandaff: St Michael's & All Angels' Theological College

Founded 1892 by Miss Olive Emma Talbot, who gave £7,000 to form the nucleus of an endowment fund, is intended primarily for the benefit of those who, having passed through their course, either at one of the Universities or at St David's College, Lampeter, desire to receive a year's additional preparation for the Holy Orders.  The college was removed from Aberdare to Llandaff in 1906, into buildings which provide for 32 students.( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910)  (see Aberdare below)



In Reference Wales by John May (1992); 1892 St. Michael's College founded originally at Aberdare; later moved to Llandaff (see above). (St. Michael's is still the Theological College of the Church in Wales)


The Church Hostel, Bangor.

Not a separate college, but an institution proposed in 1884 by the Bishop of St Asaph in order to provide Bangor students with "a comfortable home under Christian influence". Despite some opposition from the nonconformists, the hostel was established in Princes Road in 1886; In The University College of North Wales 1884-1927 by J Gwynn Williams


St Bees Cumberland; DWB entries --- 3 in period 1820s-1867

  • Non DWB source ---A number of Welsh students went to St. Bees Theological College in Cumberland (opened 1816, closed 1895) - see the list of Dyfed students in Dyfed Family History Journal, August 1998. The catalogue of surviving records from this college (at Whitehaven Record Office) was recently added to the national Access2Archives database

Ystrad Meurig

  • The Grammar School here was founded by Edward Richard esq. a native of Ystrad Meurig, by deed dated 1 October 1757, & the foundation was subsequently enlarged & augmented by the founder by further indentures executed in 1771 & 1774, by which provision was eventually made for the education of 32 poor boys of this parish or of the county of Cardigan: Mr.Richard also in 1759 also founded a library for the use of the school, to which considerable additions have been made from time to time & especially by the Rev. John Howell, M.A., sometime vicar of Llanarth, & it comprises several valuable editions of the Fathers.  The founder, who died in 1777, was buried within the church, on the north side.  The Grammar school of Lledrod, of which he was the first master, was annexed by Dorothea Oliver (the founder) to that of Ystrad Meurig, & the united foundations are now carried on as one school.  The school here was at first & for some time held in the church, but afterwards a schoolroom & attached library were built on the north side of the churchyard: this is a plain rectangular structure, with pointed windows & whitewashed walls; it has a raised platform at one end, & a gallery at the other, & the desks & trestle forms arranged longitudinally down it.  One or two exhibitions of £15 a year, tenable by natives of Cardiganshire, are vacant annually.  This school, though remotely situated & primitive in its character, has always been remarkable for the thoroughness of the teaching given in it, & many prominent clergy have been ordained from the school without any intermediate instruction: amongst its alumni may be mentioned the Ven. John Jennings, sometime Canon residentiary of Westminster Abbey, & Archdeacon of Westminster, 1868-83; the Ven. Owens Evans M.A. of Jesus College, Oxford, archdeacon of Carmarthen & V Stanley Jones esq. of King's College, Cambridge.  There were in 1910 60 boys; the value of the united endowments is about £300 a year, & the school is managed by a body of 14 trustees, consisting of clergy & gentry, the Bishop of St David's being chairman.  Head master the Rev. John Jones M.A.; the Rev.William Francis B.A. of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, assistant master. ( Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910)
  • (Further details on  https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/index.html and https://archives.wales/ )
  • The 1847 Education Commissioner, Symons said: "Before the establishment of Lampeter, most of the Welsh clergy in South Wales were ordained from Ystrad Meiric. The school is said to have fallen off ever since. Many good classics now living in Wales derived their only education from that school. It is much to be lamented that the school should not be rendered more available for the education of the sons of farmers and poor clergymen, as well as for the poorer classes generally."
  • In A History of Carmarthenshire by Sir John Lloyd, 1939, it states that the foundation stone of St David's College was laid in 1822; hitherto candidates for holy orders were obliged to spend seven years in one of the licensed grammar schools. From 1829 no candidate for the church was accepted from one of the grammar schools who hadn't also taken the full time course at Lampeter or graduated at one of the universities. The grammar schools so licensed in the diocese of St David's  were Queen Elizabeth in Carmarthen, Lampeter, Brecon, Ystradmeurig and Cardigan.
  • Extracts from 'The Library of Edward Richard, Ystradmeurig'. By Howells, William H. Ceredigion, Vol IX/3 1982.
    "The traditional picture of the Established Church in eighteenth century Wales tends to emphasise its weaknesses and ignore the attempts at reform. The root cause  of the many difficulties which faced the church for much of the period was poverty...... moreover, personal impoverishment could also retard a clergyman's education by preventing him from receiving an adequate education, and even from buying religious literature ....... The teaching of divinity at the universities left much to be desired....in the diocese of St David's few candidates for ordination could afford to enter the English universities.... for much of the period libraries were the clergy's only means of education and enlightenment, but gradually two institutions providing a more formal system of clerical instruction emerged, the first being the grammar school at Ystradmeurig which was set up in the 1740s, the second being the college at Lampeter which opened in 1827...."

