The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology
As a lay Catholic Institute in the heart of Cambridge and part of the Cambridge Theological Federation, we resource lay people theologically both within and outside of the Catholic tradition. We provide specialist theological education and open learning opportunities for both individuals and groups.
We offer courses, study days, workshops, seminars and conferences that promote the study of theology, ethics, philosophy, pastoral practice, spirituality and theological reflection in dynamic ways that seek to meet and address twenty-first century global needs. In line with our foundational principles, we continue to promote the resourcing of women through a community life that is open to all. Through our teaching and learning we facilitate exchange with art, culture and social justice initiatives. We resource schools, parishes, hospitals, prisons and other institutions with expertise, training and pastoral support. Our theology engages with different professional and community-based (service) needs and perspectives. This is enriched and enabled by an interdisciplinary approach that is at the heart of our educational work. Many of our students gain qualifications from the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University (DTM, BA, MA, MPhil, PhD, DProf).
How We Are Governed
The Institute is a Registered Charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee registered with Companies House.
Registered Company Number UK: 02958069
Registered Charity Number UK: 1041031
Under our Memorandum and Articles of Association (23 March 2021), we have two governing bodies:
- The Board of Directors comprises the Trustees of the charity. They have responsibility for financial management, the appointment of the Principal and the overall running of the Institute. The Board meets six to eight times a year.
- The Council of Members appoints the Directors and is responsible for ensuring the purposes of the Institute, including its Catholicity, are sustained. The Council meets three times a year.
The Board and Council meet together for the Annual General Meeting, usually in March.
Board of Directors
- Dr Claire Daunton (Chair)
- Dr Jennifer Schooling (Vice Chair)
- Fr David Bagstaff
- Mr Mark Broadbent
- Mrs Joanne Coward
- Professor Eilis Ferran
- Mr Loughlin Hickey
- Ms Sandy Lynam
The Principal, the Bursar, and the Administrator/Company Secretary are in attendance at Directors Meetings
Council of Members
- Dr Anna Abram ex officio
- Ms Bridget Alabi
- Mr Paul Barber
- Dr Claire Daunton ex officio
- Sr Jennifer Dines
- Dr Anna Gannon
- Mrs Joanna Hale
- Professor Karen Kilby
- Revd Professor John Morrill
- Dr Julie Smith, Baroness Smith of Newnham (Chair)
The Administrator/Company Secretary and the Bursar are in attendance.
We are now almost 30 years old, still youthful enough to be laying down its foundations (we are located in Cambridge, after all!) but old enough to have a story to tell.
The Institute is named after Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), who has been described by the historian Dr David Starkey as the most powerful woman in England of her day.
Margaret Beaufort was a scholar, an astute manager of resources and a very significant philanthropist. As the richest woman in medieval England, she used her wealth to promote religion, learning and the education of clergy in particular.
She was mother to Henry Tudor, her only son from three marriages. He became King Henry VlI, and in 1485 she assumed the title of the King’s Mother.
Cambridge became the focus of much of her philanthropy through her confessor St John Fisher, who was Chancellor of the University. Working with Fisher she founded two Cambridge colleges, Christ’s and St John’s, and endowed the Lady Margaret’s Professorships of Divinity at Oxford and Cambridge, to which she appointed her friend and confessor.
Margaret herself translated and published one of the most widely read devotional texts of all time, the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. She was a sponsor of the printer Caxton and was, therefore, a major supporter of the new media of her day.
Further information about Lady Margaret Beaufort
Jones, M & Underwood, M. The King’s Mother, CUP 1992
Dr Anna Abram
Dr Sue Price
Director of Pastoral Outreach
Dr Férdia Stone-Davis
On Research Leave until 2025
Dr Louise Nelstrop
On Research Leave Jan 2023 - Dec 2025
Dr Dominic White OP
Acting Director of Research
Dr Sean Ryan
Acting Director of Studies Jan 2023 - Dec 2023
Natalie Despot Belmonte
Digital Comms and Administrative Assistant
Dr Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ
Senior Fellow and Director of Religious Life Institute
Dr Claire Jenkins
Senior Fellow in Catholic Education
Prof Michael Barnes SJ
Dr Liam Hayes
Dr Frances Image
Senior Fellow in Catholic Education
Dr Peter Coughlan
The Margaret Beaufort Association
About the MBA: Who we are … What we do …
The Margaret Beaufort Association was founded in 2018, coinciding with the Silver Jubilee of the foundation of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology. From 2018-2020 it was admirably led by Co-Presidents Mari Kelly-Gross & Kate Scotland, alumnae of MBIT. Its current President is Susanne Jennings, who is also an alumna of MBIT.
The Association’s purpose is threefold:
- To keep alumnae connected to MBIT, and each other, through updates on current news and events;
- To provide a forum for Friends & Supporters of the Institute (including but not restricted to past and present members of staff/research fellows and Visiting academics; current students);
- To provide a forum for those who Support the Institute through charitable giving.
Membership is free and open to anyone. Members receive the Margaret Beaufort Association Newsletter and are invited to join the Thursday Evening Prayer liturgies, some of which are led by members of the MBA. They also receive invitations to special events and courses including specially discounted bespoke tours and pilgrimages, MBA Study Days led by top speakers, events and workshops.
There are also a small number of discounted special events hosted by the MBA (for further details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alumnae are also welcome to use the Lash Library to consult the Catholic and specialist material held by the Institute by prior written permission from the Curator.
Existing and prospective members are warmly welcome to get in touch with Susanne Jennings, President of the Margaret Beaufort Association with any queries at email@example.com.
President of the Margaret Beaufort Association
The Wider Church
We see ourselves as part of both the local and national Church, and also of the long and extensive tradition of Catholic theological education. The Institute is becoming known as a resource for local parishes and the diocese, both as a facility and a source of specialist theological knowledge:
As the Diocesan Centre for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies, we welcome groups of teachers and catechists for training and discussion through the year, especially for those with little background in Catholic theology.
We run our own Quiet Days, Study Days and Public Lectures open to all, and are often invited to participate in events for the diocese organised by others;
Over the years, several prayer groups have met regularly in our oratory – for example, Youth 2000 local groups, Catholic Charismatic Renewal and Franciscan third order community – and we are always happy to provide hospitality, as in the case of Christian Life Community – a multi-denominational group that meets around a model of Ignatian spiritual life.
Academic staff play a full part in the life of the wider Church as teachers and researchers, policy advisers, preachers and retreat givers. Staff are members of the:
- Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain;
- Society for Study of Christian Ethics;
- The European Society of Catholic Theology;
- The Ricoeur Society;
- Societas Ethica;
- Association of Teachers of Moral Theology;
- Royal Music Association Music and Philosophy Study Group;
- Centre of Theology and Philosophy;
- Higher Education Academy.
Staff act as external examiners in the UK and Ireland.
You can contact The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology for general enquires using any of the details below.
The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology
12 Grange Road
Our office hours are Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Alternatively you can use the contact form below.
Margaret Beaufort Institute is in the Newnham area of Cambridge, a ten-minute walk to the Sidgwick site, and near to Wolfson, Newnham, Darwin and Selwyn Colleges.