Bromley and Sheppard’s Colleges


Bromley College was founded in 1666 by the Will of John Warner, Bishop of Rochester 1638-1666, to provide housing for “twenty poore widowes of orthodoxe and loyall clergiemen”.

The original building consisted of twenty houses built around a quadrangle with residences for a Chaplain and a Treasurer.

This quadrangle, built in classical style, is often called the “Wren Quadrangle” as at one time it was thought that Sir Christopher Wren was the Architect. It is now Acknowledged that Captain Richard Ryder, one of Wren’s Surveyors, was responsible for the design and construction.

The second quadrangle of twenty houses was built in the late 18th Century from bequests of a Mrs Helen Bettenson and William Pearce, brother of Zachary Pearce, Bishop of Rochester 1756-1774.

Sheppard’s College was founded in 1840, following an appeal by the Chaplain, Thomas Scott, to Mrs Sophia Sheppard, the wealthy widow of Dr Sheppard, Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.

The Chaplain saw the problem of an unmarried clergy daughter becoming homeless when her mother died and Mrs Sheppard provided the means to accommodate them by building a terrace of five houses.


The Colleges are run by a body of Trustees comprising six ex-officio members (the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Rochester, the Dean of St Paul’s, the Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley and the Chancellor of the Diocese of Rochester) together with seven co-opted Trustees.

In practice the duties of the Trustees are undertaken by the co-opted Trustees together with deputies appointed by ex-officio Trustees.

The day to day administration is in the hands of the Chaplain, who is also the Clerk to the Trustees.


The College Chapel is accessible at all times for private prayer and meditation. The present pattern of Sunday and mid-week services is:


Two modernisation schemes have resulted in the provision of 40 self-contained dwellings (33 in Bromley College and 7 in Sheppard’s College).

There is in addition a Chaplain’s House/Office, staff housing and Guest Flat.

There is a total of 30 flats with two bedrooms, and 10 with one bedroom. In some instances, floor coverings will need to be provided by the occupier.

The kitchens are well-fitted with working surfaces and cupboards, an electric cooker and a refrigerator. Each flat is fully centrally heated and provided with constant hot water.

The Colleges operate an emergency call system.

Qualifications for Residence

In 1974, 1981 and 1997 Charity Commission Schemes amended the qualifications for residence (previously widows and unmarried daughters of former residents)and today the following may be elected to “Collegian” status and allocated occupation of a flat.

(a) A widow or widower of a Clerk in Holy Orders of the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church or the Church of Ireland.

(b) A retired Clerk of these Churches and, if married, their spouse.

(c) A divorced or separated wife or husband of such Clerk or retired Clerk.

(d) An unmarried daughter or step-daughter of a deceased former resident of Bromley College