    "Edward Richard was born in 1714 in the remote village of Ystradmeurig, the youngest child of Thomas and Gwenllian Richard, his father was a tailor .. while his mother kept an inn........ Edward reopened the school at Ystradmeurig in 1746...it grew to become a preparatory school for some of the most reputable educational institutions of England ..... a vital contribution was made to the growth and reputation of the school by the emphasis Edward Richard placed on his library..... described by George Eyre Evans as the 'Bodley of Wales'......"

Additional notes re other non-theological schools in Lampeter;

  • Cardiganshire County History Vol. III states (p. 547) "there had been ... a grammar school teaching classics in the early eighteenth century, and also a school in 1789 ... another grammar school was founded in 1805 in a dilapidated glebe house by the Oxford-educated vicar of Lampeter, the Revd. Eliezer Williams (1754-1820). This school, licensed by Bishop Burgess to train ordinands, also provided secondary education for those pupils entering other professions.." (According to W. J. Lewis in his history of the town, the school declined and was closed in 1881.)
  • St. David's College School, founded 1884 and closed 1945 (which largely replaced the previous grammar school).
    (Further details on  https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/index.html)

Schools/colleges in Hawarden, Flintshire not mentioned in DWB;

  • (1) Knutsford Ordination Test School, Hawarden (formerly Ordination Test School, Knutsford): established 1919 by Rev ''Tubby" Clayton, the founder of TocH, in a disused gaol at Knutsford, Cheshire. Intended primarily for Church of England ordinands who had served in the First World War. Reconstituted in 1922 and moved to Hawarden 1925. Still mentioned in Crockford's Clerical Directory 1957-58 as being "temporarily closed".
  • (2) "Housed in the Old Rectory is the William Temple Memorial College, a theological college for women, founded in 1947" ( Blue Guide: Wales, edited by L R Muirhead, 1953]. Worked with lay people.Transferred 1954 to the Old Rectory, Rugby, where male students were also admitted.  Moved again in 1971 to Manchester, where it formed the William Temple Foundation, now associated with Manchester University (see Theological Colleges: their hoods and histories, by Nicholas Groves, Burgon Society, 2004].
  • (3) St Deiniol's Residential Library, Hawarden, founded by W E Gladstone in 1889, includes a large selection of theological books. Between 1950-1995 it also ran a number of specialist courses for ordinands.

The situation in the other three ancient Welsh dioceses (apart from St David's) :

"Candidates for ordination from the one class who could afford to go to one of the ancient universities generally stayed in England, where the benefices were more remunerative.  Those from the other class [i.e. the less well-off] ... had to be provided with some other means of training.  The diocese of Bangor was the exception.  Those ordained in the first half of the nineteenth century were all graduates.  The other dioceses made use of their grammar schools.  In St Asaph, men were ordained from Ruthin Grammar School until the college of St Bees [q.v.] was opened in 1816.  This was reasonably accessible from North Wales by sea.  In Llandaff, 'divinity classes' were established in the grammar schools of Abergavenny and Cowbridge.  In St David's, similar classes were set up in a number of schools.  The biographer of Bishop Burgess stated that he licensed divinity classes at four grammar schools, Ystrad Meurig, Lampeter, Carmarthen and Brecon; but there is evidence that he accepted certificates from headmasters of other schools.  Haverfordwest had a divinity class, and certificates were accepted from a celebrated school at Castell Hywel [q.v.], near Llandysul, until Burgess found that the headmaster was a Socinian."

"The products of these schools were the 'literate persons' who figure largely in the ordination lists of this period.  It must be said that many of them were men of considerable ability.  As early as 1686, Bishop Lloyd of St Asaph wrote: 'But yet of those whom I have ordained the graduates have not always been the best scholars.  I have more than once seen them shamefully outdone by men that never saw the university'.  Later bishops in Wales would have nodded assent."   

"It was hoped that a new age had dawned when St David's College, Lampeter, was founded in 1827.  The grammar schools in the diocese of St David's lost their divinity classes immediately.  However, the Bishop of Llandaff admitted that until the middle of the century he had been mainly dependent on his divinity classes for his ordinands.  It was not until the death of the headmaster of Cowbridge in 1850, and the resignation of the headmaster of Abergavenny in 1855 that he had closed those classes."  [O W Jones, 'St Michael's College, Llandaff, 1892-1992', pp.5-6]

The Roman Catholic Church --- theological colleges


  • St Asaph: St Beuno's College: Whitaker's Almanack 1879
    • St Beuno's College, Tremeirchion: Former Jesuit training college near St Asaph, Flintshire.  The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins studied there for a time during the 1870s.    
  • Aberystwyth: St Mary's College ("for late vocations, secular and regular"): Whitaker's Almanack 1958. 
    • Dictionary of Welsh Biography 1941-70 mentions that Michael McGrath, later RC Archbishop of Cardiff, was from 1928 Parish Priest of Aberystwyth and Rector of the small Catholic college in that town.  ( Who was Who refers to him being Rector of "Diocesan College, Aberystwyth", 1927-1935).
    • Gerald Morgan, in his impressive new book "Ceredigion: A Wealth of History" (p234) provides the foundation date 1923 for the St Mary's Catholic seminary, housed in Castell Brychan, Aberystwyth, which is now the headquarters of the Welsh Book Council.



