New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
UK >

Diocese protests as Bishop's palace is deemed 'unsuitable'

Madeleine Davies

by Madeleine Davies

Posted: 31 Jan 2014 @ 12:26

BISHOP'S PALACE, WELLS

Click to enlarge

Fit for a bishop: the moated Bishop's Palace at Wells

Credit: BISHOP'S PALACE, WELLS

Fit for a bishop: the moated Bishop's Palace at Wells

DESPITE opposition, including that of the diocese, there will be no review or reversal of the decision to move the official residence of the Bishop of Bath & Wells from the Palace in Wells, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry, said on Saturday.

At a meeting at Wells Museum, organised by Tessa Munt, the MP for Wells, Sir Tony said that the Church Commissioners had made the decision "on the grounds of suitability - not on some doctrinaire view that Bishops should no longer live in palaces". The "overwhelming majority" of diocesan bishops lived in a detached house that was "very clearly their own family home".

The decision had been reached after "careful thought and consideration", including discussions with the Bishop's staff and those working at the Palace, he said. "I would hope that it would be recognised that this decision, having been taken and decided, is not now going to be reviewed or reversed by the Church Commissioners."

It is the intention of the Commissioners to find the new Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, a home in Wells within walking distance of the cathedral. In the mean time, a former rectory has been bought as temporary accommodation.

On Friday, the Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Revd Peter Maurice, and other senior staff of the diocese of Bath & Wells, including all three Archdeacons, voiced opposition to the Commissioners' decision.

A statement said that the Commissioners had "failed to undertake effective consultation at a local level. Instead, they have taken a unilateral decision which has, sadly, cast a shadow over the announcement of our next Bishop. Based on the scarce information made available to us by the Commissioners, the diocese cannot support their decision."

Earlier this month, Mrs Munt said: "One of the charms of the Palace was the possibility that one just might run into the Bishop or his wonderful wife in the grounds; and, in my view, it is a great shame that the chances of being blessed in this way are reduced almost to nothing."

Interview with next Bishop of Bath and Wells

Job of the week

Professor of Divinity

London and Home Counties

Gresham CollegeFounded 1597 Gresham Professor of Divinity Gresham College has provided free public lectures for over 400 years in the City of London and now operates worldwide via the internet. Fo...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Finding life over death

Finding life over death

Denise Inge, who died on Easter Day this year, discovered that her home was built over a charnel house. This prompted her to write a book exploring the challenge of living well in the face of mortality  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Are foodbanks an effective way of dealing with poverty?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

Fighting inequality and corruption in the world

Efforts are being made to combat corruption and sharp practice in global finance. Peter Selby has seen this at first hand  Subscribe to read more

Tue 25 Nov 14 @ 13:39
Pope Francis addresses Parliament of "aged and weary" Europe - @GavinDrake reports for us from Strasbourg http://t.co/KFpO66E1Ls

Tue 25 Nov 14 @ 10:42
The number of people attending midweek services at cathedrals has doubled in the past 10 years https://t.co/JeApjBGxgb