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Bernard Palmer, former Church Times editor, dies

07 December 2017

Richard Watt

Lamented: the late Dr Bernard Palmer talks with Margaret Duggan, a long-time Church Times contributor, at the 2007 Cricket Cup Final

Lamented: the late Dr Bernard Palmer talks with Margaret Duggan, a long-time Church Times contributor, at the 2007 Cricket Cup Final

DR BERNARD PALMER, a former Church Times editor and proprietor, died early on Thursday of last week, aged 88.

The Church Times was founded by his great-grandfather, George Josiah Palmer, in 1863. Ownership passed down through the family. Bernard Palmer succeeded his father, Christopher, as managing director, in 1957, when he was aged 27. He was the third and last of the family to become editor, serving in that capacity from 1968 until 1989, when, with no family successor, he sold the paper to the present owners, the charity Hymns Ancient & Modern.

Dr Palmer was awarded a Lambeth D.Litt. for services to the Church, as well as an OBE. Chief among his achievements was a sig­­nificant shift in the Church Times’s editorial policy. During his time as, first, proprietor, and then, more markedly, as editor, he weaned the paper away from its un­­critical champ­ion­ship of the Anglo-Catholic cause, making it, instead, a paper that reflected the whole range of Anglican opinion.

In time, the readership caught up with him, and during his latter years as editor the paper put on circulation.

He turned to authorship on his retirement, beginning with a history of the Church Times, Gadfly for God, and then turning to other aspects of ecclesiastical history. Throughout his retirement, he contributed articles and reviews to the paper, until prevented by ill health in the past year or two. He died peacefully in hospital in Essex.

His funeral will be at St Nicholas’s, Witham, on Wednesday 3 January at 2 p.m.


Full obituary

Interview in the 7500th issue of the Church Times

On the Church Times Podcast, editor Paul Handley remembers Bernard Palmer


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