A proud history
Our shared story
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. Our members were founded on princples of widening access and breaking down barrier in education, several of our oldest members were the first to admit women students on an equal footing with men. Our oldest member is the University of Wales Trinity St David, whose Royal Charter dating back to 1828, is the oldest in Wales and England, after the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Amongst our other earliest founding members were the universities of Chester, Chichester and York St John, 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 and degree apprenticeships, combining university study with learning at work. All our Member institutions have university status and the majority have Research Degree Awarding Powers.
Our members are key contributors in ensuring that higher education in England and Wales is diverse and inclusive. We have maintained our focus on ensuring we offer opportunities to people from all backgrounds who might otherwise not have access to university. We continue to work closely with the Churches to bring a distinctive voice to debates about the role and evolution of higher education.