All posts by Margaret Masson

New Portrait unveiled in St Chad’s Moulsdale Hall

Last Thursday, we unveiled a new portrait in St Chad’s – of Julia Warde-Aldam, one of the co-founders of our college. It was a wonderful evening: choral Evensong, a splendid formal and a real sense of occasion and celebration. We were so pleased that her great-grandson Jamie and great-great-grandson Mark could be with us for the occasion. We were also delighted that the artist is a Chad’s undergraduate, Alice Channon, who has done such an excellent job. It is also good to have a woman honoured on the walls of Moulesdale Hall after all this time!


St Chad’s revisits its past

St Chad’s Choir visits Hooton Pagnell

Sunday 23rd June St Chad’s College “came home”. Hooton Pagnell, a small village near Doncaster, is a remarkably pretty village of stone-built properties, unspoiled by the 20th century. It’s the place where St Chad’s ultimately began in 1899 with an idea propounded by the vicar, Frederick Samuel Willoughby to provide for the preparation for ordination of young aspiring Anglo-Catholic men from less advantaged background, still the enduring principle of St Chad’s today. The vicarage still has a small plaque proclaiming “St Chad’s”.

Hooton Pagnell Hall
Hooton Pagnell Hall

From rooms in the vicarage to boarding out in the surrounding farms and cottages all around, St Chad’s proved so successful that it soon required its own accommodation. Step forward Sarah Julia Warde-Aldam, Lady of the Manor of Hooton Pagnell. She paid for a purpose-built Hostel and for countless smaller needs of the nascent College.

We were greeted at her former home, Hooton Pagnell Hall, by its current owner, her great-grandson Mark Warde-Norbury.

Julia Warde-Aldam

There we were shown 2 portraits of her, one of which is to be copied by our super-talented student, Alice Channon and it is eventually to hang in our dining hall in Durham next to Douglas Horsfall, as a tribute to the debt we owe her.


The Hall and estate date back to the early 17th century but passed into the hands of the Warde family and their descendants in 1703. It was extensively restored in the 19th century. It now hosts weddings and bed & breakfast but it has not lost its feeling of a family home. It became our base for the day, and most welcome were we made.

Hooton Pagnell Church

Next to the Hall, linked by a private gateway, is the church of All Saints. It provided Chad’s first chapel. The church is largely 13th century with late Saxon elements. Here the choir sang a concert of mixed liturgical and secular pieces in aid of local fundraising, including “Morning Thoughts” written by our Organ scholar and soon to be Musical Director Matthew Kelley, and a World Premiere of “A prayer of St Chad” by David Beadnall. The tiny church was packed. The choir sounded divine. The Principal spoke of the links between College and village and Hall, and the audience was enchanted. “I got a lump in my throat when the choir started ‘I was glad’” I heard one lady say.

The concert over, we walked down the village street together to tea in the Hostel. Over the door is carved in Celtic lettering “Built A.D. 1903”. As you step through the door you could be back then sharing in the daily concerns of the young men living there. I could almost see the fug of tobacco smoke that clung below its rafters as the students relaxed at the end of a busy day.

It is now the village hall and community centre. There the community turned out to greet us and share their Yorkshire hospitality. So much was there that we brought much of it back with us to feed our ever-hungry students in Durham. We ate, we laughed, we chatted, we swapped stories of Chad’s and of the Warde-Aldams and we built new relationships between the College and the village. It was 7.30 pm when we finally left, replete and happy in our new-old connection.

Hooton Pagnell tea

Scholarship success for St Chad’s students

Congratulations to Agoston Horani and Nina Halgarth, Chad’s first year students who have each just been awarded a Peter Kirk Memorial Fund scholarship to undertake a small-scale research project relating to Europe. Agoston will be studying “Jazz Culture among European Youngsters” and Nina will be exploring present-day attitudes to the reunification of West and East Germany in the early 1990s and Catalonian ambitions to sever links with Spain.

The Chair of the Fund wrote to tell the Principal of their success and to say that out of 70 applicants nationally, 20 were interviewed and nine scholarships awarded, so to have two awarded to students of the same small Durham college was an impressive achievement for St Chad’s as well as for Nina and Agoston.

We look forward to hearing presentations of their research next academic year.


St Chad’s Chaplain

Congratulations to our Chaplain, David Rushton, for passing his Master of Theology (Chaplaincy Studies) from Cardiff University with merit.  The title of his dissertation is: “In which direction do we face?  A study of how Church of England chaplains operate within secular institutions as they seek to serve both the Church and the employing institution.”

A relieved-looking chaplain about to submit his dissertation.


“Building a better World”: St Chad’s 1918-1925

Thanks to Jenny Parker, St Chad’s Librarian and Archivist, a window onto Chad’s history was opened last Saturday. An exhibition of archives and photographs “Building a better World” focused on 1918-1925 through the experiences and careers of Chadsmen who had seen military action. The chapel too was open to visitors to view the War Memorial Reredos.  This was a time when St Chad’s celebrated it’s coming of age, rapidly expanded its student body and began to win sporting trophies and achieve unprecedented academic excellence.

