United Theological College, Aberystwyth

The United Theological College located in Aberystwyth, in the county of Ceredigion in mid Wales, is a Grade II listed building which was the ministerial training college of the Presbyterian Church of Wales from 1906 to 2003 and an associate college of the University of Wales.

United Theological College
The United Theological College, Aberystwyth
General information
Town or cityAberystwyth
CountryUnited Kingdom
Design and construction
ArchitectGeorge Croydon Marks
Listed Building – Grade II
Official nameThe United Theological College
Designated24 November 1987
Reference no.10308


According to the Cardiganshire County History, 'Theol Coll' (as it was affectionately known in the town) opened in Aberystwyth in 1906 on the seafront site of the former Customs House.[1] This in turn was demolished and the stone-built Cambrian Hotel was built on the site in 1896 to the design of George Croydon Marks, engineer to the Aberystwyth Improvement Company.[2]

The hotel failed to prosper and the building was purchased by David Davies MP in 1906 and was presented to the Calvinistic Methodist Connexion as a residential theological college, at a total cost of about £30,000. The professors and students of Trevecka College in Breconshire were transferred to the new college in 1906. In 1910 there were about 30 students. Later, because of the falling number of students training for the ministry, the college opened its doors to students wanting to take a theology degree as an academic subject alone. Degrees offered included Bachelor of Divinity (BD) and Master of Theology (MTh).

Former principals of the college include the Reverend Owen Prys (1906–1927), the Revd Samuel Ifor Enoch (1963–1979), the Revd Rheinallt Nantlais Williams (1979–1980) and the Revd John Tudno Williams (1998–2003). Other lecturers at the college included Emrys G. Bowen and Sir Glanmor Williams, the latter an occasional visiting lecturer. Bruce M. Metzger, the American biblical scholar and textual critic of Princeton Theological Seminary gave a lecture at the college in 1981.[3]

The United Theological College in Aberystwyth closed in 2003, when the Presbyterian Church of Wales relocated its ministerial training to Bangor. The college's extensive library, which contained many rare and old theological books, is now mainly held at the University Library in Lampeter and the National Library of Wales.

Notable staff and alumniEdit


Owen Prys, first Principal, in 1922
  • Owen Prys (1857–1934), Principal 1906–27, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Wales in 1910.[4]
  • Howel Harris Hughes (1873–1956), Principal 1927–39, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Wales during World War II, 1939–41.[5]
  • Rev Gwilym Edwards, Principal 1939–49, and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Wales.
  • Rev William Richard Williams, Principal 1949–62, and President of the Council of Churches of Wales, and Chairman of the British Committee of the Presbyterian Alliance.
  • Rev Samuel Ifor Enoch, Principal 1963–1978.
  • Rev Rheinallt Nantlais Williams, Principal 1978–1980.
  • Rev Elfed ap Nefydd Roberts, MA, DD, Principal 1980–1997.
  • Rev John Tudno Williams, Principal 1998–2003, and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Wales 2006-7.



  • Glenn Christodoulou, Chairman of the Crimean War Research Society from 1983–95.
  • Rev J. E. Wynne Davies, graduated BD in 1963. Lectured periodically in Church History and Pastoral Studies at the Theological College and was editor of the Historical Journal of the Presbyterian Church of Wales from 1977 to 2000. He has been the Chairman of the History Committee since 1988 and was curator of the Calvinistic Methodist Archives deposited at the National Library of Wales between 1983 and 2007. He was Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, 2000–2001.
  • James Daniel Evans (1870–1936), Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, 1935-6.
  • John Harris Hughes, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Wales in 1975
  • David Evan Jones, missionary in India..
  • J. E. Caerwyn Williams, formerly Professor of Irish at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and the first Director of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies.[7]
  • Fiona Cuthbertson (nee Bryce) has established Keystone Consulting (www.keystone-consulting.co.uk), a public affairs agency that specialises in tax, retail crime, infrastructure and transport. A key success was the reduction in business rates for retailers by 50%, a reduction that was increased to 100% in the March 2020 Budget.[8] She has also been a Parliamentary candidate: Preston 2005[9][circular reference] and a borough councillor in Merton from 2002 - 2006 having taken her place with a 13% swing from Labour. Her first novel, Party Games - a political thriller - was released on 6 May[10]


  1. ^ Cardiganshire County History Vol III (p502)
  2. ^ Cadw. "The United Theological College (10308)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  3. ^ Jacobus H. Petzer and Patrick J. Hartin (editors) A South African Perspective on the New Testament: Essays by South African New Testament Scholars presented to Bruce Manning Metzger during his Visit to South Africa in 1985 (1986) pg 3
  4. ^ "Prys, Owen". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales.
  5. ^ "Hughes, Howel Harris". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales.
  6. ^ Sell on Theopedia
  7. ^ Professor JE Caerwyn Williams Scholar and polyglot who was a world authority on Celtic language and literatureThe Guardian – 27 September 1999
  8. ^ "Budget 2020 : Temporary business rates relief package - KPMG United Kingdom". 25 January 2022.
  9. ^ Preston (UK Parliament constituency)
  10. ^ "Party Games – Blossom Spring Publishing".

External linksEdit