4 Canon Lane, formerly known as George Bell House (its rightful name – likely to be restored … see NOTE below), is a guest house set within the cathedral grounds in a fantastic location tucked behind the Cathedral and next to the beautiful Bishop’s Gardens. The house is a historic building, full of character with décor in keeping with the period. Set in a quiet location the building has a restful atmosphere. It is ideally located for exploring the charming town centre of Chichester, its cathedral or visit the Festival Theatre – all within walking distance!
4 Canon Lane is used for many purposes and only has 8 rooms. The rooms are comfortable without being elaborate. Some of the upstairs rooms have wonderful views of the cathedral or gardens. In particular, the 2 large doubles, Room 4 overlooking the garden and Room 5 overlooking the Cathedral are more expensive but apparently worth it. Smaller rooms are to the side and have showers, not baths.
It would seem that there are significant different differences between the rooms – with the better rooms unsurprisingly in demand – so early booking is advised…
George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral – before the name change [Picture: Alamy]
Due to unsubstantiated allegations, George Bell House has been renamed 4 Canon Lane. However, in the absence of any actual proof, court judgement or any admission of liability on behalf of the Church of England, it is expected that 4 Canon Lane will have its previous name of George Bell House restored.
Without proof or independent substantive evidence, there is no justification to excise the extraordinary legacy of Bishop George Bell or his memory…
The Church of England also seems to need reminding that in the United Kingdom a man is innocent until actually proven guilty.
Although it is for [Dean and] Chapter to decide, it is expected 4 Canon Lane will revert back to its former title of George Bell House following an Extraordinary meeting of the Chichester Cathedral Council on 17 January 2018.
‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is taking place in London
MICHAEL DRUMMOND Email Published: 17:21 Monday 05 March 2018
A damning image of ‘wilful blindness’ in historic cases of sexual abuse of children who were ‘terrified and silenced’ by clergy in Sussex has been set out at a public inquiry. Fiona Scolding QC, lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said abuse that left an ‘indelible scar’ on children was often ignored or forgiven.
In one segment, Miss Scolding described abuse by a Reverend Colin Pritchard: “There have been suggestions about the culture of abuse operated by Reverend Pritchard and that Bishop Peter Ball turned a blind eye to that abuse.” Reverend Pritchard, who was vicar of St Barnabas in Bexhill, pleaded guilty in 2008 to seven counts of sexual assault on two boys and was jailed for five years.
Speaking on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester and Archbishops’ Council for the Church of England, Nigel Giffin QC said the Church’s response to abuse in the last few decades was ‘not nearly good enough’. The IICSA inquiry in London will look into how far institutions failed to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church. It focusses on abuse within the Diocese of Chichester, which covers all of Sussex, as a case study.
Lead counsel for the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC Members of the public heard about dozens of offences in Sussex over the last 50 years. Miss Scolding said: “As a society we have ocer the past 10 years had to examine some uncomfortable truths about our wilful blindness to such abuse.”
She noted the convictions for sex offences of Michael Walsh, Terence Banks and David Bowring, who were associated with Chichester Cathedral and local schooling. Miss Scolding also told the inquiry how Reverend Roy Cotton, who was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency with a child, was at one point an ‘alleged abuser hiding in plain sight’.
Richard Scorer spoke on behalf of many of the victims
She added: “Despite his conviction the Bishop of Portsmouth considered him suitable for ordination as a man of ‘considerable ability’ free of any trouble for 12 years. “Because of his criminal record the then Bishop of Portsmouth ensured he did not have to undertake the usual recruitment processes.”
The handling by the Church of allegations made against Chichester’s Bishop George Bell will be discussed later in the inquiry, but not the truth of them or otherwise.
Richard Scorer, speaking on behalf of many of the victims, said: “If you want to abuse children there is no more effective way of terrifying and silencing your victims than to claim to have God on your side.
The inquiry will look into how abuse by people associated with Chichester Cathedral was dealt with
“The Church of England claims to offer moral guidance to the country yet clerical sexual abuse cases powerfully undermine the claim. This leads to the cover-up of abuse.
“The question is whether the Church of England can be trusted to put its own house in order.”
In a statement read out this afternoon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “The failures that we have seen are deeply shaming and I personally find them a cause of horror and sadness. “That children have been abused within the communities of the church is indeed shameful.” The inquiry continues.
Chichester child abuse victims wait 10 years for report
8 July 2014
A report on child abuse in the diocese of Chichester has been published more than a decade after it was written, following pressure from victims.
The report on abuse between the 1970s and 2000 in the diocese and at the Cathedral was written in January 2004.
