Theological education and ministerial training for the ordained ministry of the Church of England 1800 - 1850

Park, Trevor (1990). Theological education and ministerial training for the ordained ministry of the Church of England 1800 - 1850. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000dfe0

Abstract

There were no establishments of higher education in England and Wales in 1800 where an Anglican ordinand could receive a professional training to prepare him for his future parochial ministry, Most men who took Holy Orders in the Church of England had no more theological education than any other graduate of the two English universities. If the candidate had been educated at Oxford, his degree was largely in classical studies, if at Cambridge in mathematics.

By 1850 the situation had changed radically. In response to mounting criticism there had been some modest reforms in the two ancient universities, most notably the establishment at Oxford in 1842 of two new regius professorships in Pastoral Theology and Ecclesiastical History , and at Cambridge the introduction of the Voluntary Theological Examination in 1843. More importantly nine new institutions of higher education which catered for Anglican ordinands had been founded. These were:

1817 St Bees Clerical Institution
1825 C. M. S. Institution, Islington
1827 St David's College, Lampeter
1831 King's College, London
1833 Durham University
1839 Chichester Diocesan Theological College
1840 Wells Diocesan Theological College
1847 St Aidan's College, Birkenhead
1848 St Augustine's Missionary College, Canterbury

In addition, the Theological Department of the Queen's College, Birmingham existed in part - it had premises and staff but' no studentsl Two more institutions were under consideration at Cuddesdon (Oxford) and at Lichfield.

This study explores why and how this transformation took place in the provision of theological education and ministerial training for the ordained ministry of the Church of England between 1800 - 1850. More particularly it documents who the men were who had the vision and entrepreneural skills to found new colleges and universities$ what the social, political and ecclesiastical factors were which motivated them to undertake this great work, and what influenced the form and ethos of these new institutions. In so doing, it is a record of part of the Church of England's contribution to higher education during that half century. [math mode missing closing $]

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