John Davies (priest, born 1957)

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John Davies

Dean of Wells
Church Church of England
Diocese Bath and Wells
In officeNovember 2016 – January 2023
Predecessor John Clarke
Other post(s) Dean of Derby (2010–2016)
Ordination1984 (deacon)
1985 (priest)
Personal details
John Harverd Davies

(1957-11-29) 29 November 1957 (age 65)
Bolton, England
Denomination Anglicanism
Alma mater

John Harverd Davies DL (born 29 November 1957) is a British Anglican priest and theologian. From 2016 to 2023, he was the Dean of Wells, the priest first-among-equals at Wells Cathedral and the most senior priest in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. He had previously served as Dean of Derby from 2010 to 2016. [1]


Early life and education

Davies was born on 29 November 1957 in Bolton, Lancashire, England. [2] He was educated at Brentwood School, a private school in Brentwood, Essex. [2] He studied at Keble College, Oxford, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1980; as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree in 1984. [3] He then undertook postgraduate studies at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and graduated with Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree in 1982. [3] In 1982, he entered Westcott House, Cambridge, an Anglican theological college in the Liberal Catholic tradition, to train for two years in preparation for ordination. [3] He later undertook postgraduate research and completed a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at Lancaster University. [4] His thesis was titled "Divine kenosis and the power of the Church". [5]

Ordained ministry

Davies was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1984 and as a priest in 1985. [6] From 1984 to 1987, he served his curacy at Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, Liverpool in the Diocese of Liverpool. [4] Then, between 1987 and 1990, he was an assistant curate at St John the Baptist Church, Peterborough, in the Diocese of Peterborough. [3] He was also a Minor Canon of Peterborough Cathedral from 1988 to 1990. [4] He then returned to the diocese of Liverpool, where he was Vicar of St Margaret, Anfield from 1990 to 1994. [4]

In 1994, Davies returned to Keble College, Oxford, where he had studied for his undergraduate degree, as its chaplain and Director of Studies in theology. [4] As such, he was also elected a Fellow of the College. [3] Then, from 1999 to 2010, he was Vicar of St Michael with St Mary's Church, Melbourne, Derbyshire in the Diocese of Derby. [3] [4] He was also Diocesan Director of Ordinands from 2000 to 2009, and Priest in Charge of the Benefice of Ticknall (consisting of St George's Church, Ticknall, St James' Church, Smisby, and St Michael's Church, Stanton by Bridge) from 2007 to 2010. [3] [4] In 2010, he was made an honorary canon of Derby Cathedral. [3]

As dean

On 9 October 2010, Davies was instituted Dean of Derby; [7] as such, he was first-among-equals in the chapter of canons of Derby Cathedral and the most senior priest in the Diocese of Derby. [8] [9] In 2012, Davies undertook a sponsored abseil from the tower of Derby Cathedral to raise funds, both for the Cathedral and for the Padley Centre, a local charity providing help and support to the homeless and other socially disadvantaged people. [10] [11]

On 23 August 2016, it was announced that Davies would be the next Dean of Wells in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. [4] He presided at his last service at Derby Cathedral on 1 November 2016. [12] On 20 November 2016, he was installed as Dean during a service at Wells Cathedral. [1] His last service at the cathedral was the Feast of Candlemas on 2 February 2023, and he retired as dean on 6 January. [13]


On 1 June 2011, Davies was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) to the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire. [14]

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  1. 1 2 "Next Dean of Wells Appointed". Diocese of Bath and Wells. 23 August 2016. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Davies, John Harverd" . Who's Who . Vol. 2019 (1 December 2018 online ed.). A & C Black. Retrieved 27 January 2019.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "John Harverd Davies" . Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing . Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Dean of Wells: John Harverd Davies". Government of the United Kingdom. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  5. Davies, John Harverd (1998). "Divine kenosis and the power of the Church". E-Thesis Online Service. The British Library Board. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  6. Crockfords (London, Church House, 1995) ISBN   0-7151-8088-6
  7. Derby Cathedral – Dean’s Installation Archived 17 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Members of the Cathedral Chapter: The Very Revd Dr John Davies DL". Derby Cathedral. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  9. Ashworth, Pat (19 December 2011). "The Dean of Derby". Derbyshire Life. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  10. "Daredevil duo's leap of faith as they prepare to abseil cathedral". Derby Telegraph. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  11. "Dean and Curate abseil down Derby Cathedral tower". The Church of England Newspaper. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  12. "SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Dean of Derby appointed new Dean of Wells". Derby Cathedral. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  13. "John Davies to retire as Dean of Wells". Diocese of Bath and Wells. 6 January 2023. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  14. "Deputy Lieutenant Commissions". The London Gazette. No. 59798. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
Church of England titles
Preceded by Dean of Derby
Succeeded by
Preceded by Dean of Wells