Image (left to right): Kathie Booth-Stevens, Robert Stevens, Lynne Henderson, Giles Henderson, Lynne Brindley, Tim Brindley, Roger Bannister, Moyra Bannister.

Current Master

The current Master of Pembroke College is The Rt Hon Sir Ernest Ryder

Previous Masters

1624 Thomas Clayton

As the last Principal of Broadgates Hall he became the first Master of Pembroke College and oversaw the erection of a large part of what is now the Old Quad.

1647 Henry Wightwick

1647 Henry Langley

1660 Henry Wightwick (restored)

Clayton died June 10th 1647 and the Fellows elected one of their number, Henry Wightwick, as Master. August 26th 1647, however, the Parliamentary Committee for the University elected its own choice, Henry Langley. Henry Wightwick was restored as the Master in 1660.

1664 John Hall

The longest serving Master. A graduate of Pembroke, he contributed greatly to the College's growth, completing the Old Quad and paying personally for the erection of the Master's house (now Staircase 8).

1710 Colwell Brickenden

Apparently had 7 children!

1714 Matthew Panting

Master during Samuel Johnson's time, he contributed to the building of the Chapel and "frequently chid and once threatened to expel" George Whitefield.

1738 John Ratcliffe

Caused Samuel Johnson to retort "There lives a man, who lives by the renowns of literature, and will not move a finger to support it". He had received Johnson very coldly on his first return to Oxford in 1754 and declined to purchase a copy of the Dictionary.

1775 William Adams

A graduate and Fellow fo Pembroke, he left in 1732 and returned 43 years later as Master. Unlike Ratcliffe, he became very close friends with Dr Johnson, who was a frequent visitor to the Master's Lodgings.

1789 William Sergrove

A descendent of Thomas Tesdale's (whose gift made Pembroke's existence possible). Died aged only 49.

1796 John Smyth

A one-time naval chaplain, his stories earned him the nickname 'Sinbad the Sailor'.

1809 George Hall

Oversaw the remodelling of Broadgates Hall, the Old Quad and the frontage of St. Aldates.

1844 Francis Jeune

Created the Chapel Quad through building the Hall and the North Range (SCR Staircase and Staircases 9 and 10). Served as Vice-Chancellor of the University. 1864 he was appointed Bishop of Peterborough.

1864 Evan Evans

Matriculated at Jesus but migrated to Pembroke in 1832 and became a Fellow in 1843. Defeated Bartholomew Price (his successor) in the Mastership election. Was Vice Chancellor 1878-1882.

1892 Bartholomew Price

Became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1852. Listed his recreations in Who's Who as "none in particular". Nicknamed "the bat" and it is said that the line "Twinkle Twinkle little bat, how I wonder what you're at", from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland', was inspired by him.

1899 John Mitchison

Studying at Pembroke he became President of the Union. A Fellow at Pembroke for four years and Headmaster of King's School, Canterbury, for one, in 1860 he was ordained a priest. In 1873 he was Bishop of Barbados!

1918 Frederick Homes Dudden

Had previously been Vicar of the fashionable Holy Trinity, Sloane Street, London. He was the first Master to live in the Lodgings, the old Master's house having been converted into undergraduate rooms in 1928. He was Vice Chancellor between 1929 and 1932. His friendship with Lord Nuffield led to the latter's endowment of the Mastership, freeing Homes Dudden's successors from the financial need to hold the Canonry of Gloucester Cathedral, given to the College by Queen Anne in 1714.

1955 Ronald McCallum

Came to Pembroke as Fellow in history in 1925. Was Master of Pembroke from 1955, when Dr. Homes Dudden died, although he had exercised virtual Headship since 1953. Oversaw the creation of the North Quad. When he died, in 1973, a subscription fund established the McCallum Lecture in his memory.

1968 Sir George Pickering

Presided over the 350th anniversary celebrations and the opening of the McGowin Library (1974). He had held the Regius Chair of Medicine and was an internationally recognised leader in the study of hypertension.

1975 Sir Geoffrey Arthur

A career diplomat, he worked largely in the Middle East. He oversaw the admission of women (1979). He was the inspiration for the 'Sir Geoffrey Arthur Building' (G.A.B.) but died in office, before its completion.

1985 Sir Roger Bannister

A noted neurologist, but perhaps better known for running the first sub-four minute mile at Iffley Road track on May 6th 1954. He oversaw the completion of the Sir Geoffrey Arthur Building.

1993 Robert Stevens

Previous roles include Professor of Law at Yale, President of Haverford College, Chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz and Consultant to American law firm Covington and Burling, of Washington DC. During his Mastership he spear-headed the Century 5 Campaign, which raised £10m at an important time in Pembroke's development. 

2001 Giles Henderson CBE

Born in South Africa, he took his first degree at Witwatersrand University prior to reading Law at Magdalen College, Oxford, in the mid 1960s, obtaining the degrees of MA and BCL. He was then a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of California at Berkeley before returning and becoming resident in the UK. In 1992 he was awarded the CBE in recognition of his contribution to the UK Government's privatisation programme, on which he was a leading adviser.  He became Master of Pembroke in July 2001, having been Senior Partner at leading City of London law firm, Slaughter and May, since 1993.

2013 Dame Lynne Brindley DBE

Dame Lynne began her tenure as Master in 2013, becoming the first woman to hold the position in Pembroke’s history. She has previously held roles at a number of other British universities, including Aston, LSE, and the University of Leeds, where she was Pro-Vice Chancellor. From 2000 to 2012 Dame Lynne served as the Chief Executive of the British Library.  In 2008 she was awarded a DBE for services to education, and in 2015 was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of The British Academy. Dame Lynne has served on a number of boards and panels, including the national media regulator Ofcom and the Court of Wardens of The Goldsmiths’ Company.  In 2020, she was succeeded as Master of Pembroke by Sir Ernest Ryder.