‘The Hereford Scandal’

21 December 2017

December 21st, 1917.

In a leading article on 14 December, “Unhappy Hereford!”, the Church Times had greeted with dismay a rumour that Hensley Henson, Dean of Durham, was to succeed the latitudinarian Dr Percival as Bishop of Hereford, which had a concentration of High Churchmanship: “It was confirmed yesterday, and Hereford’s cup of bitterness will be full to the brim. . . Churchmen everywhere are entitled to ask what there is in Dr Henson’s record which might seem to justify his nomination to a see.” It returned to the fray a week later in the Summary (below), leader, and elsewhere.

MR LLOYD GEORGE’s latest nomination to ecclesiastical preferment has raised a storm of angry indignation, the last thing to be desired in these anxious times when we ought to be a united people. To some of our correspondents it appears as if Mr Lloyd George, a Dissenter of Dissenters, had nominated Dean Henson as a jest at the Church’s expense. We would acquit him of any such sinister design, and would rather think him merely ignorant of Church affairs or too much preoccupied with other things to be able himself to attend to the duties of Crown patronage. He should, however, be informed that the way in which this is being exercised is not only distressful to the Church but dangerous to the peace of the community. Whether he is a Churchman or not, the office he holds entails on him responsibilities which he ought not to shirk. In nominating to high Ecclesiastical office, he is bound, whatever his personal feelings may be, to make the Church’s interest his prime concern. He is the first Minister of the Crown, not merely Mr Lloyd George, the Dissenter. In making an absurd recommendation, he insults his Sovereign and needlessly offends a large and important section of the community.

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