Bible Colleges in Wales

The following are not traditional theological colleges but they offer a different form of religious-based training:

  • Bible College of Wales, Swansea
    Founded by Rees Howells, a former miner, in 1924
  • South Wales Bible College, Barry
    Founded 1936 as the Barry School of Evangelism; renamed South Wales Bible College 1950-1985.
  • Evangelical Bible College of Wales, Bridgend
    Founded 1985, incorporating the former South Wales Bible College at Barry.


Begun in the year 1822 & opened March 1st 1827, is an extensive quadrangular structure, erected chiefly by the exertions of Dr Thomas Burgess, Bishop of St David's from 1803 to 1825; George IV while Prince Regent, gave £1000; a grant was also obtained from Parliament of £6000, the remainder being chiefly collected through the instrumentality of the Bishop. The College, which is incorporated by Royal charter, has the power of conferring the degrees of B.A. & B.D. & has attached to it scholarships & exhibitions of the annual value of over £590, being one of £50, two of £21, six of £20, & others ranging in value from £18 6s 8d to £8 5s. yearly. The value of the scholarships is partly realised to students by giving them the use of furnished rooms, attendance & dinners in Hall.  An Affiliation Studentship Fund has been formed with the view of assisting deserving students, who wish to avail themselves of the Affiliation Scheme to the Universities of Oxford & Cambridge, & a sum of £100 a year is also set apart for this purpose, from the W Dillwyn Llewelyn Trust, endowed by Sir John T. D. Llewelyn, of Penllergare, the studentships being known as the "Dillwyn Llewelyn Memorial Studentships." The college has been admitted by the Universities of Oxford & Cambridge to the privileges of an affiliated college. (A) Affiliation to Cambridge ---Students who have resided three years at St. David's College, & have obtained honours in its final examination, are excused from the previous examination at Cambridge, & are allowed to graduate after two years' residence only, on condition of their taking a tripos examination. All who have not passed in algebra at Lampeter are allowed to do son at Cambridge. The algebra in ordinary responsions does not qualify. (B) Affiliation to Oxford --- the principal advantage of affiliation to Oxford is that it allows a student who obtains honours either in moderations or in the second public examination to take his degree after two years' residence, instead of at least three, &, in the case of some honour schools, practically four years' residence. Affiliated students in all cases have to take honours both at Lampeter & Oxford. Those students who proceed after two years at St. David's College obtain the status of junior affiliated students, and are exempted from responsions, but have to pass moderations or take one of the equivalent examinations before proceeding to their final honour examination, & in all cases have to show a sufficient knowledge of Greek. Those students who proceed after three years obtain, like graduates of other universities, the status of senior affiliated students at Oxford, are exempted from moderations as well as responsions, & take only the final honour examination, but (unless they take Literae Humaniores or Theology) have to pass a supplementary examination in Greek. Legal Education : In pursuance of the powers obtained in the "Solicitors' Act, 1877", the Lords Justices have ordered that those who have passed the responsions examination of St. David's college shall be exempted from the preliminary examination. The library contains about 50,000 volumes. Visitor, the Lord Bishop of St. David's.

Principal & Professor of Greek & Theology & Senior Bursar, the Rev. Llewellyn John Montfort Bebb D.D. formerly Fellow, Tutor & Vice-Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford.

Phillips' Professor of Physical Science & Professor of Mathematics, Arthur William Scott M.A. Trinity College, Dublin.

Professor of Latin, Senior Tutor & Librarian, Rev. Geo. Woosung Wade D.D. of Oriel College, Oxford.

Professor of English & Philosophy, Hugh Walker LL.D. of Balliol College, Oxford & Glasgow (Junior Bursar)

Professor of Theology & Hebrew, Junior Tudor, Censor & Precentor, Rev Edmund Tyrrell Green M.A. of St John's College, Oxford

Professor of Welsh & Steward, Rev. Evan Lorimer Thomas M.A. of Jesus College, Oxford.

Lecturer in Mathematics, Rev. Benjamin Davies M.A. Worcester College, Oxford.

Lecturer in History, Arthur Harold Dainton B.A. Jesus College, Oxford.

Lecturer in Theology & Parochialia, Rev. Cecil Cryer M.A. St John's College, Oxford.

The College School was opened in 1884.


The Principal & Professors of St. David's College, The Mayor of Lampeter & Mr J. E. Harford.

Head Master: Rev. William Llewelyn Footman, M.A. of Jesus College, Oxford.

Assistant Masters:

Classics, C. H. Firbank, B.A. Lond. Rev Richard Humphrey Richards B.A. Jesus College, Oxford; J.R. Evans, Lond. Univ & William Lewis

Mathematics & Science, Rev. David Jones M.A. of Lampeter & Jesus College, Oxford.

Drawing, W. Lewis

Rifle Shooting & Physical Drill, H. Baldwin

Manual Instruction, G. A. Richards.

Kelly's Directory of South Wales, 1910