Codrington College – A truly stunning location

Codrington College is an Anglican theological college in St. John, Barbados. It was founded by Christopher Codrington, who after his death in 1710 left portions of his ‘estates’ – two slave labour plantations on Barbados and areas of Barbuda – to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts to establish a college in Barbados. Construction was started in 1714, and the College was eventually opened on September 9, 1745.

It initially provided a general education but began to teach advanced studies as early as 1748; this served as a preparatory education before the students – usually sons of the local gentry – went to an English university.

The first graduate was ordained in 1759, and in 1830 the college began exclusively to train students for ordination. This marked it as the one of the first theological colleges of the Anglican Church; only St. David’s College Lampeter and the General Theological Seminary pre-date it, whilst Chichester, the first English theological college, was only opened in 1839. In 1831 the site was almost completely destroyed by a hurricane, but was rebuilt.

In 1875 the college became affiliated to the University of Durham, which awarded degrees to Codrington graduates until 1958; it then affiliated to the University of the West Indies in 1965. Following affiliation with Durham, it began to offer degrees in Classics as well as Theology, but has concentrated on theological studies since 1955. For a while, it was managed by the Community of the Resurrection. It began to offer post-graduate courses in 1989.

The college currently maintains several archives relating to the churches of the West Indies.

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