The West Indies in Records from colonial missionaries, 1704-1950

The Codrington collection, 1704-1898

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C/WI/COD. Codrington College has a history distinct from the work of the SPG proper, before and after diocesan control, and distinct too from the management of the Codrington estates. Christopher Codrington, who died in 1710, bequeathed to the SPG two plantations in Barbados 'to maintain a convenient number of professors and scholars'. Bishop William Fleetwood in London viewed the gift as a foundation for negro education and Christianisation in a remarkable sermon on racial equality later called 'the Charter of liberties for negro rule'. In Britain there were plans drawn up for the proposed college and the first stone was laid in Barbados in 1717. Funds were to come from the two plantations and building began in 1721. It was not until 1745, however, that the College opened under Thomas Rotheram and clearly established itself as a grammar school for white boys only. This was far from the intention of the original bequest and it is significant that there was some stress on the appointment of a catechist to teach the slaves. But the distinction was invidious and it was not until the beginning of the 19th century when John Hothersal Pinder was appointed catechist for the slaves and a separate chapel for slaves was built in 1819 that the religious instruction of negroes was given serious weight.In the meantime the grammar schools did not prosper. It is clear that Barbadian planters and former students prized it highly but funds from the two estates were not sufficient and the school failed by 1775. When it reopened in 1797 under Mark Nicholson, the President for the next 24 years, the SPG had united local pressure to reopen a boys' school with renewed pressure from Britain to take a more active part in the Christianising of the slaves. After 1813 the school was under the control of the Governor of Barbados but the struggle of the SPG to control both the estates and educational policies slowly gained ground and were crowned with success in 1824 with the appointment of the first Bishop of Barbados, William Hart Coleridge. Coleridge was anxious to improve education and, under his guidance, educational policies widened extensively. Thus, in 1830 he opened a new Codrington College - at last to train candidates for the ministry. The old grammar school was continued, as the Lodge School, but with the coming of emancipation, rather more efforts were turned to negro education and the building of schools for the newly emancipated, a Negro Education Grant providing for this until 1845. Although far from the intention of the original bequest, the founding of a grammar school served as best to help establish an indigenous 'gentry' in Barbados by seeing that the planters were a little less inclined to become absentee. On the other hand, the problem of gaining recruits for the theological college was to prove grave. As in Jamaica, white West Indians were considered to be unsuitable candidates, there was prejudice against negro or coloured men and Englishmen (though not necessarily college-educated ones) were held to be the most adaptable to changing times. Thus whilst the schools in Barbados flourished, Codrington College fell on hard times after 1887 and only the celebration of the SPG bicentenary in 1901 revived it. Arthur Henry Anstey was appointed principal and proved a great success; after 1955 the Community of the Resurrection took over the running of the College.It is difficult to see that the 18th century Codrington College - or even the 19th century theological foundation - contributed much to the abolition of slavery and later to the successful integration of society. But the foundations for education were laid in Barbados and more than just token insistence placed on the importance of the need for religious instruction. Ultimately, if not for some while, the insistence that the task of the SPG was to preach and to teach made headway and, if initially too privileged in Barbados, by the 20th century the SPG and their Codrington bequest became a meaningful factor in the life of the island and of its religious foundation.

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Showing 9 documents The Codrington collection, 1704-1898

Settling the estate, 1704-1726

  • Contributor: Bodleian Library
  • Reference: 72276cod1
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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Building the College, 1713-1728

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  • Reference: 72276cod2
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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Catechists and chaplains, 1714-1848

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  • Reference: 72276cod3
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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The school, 1745-1842

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  • Reference: 72276cod4
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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Estate management, 1711-1845

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  • Reference: 72276cod5
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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College : new status, 1824-1898

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  • Reference: 72276cod6
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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Accounts, 1710-1840

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  • Reference: 72276cod7
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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Agents' papers: Thomas Daniel & Sons, Bristol

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  • Reference: 72276cod8
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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Agents' papers: Marmaduke Trattle, London

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  • Reference: 72276cod8a
  • Keyword:  colonial missionary west indian slavery
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