Codrington College, St. John, BarbadosCodrington College

The history of Codrington College in the parish of St. John in Barbados is intriguing based on its educational and historical background. The land on which it was built was owned by a prominent white Barbadian, Christopher Codrington III, son of Christopher Codrington II who was at one time Governor General of the Leeward Islands.

The younger Codrington was a supporter of slave amelioration as well as poor whites, and in his will he left his estate lands in Society and Consett, St. John to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. His wishes stated that a number of professors should be hired to instruct in the areas of medicine surgery and divinity. More specifically, Christopher Codrington III ordered that "…three hundred negroes should always be kept thereon…". For an extended period after his death, his wishes were not adhered to as the Barbadian gentry were not supportive of his efforts to educate and "Christianize" the slave population.

Construction on the buildings and property known as Codrington College started in 1715 and was never finished until some twenty-three (23) years later in 1743. It was opened in 1745, with the chapel being dedicated four (4) years later in 1749. All during this time, the intent to instruct and include slaves or people of colour was baulked upon. It was only in 1790, when the Anti-Slave movement in England became more forceful and raised protests against the Anglican Church were any substantial changes noted. The impact of this forceful action, of course extended to the slaves and the plantation owners in Barbados.

Events at the College then took winding turns until finally reaching its current status in 2011. In brief, the curriculum first started as general education. In 1830, greater focus was placed on training and preparing students for ordination to the priesthood. In 1875, it sought to provide instruction in the Classics and Theology. After several other iterations, Codrington College settled to focus exclusively on theological studies in 1955.

Today in the 21C, Codrington College, is a full Anglican theological college and can still be classified as the oldest such institution in the western hemisphere. Leading off from a long driveway flanked by tall palm trees, the property consists of a series of imposing stone buildings, manicured lawns, gardens and ponds: a place conducive to therapy and relaxation. It offers several training options and is widely recognized region-wide and internationally for the quality of its instruction and the caliber of persons who have received instruction at the college in Barbados.

There is a comprehensive lay training study programme which is conducted on Saturdays, the outcome of which is the receipt of a Diploma in Theological Studies on successful completion. The St. John institution also has a Conference and Study Centre and there are extensive library facilities. Both short-term and long-term accommodation is available on site Post-graduate studies in theology are available at Codrington College. In essence, Codrington provides a wide-ranging set of services to meet the need of the modern student.

This expansive property in Barbados is enjoyed by all. It is open to the public for visits and is a favour stop for picnickers who simply wish to tour the grounds and take pictures, the lawn areas are sometimes used for wedding shots and it is certainly a favourite with the official tour company operators from Barbados.

Donations to the work of the college can be made online. For further information on Codrington College in Barbados, click here.


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