Our Heritage

All but one of The Cathedrals Group universities were founded by the Churches for the purpose of training teachers for Church schools, in the days before the state provided education for all. Most were founded in the first half of the 19th Century and are amongst the oldest higher education providers in the UK. They were the first to admit women students on an equal footing with men. The earliest foundation was the University of Chester in 1839, with the most recent, including Canterbury Christ Church University and Newman University, founded in the 1960s. 


Over time our Member institutions have grown in size and diversified their academic portfolio. Education degrees are now just a small part of the many hundreds of course combinations on offer from across the full range of academic disciplines. Our institutions provide a wide variety of postgraduate study and research opportunities as well as new foundation degrees combining university study with learning at work. 2013 marks a special year for The Cathedrals Group, with all our Member institutions having achieved (or about to achieve) university status.


The exception to this model is our newest Member institution - Heythrop College, the specialist philosophy and theology college of the University of London. In 2014 Heythrop College celebrates the 400th anniversary of its foundation by the Society of Jesus in Louvain, Belgium. The College moved to England at the end of the eighteenth century, first to Stoneyhurst in Lancashire and then to Heythrop Hall near Oxford in 1926, before settling in London in 1970. Originally established as a college to educate English Jesuits, Heythrop now welcomes students of all faiths, backgrounds and nationalities. Heythrop has been preparing students for University of London degrees since 1836 and in 1971 was established by royal charter as a College of the University of London.  


We are proud of our history but we also look to the future, with values such as community and partnership, social justice and equity, built on our rich heritage. We seek to blend the traditional and the contemporary to best effect, ensuring Member institutions offer a modern university experience with first-rate facilities, excellent teachers and researchers working at the cutting edge of their subject areas. Achieving Fairtrade status, running estates on green electricity, and sustaining strong sporting traditions are all ways our Member institutions work out their commitment to these core values and build community on campus.


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