A CHURCH community was in shock this week over the death of its
associate priest and the suicide of her husband.
The body of the Revd Louise Lancaster, aged 67, was found by
police late on Thursday of last week at her home in the Roundhay
district of Leeds, after a tip-off, believed to have come from her
Officers immediately launched a search for Mr Lancaster, aged
54, saying that they feared for his safety.
In the early hours of the next day, his body was found 40 miles
away at the foot of Malham Cove - a popular beauty spot in the
Yorkshire Dales formed by a 260-foot-high curved cliff. Soon
afterwards, detectives announced that they were not looking for
anyone else in connection with the deaths.
Mrs Lancaster, who had two daughters and three grandchildren,
had been a non-stipendiary priest at St Edmund's, Roundhay, for 12
On Tuesday, the Vicar of St Edmund's, the Revd David
Paton-Williams, spoke of the congregation's "great sadness" at the
He said: "The community is staggered by these events. We know
these things happen, but you never expect it is going to be your
He described Mrs Lancaster as a "very prayerful" person, who was
an oblate of the Community of the Love of God at the Convent of the
Incarnation at Fairacres in Oxford, and had lived for several
months as an anchoress in her own home.
"She had this deep sense of calling, and was also very
pastoral," he said. "When I spoke to the people she took home
communion to, they just spoke so warmly about her."
She had also studied archaeology and had served as the diocesan
archaeological adviser. "She had a great love of stained glass, and
was always on at us about caring for ours properly," Mr
Her husband had been a server at St Edmund's, and was part of
the healing ministry team.
Mrs Lancaster's two daughters, one who lives in southern England
and the other in New Zealand, have been told of the deaths.
The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, said: "I am deeply
saddened to learn about the deaths of Roy and Louise Lancaster.
This is clearly a terrible tragedy, and their family and friends
are in my thoughts and prayers."
The Mother Superior of of the Convent of the Incarnation, Revd
Mother Margaret Theresa SLG, expressed the community's sadness.