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Derek Pattinson

Derek Pattinson

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Sir William Derek Pattinson (31 March 1930 – 10 October 2006) was Secretary-General of the General Synod of the Church of England
General Synod
-Church of England:In the Church of England, the General Synod, which was established in 1970 , is the legislative body of the Church.-Episcopal Church of the United States:...

 from 1972 until 1990.

Early years


Pattinson was born at Barrow-in-Furness
Barrow-in-Furness
Barrow-in-Furness is an industrial town and seaport which forms about half the territory of the wider Borough of Barrow-in-Furness in the county of Cumbria, England. It lies north of Liverpool, northwest of Manchester and southwest from the county town of Carlisle...

, the only child of Thomas William Pattinson (1898–1970) a civil servant and Elizabeth Pattinson née Burgess (1895–1986) a primary school teacher. He was educated at the County Grammar School, Whitehaven and at The Queen's College, Oxford
The Queen's College, Oxford
The Queen's College, founded 1341, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Queen's is centrally situated on the High Street, and is renowned for its 18th-century architecture...

, where, despite having won the Stanhope Historical Essay Prize, he obtained only Second Class in the Final Honour School of Modern History. He received the degree of Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in 1952 and Master of Arts
Master of Arts (Oxbridge)
In the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin, Bachelors of Arts of these universities are admitted to the degree of Master of Arts or Master in Arts on application after six or seven years' seniority as members of the university .There is no examination or study required for the degree...

 in 1956. He had been a member of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 since his childhood but during his time at Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 he moved from the Low Church
Low church
Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England or other Anglican churches initially designed to be pejorative. During the series of doctrinal and ecclesiastic challenges to the established church in the 16th and 17th centuries, commentators and others began to refer to those groups...

 to Anglo-Catholicism
Anglo-Catholicism
The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm the Catholic, rather than Protestant, heritage and identity of the Anglican churches....

. An alternative version states that he grew up an Anglo-Catholic, that his religious enthusiasm waned at Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, and that he returned to the Church when as a civil servant. He entered HM Civil Service
British Civil Service
Her Majesty's Home Civil Service, also known as the Home Civil Service, is the permanent bureaucracy of Crown employees that supports Her Majesty's Government - the government of the United Kingdom, composed of a Cabinet of ministers chosen by the prime minister, as well as the devolved...

, working in the Inland Revenue
Inland Revenue
The Inland Revenue was, until April 2005, a department of the British Government responsible for the collection of direct taxation, including income tax, national insurance contributions, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, corporation tax, petroleum revenue tax and stamp duty...

 from 1952 until 1962 and HM Treasury
HM Treasury
HM Treasury, in full Her Majesty's Treasury, informally The Treasury, is the United Kingdom government department responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy...

 from 1962 until 1965, returning in 1965 as Assistant Secretary in the Inland Revenue
Inland Revenue
The Inland Revenue was, until April 2005, a department of the British Government responsible for the collection of direct taxation, including income tax, national insurance contributions, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, corporation tax, petroleum revenue tax and stamp duty...

, and transferring back to HM Treasury
HM Treasury
HM Treasury, in full Her Majesty's Treasury, informally The Treasury, is the United Kingdom government department responsible for developing and executing the British government's public finance policy and economic policy...

 in 1968.

General Synod


In 1970 Gerald Ellison
Gerald Ellison
Gerald Ellison KCVO PC was an Anglican bishop. He was the Bishop of Chester from 1955 to 1973 and the Bishop of London from 1973 to 1981.-Early life and career:...

, then Bishop of Chester
Bishop of Chester
The Bishop of Chester is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Chester in the Province of York.The diocese expands across most of the historic county boundaries of Cheshire, including the Wirral Peninsula and has its see in the City of Chester where the seat is located at the Cathedral...

, suggested that he should apply for the position of Associate Secretary-General of the General Synod of the Church of England
General Synod
-Church of England:In the Church of England, the General Synod, which was established in 1970 , is the legislative body of the Church.-Episcopal Church of the United States:...

, with the intention that, if appointed, he should succeed as Secretary-General on the retirement of Sir John Scott. He was appointed to the Associate's position and he was Secretary-General from 1972 until 1990. It is said that he enjoyed better relations with the Anglo-Catholic archbishops Michael Ramsey
Michael Ramsey
Arthur Michael Ramsey, Baron Ramsey of Canterbury PC was the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury. He was appointed on 31 May 1961 and was in office from June 1961 to 1974.-Career:...

 and Robert Runcie
Robert Runcie
Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie, Baron Runcie, PC, MC was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1980 to 1991.-Early life:...

 than he did with the evangelical Donald Coggan
Donald Coggan
Frederick Donald Coggan, Baron Coggan, PC was the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury from 1974 to 1980, during which time he visited Rome and met the Pontiff, in company with Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, future Cardinal of England and Wales.-Background:Coggan was born in Highgate, London, England...

