Hatfield College: Wikis


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Hatfield College
Durham University

Hatfield College.svg

Motto Vel Primus Vel Cum Primis

"Either the first or with the first" (colloquialised in College as "be the best you can be")

Named after Bishop Thomas Hatfield
Established 1846
Master Prof. Tim Burt
Senior Tutor Dr. Penny Widdison
Senior Man Mikey Stevens
Undergraduates 736
Postgraduates 106
Website Hatfield College
JCR Website Hatfield JCR
MCR Website Hatfield MCR
Boat Club Website Hatfield Boat Club
Campus Durham City
Hatfield College is located in Durham

Location of Hatfield College within DurhamCoordinates: 54°46′27″N 1°34′25″W / 54.774234°N 1.5734885°W / 54.774234; -1.5734885

Hatfield College is a college of the University of Durham in England. Founded in 1846 by the Rev. David Melville, it is the second oldest of Durham's colleges, and was originally called Bishop Hatfield's Hall. It is named after Thomas Hatfield, Prince-Bishop of Durham from 1345 to 1381.

Hatfield College occupies a large site above the River Wear on North Bailey next to Durham Cathedral on the World Heritage Site peninsula. The buildings are an eclectic blend of 17th century halls, early Victorian buildings and major additions during the last century. The college's entrance is via a gateway from North Bailey. The college boathouse is situated within the grounds, as is the Victorian college chapel.


History & Buildings

Dunham Court in the snow

Originally the Castle's servant quarters, during the eighteenth century, the oldest part of the site was a coaching inn known as the Red Lion, which was for many years the centre of concert and social life in Durham, playing host to composers such as Charles Avison. The dining room, known in the 18th Century as Richardson's Long-Room and later Hoult's Assembly Room, remains substantially unchanged, retaining many of its original features.[1]

Hatfield College was established in 1846 as the second college of the University. The establishment of the college as a furnished and catered residence with fees set in advance was a revolutionary idea at the time and later became a general practice at student residences. The origin of this idea came from the founding Master, Rev. David Melville. Melville’s idea for the college was that college residence and higher education should be economically viable to the financially disadvantaged. Three principles to Melville’s model were that rooms would be furnished and let out to students with shared servants, meals would be provided and eaten in the college hall and college battels (bills) were set in advance. Melville’s model was not introduced within the university until recommended by the Royal Commission of 1862, whereby it was later used at Keble College and eventually worldwide.

Hatfield College Rectory, and A and B stairs in the snow

Although not established as a theological college, the first 50 years of the college saw a majority of theology students and staff as members of the college, with senior staff members and the Principal (who was always been a clergyman until 1897) being a cleric. The rise in students to over a hundred, resulting from the popularity of theology, resulted in the college's buying Bailey house and the Rectory to accommodate its students in the 1890s. Toward the end of the nineteenth century Hatfield’s demography had shifted from theology to education and science and resulted in the building of ‘C Stairs’ to increase the amount of accommodation.

The entrance to Hatfield College in the snow

The economic shortfall during the 1920s led to an uncertain situation for Hatfield, although with a larger number of students than University College it lacked the facilities, especially kitchens, to accommodate them. The solution resulted in the amalgamation of Hatfield and University Colleges with all meals being taken at the former. As a result of this Hatfield was awarded monies to fund its tutorial system and the introduction of electricity. During World War II the college was taken over by a local teaching college and students were moved to nearby accommodation on the Bailey. After the war and twenty years of co-operation with University College, Hatfield students were able to return to their college although a number of problems faced the college such as the number of students rising as a result of the backlog of students resulting from the war and rebuilding the morale and freedom of students. As a result new buildings were built and refurbished (e.g. Pace, Gate-house and Kitchen Blocks) as well as accommodation away from the main site being bought along with the establishment of the Senior Common Room.

During the late twentieth century Hatfield was faced with an increasing number of students and as a result living-out became compulsory and many of the existing buildings were either rebuilt or refurbished to make room for students. Hatfield also became a co-educational college during this time, with the first female Senior Man holding the post in 1992.


Hatfield College Chapel Choir during an evensong service

The College Chapel was built in 1851 as a result of donations by alumni and a loan from the University. The chapel was designed by the architect and then Chaplain to Bishop Cosin’s Hall, James Turner and contains two head sculptures of Bishop Van Mildert and the Vice Chancellor and Warden Thorpe. Decorative furnishings were later added with the first organ being installed in 1882, commemorative wooden panels marking the First World War dead and a book of remembrance for those who lost their lives along with a lectern were added gradually and were primarily funded by alumni and the Hatfield Association. The Chapel houses a fine Harrison & Harrison organ, which is used to accompany services and for recitals, which was recently fully restored. Attendance to the services at the chapel were compulsory for eighty years after the foundation of the chapel until the onset of World War II ended the compulsory attendance to Cathedral services.

