Victor de Waal

Last updated

Victor de Waal
Dean of Canterbury
Church Church of England
Term ended1986
Predecessor Ian White-Thomson
Successor John Simpson
Personal details
Birth nameVictor de Waal
Born (1929-02-02) 2 February 1929 (age 90)
Denomination Anglicanism
ParentsHendrik de Waal
Elisabeth von Ephrussi
SpouseEsther Aline Lowndes-Moir
Children Alex de Waal
Edmund de Waal
Thomas de Waal
Education Tonbridge School
Alma mater Pembroke College, Cambridge

Victor Alexander de Waal (born 2 February 1929) [1] is a British Anglican priest. He was the Dean of Canterbury from 1976 to 1986.

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.


Early life

Victor de Waal was born in Amsterdam, the son of Hendrik de Waal, a Dutch businessman, and Elisabeth of the Ephrussi family. His mother was born to a well-known Jewish family at the Ephrussi Palace in Vienna. Although she converted to Christianity this did not protect her from the racial policy of Nazi Germany. [2] Before the outbreak of World War II, the family moved to Britain and stayed there after the war, though retaining for many years their Dutch citizenship. [3]

Dutch people or the Dutch are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Aruba, Suriname, Guyana, Curaçao, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States. The Low Countries were situated around the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire, forming a part of their respective peripheries, and the various territories of which they consisted had become virtually autonomous by the 13th century. Under the Habsburgs, the Netherlands were organised into a single administrative unit, and in the 16th and 17th centuries the Northern Netherlands gained independence from Spain as the Dutch Republic. The high degree of urbanization characteristic of Dutch society was attained at a relatively early date. During the Republic the first series of large-scale Dutch migrations outside of Europe took place.

Ephrussi family

The Ephrussi family is a Russian Jewish banking and oil dynasty.

Racial policy of Nazi Germany set of policies and laws implemented by Nazi Germany

The racial policy of Nazi Germany was a set of policies and laws implemented in Nazi Germany (1933–45) based on a specific racist doctrine asserting the superiority of the Aryan race, which claimed scientific legitimacy. This was combined with a eugenics programme that aimed for racial hygiene by compulsory sterilization and extermination of those who they saw as Untermenschen ("sub-humans"), which culminated in the Holocaust.

The family came to live in Tunbridge Wells when he was a boy and he was educated at Tonbridge School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. His second cousin once removed was the Right Revd Hugo de Waal, Bishop of Thetford. [4]

Tonbridge School independent day and boarding school for boys in Tonbridge, Kent, England

Tonbridge School is an independent boarding and day school for boys in Tonbridge, Kent, England, founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judde. It is a member of the Eton Group and has close links with the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest London livery companies. It is a public school in the British sense of the term.

Pembroke College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Pembroke College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college is the third-oldest college of the university and has over seven hundred students and fellows. Physically, it is one of the university's larger colleges, with buildings from almost every century since its founding, as well as extensive gardens. Its members are termed "Valencians".

Hugo Ferdinand de Waal was Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge from 1978 to 1991 and the suffragan Bishop of Thetford from 1992 until 2000.


He served as chaplain of King's College, Cambridge from 1959 to 1963 and the University of Nottingham from 1963 to 1969, [5] and chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral.

Chaplain Provider of pastoral care, often a minister of a religious tradition, attached to an institution

A chaplain is, traditionally, a cleric, or a lay representative of a religious tradition, attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, school, labor union, business, police department, fire department, university, or private chapel.

Kings College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Formally The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge, the college lies beside the River Cam and faces out onto King's Parade in the centre of the city.

University of Nottingham university based in Nottingham, England

The University of Nottingham is a public research university in Nottingham, United Kingdom. It was founded as University College Nottingham in 1881, and was granted a royal charter in 1948.

From 1976 to 1986, he served as the Dean of Canterbury. [6] [7]

He helped with the research into his family history by his son, Edmund de Waal, which culminated in the book The Hare with Amber Eyes . [8]

<i>The Hare with Amber Eyes</i> book by Edmund de Waal

The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010) is a family memoir by British ceramicist Edmund de Waal. De Waal tells the story of his family, the Ephrussi, once a very wealthy European Jewish banking dynasty, centered in Odessa, Vienna and Paris, and peers of the Rothschild family. The Ephrussis lost almost everything in 1938 when the Nazis aryanized their property. Even after the war, the family failed to recover most of its extensive property, including priceless artwork, but an easily hidden collection of 264 Japanese netsuke miniature sculptures was saved, tucked away inside a mattress by Anna, a loyal maid at Palais Ephrussi in Vienna during the war years. The collection has been passed down through five generations of the Ephrussi family, providing a common thread for the story of its fortunes from 1871 to 2009.

