Monthly Archives: December 2021

‘Funds in will are dependent’ – Chichester Observer – Letters – December 23 2021

I take my hat off to The Archbishop for stating there is no cloud over the memory of Bishop Bell.

It takes a big man to recant in this way, especially when so many of Bishop Bell’s supporters felt that the unfair demolition of his name and memory had become too entrenched for reprieve.

What puzzles me, however, is why Dean and Chapter are dragging their feet over restoration of as much as possible of Bishop Bell’s memory [that] can be salvaged, particularly George Bell House.

As far as the latter is concerned I have a vested interest, as the £50,000 that I have left to the cathedral in my will is subject to a clause preventing it happening, unless the name George Bell House is restored in my lifetime which, as I am in my 90s, might not be long lasting!

CHRISTOPHER HOARE

Tollhouse Close, Chichester

DECEMBER 8 2021 – GEORGE BELL HOUSE: “CANNOT WAIT UNTIL NEW YEAR” – WEST SUSSEX GAZETTE + CHICHESTER OBSERVER [DECEMBER 9] + “LOCAL REPARATION FOR BELL” – CHURCH TIMES [DECEMBER 10] – LETTERS

West Sussex Gazette – 8/12/2021

Chichester Observer – 9/12/2021

CHURCH TIMES – 10/12/2021

Local reparation for Bell

From Mr Richard W. Symonds

Sir, — According to the Dean of Chichester, the Very Revd Stephen Waine, the cathedral Chapter “is not scheduled to meet until late January” regarding the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement (News, 17 November) “I was wrong about Bishop Bell.”

This is beyond regrettable, and only perpetuates the injustice done to the wartime Bishop of Chichester for the past six years. Wounds need to start healing before Christmas. A meeting should be scheduled now — not just for God’s sake.

RICHARD W. SYMONDS
The Bell Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley, West Sussex RH11 0NN

DECEMBER 2 2021 – “MAKE VOICES HEARD ON BELL” / “A SERVICE OF REPARATION?” / “REOPEN CAFE IN BELL’S NAME” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER- LETTERS + NOVEMBER 25 2021 – LORD LEXDEN LETTER – DAILY TELEGRAPH

George Bell Bishop of Chichester

Portrait by William Coldstream [in storage at Pallant House Gallery Chichester]

“MAKE VOICES HEARD ON BELL” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS DECEMBER 2 2021

Dear Editor

As Marilyn Billingham, widow of Professor Peter Billingham, says [Opinion, November 25]:

“George Bell was the Bishop of Chichester from 1929-1958; a matter of great pride to the people of the city”

These people – and others – must now make their powerful voices fully heard, if the good name of this wartime bishop is to be fully restored within the Cathedral city.

RICHARD W. SYMONDS
The Bell Society

“A SERVICE OF REPARATION” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS – DECEMBER 2 2021

It’s joyful news that the Archbishop of Canterbury has rescinded his claim that a ‘significant cloud’ hangs over the former Bishop of Chichester George Bell, who died in 1958.

Six years’ injustice (since the accusation against Bell was first made public in 2015) has thus been overturned.

According to your report (November 25) the present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner welcomes the Archbishop’s statement as ‘both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues … do still surface in the Church of England of our own time’.

Maybe so.  But isn’t the obverse of that comment that those same virtues manifestly did not surface in the Church of England during the last six years?  To be blunt, Bishop Bell’s reputation was thrown to the dogs.

More can be said.  The attack on Bell’s reputation was in the first instance due to the Archbishop.  But Martin Warner by not challenging it was himself complicit.  The same goes for the Dean of Chichester and the rest of our Cathedral Chapter.

Astonishingly, not one serving bishop or senior cleric of the Church made any attempt to defend Bishop Bell during that time.  Though Bell, as they well knew, was a towering figure in his day, of unassailable moral grandeur, against whom the accusation of 2015 seemed to outsiders simply inconceivable.

Further, as far as I know no serving member of the clergy in the entire Chichester diocese felt moved to take Bell’s side.

It is time we heard from the Dean and Chapter on the matter.  To date, no statement on their behalf has appeared on the Cathedral website.

Does Dean Stephen Waine maintain his previous view of Bell’s guilt?  Or is he ready (like Martin Warner, it seems) to follow the Archbishop in his unexpected volte face?

Bishop Bell deserves a more obvious and sincere apology from both Cathedral and Diocese. 

Could the Dean perhaps announce a grand service of reparation, maybe in the form of a special Evensong?  It could very suitably be held on George Bell’s birthday (February 4th, a Friday next year).

DR TIM HUDSON                                                               

Hawthorn Close,                                                               

Chichester

“REOPEN CAFE IN BELL’S NAME” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS – DECEMBER 2 2021

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has now unreservedly apologised for mistakes made in failing to manage the process of abuse allegations against Bishop Bell ‘with the consistency, clarity or accountability to meet the high standards rightly demanded of us’ [Observer November 25].

Welby retracts his previous claim saying a ‘significant cloud’ should no longer tarnish Bell’s distinguished reputation.

In regretful atonement, Welby has announced a statue to be erected on the west front of Canterbury Cathedral celebrating ‘the huge debt owed him which extends far beyond the Church he served’.

I ask Stephen Waine, Dean of Chichester Cathedral, to follow Justin Welby’s fine example by restoring Bishop Bell’s good name, not with a statue, but with reopening The Bishop Bell Tea Rooms and Shop to the benefit of the community and local economy.

PETER LANSLEY

Cedar Drive, Chichester

LORD LEXDEN LETTER – DAILY TELEGRAPH – NOVEMBER 25 2021

SIR — Bishop Bell’s name must be put back on the buildings in Chichester, as the Rev Dr Barry Orford insists (Letters, November 23). There is no sign, however, that the current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, with whom I have clashed in the House of Lords, intends to lift a finger.

Last week he praised the statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as “both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues, evident in George Bell himself, do still surface in the Church of England”.

It is an outrage to put Archbishop Welby on the same plane as the great man whose reputation he traduced. Bishop Warner added that he had “no plans to make any further comments”. Anglicans must give him no peace until he either does his duty or resigns.

LORD LEXDEN OBE
London SW1

Oct 22 2015 – “I would be grateful…if you could refrain from including George Bell in your guided tours and external presentations” – Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine [to Cathedral Guides]

IMG_1572

Page 37 of Cathedral Guide ‘Society and Faith’ [later, the Guide was pulped]https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/11/17/november-17-2021-i-was-wrong-says-archbishop-welby/embed/#?secret=cn0NvKdEHG