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Cliff College 1928


Cliff College has a long and rich heritage of providing Bible training to people from diverse backgrounds, for mission and evangelism.

Cliff's story started in 1883 in the Bolton home of its founder, Thomas Champness. Champness later moved into Castleton Hall at Rochdale, where the work continued until he retired and the lease at Castleton Hall expired. The Wesleyan Methodist church took over the work and moved the College to its current location in 1904, where more space was available for the work. Since the beginning, Cliff has sought to provide biblical, evangelical training that is both relevant and forward-thinking, with an emphasis on scriptural holiness.

As a Bible college, we have a high standard of excellence for our courses. We want to provide the best Bible training we can so that people are properly equipped for mission and evangelism. Although historically a Methodist lay training college, Cliff now serves most Christian denominations with its training. Our student body is made up of both lay and ordained people from a diverse denominational background, with our emphasis still being to train Christians for mission and evangelism.

Rev Ashley Cooper, Cliff College principal

I was preaching somewhere recently and someone stopped me and said, ‘the Cliff Trekkers came to our church and while they were here, I encountered Jesus for the first time’. Cliff has had an impact on hundreds of thousands of people who are now in churches and in ministry; disciples all over the world, not just in the UK. We were in Zimbabwe and we heard that story! These are incredible, encouraging stories and, although I knew they existed, the number of them and the variety of places I hear them has been an unexpected joy. It’s also an inspiration and a spur for me; I want the next principals of the College to hear those same stories from this generation, from this time.

Rev Ashley Cooper, Cliff College principal

Evangelists with Principal 1950s

A group of Cliff evangelists, with Rev Thomas D Meadley, Cliff College's principal, from the 1950s.

Share a memory with us

Please enter a memory of your time or visit at Cliff College or the Cliff Conference Facilities
  • September 1977

    Just remembering Cliff from 1977 when I was a student. Why is Cliff College named Cliff?

    Steven Bridge

  • September 1972

    Only 19 years of age with little/no theological knowledge..

    Met some wonderful believers who inspired mentor keep o keeping on. Came to faith through the Revs Donald English's ministry in Whitley bay at 16 years of age..

    Brian Spence

  • May 1955

    I am Ernest Steels granddaughter. My grandfather was an evangelist under the Rev. Tom Meadley in the 1950s. We lived in Maranatha just up fromCliff Hall. My grandfather is in the picture above.

    Mrs Isobel Parker