Wardens of Wills Hall

Between 1929 and 2018 there were ten Wardens of Wills Hall. The post was abolished in 2018 as a result of the University’s review of pastoral support in halls of residence, despite opposition from the student body and alumni, including residents of Wills and members of the WHA.

The holders of this august office were all distinguished members of the university: the most senior of them was also the only woman to hold the role, Professor Phyllida Parsloe, a former Pro-Vice Chancellor. After Norton Matthews (formerly a schoolmaster at Clifton College), all the incumbents also had academic appointments — as geographers (Kendall, Graves), linguists (Keigwin, Vilain), in Social Work (Parsloe), Zoology (Sloane), Law (Rivers), Theology (Gill), and Constitutional History (Shell). Three incumbents had previously held military rank (Kendall, Sloane, Graves). 

 

​Two Wardens were Bristol graduates. One (Graves) was ‘gremial’, in that he had himself been a resident of Wills as an undergraduate, and the other (Parsloe) had been a resident of Clifton Hill House as a student. Shell graduated from the LSE. Four of the others had Cambridge degrees (Norton Matthews, Emmanuel; Keigwin, Peterhouse; Kendall, Downing; Rivers, Pembroke), and the other two were Oxford graduates (Gill, St John's; Vilain, Christ Church). This may have influenced the variations over the decades in how the oldest accommodation block has been referred to — Old Quad or Old Court, ‘quad’ being the Oxford norm, and ‘court’ preferred in Cambridge.