Dick Sheppard (priest)

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Dick Sheppard
Dean of Canterbury
Church Canterbury Cathedral
In office1929–1931
Other postsVicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields (1914–1926)
Rector of Glasgow University (1937)
Personal details
Born(1880-09-02)2 September 1880
Windsor, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Died31 October 1937(1937-10-31) (aged 57)
City of London, UK
Buried Canterbury Cathedral
Denomination Anglican
Residence Paternoster Row (at death)
Parents Edgar Sheppard & Mary née White
SpouseAlison née Lennox (m. 1915)
Children2 daughters [1]
Alma mater Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Hugh Richard Lawrie Sheppard CH (2 September 1880 – 31 October 1937) was an English Anglican priest, Dean of Canterbury and Christian pacifist. [2]

Anglicanism The practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.

Dean of Canterbury

The Dean of Canterbury is the head of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury, England. The current office of dean originated after the English Reformation, although Deans had also existed before this time; its immediate precursor office was the prior of the cathedral-monastery. The current Dean is Robert Willis, who was appointed in 2001 and is the 39th Dean since the Reformation, though the position of Dean and Prior as the religious head of the community is almost identical so the line is unbroken back to the time of the foundation of the community by Saint Augustine in AD 597.

Christian pacifism Christian refusal of violence

Christian pacifism is the theological and ethical position that any form of violence is incompatible with the Christian faith. Christian pacifists state that Jesus himself was a pacifist who taught and practiced pacifism and that his followers must do likewise. Notable Christian pacifists include Martin Luther King, Jr., Leo Tolstoy, and Ammon Hennacy. Hennacy believed that adherence to Christianity required not just pacifism but, because governments inevitably threatened or used force to resolve conflicts, anarchism. However, most Christian pacifists, including the peace churches, Christian Peacemaker Teams and individuals such as John Howard Yoder, make no claim to be anarchists.


Early life and education

Sheppard was the younger son of Edgar Sheppard, a minor canon at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor, and Mary White. Born at the Cloisters in Windsor, [1] he was educated at Marlborough College and then (1901–1904) Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He worked with the poor from Oxford House, Bethnal Green and then for a year as secretary to Cosmo Lang, then Bishop of Stepney.

Edgar Sheppard British priest

James Edgar Sheppard, was a Canon of Windsor from 1907 to 1921.

Royal Chapel of All Saints Church

The Royal Chapel of All Saints or Queen Victoria's Chapel is a Grade II listed church in the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, England. The chapel is situated in the grounds of Royal Lodge. The chapel is a Royal Peculiar, and serves as an informal parish church for the inhabitants and staff of the Windsor Great Park. Services at the chapel are often attended by members of the British Royal family, and the Queen regularly worships at the church for reasons of privacy. The chaplaincy of the Royal Chapel All Saints is held by one of the Canons of the College of St George at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Marlborough College school in Marlborough, Wiltshire in England

Marlborough College is an independent boarding and day school in Marlborough, Wiltshire, England. Founded in 1843 for the sons of Church of England clergy, it is now co-educational. For the academic year 2015/16, Marlborough charged £9,610 per term for day pupils, making it the most expensive day school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) – the association of British independent schools. Fees for full boarders are up to £12,175 per term, the 28th most expensive HMC boarding school.

He volunteered to serve in the Second Boer War: however, an injury sustained while en route to the railway station rendered him permanently disabled and unable to serve. [1] [3]

Second Boer War war between South African Republic and the United Kingdom

The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought them to terms.


He studied for the ministry at Cuddesdon College and was ordained priest in 1908. Returning to work with the poor at Oxford House, in 1910 he suffered the first of what would prove to be recurrent breakdowns due to overwork.

With the onset of war, Sheppard spent some months as chaplain to a military hospital in France, before being sent home with exhaustion. Supported by Lang, he took the fashionable and high-profile living at St Martin-in-the-Fields, turning the church into an accessible social centre for all those in need. He married Alison Lennox, who had nursed him during his breakdowns, in 1915. [1]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Military hospital hospital that is reserved for the use of military personnel, their dependents and other authorized users

A military hospital is a hospital that is owned and operated by the armed forces. They are often reserved for the use of military personnel and their dependents, but in some countries are made available to civilians as well. They may or may not be located on a military base; many are not.

St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London

St Martin-in-the-Fields is an English Anglican church at the north-east corner of Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, London. It is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. There has been a church on the site since the medieval period. The present building was constructed in a Neoclassical design by James Gibbs in 1722–1726.

From 1924, when Sheppard provided the first service ever broadcast by the BBC, his broadcast sermons gave him national fame. However, another breakdown and acute asthma led to his resignation in 1926. Having become a pacifist, he articulated a vision of a non-institutional church in The Impatience of a Parson (1927). Sheppard was partly responsible for the annual Festival of Remembrance that takes place in the Albert Hall, London on the first Saturday in November before Remembrance Sunday. In November 1925 he wrote to The Times protesting against a proposed Charity Ball on Armistice Day. Following a nationwide response a solemn ceremony In Memory replaced the Ball. [4] Such was its resonance with the public that it became an annual event that continues to this day.

Remembrance Sunday a day in the United Kingdom to honour those who served in the World Wars and future conflicts

Remembrance Sunday is held in the United Kingdom as a day "to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts". It is held at 11 a.m. on the second Sunday in November.

<i>The Times</i> British newspaper, founded 1785

The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.

Lang, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1928, supported the appointment of Sheppard as Dean of Canterbury in 1929. Although his preaching attracted huge audiences, illness once again forced resignation in 1931.

After resignation

Trying to develop a public political platform for pacifism, with Herbert Gray and Maude Royden, Sheppard proposed in 1931 a Peace Army of unarmed peacemakers to stand between the Chinese and Japanese armies in Shanghai. More successfully, he issued a call for "peace pledges" in 1934. He published We Say 'No' (1935) and formally established the Peace Pledge Union in 1936. In 1937 – the year of his death aged 57 – his wife left him and students elected him Rector of Glasgow University.

Death and legacy

Sheppard died at home in Paternoster Row [1] and his funeral in St Paul's Cathedral drew huge crowds. He is buried in the cloisters at Canterbury Cathedral. [5]

The character of the priest Robert Carbury in Vera Brittain's novel Born 1925 is based on Sheppard. [6]


See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Sheppard, Hugh Richard Lawrie [Dick]". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36061.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. Alan Wilkinson, Sheppard, Hugh Richard Lawrie (1880–1937), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2007 accessed 17 June 2009
  3. Parkinson, Justin (8 November 2018). "World War One: Why 'indecent' Armistice Day parties ended". BBC News .
  4. Roberts R. Ellis, 'H.R.L. Sheppard Life and Letters', John Murray, London 1942, p.145
  5. Brittain, Vera (1957). "5 section 14". Testament of Experience. Golanz.
  6. Martin Ceadel, Pacifism in Britain, 1914–1945 : the defining of a faith. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1980. ISBN   0198218826 (p.239).
Academic offices
Preceded by
Iain Colquhoun
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Archie Sinclair