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Bristol Cathedral plaque names first women ordained priest

18 March 2022

BRISTOL CATHEDRAL

The new plaque in Bristol Cathedral, carved by Robyn Golden-Hann

The new plaque in Bristol Cathedral, carved by Robyn Golden-Hann

ALMOST 30 years since the first women priests were ordained, a plaque bearing their names has been unveiled in Bristol Cathedral.

It replaces one that listed only the men who officiated at the service in the cathedral in 1994, even though several of the 32 women had contributed to funding the original plaque (Feature, 15 March 2019).

The change was instituted by the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, who first saw it when she came to rehearse her enthronement in 2018. “The woman in charge of the cathedral administration took me to see it, and asked what I thought of it. We agreed that we didn’t think much of it,” she told Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Tuesday.

“So we decided at that moment there would be a new plaque. It took a while to get the permission through, but also to find the wonderful letter-carver and mason Robyn Golden-Hann, who would work on this.”

The new memorial was unveiled last Saturday at a service attended by several of the original ordinands. One them, Prebendary Angela Berners-Wilson, said: “It was wonderful to see it: we are part of history. It was lovely to finally have the 32 of us immortalised in stone rather than just the male Bishop and the male Dean. It brought back many memories; it was the most incredible day. I can’t believe it was 28 years ago.

“We were all invited to contribute £15. . . I did, but not everyone did. When I saw it, I was massively disappointed that it did not have our names on it; but I supposed 32 names were too expensive to carve in stone.”

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