Dean who abolished Cathedral choir has resigned

Dean who abolished Cathedral choir has resigned


norman lebrecht

October 04, 2020

From Sheffield Cathedral:

At the end of the service at Sheffield Cathedral this morning, the Dean of Sheffield, the Very Revd Peter Bradley, announced his resignation from the role of Dean.

He said:

“It is with great regret that I tell you that I have resigned as Dean of Sheffield, with effect from 31 December 2020.  I know this will come as a shock.  You may be aware of the tremendous pressure I have been under over recent weeks which has seriously affected my health.  After prayerful reflection and conversations with people who know me well, including the Bishop, I have decided that the time has come for me to move on. I love the Cathedral, our City and our Diocese. I hope that together the Cathedral, City and Diocese, and prayer, that there will be a thriving future and I am confident of that great future under God. It has been a great privilege to have served as Dean of Sheffield since 2003, as it happens today is the 17th anniversary of my installation and I want to thank you all for the support and love you have given me.”

In response to the news the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Pete Wilcox said:

“Cathedral Chapter has faced many issues this year with the pandemic, the fire and the difficult challenges over the summer in relation to the future of choral music and Dean Peter has been under extreme stress for a prolonged period. I was therefore not surprised to have received his resignation, with effect from 31 December 2020.

Dean Peter has given himself wholeheartedly to his ministry as Dean of Sheffield for 16 years. During that time, the Cathedral has been transformed, not least by the Gateway project, so that it can realise more fully its vision to be a place for all people. His contribution to the College of Deans, the General Synod, and Sheffield’s public and civic life has been considerable and valued by many people. I support Peter’s decision to resign and wish to place on record my thanks to him for all the support and encouragement he has offered me as the Bishop of Sheffield during the past three years.”



  • Anon says:

    Good Result ! Perhaps the Vicar of St.Martin-in-the-Fields will do the same and go. GO NOW. Before it gets worse. The C of E has got itself into a terrible mess..

    • Norbert says:

      “The C of E has got itself into a terrible mess..”

      @Anon – what particular decade did you have in mind……?

  • Patricia says:

    Good. Now bring back the musicians.

  • christopher storey says:

    Under pressure…..poor health……Aaaaah

  • Maria says:

    See who applies, and who they get next – and when! Won’t be an easy place for any priest to run.

  • James Weiss says:

    Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out, as they say.

  • Emil says:

    Yikes. That statement from the Bishop is fire. “I support his decision to resign” is a scathing statement.

  • Former Organist says:

    Why isn’t the resignation from immediate effect if his mental health is so badly affected by his hatchet job of the choir? Allowing him to stay in post until December would suggest he’s not really that unwell, but was looking at early ‘gardening’ retirement in any case. The man should go with immediate effect for the damage he’s done to church music.

  • JulianE says:

    I live far from Sheffield and have never attended a sung service there, so cannot comment on the claims that its sung weekday services attract little or no congregation, nor about the failure to recruit sufficient singers of the exceptional standard required, nor about its management or mismanagement. But I can comment on the motivation behind the changes. I was Peter Bradley’s director of music for the whole time he was responsible for a particular urban parish, to where he came with a specific brief from the Bishop to make changes, and he did so, transforming the worship and leaving the music in a stronger state than when he started. Change and transformation are at the heart of the Christian faith, and the next Dean of Sheffield and its next director of music will need now to see through the process that Dean Peter initiated. I am sure that his intention was and is as stated, to strengthen the music in worship in the cathedral

    • christopher storey says:

      All one can say, Julian E, is that dismissing the choir is a strange way to leave the music in a stronger state than when he started. Mind you, you’re absolutely right about transforming the worship, although what is being worshipped other than a few inflated egos is very hard to discern .

  • Hamish says:

    Karma can be a lovely thing.

  • Doc Martin says:

    Our former Dean of St Patrick’s Dublin, Jonathan Swift D.D.
    would not have been beaten by his choir!

    In 1742, Handel was in Dublin, preparing for the premiere of his sacred oratorio “Messiah” at the Music Hall in Fishamble Street. Handel wanted to use the choristers from Dublin’s two cathedrals, Christ Church and St. Patrick’s. Swift was the Dean of St. Patrick’s, and, penned this flaming letter to his sub dean:

    “I do hereby require and request not to permit any of the choristers to attend or assist at any public musical performances… and whereas it hath been reported that I gave a license to assist a club of fiddlers in Fishamble Street, I do hereby declare that I do annul said license, entreating my said Sub-Dean to punish such as shall ever appeal there as songsters, fiddlers, pipers, trumpeters, drummers, drum-majors, or in any sonal quality, according to the flagrant aggravations of their respective disobedience, rebellion, perfidy and ingratitude.”

    History does not record Handel’s response, but he did, in point of fact, eventually get to use the St. Patrick’s chorister and other “songsters” he requested.