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Seams familiar

26 April 2013

IF THE cope and mitre look familiar, they are - even though the Bishop wearing them has not been seen for some time. The Revd Derek Williams, from Peterborough diocese, reminds us that the robes in which our new Archbishop of Canterbury was enthroned, and is now often seen, originally belonged to the late Bishop Ian Cundy of Peterborough.

They were given to Bishop Cundy when he became Bishop of Lewes in 1992, as a leaving gift from St John's College, and Cranmer Hall, in Durham, where he had been on the teaching staff and where the then Justin Welby had been one of his students.

Both the Welbys and the Cundys worshipped in the same church in Durham, and they became good friends, recalls Jo Cundy, whose husband died in 2009: "This set of vestments has very special associations for me and the family, and so we retained them in the hope that one days this 'mantle' would pass to the right person. And so it did.

"When Justin was appointed Bishop of Durham, we decided to offer the vestments to him. They found a new life, and fitted him perfectly."

It seems that when he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Welby declined to have new robes made for his enthronement, and decided to wear the "Cundy cope", as it has become known. "Ian would have been delighted," Mrs Cundy says. "Never could we have imagined that, within a year of receiving the robes, Justin would be nominated Archbishop of Canterbury, and the cope and mitre would be en route to Canterbury."

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