, for reasons of both Churchmanship and administrative style.

He was not enthusiastic about the ordination of women but regarded it as inevitable and was quite happy with women priests when they were eventually ordained. He was a keen promoter of black and other ethnic minority members of the Synod. He was also a key figure in the establishment of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe
Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe
The Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe is geographically the largest diocese of the Church of England and arguably the largest diocese in the Anglican Communion, covering some one-sixth of the Earth's landmass, including Morocco, Europe , Turkey, and the territory of the former Soviet...

.

He was first touched by scandal in 1987 in connection with the Preface to Crockford's Clerical Directory, written anonymously by his friend The Revd Canon Gareth Bennett
Gareth Bennett
Gareth Vaughan Bennett , also known as Garry Bennett, was an Anglican priest and academic who committed suicide in the wake of media reactions to an anonymous preface he wrote for Crockford’s Clerical Directory....

, Dean of Divinity of New College, Oxford
New College, Oxford
New College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.- Overview :The College's official name, College of St Mary, is the same as that of the older Oriel College; hence, it has been referred to as the "New College of St Mary", and is now almost always...

, who committed suicide as a result of the controversy it caused. Pattinson was responsible for commissioning the Preface and was thought to have failed to predict the outcome of publishing it. The Standing Committee of the General Synod decided that he was without blame in the incident.

Shortly before his retirement in 1990 he was appointed Knight Bachelor
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

 by HM The Queen
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 in the Queen's Birthday Honours
Queen's Birthday Honours
The Queen's Birthday Honours is a part of the British honours system, being a civic occasion on the celebration of the Queen's Official Birthday in which new members of most Commonwealth Realms honours are named. The awards are presented by the reigning monarch or head of state, currently Queen...

, and he received the accolade on 6 November 1990. At this point he was thinking about ordination and, since Church of England clergymen are not allowed to receive the accolade, it has been suggested that it was impolitic of him to accept the honour. However correspondence with Buckingham Palace in November 1991 accepted Sir Derek's use of the accolade without setting a precedent for others.

A less formal honour marking his retirement was the singing, in the General Synod
General Synod
-Church of England:In the Church of England, the General Synod, which was established in 1970 , is the legislative body of the Church.-Episcopal Church of the United States:...

, of a variation on the Major-General's Song
Major-General's Song
I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General is a patter song from Gilbert and Sullivan's 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance. It is perhaps the most famous song in Gilbert and Sullivan's operas. It is sung by Major-General Stanley at his first entrance, towards the end of Act I...

 from The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences...

with the line, "He was the very model of a Secretary-General".

Despite not having attended a bishops' selection conference, he was accepted for ordination. He trained for two terms at St Deiniol's Library
St Deiniol's Library
Gladstone's Library, known until 2010 as St Deiniol's Library , is a residential library in Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales.The library was founded by the Victorian statesman and politician William Ewart Gladstone ....

 and was ordained deacon in 1991 by Graham Leonard
Graham Leonard
Graham Douglas Leonard KCVO was a British priest. His principal ministry was as a bishop of the Church of England but, after his retirement as the Bishop of London, he became a Roman Catholic, becoming the most senior Anglican cleric to do so since the English Reformation...

. The service was threatened with interruption by a journalist from The Daily Mail who wanted to know whether Sir Derek was gay. Following a further term at the College of the Resurrection
College of the Resurrection
The College of the Resurrection, popularly known as Mirfield, is an Anglo-Catholic theological college of the Church of England at Mirfield, West Yorkshire, England, founded in 1903. The college has close links to the Community of the Resurrection...

 he was ordained priest in 1992 by David Hope. Both services took place at St Gabriel's Church in Pimlico
Pimlico
Pimlico is a small area of central London in the City of Westminster. Like Belgravia, to which it was built as a southern extension, Pimlico is known for its grand garden squares and impressive Regency architecture....

, in central London where he was Non-Stipendiary Minister from 1991 until 2000.


