Our history

On 1st January 1972 Stoke House opened its doors for the first time under the newly formed Trinity College which was a merging of three Bristol theological colleges: Clifton Theological College which first used the building for theological education in 1932, Tyndale Hall and the women’s college Dalton House.

Pictured below are the students and staff of the newly formed Trinity College in 1972. In the front row (middle) is Trinity’s first principal, Alec Motyer, with Associate Principal JI Packer to his left, Dean of Women Joyce Baldwin to his right, and Dean Gervais Angel to Joyce’s right.

Our history is a colourful one, and we acknowledge that the forming of Trinity could have been handled better, as Colin Buchanan’s book , Three Become One, explores, but we rejoice in how God has used us all. It is a remarkable legacy that has been laid. As a community, it’s exciting to think of the future ahead as we consider all that God has done through all who have been involved with Trinity be they students, ordinands, staff or faculty.  In doing so, it’s easy to reflect how our current cohort benefits from the rich experience of our alumni but it’s also worth acknowledging that while our history is young, so are some of our current students with a good portion of them having not been born when Trinity started.   

The Grounds

Trinity is located on a nine acre site in northwest Bristol in the United Kingdom. The college’s main building, Stoke House, was completed in 1669 for British merchant, Bristol mayor, and Member of Parliament, Sir Robert Cann. Research in 2020 by our Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr Jamie Davies, into the history of Stoke House, revealed links between the Cann family and the transatlantic trade in enslaved peoples. It is, he concluded, “beyond reasonable doubt” that Stoke House exists because of profits from this trade. The Cann family, he discovered, was not only passively complicit in this trade (as was much of Bristol) but themselves actively involved through the kidnapping, purchase, and sale of slaves, and were involved in promoting and defending the practice of transatlantic slavery from its inception. We believe the enslavement of other human beings is a sin and an affront to God, in whose image all people are made. We are aware that we continue to benefit from ownership of the building. Part of our vision to ‘live like the kingdom is near’ includes becoming a more diverse and inclusive institution and this is something we are actively working on.

Over time, Stoke House’s former orangery became the college chapel. The ballroom, an extension to the original house, became the library. Modern additions to the grounds include the Carter building for single and commuter students, the Clifton building with studies and smaller lecture rooms, the student common room, the dining room, the main lecture rooms, our day nursery, and Henry Martyn House, which is equipped for virtual seminars as well as guest accommodation.

Trinity offers on-site accommodation for single students and college flats and houses off-site for couples and families. We also offer guest rooms for visitors.

We are currently looking forward to continuing the consultation for the site development project which looks to build new on-site accommodation for single ordinands while making the best use of the assets we already have. 

Our Vision

We want Christ’s kingdom values to permeate every area of our lives, affecting how we live and work each day, how we learn more of God, and how we lead his people. Our students partake in a warm, vibrant community, which includes support for student spouses, an Ofsted-registered day nursery, and regular times for prayer, Eucharist, and meals together. You can read more about our vision and values here.

We offer undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate study options, including a certificate, diploma, BA (Hons), graduate diploma, postgraduate diploma, MA, and PhD accredited through Durham University and Aberdeen University. You can read more about our programmes here.

Our Mission has and continues to be for kingdom living, kingdom learning and kingdom leading. Our task is shaping leaders of Christ-like character in community for a missional church.

Fifty Years of Trinity

This year of 2022 marks a significant milestone for our community as we celebrate fifty years of Trinity. We want to take the time to celebrate by bringing the community together both past and present.


When looking at our records (that only go back so far), Andrew Lucas, our Executive Director, estimates that Trinity has taught and sent on approximately 1400+ ordinands over this period, of whom we are immensely proud.  

The future holds many great opportunities. In particular, we are looking forward to continuing the consultation for the site development project which looks to build new on-site accommodation for single ordinands while making the best use of the assets we already have. 

It is exciting to think about the impact those 1400 ordinands have had on the world but even more exciting to think of the impact that our current students and those we’ve not even met yet will have too. 

We would like to thank you for joining us on the journey so far and we’d love to invite you to continue to support us in our plans for the future.  


Join us for a celebration.


To mark this important time we are planning to have a celebration later this year on the 11th June. 

We thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to invite the entire alumni and extended community back to Stoke Bishop to meet old friends in your year group, meet current tutors and faculty and to learn about how the college has grown and changed over the years.

So, spread the word; invite your prayer group, study buddies and connect companions.

We really are looking forward to welcoming you back.

Purchase your tickets using this link:

trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk/50th-tickets Tickets are no longer on sale.


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