Dr Rowan Douglas Williams

Dr Rowan Douglas Williams took up the mastership of Magdalene College in 2013. He studied for his doctorate at Christ Church, and Wadham College, University of Oxford, working on the Russian Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky.


His career began as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. He returned to Cambridge as tutor and Director of Studies at Westcott House. After ordination in Ely Cathedral, and serving as Honorary Assistant Priest at St George’s Chesterton, he was appointed to a university lectureship in divinity. In 1984 he was elected a Fellow and Dean of Clare College. Then, still only 36, he was back to Oxford as a Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity for six years, before becoming Bishop of Monmouth, and, from 2000, Archbishop of Wales.


He was awarded the Oxford higher degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and among more than a dozen honorary doctorates, an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in 2005; Cambridge followed in 2006 with an honorary Doctor of Divinity. In 1990 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.


Dr Williams is a noted poet and translator of poetry, and, apart from Welsh, speaks or reads nine other languages. He learnt Russian in order to read the works of Dostoevsky in the original. He has also published studies of Arius, Teresa of Ávila, and Sergii Bulgakov, together with writings centred on theological, historical and political themes.