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Taking Tripos

From WF Fleming's notes "for the future historian of Wesley House"

A few notes about the first forty years 1921-1961

Since all the original students of Wesley House were graduates already, either of Cambridge or of some other university, it was decided that they should read for the Theological Tripos. Later on, in accordance with the expressed wish of William Greenhalgh, one of the original benefactors, some non-graduates were sent to Wesley House.

Graduates, by the process known as 'affiliation' could take the Cambridge B.A. after two years' work on the Theological Tripos. A non-graduate required three years to complete the degree course. A man who was a Cambridge graduate already could spend only two further years on the Tripos. A graduate from anywhere else could spend as much as five years on the Theological Tripos, and this made it possible for many House men to read Part II as well as Part I, (much later, after 1949, known as Part III and Part II respectively). It was for this reason that, as time went on, some Cambridge graduate accepted candidates for the ministry were sent to other Methodist colleges for their theological training, while Oxford men came as a rule to Wesley House, and because undergraduates again, with liberty, like men from other universities, to take the full theological course at Cambridge.


This policy of basing the training at Wesley House upon the Tripos was consistently followed through successive decades, and a long succession of high honours in the Class Lists helped to give Wesley House a firm standing in the eyes of the Divinity Faculty. In 1922, only a year after the college began, Eric Baker was awarded the Carus Greek Testament Prize and during the first forty years nine other men obtained the same award. During these years House men gained also numerous other university prizes and awards, including the Hulsean and Burney Prizes, the Crosse and the Peregrine Maitland Studentships, and the Junior and Senior Scholefied Prizes (awarded on the results of the Tripos). In these university awards the provenance of the successful candidate was often decently veiled in the Cambridge University Reporter under the abbreviations, up to 1934 of Non-Coll., and thereafter of Fitzw. (i.e. Fitzwilliam). From 1928 onwards the Finch Travelling Scholarship (endowed by Mr John Finch of Thames Ditton) made it possible for a succession of House men (beginning with Erastus Evans at Marburg) to enjoy the benefit of a year’s study at a continental university and so to lay a foundation for future scholarly research.


A few men continued to come from other Cambridge colleges (including Jesus, Christ’s, Peterhouse, Trinity, St Catharine’s, Pembroke, and Corpus Christi) but the majority of men sent to the House came from other universities and were matriculated in the University through Fitzwilliam House. Wesley House had the happiest relations with the succeeding Censors, Mr WF Reddaway (an old Kingswood boy), Mr WS Thatcher and Dr WW Grave, and the Senior Tutor, Mr RN Walters with trustful courtesy continued year by year readily to accept the men that Wesley House recommended for matriculation.

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