The Trust

The David Nicholls Memorial Trust was founded in 1997 to commemorate David’s life and work following his death in 1996. The Trust has enabled David’s extensive book collection to be kept together in a place where it is accessible to researchers. The David Nicholls Memorial Library, as the collection is called, is housed at Regent’s Park College, Oxford.

The Trust also funds:

  • new accessions in Caribbean Studies, so that the Library is kept up-to-date.
  • Research Awards to enable students to visit Oxford to use the David Nicholls Memorial Library or to complete original research in the Caribbean.
  • the annual David Nicholls Memorial Lecture, which continues David’s focus on providing new and radical perspectives on contemporary issues concerning Caribbean Studies, Political Science and Theology.

The late Kenneth Leech described the reasons for founding the Trust and the main areas of David’s interests:

David Nicholls was one of the most distinguished priest-scholars in the Church of England’s recent history. In his early years of ministry he was part of a dynamic movement of student chaplaincy which gathered around the charismatic figure of Gordon Phillips and the Church of Christ the King in London in the early 1960s. His subsequent years, as lecturer in Politics at the University of the West Indies (Trinidad Campus), as Chaplain Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, and as parish priest of Littlemore, were marked by a combination of theological depth, political seriousness and dedicated pastoral care. Within the Jubilee Group, Christendom Trust and elsewhere, he played a key role in deepening informed Christian analysis, comment and commitment in the social and political arena.

David was a political scientist of outstanding ability and influenced many political thinkers including Bernard Crick and Paul Hirst. Hirst’s Associational Democracy (1994) describes Nicholls’ The Pluralist State as the best source for the study of the English pluralist tradition. He was strongly committed to “socialism from below”. His political interests were wide, and he was one of the world authorities on the history and politics of Haiti, and of the Caribbean as a whole, being for several years President of the Society for Caribbean Studies.

It was felt important to commemorate David’s life in a way that would help others to study and to gain from his wealth of experience in these important areas affecting human beings and human society. His collection of books manifests that crossing of disciplines and subversion of conventional compartmentalising, which was so central to his own life. It was therefore felt that his collection should be kept together and up to date in a place where it can be accessible to students from this country and other parts of the world.

Kenneth Leech, 1996

How the trust is funded

The Trust is financed by donations from relatives and friends. And it was through the generosity and friendship of the Principle and Fellows of Regent’s Park College that the David Nicholls Memorial Library was established there. It complements Regent’s own archive, the Angus Library. The Trustees continue to work closely with the College, particularly in maintaining the David Nicholls Memorial Library, facilitating its use with the help of the College Librarian, and by having one of the Fellows as a Trustee. The College has also been particularly hospitable in regard to the David Nicholls Memorial lectures.


Trustees administer the Trust and meet ordinarily twice per year. The trustees are Colin Clarke, Peter Groves, David Howard (Chair), David Lambert (Treasurer), Pat Noxolo, Kate Quinn (Secretary), and Nicholas Wood (Regent’s Park College representative).

Donating to the trust

If you would like to send a donation towards the work of the Trust please download the Gift Aid Form, and post or email this form to the address given.

Mailing list

If you would like to be included on the mailing list please contact us.