Dean of Wells to retire

John Clarke, Dean of Wells, is to retire on December 31st 2015 after 11 years in post.  John came to Wells in 2004 after having been Principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon, the Anglican theological training institution outside Oxford.

John’s time as Dean has seen the completion of the cathedral development project initiated by his predecessor Richard Lewis. The project was described by English Heritage as ‘one of the biggest building projects at a medieval cathedral since the Reformation.’

John has played an active role in the Diocese of Bath and Wells and nationally where he has served as a Church Commissioner for England. He has overseen the farewell to Bishop Peter Price and the welcome of Bishop Peter Hancock. He has been active in the diocese in leading discussions about human sexuality and the changing understanding of marriage. The county of Somerset has been grateful for his leadership of the farewell to Lady Gass and the welcome of Annie Maw as Lord Lieutenant. In 2010 he led the funeral of Harry Patch, the last veteran of the trenches of the First World War.

Read more about John’s achievements and legacy on the Wells Cathedral website

John says,“It has been a privilege to serve as Dean of Wells and to work with clergy and lay colleagues on the cathedral chapter. This much-loved cathedral has an outstanding team of highly committed staff and volunteers that enable so many different activities to take place in and around the building. I am sorry to retire earlier than I intended following a stroke in April 2015, but I look forward to coming back to Wells and seeing future growth and development of the building and of the contemporary community of faith.”

The Rt Revd Peter Hancock, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, says, “Now is not the time to say our formal farewells, but it is the time to say how much John and Cressida will be missed. They have made many friends across the diocese and the county and John’s ministry as Dean has been greatly appreciated. I personally shall miss his friendship and support. John has been a wonderful, joyful and resourceful colleague and I am grateful to him for his very warm welcome when I was appointed as bishop.”

John will say farewell to the diocese of Bath and Wells and to the county of Somerset at Cathedral Evensong on Thursday 19 November at 5.15pm and to the cathedral congregation and volunteers at the eucharist on Sunday 22 November at 9.45am.

John’s successor will be a Crown Appointment and announced by Downing Street after a process of selection is undertaken.

Back to top