John Simpson

Dean of Canterbury
ChurchChurch of England
Term ended2000
PredecessorVictor de Waal
SuccessorRobert Willis
Other post(s)Archdeacon of Canterbury
Ordination1958 (deacon)
1959 (priest)
Personal details
Born(1933-06-07)7 June 1933
Died(2019-04-24)24 April 2019
SpouseRuth Simpson
Children2 daughters and 1 son
Alma materKeble College, Oxford

John Arthur Simpson OBE (7 June 1933 – 24 April 2019) was an Anglican priest.[1]

Early life

Simpson was born in Cardiff, 7 June 1933, to Arthur Simpson, a draper, and Mary Esther Simpson, who worked for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK).[2][3] He was the youngest of three children.[3]


Simpson attended Cathays High School in Cardiff.[2] After National Service, where he learned Russian at Cambridge and worked as an interpreter in East Berlin, he went on to study Modern History at Keble College, Oxford, graduating in 1958.[2][3] Simpson then trained for the priesthood at Clifton Theological College and was ordained in 1958.[1][2]


After curacies in Leyton and Orpington he was a tutor at Oak Hill Theological College from 1962 to 1972. He was then Vicar of Ridge, Hertfordshire until 1981 when he began his long association with the Diocese of Canterbury.

From 1981 to 1986 he was Archdeacon of Canterbury.[2] In 1986 he was installed as the Dean of Canterbury, heading the large chapter and staff of the cathedral until his retirement in 2000.[4][5]

After retirement he lived in Folkestone. In December 2000 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for "services to the Church of England".[6] He died at home in Folkestone on 24 April 2019.[3]


  1. ^ a b "The Very Rev John Simpson, Archdeacon and later Dean of Canterbury who was involved in the visit of Pope John Paul II – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. No. 51, 017. Obituaries. 29 May 2019. p. 27. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Simpson, Very Rev. John Arthur". Who's Who 2019. Oxford University Press. 10 May 2019 [First published online December 2007]. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U34945. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Witheridge, Revd John (31 May 2019). "Obituary: The Very Revd John Simpson". Church Times. Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  4. ^ Crockford's clerical directory, 1995” (Lambeth,Church House ISBN 0-7151-8088-6)
  5. ^ 10 Downing Street Archived 2008-11-22 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ New Years Honours, 2000/2001 - BBC News
Preceded byBernard Clinton Pawley Archdeacon of Canterbury 1981 –- 1986 Succeeded byMichael Stanley Till Preceded byVictor A de Waal Dean of Canterbury 1986 –- 2000 Succeeded byRobert Willis