The building now provides a setting for worship, quiet meditation and many other events in College life. Services are led by the College Chaplain, currently the Reverend Dr. Anthony Bash. The College Chapel Choir is led by a student choral director, supported by an organ scholar and deputy organ scholar. The Chapel Choir consists mainly of students who support regular worship in the Chapel, but also sing at churches and cathedrals throughout the country and annual tours both at home and abroad.


The Bar Steward is Dave Berry. The Hatfield Bar is popular with Hatfield Students, as well as students from other colleges who may be on Bailey Bar Crawls, due to its vicinity to the centre of town. In the centre of the bar is a table known as the Sessions Table which was given to Hatfield by two American universities (Sewanee: The University of the South and Rhodes College) which hold close ties to Hatfield through a study abroad programme. The table is commonly used for drinking games. During the exam period, students use the bar to revise. Bar Rev Soc was founded in 2009 in appreciation of this use of the bar. The Hatfield Drink is a Hatfield Tickler (which was formerly known as the Hamish Tickler, named after Hamish Leese, who created it) although this has recently been joined by the Hatfield Pride cocktail.

College Traditions



Original arms

The original arms used by the college consisted of the shield of Bishop Thomas Hatfield turned into a circular device with the motto “Vel Primus, Vel Cum Primis”. The use of these arms was, however, found to be illegal as they were not registered with the College of Arms [2][3]. As the arms had been used for over 100 years the college was able to use the shield, although it had to be differentiated from that of Bishop Hatfield by the addition of an ermine border around the shield.

The current coat of arms features the Shield of Bishop Hatfield and is blazoned as "Azure a Chevron Or between three Lions rampant Argent a Bordure Ermine", with the college motto underneath: "Vel Primus Vel cum Primis" which literally means "Either First or With the First"[4] although it now interpreted by the college as "Be the Best you can Be"[5].

Academic Dress

Similar to most Bailey Colleges the wearing of the undergraduate academic gown is required to formal events. The wearing of the gown is at the discretion of the Master of the college and at present is worn at Matriculation, in chapel and at the weekly or bi-weekly formal meals held in the hall.


Benedicte Deus, qui pascis nos a iuventute nostra et praebes cibum omni carni, reple gaudio et laetitia corda nostra, ut nos, quod satis est habentes, abundemus in omne opus bonum. Per Jesum Christum, Dominum Nostrum, cui tecum et Spiritu Sancto, sit omnis honos, laus et imperium in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

This can be translated as:

Blessed God, who feeds us from our youth, and provided food for all flesh, fill our hearts with joy and gladness, that we, having enough to satisfy us, may abound in every good work, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and praise and power for all ages. Amen.

The grace was widely used in the fourth century and is based on earlier Hebrew prayers. It was translated from the Greek and adopted by Oriel College, Oxford. Presumably influenced by the Reverend Dr. Henry Jenkyns, who was a Fellow of Oriel, Hatfield adopted this grace practically verbatim. Since 1846 the grace has been read at all formal meals in College which occur once a week, or twice in Michaelmas Term.

Hatfield Sports and Societies

Hatfield College Boat Club
Blade Colours of Hatfield College Boat Club
Location Hatfield College Boathouse
Founded 1846
Home Water River Wear
Website http://www.dur.ac.uk/hatfield.boatclub/
Affiliations British Rowing, Durham College Rowing

Hatfield College participates in most sports in the university. Hatfield has traditionally focused on rugby, as can be seen by inspection of their former masters, which has resulted in a host of alumni in the sports arena such as Andrew Strauss, Tim Curtis, Frank Tyson, Marcus Rose, Will Carling and Will Greenwood. In addition, Hatfield has recently become known for excellence in hockey, football and basketball too. The college has an intense sporting rivalry with many of the other colleges on The Bailey, especially nearby University College.

Hatfield College also has its own theatre group, the Lion Theatre Company, which performs in Durham University's Assembly Rooms theatre located opposite the college gates, and a music society organising various ensembles including an orchestra and a big band called "Kinky Jeff and the Hatfield Swingers". Students also produce the termly college magazine, The Hatfielder.