The exhibition clearly demonstrated that the commitment to rebuilding society evident in the lives of Chadsmen of that era is still very evident today in the life choices of our more recent graduates.



Chad’s 62nd Candlemas Ball

The 62nd Candlemas ball took place in the beautifully decorated grounds of Chad’s on Friday.

The Quad looked terrific

Mini-decs who had spent the week creating large pieces of artwork for the ball had their pieces adorning each room alongside the magnificent entertainments the committee arranged. The rooms in college were all transformed into worlds of pure imagination. Entertainments included a casino room in the SCR, an Oxygen bar in the JCR, a film room, bucking bronco, inflatable fighting ring, chocolate fountains and much more. The children’s ball pit in the Quad proved to be the most popular with teams of raucous Chadians playfully hurling balls at one another for the entirety of the night.

a fantastic meal..

The lighting display on the dance floor in the Dining hall was fantastic and survivors gathered there at the end of the night to eat pizza and participate in the survivors photo!

A tremendous amount of effort and planning went into creating a fantastic 62nd Candlemas which will be remembered as a magical evening.

For ever and ever.


Chad’s Celebrates Lunar New Year

On Sunday, 20 Chad’s students visited Newcastle to enjoy the Lunar New Year celebration. Second year student, Katya, shares her impressions of the visit:

Dragon Dance, Newcastle

“Hi, my name is Katya and I went to the Lunar New Year celebration. After witnessing the ‘Lion dance’ at Chad’s International Formal last year I was thrilled to see the ‘Dragon dance’ in the streets of Newcastle which involved more than 10 people dancing whilst holding a dragon puppet. This was followed by a picturesque performance of dancing and lighting small, red fireworks, accompanied by drums. The day concluded with a meal at the Sky Chinese Cuisine where we had the opportunity to try new dishes such as pork feet and chicken in bean sauce. Since we were all sharing food we had the opportunity to indulge in several interesting dishes and try Chinese tea. I am really grateful that the College sponsored this event because it allowed us to celebrate a new festival and explore a different culture.”

Thank you to Chris Peng and all who helped to organise this visit.

Reading Allowed (or the Chad’s Dead Poets’ Society)

Reading Allowed had its first meeting this Saturday past.  Around 15 people came, many to share, some just to listen. We squeezed into a snug little room in Grad’s building. This, alongside the hot drinks and dim lamplight, added to the cosiness. We kicked off with a short children’s story about arrogant raindrops. Reading passed anticlockwise around the circle; with teas, hot chocolates and coffees frantically assembled in the intervening spaces. We had a huge variety of pieces: from Hungarian poetry to Silmarillion to Plath to two people’s own work to a passage on fecal analysis from a non-fiction book on wolves. We have no particular limitations on what can be read; speeches and song lyrics being examples of other writing people may share in the future.

There are currently around 26 people on the chat where we organise the meetings. As it is open-invite, more people are slowly trickling in as their friends recommend it. Overall it was a sort of gender-diverse Dead Poets’ Society; something that we didn’t realise until we actually started. There is another one planned this Saturday, hopefully then continuing every other week.

P.S. Much as we love a pun, we’re hoping that a quote will be shared at some point that makes for an even more fitting name.

Robbie Bell

St Chad’s Welcomes 3 New Visiting Fellows

St Chad’s College is pleased to announce the appointment of three new Visiting Fellows.

Professor James Piscatori has worked at several universities in the UK, Australia and the United States.  He was, until recently, Professor and Head of Department in Durham University’s School of Government and International Affairs.  He has also been Senior Fellow at two research institutions — the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and has served on several international collaborative committees such as the Committee for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies of the Social Science Research Council, and was co-editor of a series on Muslim Politics for Princeton University Press. Professor Piscatori’s work has centred on two themes:  Islam and international relations; and Islamic political thought, particularly as it relates to democratisation in Middle Eastern societies.  Area focus has been principally, but not exclusively, on the Arab states of the Gulf.  Recently, he has been working on pan-Islamism and Islamic transnationalism, and specifically investigating the contemporary meaning of the ummah (community of the faith). 

Adam Wurr is a Chad’s alumnus who has served in HM Diplomatic Service since 1995.  His positions have included serving as First Secretary and Charge D’Affaires in the British Embassy in Beirut and First Secretary in the British High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria.  Adam has been appointed Visiting Fellow at Durham University’s School of Government and International Affairs.

Bishop Graham Kings has recently been appointed Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion, a role established by the Archbishop of Canterbury to research, stimulate, connect and publish works of theology in the Anglican Communion, with particular focus on insights from Africa, Asia and Latin America, in their ecumenical contexts. Graham Kings is based in London, visits Durham University, as an Honorary Fellow, and travels in the Communion. He convenes a series of seminars in Anglican Communion Studies for theologians, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Graham Kings was Bishop of Sherborne; founding Director of the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide; Vice Principal of St Andrew’s College, Kabare, Kenya (as a CMS Mission Partner). He studied at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Utrecht. He is a published poet, and has written for The Times and The Guardian, and books on theology of mission, Kenyan liturgies and theology and art. He is an Honorary Fellow in Durham University’s Theology department.