De Waal is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Birmingham. [9]

Personal life

He married Esther Aline Lowndes-Moir, author (as Esther de Waal) of books on spirituality, especially Celtic. Among their sons are John de Waal, a barrister; Alex de Waal (born 1963), a writer on Africa; Edmund de Waal (born 1964), a ceramic artist; and Thomas de Waal (born 1966), a writer. He later separated from his wife. [10]


Related Research Articles

Bishop of Norwich Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Norwich is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Norwich in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers most of the county of Norfolk and part of Suffolk. The Bishop-elect of Norwich is Graham Usher.

John Mantle (bishop) Bishop of Brechin; Scottish Episcopal bishop

John Ambrose Cyril Mantle was the Bishop of Brechin in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Anthony John Russell is a retired British Church of England bishop. He was the Bishop of Dorchester from 1988 to 2000 and Bishop of Ely from 2000 to 2010.

Palais Ephrussi palace

Palais Ephrussi is a former Ringstraßenpalais in Vienna. It was built for the Ephrussi family of financiers by Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, the architect of the Austrian Parliament Building. It is on the Ringstrasse, specifically the Universitätsring, opposite the Votivkirche.

Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild French socialite, art collector

Charlotte Béatrice de Rothschild was a French socialite, art collector, and a member of the prominent Rothschild banking family of France.

Alexander William Lowndes "Alex" de Waal, a British researcher on African elite politics, is the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Previously, he was a fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at Harvard University, as well as program director at the Social Science Research Council on AIDS in New York City.

Thomas de Waal British journalist

Thomas Patrick Lowndes de Waal is a British journalist and writer on the Caucasus. He is best known for his 2003 book Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War.

De Waal is a Dutch surname with the literal translation "the Walloon". Originally it may have also referred to other southern, non-Germanic and French-speaking persons. A variant, archaic spelling is De Wael. Notable persons with that surname include:

Edmund de Waal British ceramic artist

Edmund Arthur Lowndes de Waal, OBE is a British artist, and author. He is known for his large-scale installations of porcelain vessels and has received several awards and honours for his work. He wrote The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010) and The White Road (2015).

Arthur Gabriel Hebert (1886–1963) was a monk of Kelham, Nottinghamshire, and a proponent within Anglicanism of the ideas of the Liturgical Movement. As such he was in familiar contact with Benedictine monasteries in Austria and Germany. Hebert also had contacts with artists and with Protestant circles in Switzerland and with the Lutheran High Church movement in Sweden. He was very much aware of the social implications of liturgical renewal in Continental Europe.

Trevor Randall Beeson was Dean of Winchester in the last two decades of the 20th century. He is also an ecclesiastical obituarist.

Edward Frederick Carpenter was an Anglican priest and author.

Charles Ephrussi critic, art historian, and art collector

Charles Ephrussi was a Jewish-French art critic, art historian, and art collector. He also was a part-owner and then editor as well as a contributor to the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, the most important art historical periodical in France.

Harold Henry Rowley was an English Old Testament scholar from the Baptist tradition.

Ignace von Ephrussi private banker and art collector

Baron Ignace von Ephrussi (1829–1899) was a Russian-born Austrian banker and diplomat. He was the head of Ephrussi & Co. in Vienna, Austria.

Arthur Macdonald "Donald" Allchin, published as A. M. Allchin, was a British Anglican priest and theologian. He was librarian of Pusey House, Oxford from 1960 to 1969, a residentiary canon of Canterbury Cathedral from 1973 to 1987, and programme director of the St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality in Oxford from 1987 to 1996.

Sir Constant Hendrik de Waal, KCB, QC, known as Sir Henry de Waal, was a lawyer and parliamentary draftsman.

Elisabeth de Waal Austrian writer

Elisabeth de Waal (1899–1991), née von Ephrussi, was an Austrian writer born in Vienna. de Waal's works include The Exiles Return.


  1. " - CBSi". Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  2. "The artist whose secret family history became the surprise book of the". Evening Standard . 22 December 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  3. Himes, Mavis (2016). The Power of Names: Uncovering the Mystery of What We Are Called. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 96. ISBN   9781442259799 . Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  4. "The Right Rev Hugo de Waal". The Independent . 8 January 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  5. What is the Church, SCM Press, 1969
  6. Allchin (The Rev. Canon), A.M. (27 April 1980). The Living Church | Enthronement at Canterbury. Morehouse-Gorham Company. p. 50. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  7. Vogel, Carol (29 August 2013). "Edmund de Waal Prepares for an Exhibition". The New York Times . Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  8. Moore, Charles (21 January 2012). "The Spectator's Notes | The Spectator". The Spectator . Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  9. Richardson, Alan; Bowden, John (1983). The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 16. ISBN   9780664227487 . Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  10. Wullschlager, Jackie (28 March 2014). "Lunch with the FT: Edmund de Waal". Financial Times . Retrieved 24 October 2017.