Formals take place twice a week on a Tuesday and Friday in Michaelmas Term, reducing to Fridays only for the rest of the academic year. Hatfield Formal tickets are in high demand - both from Hatfielders and students from other colleges. There are a number of traditions at Formals. Students are required to wear their full academic dress including gowns for formal dinners except when it is a black or white tie event. A High Table consisting of members of the SCR and guests is present at every formal, the Master's entrance and "bowing out" signifying the official opening and closing of the formal meal. Students purchase a bottle of wine to take to formal purchased from the Bar.

Common Rooms

The student body is divided into three "Common Rooms". The Junior Common Room (JCR) is for undergraduates in the college. The JCR annually elects an Executive Committee consisting of eight members as well as an impartial Chair. The Executive Committee ensures the successful running of the JCR, in conjunction with the College Officers. Full lists of members can be found on their website.[6]

The Middle Common Room (MCR) is the organisation for Postgraduate students which also have an elected organising committee. This is based at the college's postgraduate accommodation Palatine House.[7] College Officers, fellows and tutors are members of the Senior Common Room (SCR).[8] Each Common Room acts as a separate body for its members, although collaboration between them is common, and it is possible to be a member of these organisations simultaneously.

College officers and fellows

The Master

Main Court

Professor Tim Burt is the current Master of Hatfield College. He was appointed Dean of Colleges and Support Services between 2002–2006, leaving Angel Scott, an Acting-Master in his absence. He returned to his position as Master in 2006.

List of Past Masters

  • Rev. David Melville (1846–1851)
  • Rev. Dr. William George Henderson (1851–1852)
  • Rev. Dr. Edward Henry Bradby (Michaelmas Term 1852)
  • Rev. James Lonsdale (1853–1854)
  • Rev. John Pedder (1854–1859)
  • Rev. James Barmby (1859–1876)
  • Rev. Dr. William Sanday (1876–1883)
  • Rev. Dr. Archibald Robertson (1883–1897)
  • Prof. Frank Byron Jevons (1897–1922)
  • Prof. Arthur Robinson (1923–1940)
  • Angus Alexander Macfarlane-Grieve (1940–1949) as acting Master
  • Prof. Eric Birley (1949–1956)
  • Dr. Thomas Anthony Whitworth (1957–1979)
  • Prof. James Barber (1980–1996)
  • Prof. Tim Burt (1996–Present)

College Fellows

College fellowships are awarded by the Hatfield College Council on the advice of the Master to alumni and people who have a close association with Hatfield; a fellowship is the highest honour that the college can bestow. On receipt of the fellowship the fellow automatically becomes an honorary member of the SCR and receives the same benefits such as the use of the SCR common and dining rooms as well as a brass plaque bearing the fellow's name being erected in the dining hall. As of 2007 the number of fellows stood at 18.

The first fellowships were awarded in 1991 to Sir Kingsley Charles Dunham, the Right Reverend David Jenkins, Sir Frederick Holliday, Professor Sir Gareth Roberts, Professor Robert Allison, Bruce Oldfield and Dr. Sheila Armstrong. The former Master and pioneer of the college fellowship Professor James Barber was awarded a fellowship in 1996. There is also a resident fellow, the current incumbent being the Reverend T. A. Harman, who was granted the position in 2000.

Notable alumni

A, B and C Stairs, Main Court


  1. ^ The Avison Ensemble website, URL accessed 10 July 2009
  2. ^ Web site History of Hatfield
  3. ^ Hatfield College : Crest and Motto - Durham University
  4. ^ http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/university.calendar/volumei/current/college.hatfield.pdf
  5. ^ Hatfield College : College Life - Durham University
  6. ^ Hatfield College JCR undergraduate student organisation, URL accessed 19 December 2009
  7. ^ Hatfield College MCR postgraduate student organisation, URL accessed 19 December 2009
  8. ^ Hatfield College SCR staff organisation, URL accessed 19 December 2009
  9. ^ Obituary, manutd.com, URL accessed May 18, 2009
  10. ^ a b c d Sporting history, dur.ac.uk, URL accessed May 18, 2009
  11. ^ Sir Richard Dannatt profile, mod.uk, URL accessed May 18, 2009
  12. ^ College fellows, URL accessed May 18, 2009
  13. ^ Obituary, Royal Society, URL accessed July 9, 2009
  14. ^ Will Greenwood.co.uk, URL accessed May 18, 2009
  15. ^ Interview, dur.ac.uk, URL accessed May 18, 2009
  16. ^ a b c d e List of alumni, dur.ac.uk, URL accessed May 18, 2009
  17. ^ Andrew Strauss profile at British Universities and Colleges Sport, URL accessed May 18, 2009

External links


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