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Eric Kemp

eric kemper oakland, eric kemp
Eric Waldram Kemp, FRHistS 27 April 1915 – 28 November 2009 was a Church of England bishop He was the Bishop of Chichester from 1974 to 2001 He was one of the leading Anglo-Catholics of his generation and one of the most influential figures in the Church of England in the last quarter of the twentieth century


  • 1 Education
  • 2 Ministry
  • 3 Family
  • 4 Significance
  • 5 Publications
  • 6 External links
  • 7 References


Kemp was educated at Brigg Grammar School and Exeter College, Oxford, graduating with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in 1936, Master of Arts in 1940, Bachelor of Divinity in 1944 and Doctor of Divinity in 1961 He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1951 and received an honorary DLitt from the University of Sussex


Kemp trained for ordination at St Stephen's House, Oxford from 1936 to 1939 where he later chaired the House Council He was ordained deacon in 1939 and priest in 1940 He served as assistant curate of St Luke's Church in Newtown from 1939 to 1941 He moved back to Oxford, where he remained for almost 31 years, first as Priest Librarian of Pusey House, Oxford 1941–1946 and Chaplain of Christ Church, Oxford 1943–1946 and then as Fellow, Tutor and Chaplain of Exeter College, Oxford from 1946 to 1969 He was Dean of Worcester from 1969 to 1974 and Bishop of Chichester from 1974 to 2001 He was consecrated bishop before the introduction of a mandatory retirement age and was able to continue in the post for as long as he chose As a result, on his retirement he was one of the oldest and one of the longest-serving diocesan bishops in Church of England history He had also held subsidiary appointments as Chaplain to the Queen 1967–1969 and Canon and Prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral 1952–2001 In April 1998 he was appointed Chanoine d'Honneur Canon of Honour of Chartres Cathedral Following his retirement he was made Bishop Emeritus of Chichester


Kemp's father-in-law, Kenneth E Kirk, was Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology in the University of Oxford and Bishop of Oxford Kemp wrote a book about Kirk and in 2001 presented his letters and papers to Lambeth Palace Library He and his wife Patricia had five children One of his daughters, Alice Kemp, has been ordained a Church of England Priest in the Diocese of Bristol


Kemp was one of the leading scholars of ecclesiastical law and a participant in conversations between the Church of England and the Methodist Church of Great Britain He was a former member of the Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved In 1998 a volume of essays on English Canon Law was published in his honour

He had special concern for homeless people and people living with HIV and Aids and was a supporter of the campaign to save the French Convalescent Home in Brighton In 1994 he became President of the National Liberal Club

He was one of only four bishops in the United Kingdom who declined to sign the Cambridge Accord, affirming the human rights of homosexuals

He encouraged women to serve in the permanent diaconate in his diocese but was an opponent of the ordination of women to the priesthood and women priests were not licensed in the Diocese of Chichester during his episcopate The first woman to be licensed in the diocese, following the appointment of Kemp's successor, John William Hind, was the Reverend Pat Sinton who was licensed as priest-in-charge of St Mary's Shipley in November 2001 In Kemp's time women were able to work within the diocese through the approval of the Archbishop of Canterbury



  • 1948: Canonization and Authority in the Western Church London: Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford University Press
  • 1956: Bishops and Presbyters at Alexandria London: Faber
  • 1957: An Introduction to Canon Law in the Church of England London: Hodder and Stoughton
  • 1959: The Life and Letters of Kenneth Escott Kirk, Bishop of Oxford, 1937-1954 London: Hodder & Stoughton
  • 1961: Counsel and Consent: aspects of the government of the Church as exemplified in the history of the English provincial synods London: SPCK
  • 1964: The Anglican-Methodist Conversations: a comment from within London: Oxford University Press
  • 1979: Square Words in a Round World London: Fount
  • 2006: Shy but not Retiring: the memoirs of the Right Reverend Eric Waldram Kemp; edited and prepared for publication by Jeremy Matthew Haselock London: Continuum ISBN 0-8264-8073-X


  • 1948: E G Wood, The Regal Power of the Church: or, The fundamentals of the canon law with a preface and a supplementary bibliography by E W Kemp London: Dacre Press
  • 1954: N P Williams London: SPCK sermons by Williams, with a memoir by Kemp
  • 1954: Papal Decretals Relating to the Diocese of Lincoln in the Twelfth Century ed with an introduction on the sources by Walther Holtzmann, with translations of the texts and an introduction on the Canon Law and its administration in the twelfth century by Eric Waldram Kemp, Publications of the Lincoln Record Society vol 47, Hereford: Lincoln Record Society


  • 1969: Man: Fallen and Free; Oxford essays on the condition of man London: Hodder & Stoughton

External links

  • Bibliographic directory from Project Canterbury


  1. ^ Daily Telegraph obituary
  2. ^ "Shy But Not Retiring: Memoirs synopsis" Shy But Not Retiring: Memoirs synopsis Amazoncouk Retrieved 26 October 2006 
  3. ^ The Life and Letters of Kenneth Escott Kirk, Bishop of Oxford, 1937-1954 London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1959
  4. ^ "The Diocese of Bristol" 
  5. ^ "No 52828" The London Gazette 10 February 1992 p 2231 
  6. ^ English Canon Law: essays in honour of Bishop Eric Kemp; edited by Norman Doe, Mark Hill, Robert Ombres Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1998 ISBN 0-7083-1478-3
  7. ^ "The Cambridge Accord" Changing Attitude 2001–2006 Archived from the original on 23 October 2001 Retrieved 21 February 2008 
  8. ^ "Diocese licenses first woman priest" BBC News London: BBC 16 November 2001 Retrieved 26 October 2006 

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