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St. Cuthbert's Society, almost universally known as Cuth's, is one of the sixteen constituent bodies within the University of Durhammarker. It was founded, with permission of the University, in 1888 by students who did not want to live in the existing colleges (Hatfield Hallmarker and University Collegemarker). It is named after Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, whose body rests behind the high altar in nearby Durham Cathedralmarker. St Cuthbert's was the fourth of Durham's colleges bodies to be founded, following Universitymarker (1832), Hatfield Collegemarker (1846) and Bishop Cosin's Hall (1851). It is located on Durhammarker's peninsula - and as such is one of the University's Bailey collegesmarker - and guarantees accommodation to all first year students besides encouraging other undergraduates and postgraduates to live in, when spaces (465 in total) are available.

Relationship with the University

St. Cuthbert's foundation as a Society differed from the colleges in that it was founded as a club by its students. Other Societies followed: St Aidan's Society is now St Aidan's Collegemarker, and the Graduate Society is now Ustinov Collegemarker but Cuth's is now the only remaining Society within the University as is recognised in the University Statutes .

The University appointed a Junior Proctor and later a Censor who was employed by the University to oversee its members. The Society was non-residential and run by students. In 1947, the responsibility for the running of the Society came under the remit of the Principal, who with the support of the two other Society officers, the Senior Tutor and Bursar, who is now responsible for its management.

The Society includes a Junior Common Room (JCR) which is led by the President of the Society with the support of an Executive Committee elected from among the students. There is also a Senior Common Room (SCR) with a SCR President and other elected posts, an Alumni Association (St Cuthbert's Association), a group of alumni referred to as the Refounders, who restarted the Society again after the war and a group of Fellows.


St. Cuthbert's Society's patron, St. Cuthbert, continues to be remembered annually, if somewhat incongruously for an ascetic, in 'The Feast', a traditional members-only banquet held on or near St. Cuthbert's feast day on 20 March.

Another, summer-based event is 'Cuth's Day'. This includes entertainment conducted on, off and in the River Wearmarker - which curls around the foot of the gardens - live music, and a day-long garden party.

The surviving Refounders of the Society hold a reunion weekend every September at the Society. This same weekend also hosts the AGM of St Cuthbert's Assocaition, the alumni organisation of the Society. In addition, the Founders of the Society are remembered at the annual Founders' Formal and past Presidents attend the President's Formal.

St Cuthbert's Society has many sports teams and societies, and has one of the most successful college rugby teams in the University.

Coat of Arms

The original seventh century pectoral cross of St. Cuthbert was discovered when his grave was opened in 1827, and is now preserved in the cathedral treasury. The motto, gratia gratiam parit, appears in the Adagia of Erasmus, a collection of Greek and Latin adages, and can be loosely translated as ‘friendship begets friendship’ or ‘kindness begets kindness’. The full coat of arms includes an eider duck as the crest. This is because, while resident in the Farne Islandsmarker, St Cuthbert instituted special laws to protect these and other seabirds nesting there, creating what may have been the first bird protection laws anywhere in the world. Consequently, eider ducks have long been known as 'cuddy ducks' (Cuthbert's ducks) in the Pitmatic dialect as spoken in Northumberlandmarker.


The Junior Common Room within St Cuthbert's Society is an entirely student-run organisation, and traces its history right back to the founding of the Society. The JCR in Cuth's is made up entirely of current students, and maintains all the facilities within, and acts as the student union for the Society. The JCR also funds all of the sports teams and societies, pre-dominantly from the revenue raised by bar sales.

Boat Club

Launched in the summer of 1893, five years after the foundation of the Society itself, the Boat Club is greatly cherished by the Society as a whole and offers training and facilities for rowers of all levels and commitment.

Distinguished Alumni

Academia and the Church

Broadcasting and the Arts




Further reading

  • Tudor, Henry, St. Cuthbert's Society, 1888-1988 : the history of 'a modest but exciting institution in the University of Durham'.
  • University of Durham Statutes - Colleges and Societies.


External links

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