On 30 November 1992 Barnaby Miln
Barnaby Miln
Barnaby Miln is a social activist and former British magistrate. He is best known as the originator of the AIDS Awareness ribbon, World AIDS day, and for promoting Fairtrade fortnight and the Jubilee 2000 human chain around the G8 leaders...

 - a homosexual activist, Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace
A justice of the peace is a puisne judicial officer elected or appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. Depending on the jurisdiction, they might dispense summary justice or merely deal with local administrative applications in common law jurisdictions...

, and former member of the House of Laity of the General Synod of the Church of England
General Synod
-Church of England:In the Church of England, the General Synod, which was established in 1970 , is the legislative body of the Church.-Episcopal Church of the United States:...

 - was asked to afternoon tea with Bishop of London who asked about Sir Derek’s drinking problem following reports he had received. They agreed, that for the sake of Barnaby Miln's well being, he and Sir Derek should no longer live together. The Bishop thanked Barnaby Miln for looking after Sir Derek and assisted him in finding alternative accommodation. The Bishop arranged that Barnaby Miln take Sir Derek on 1 December 1992 to a consultant in Harley Street in the expectation that he would be sent to a clinic for specialist treatment. The Consultant failed to persuade Sir Derek who, the following day, attended a local clergy chapter at Westminster Abbey which happened to be attended by the Bishop. Seeing the state he was in, on 3 December 1992 the Bishop wrote to Sir Derek suspending his License for an initial period of six weeks.

On 4 December 1992 The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

claimed that Sir Derek had been living with Barnaby Miln.

Barnaby Miln returned in September 2000 to live with and care for Sir Derek whose health had deteriorated. In the last edition of Who's Who
Who's Who (UK)
Who's Who is an annual British publication of biographies which vary in length of about 30,000 living notable Britons.-History:...

published before Sir Derek's death Barnaby Miln was named as his partner, and was the executor of his Estate.

Death and legacy


Sir Derek was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in 2000. He died in London on 10 October 2006 and his ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey. He had held numerous other appointments including membership of the Archbishops' Commission on Church and State (1966–70) and the British Council of Churches (1972–90), the vice-chairmanship of the Grosvenor Chapel Committee (1973–81), the chairmanship of Liddon Trustees (1972–2001), the William Temple Association, and of the English Friends of the Anglican Centre in Rome (1985–2001), and the principalship of the Society of the Faith
Society of the Faith
The Society of the Faith is a Church of England charity founded in 1905. Its objects are to bring together Christians in communion with the See of Canterbury for mutual assistance, and to support and further charitable undertakings, particularly those that popularise the Catholic faith...

 (1992–2001). He was Churchwarden
Churchwarden
A churchwarden is a lay official in a parish church or congregation of the Anglican Communion, usually working as a part-time volunteer. Holders of these positions are ex officio members of the parish board, usually called a vestry, parish council, parochial church council, or in the case of a...

 of St Michael's, Cornhill and Parish Clerk of St Luke's, Old Street. He was also a Freemason
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 and a member of the Athenaeum Club
Athenaeum Club, London
The Athenaeum Club, usually just referred to as the Athenaeum, is a notable London club with its Clubhouse located at 107 Pall Mall, London, England, at the corner of Waterloo Place....

 and the Savile Club
Savile Club
The Savile Club was founded in 1868 for the purpose of conversation and good company. Though located somewhat out of the way from the main centre of London's gentlemen's clubs, closer to the residences of Mayfair than the clubs of Pall Mall and St James's Street, it still contained some prominent...

. He became a Freeman of the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 in 1973 and was a member of the Woolmen's Company and of the Parish Clerks' Company, of which he was Master 1986/7.

Further reading

  • Debrett's People of Today (12th edn, London: Debrett's Peerage, 1999), pp. 1516–17
  • Crockford's Clerical Directory (97th edn, London: Church House Publishing, 2001), p. 576
  • Michael De-la-Moy, The Church of England: A Portrait (London: Simon & Schuster, 1993)

External links

  • 'The Rev Sir Derek Pattinson', The Times
    The Times
    The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

    , 14 October 2006
  • 'The Revd Sir Derek Pattinson RIP', The Church of England
    Church of England
    The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

    , 13 October 2006
  • Jennifer Gold, 'Church of England Mourns Death of Sir Derek Pattinson', Christian Today
    Christian Today
    Christian Today is a trans-denominational Christian newspaper, with offices in cities across the world, and International Headquarters in London, UK.The newspaper was established in 2000 to serve the Christian community from all denominations worldwide...

    , 14 October 2006