Robert Woodlark. Coloured mezzotint
Robert Woodlark. Coloured mezzotint

Robert Woodlark (also spelled Wodelarke)[1] was the Provost of King's College, Cambridge, and the founder of St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He was also a professor of Sacred theology at the University.[2]

Woodlark was one of the founding Fellows of King's College in 1441.[3] He was appointed Provost of King's in 1452, eventually being succeeded in 1479, by Walter Field.[4] While the Provost of King's, Woodlark began the preparations for the foundation of a new college, which he established in 1473.[5] His vision for the college was one populated by a small society of priests.[6] Indeed, Woodlark's original statutes for the governance of the college expressly excluded the teaching of medicine or law. Woodlark did not contemplate undergraduates at the college, instead desiring a small community of senior scholars of theology and philosophy.[7]

Woodlark served as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1459 to 1460, and again from 1462 to 1463.[8]

Woodlark never truly served as Master of St. Catharine's, instead appointing Richard Roche as the college's first true master in 1475.[9]


  1. ^ Roach, J.P.C (1959). A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3: The City and University of Cambridge. Cambridge, UK: Victoria County History. pp. 415–420. ISBN 9780712902434.
  2. ^ University of Cambridge; Heywood, J. (1855). Early Cambridge University and College Statutes. H.G. Bohn. p. 216. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Woodlark, Robert (WDLK441R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ "List of Provosts" (PDF). King's College Cambridge. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  5. ^ "St. Catharine's College History". 9 July 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  6. ^ "St Catharine's Magazine 2010 | The College Library, Part One: 1473–1730" (PDF). 18 December 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  7. ^ "The colleges and halls - St Catharine's | A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3 (pp. 415-420)". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  8. ^ "The University of Cambridge - Chancellors | A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3 (pp. 331-333)". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  9. ^ Neve, J.L.; Nutt, J. (1716). Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ: or, An essay towards deducing a regular succession of all the principal dignitaries in each cathedral, collegiate church or chapel (now in being) in those parts in Great Britain called England and Wales, from the first erection thereof to this present year 1715: Containing the names, dates, of consecration, admission, preferment, removal or death of the archbishops, bishops, deans, praecentors, treasurers, chancellors and archdeacons, in their several stations and degrees. To which is added The succession of the prebendaries in each prebendal stall (of most of those erected at the reformation, and) continued down to this time: as also of the heads or masters of each college or hall in either of our famous universities, from their first settlement to this time. The whole extracted from the several registers of the respective cathedral or collegiate churches or foundations, as also from other authentick records and valuable collections never before publish'd. Printed by J. Nutt: and sold by Henry Clements, at the Half-Moon, in St. Paul's Church-yard; Charles King at the Judge's Head in Westminster-Hall; and Edward Nutt, at the Middle-Temple Gate in Fleet-Street. p. 430. Retrieved 5 October 2014.