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  • John Stanfield

John Stanfield - Cambridge 1946-1950

During my first year in Cambridge I decided to offer for the Methodist Ministry and with Ronald Spivey’s help I candidated. This meant a change in my Tripos. I completed the Economics part 1, and then changed to Theology for the rest of my time. I remained under my supervisor. The change meant that I had to start Greek, but was excused Hebrew because of war service.

I lived in Wesley House for my third and fourth years in Cambridge, and was able to leave most of my books and goods there during the vacations as my parents were in China. I was fortunate because Trinity College was responsible for my Tripos results and I escaped the pressures that Wesley put on its students (under Dr Flew and Mr Flemington). This was an enormous advantage. . I went to the same university lectures as Wesley House but was tutored from Trinity. Of course, I did the rest of the ministerial training as the rest of the Wesley students.

In my last year I was elected Chairman of House and had to liaise between Dr Flew and the students. As many of us were returned ‘veterans’…Ben Drewery had been 3 years in Japanese POW camp in Malaysia…Nigel Gilson an RAF navigator DFC…Hugh Bone had landed in the very first wave on the Normandy beaches…I had been an SOE Major in the Far East…we were not very amenable to adolescent restriction.

Dr Flew was Chairman of the Faith and Order Committee of the World Council of Churches. This met in Wesley House during the vacation. Dr Flew asked me to stay after term to act as ‘message boy’ to the Committee. This was interesting as I met many of the big theological names from all over the world which I knew from their books…Michael Ramsey (later Archbishop of Canterbury), Professor Latourette from USA and many Professors and Principals.

Life in Wesley House involved groups from Meth Soc, ‘pubs’ in the evenings in different students’ rooms; afternoons of rugger or tennis, or punting; and many activities as well as study. Social life flourished, with dances, balls,…As most of the Colleges were male preserves, the balance was made a little better with Homerton teacher training College. Several romances flourished, often in Meth Soc…

With great effort with Greek and university lectures, and special Wesley House lectures, I eventually just managed to obtain my degree: Economics and Theology, and was preented to the Vice Chancellor Canon Raven to have the degree bestowed in the ancient manner, placing my hands between his.

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