English cathedral suspends ‘bullying’ clergyman

English cathedral suspends ‘bullying’ clergyman


norman lebrecht

May 01, 2023

We are informed that Wakefield Cathedral yesterday suspended a Precentor who has been accused of bullying a director of music to the point where he resigned.

Another member of the Wakefield clergy says the Precentor in question is ‘unlikely to return to ministry again’.

A Precentor in the CoE is an ordained person who is in charge of preparing and leading services of worship.


  • Mr Gareth R Vaughan says:

    Good. At last the C of E is waking up to its responsibilities. A bit late for the Director of Music, however, who ought to be reinstated, apologised to and compensated. Not much chance of that, however, I fear.

  • Garry Humphreys says:

    More information required. In the meantime, this may be of interest: https://www.wakefieldcathedral.org.uk/news/2022/01/24/meet-our-new-canon-precentor/

  • Una says:

    This has been an appalling situation for months, and the second time in Wakefield with fine music directors.

  • Simon D. says:

    A precentor at their best supports the DofM to achieve the greatest spiritual impact of word setting and music. They simply should give their DofM the ability to choose sacred works of music that create services which allow the congregation to understand Rudolf Otto’s concept on the numinous. Simples! But come the revolution Priests will be the first, perhaps after politicians, to be removed from any power over people.

    • Una says:

      Simon, you are absolutely right. But it has been absolutely terrible to hear what has been going on in so-called one of God’s houses, more so as I’ve been a professional singer, and just happen to live in the Diocese of Leeds unique with three cathedrals, and we have nothing like that at all at Bradford Cathedral, and where Ed is very well known and loved, and a very fine Precentor who is also a fine musician.

  • Old Bob says:

    He is not the only Precentor in an English Cathedral who should leave the ministry (for good). There are also plenty of other clergy (including Deans) in these places who are totally unsuited for these roles. It’s no wonder the church (universal) is on its knees.

  • TruthHurts says:

    Shocking indeed! This is why I much prefer being in the USA, with access to the Roman Catholic priests: a safe environment for the whole family.

    • Maria says:

      Plenty of Catholic priests in the UK, in case you didn’t know, and a very tough safeguarding environment in every parish of any Christian denomination, thanks to the Nolan Report that Catholic Cardinal Murphy O’Connor instigated some years ago with the government. This situation has nothing to do with keeping families safe. You haven’t a clue.

  • Mr Mark Dyer says:

    Bullying clergy? Surely not? Sarah Mullally, with Calvin Robinson; Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, the Martyn Percy affair at Christ Church, Oxford. What is it about the ‘ordained ministry’, that it should attract such people (usually at the top of the hierarchical pyramid)?

  • Justintime says:

    That new Super Leeds Diocese which replaced Ripon and Wakefield doesn’t seem to be going well, does it? Looking for an Ecclesiastical Big Sam soon?

    • Una says:

      I belong to that diocese and am a practising Christian, and it is all going well – apart from Wakefield. We still have Ripon and Wakefield, plus Bradford with a fine Bishop of Leeds. Bradford that is always frowned upon by the south as the poorest and most deprived city in England, is doing a fine job and no problems there with a fine Precentor, Dean and another Canon.