AFTER being accused of presiding over a "débâcle" that left the
Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry, facing a
"baying mob", the Church Commissioners have announced that they
will stick to their decision to move the home of the Bishop of Bath
& Wells from the Palace (News, 7 February).
The matter was discussed by the Board of Governors of the Church
Commissioners on Tuesday last week - the first meeting since it
made its decision at the end of last November. On Thursday of last
week, the Commissioners issued a statement confirming that this
decision had been reaffirmed. This would be put in writing to the
standing committee of the Bishop's Council in the diocese of Bath
On hearing the news, a statement from the diocese said that it
was "disappointed. . . We regret the Church Commissioners'
unwillingness to respond to our request to discuss the issue
further with them, before the Board of Governors met on 25th
Disappointment was also expressed by The Palace Trust, the
charity that manages the Bishop's Palace and Gardens. A statement
said that the Trust "still believes that having the bishop reside
on site is important to our future as a heritage destination of
significant national importance".
The statement from the Commissioners confirmed that the Board of
Governors had examined the petition recently presented to the
Secretary of the Commissioners. Organised by the MP for Wells,
Tessa Munt, it was signed by more than two thousand people. The
Commissioners "reiterated their understanding that the ministry of
the new Bishop should not be encumbered or restricted by being
housed in a place with a high level of public access which is
guaranteed or even encouraged in relation to which he might be
expected to fulfil a significant role."
The Commissioners' reasoning was criticised during questions put
to them at last month's meeting of the General Synod (Synod, 21