A MARRIED priest who admitted a “close and inappropriate relationship with a person not his spouse” has been banned for life from carrying out clerical duties.
The former Vicar of St Edward the Confessor, Dringhouses, in York diocese, Martin Baldock, who is 68, also admitted to failing to protect a vulnerable adult during his time in the parish. The offences came to light after his retirement in 2017.
The penalty of prohibition was imposed by the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams. His title of Canon and Prebendary of York Minster has been withdrawn.
In a statement, the diocese of York said that Mr Baldock, who now lives in Newark, Nottinghamshire, had been subject in 2019 to proceedings under the Clergy Discipline Measure. He admitted two counts of misconduct while in his post in York: “Conducting a close and inappropriate relationship with a person not his spouse over a sustained period”, and “Failing to protect a vulnerable adult through not having due regard to the Church of England’s safeguarding regulations”.
The diocese was “not aware” of any other issues concerning Mr Baldock’s incumbency in Dringhouses. It declined to make further comment, to protect the identities of those involved.
The Area Bishop of Selby, Dr John Thomson, said that news of Mr Baldock’s behaviour would be a “cause of real shock and distress at St Edward’s, and for others hurt by his actions”. He went on: “This is deeply upsetting news for the parish of Dringhouses, where Mr Baldock was held in respect and affection for 17 years, and where many members of the Church and community trusted him with their deepest and sometimes their most sensitive feelings and experiences.”
Mr Baldock grew up in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, and was a chorister at Dunstable Priory. He trained at St John’s, Nottingham, was ordained deacon in Wells Cathedral in 1985, and served his title at Christ Church, Nailsea. He then served in Sheffield diocese from 1989 to 2000, as incumbent and rural dean, and was also an Hon. Canon of Sheffield Cathedral.
He became Vicar of Dringhouses in 2000, was Rural Dean of York from 2004 to 2012, and also served at St Leonard’s Hospice, York.