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Museum of Oxford Digital Exhibitions

A Baptist foundation


Photo credit: Regent's Park College, University of Oxford / Art UK

Among the new institutions set up in early twentieth-century Oxford, following the 1871 Universities Tests Act, is Regent’s Park College. In 1810, the Baptist College, Stepney, was founded in London to train Baptist Ministers. After moving to Holford House in 1856 and changing its name to Regent’s Park College, it relocated to its current home in Pusey Street just off St. Giles in 1927, where building work began to develop the site in 1938. One of the College’s earliest principals during its London years, Joseph Angus (1816-1902) was a prominent historian of the Baptists. He amassed a vast collection of printed texts and documents recording the history of religious dissent and Baptist belief in England from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, and this combined with the collections of other figures such as the first College Principal William Newman survives as the Angus Library and Archive. The Angus holds a rare copy of a book by one of the founders of the General Baptists, Thomas Helwys’ A Short Declaration of the Mistery of Iniquity (1612), which offers one of the first arguments in English for liberty of conscience and freedom of religion. Home to undergraduate students in the Arts and Humanities and those studying to be ministers in the Baptist Union of Great Britain, today the College is proud that its ‘radical spirit continues to be embodied in generations of students and staff pushing the boundaries of representation and inclusion’.