The Queen has approved the appointment of the Very Revd Dr John Davies as Dean of Wells. Confirmation of the appointment was announced by 10 Downing Street this morning. Dr Davies succeeds the Very Revd John Clarke, who retired at the end of 2015.
Dr Davies is currently Dean of Derby, a position he has held since 2010 and in which he has developed opportunities for mission and ministry within a Cathedral context; initiated fundraising and work on the fabric of the building; spear-headed a renewed engagement with the diocese; and created new connections in the city of Derby and the region.
Dr Davies says: “These six years have shown me the huge potential of Cathedrals for mission and ministry. They have been very happy years. But the invitation to serve at Wells as Dean was an offer I simply could not refuse. I look forward to engaging with new agendas in a new setting, connecting Wells Cathedral more strongly with the diocese, the county of Somerset, the City of Wells, and all who visit such a glorious place.”
He was interviewed by BBC Somerset on the day of the appointment.
The Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, welcomed today’s announcement, he says: “John is an able and experienced parish priest, having served in city centre parishes as well as rural villages and market towns. This coupled with his experience as Dean of Derby means this is an excellent appointment for the Cathedral and the City of Wells. John will bring to Bath and Wells his passion for theological reflection as well as an enthusiasm and energy for connecting people to each other and to God. I look forward to welcoming him into the diocese and working alongside him in responding to God’s immense love for us all, as we seek to be God’s people living and telling the story of Jesus.”
The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, says: “John has done a superb job at Derby, establishing a strong team, masterminding significant investment in the building, including a wonderful redecoration, and making important connections across the city and county. He has established a lively Cathedral with firm foundations. We will miss him enormously – but fully support his acceptance of this new challenge. He goes with our love and prayers.”
The Acting Dean of Wells, Canon Andrew Featherstone, also welcomed the announcement: “I am thrilled that John has accepted the invitation to serve here as Dean and to lead this historic Cathedral in the next stages of its long journey of development. John will play a vital role in providing leadership and support during an exciting time for us and for the diocese. We very much look forward to welcoming John to Wells.”
Dr Davies, studied at Keble College, Oxford and then at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge researching for his Doctorate at Lancaster University. He studied for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge.
He served his first curacy in Liverpool, from 1984 to 1987 and his second in Peterborough. From 1990 to 1994 he was Vicar at St Margaret, Anfield in the Diocese of Liverpool before taking up the post of Chaplain, Fellow and Director of Studies in Theology at Keble College, Oxford in 1994, where he remained until 1999.
From 1999 to 2010 he was Vicar of Melbourne, in the Diocese of Derby whilst also serving as Diocesan Director of Ordinands. From 2007 to 2010 he was also made Priest-in-Charge of Ticknall, Smisby and Stanton by Bridge. He became Dean of Derby in 2010.
Dr Davies is a Deputy Lieutenant of Derbyshire, a trustee of YMCA Derbyshire, a governor of Trent College, a Court member at Derby University, a co-founder of the Derby Christian-Muslim dialogue group, and a Trustee of the Derbyshire Community Bank, the largest credit union in the county. He is involved with plans to found a new school in Derby, and he broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Derby.
Other interests include foreign travel, hospitality, walking and gardening.
Dr Davies will be officially installed as Dean of Wells at a special service to be held on Sunday 20 November 2016 at Wells Cathedral.
Notes to editors
What is a Dean?
In the Church of England and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, the dean is the chief resident cleric of a cathedral or other collegiate church and the head of the chapter of canons. If the cathedral or collegiate church has its own parish, the dean is usually also rector of the parish.
Dr Davies’s official appointment will be to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Wells.
About Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral, dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle, is the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells and the mother church of the diocese. The Dean is the chief resident cleric of the Cathedral.
Wells Cathedral’s history goes back over 1000 years and the present buildings are the result of a building period from the 12th to the 15th centuries. This includes the completion of associated buildings – namely Vicars’ Close and Hall – provided for the Vicars Choral who continue to occupy the medieval houses.
This proud, centuries old tradition is unique and a much valued part of life at Wells Cathedral today. However, despite its traditional heart, the Cathedral is very much alive and prepared to innovate in the face of the modern challenges that face it, welcoming thousands of visitors each year who join in with regular daily services and events, or who come to simply spend time in this special building.
Visit the Wells Cathedral website for more information.
About the Diocese of Bath & Wells
Through our network of people, parishes, schools and churches, the Church of England Diocese of Bath & Wells is supporting and resourcing Christian communities across Somerset as they seek to be God’s people, living and telling the story of Jesus.
The diocese stretches from Portishead in the north to Crewkerne in the south, Minehead in the west to Frome in the east. Our two bishops, three archdeacons, 300 clergy, 540 churches, 180 schools, 496 parishes and 370 lay Readers serve nearly 900,000 people.
Visit our Facebook page for more pictures of the Dean’s visit to Wells on the day his appointment is announced.