The case review followed the conviction of Terence Banks in 2001 for 32 sexual offences against 12 boys over 29 years.
The diocese said victims had “consistently asked for the full facts to be brought to light”.
The review was commissioned by the then Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr John Hind.
Banks had a long association with Chichester Cathedral and grew up living in the Treasury, before leaving home to move to London.
While living in Hammersmith, Banks often visited Chichester at weekends and took over the role of head steward at the cathedral from his father, following his death in 1989.
He was offered a church-owned property after the death of his mother in 1994.
The report said Banks was widely regarded as part of the cathedral choir’s organisation, although he had no official role. As a result he was able to seen as having “some power” over both choristers and their parents.
He groomed and sexually abused children, both boys and girls, between January 1971 until just before his arrest in early 2000, the case review said.
He met all but one of his victims through his activities in the cathedral.
He took children out to tea and brought them presents.
The report said “he used alcohol to break down inhibitions” of his victims and would then introduce his victims to pornographic films “to start the process of abuse”.
The assaults took place at his homes in Chichester and London, and he would also show the boys round BBC studios where he worked as a floor manager in the 1970s and 1980s.
One victim was taken to a hotel in Guildford and one to a sauna in Brighton. Two of the boys were abused in each other’s presence.
The case review was set up after concerns about the way the church had responded to allegations made in 2000.
‘Slow to change’
Banks was still allowed access to children while working at the cathedral, the report said.
The report said the Anglican community in the Chichester area had been “slow to change their child protection responses”.
An allegation in 1991 about Banks’ use of pornography with a 12-year-old was not reported to the dean of the cathedral.
In the same year, two victims reported abuse which was investigated by the cathedral but police were not informed.
The report said Banks’ three youngest victims were 11 years old, but all were under the age of 16.
In 2001, Banks was found guilty of 32 sexual offences. A further eight charges, involving another three victims, remain on file. He was jailed for 16 years.
The diocese of Chichester said at the time of the report, case reviews were not published as a matter of course.
A spokesman said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with the survivors and their families.
“The effects of abuse can last a lifetime, and the passing of the years may or may not have brought any kind of healing.”
Following the publication of Lord Carlisle’s report on the Church’s handling of Bishop George Bell’s case. The time has surely now come to re-dedicate the house in Canon Lane (presently known as 4 Canon Lane) to the name it carried before it was summarily re-named i.e. GEORGE BELL HOUSE.
The re-naming and re-dedication of this building would create an immense amount of goodwill among the many worshippers at the Cathedral and citizens like myself who have never believed the accusations made against the Bishop and feel that proper remembrance, respect and love should be restored to him as soon as possible. This re-dedication should also be signal for schools and local authorities to restore his good name.
The Cathedral Chapter should make it their urgent business to re-dedicate this building as soon as possible and suggest that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, be invited to return to Chichester to re-dedicate it.
As former Chichester Cathedral choristers and Prebendal School pupils in the late 1940s and 1950s, we protested in 2015 at the defamation of Bishop George Bell implicit in the church’s response to the claim by a woman around the same age as us that she had been sexually abused by him when very young (“Justice for Bell”, letters, Jan 19). We are delighted at the conclusions of Lord Carlile of Berriew’s report.
We choristers had a fair sense of George Bell as a man whose fundamental integrity we saw, and throughout our life have continued to value. Our doubts about the claims reflected the strong impression he made, and also the fact that we, alas, had some real experience of what a paedophile could be: a master was relieved of his post and replaced without police involvement when one of us went with his parents to tell the dean what had been happening. We have never accepted that “Carol” identified Bishop Bell rightly as her abuser.
The church now has a responsibility to restore Bishop Bell to his deserved and special place in its life. He remains a saintly figure for those who knew him in the way we did, or have studied his record. Bishop Bell spoke out bravely and worked tirelessly.
He called the 1943 bombing of civilians in Hamburg an unjustifiable act of war. He was the closest foreign friend and supporter of the 1944 Lutheran martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He helped to found the World Council of Churches in 1948. He welcomed to his bishop’s palace Jewish refugee families from Nazi persecution.
It is surprising that Archbishop Welby and various bishops seem no longer to recognise why this great, clear-sighted man has been treated as an Anglican saint with prayers for his own day of remembrance in the calendar. Holding their offices, they surely should.
Tom Sutcliffe, Roger Davis, Stewart Kershaw, Grevile Bridge, Roger Manser, Peter Watts, Roger Gooding, Tony Plumridge, Peter Hamel-Cooke, Francis Sutcliffe
Thursday February 1 2018 – Church House Westminster