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Obituary: The Very Revd John David Treadgold

by
20 March 2015

Dr Brian Hanson writes:

THE Very Revd John Treadgold, who died on 15 February, aged 83, had been Dean of Chichester from 1989 to 2001, and before that was a Canon of St George's, Windsor, from 1981 to 1989.

He was born and brought up in Nottinghamshire, read theology at Nottingham University, and was prepared for the priesthood at Wells Theological College. Unusually, Treadgold's title parish was Southwell Minster, where he was responsible for liturgy and music (one of his passions). In his five years there, he made his mark with his work on forming a thriving youth club, which led to his appointment in 1964 to the incumbency of Wollaton, an important parish in the diocese. Treadgold saw himself as a priest for all his parishioners, and was soon involved in the civic life of the parish, besides having a lively ministry in his parish church.

After ten years at Wollaston, he accepted the living of St Cuthbert's, Darlington, in 1974, where his dynamic leadership led to the reordering of the church, and the building of a new parish centre. While at Darlington, Treadgold acted as Chaplain to the High Sheriff of County Durham, and, again, was much involved in the civic life of the locality.

His warmth of personality, and his obvious pastoral gifts, led to his being offered in 1981 a canonry at St George's Chapel, Windsor, with responsibility for the Royal Chapel in Windsor Great Park, where the Queen and members of the royal family worship when in residence at the Castle. Again, Treadgold was as attentive to the needs of all who worked on the estate as he was to the royal family, and his ministry was greatly appreciated by all. He was also a Chaplain to the Queen from 1981 to 1989, and, when he left Windsor, the Queen made him a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.

His appointment in 1989 to the Deanery of Chichester was greeted with surprise, and, from some in the diocese, hostility. That Treadgold was a moderate churchman of liberal views, and sympathetic to new insights, was difficult for some in the Chapter, and, to a lesser extent, for the diocesan bishop. His pastoral gifts, however, soon endeared him to the cathedral congregation, and the hospitality of the Deanery became legendary. He relished the artistic and musical tradition of the cathedral, and, being himself an amateur sculptor, he commissioned, during his time as Dean, an important piece of sculpture by Philip Jackson, Christ in Judgement. On his retirement, during the cathedral's restoration, he also found himself set in stone as a gargoyle.

Again, Treadgold took a full part in the life of the diocese and the county, chairing the diocesan advisory committee for nine years, and being a governor of schools, a trustee of the Festival Theatre and of Pallant House Gallery, and Chaplain to the High Sheriff.

The ministry of generous hospitality, encompassing churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike, was a great gift, exercised jointly by John and Hazel throughout their happy marriage of 55 years. John was also proud of Hazel's contribution to the life of the Church: she was active at national level in the Mothers' Union, including serving five years as its Central President.

Hazel, together with a daughter and two sons, survives him.

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