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Bertram Simpson (bishop)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bertram Fitzgerald Simpson (25 September 1883 - 16 July 1971) was a prominent Anglican cleric who served over half a century in London as Suffragan Bishop of Kensington (1932 to 1942) and later as Diocesan Bishop of Southwark (1942 to 1959).

Born on 25 September 1883, Simpson was educated at the University of Durham, where he was President of the Durham Union during Epiphany term of 1906.[1] Ordained in 1908 his first post was at St Anne's, Soho, London. He was Vicar of St Peter's, Harrow, when he was interviewed for a commission as a Temporary Chaplain to the Forces during the First World War.[2] He joined the Chaplaincy on 19 August 1916 and two years later was awarded the Military Cross, in the words of the citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst visiting the most advanced line he was injured by the burst of a shell but carried on with his duty. He has always carried out his daily task regardless of all fire.[3]

He suffered shell concussion in this action which left him with tinnitus and he returned to London as a Chaplain in Camberwell hospital[4] He was demobilised in December 1918. He was Rector and Rural Dean of Stepney, 1920–26, and Vicar of St Peter's, Cranley Gardens before his elevation to the episcopate as suffragan Bishop of Kensington[5] He was consecrated a bishop on the Nativity of St John the Baptist (24 June) 1932, at St Paul's Cathedral, by Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury.[6]

In 1941, his appointment as diocesan Bishop of Southwark was announced — although the Archbishop of Canterbury regarded him as 'a little rough in manner but otherwise good;[7] Simpson's translation to Southwark duly occurred early in 1942[8] and he was installed at Southwark Cathedral on 24 January.[9] In 1946, he was offered translation to the more prestigious see of Salisbury but he preferred to remain in the capital[10] He retired in 1958.

His reputation as a spellbinding preacher, apparently extempore but meticulously well-researched, was matched by his humility.[11] He was noted for assisting with the washing-up after church functions[12] and, in an address to a high-powered gathering of the British and Foreign Bible Society, he confessed that he did not read the Bible but 'a thriller for 10 minutes before I go to sleep'[13] He died in 1971 aged 87.[14][15]


  1. ^ Campbell, P. D. A. (1952). A Short History of the Durham Union Society. Durham County Press. p. 16.
  2. ^ Index Card Museum of Army Chaplaincy
  3. ^ London Gazette, 29.11.1918
  4. ^ TNA WO374/62500
  5. ^ Who Was Who, A and C Black
  6. ^ "Towards unity". Church Times. No. 3623. 1 July 1932. p. 25. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 24 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  7. ^ Lambeth Palace Library,Lang 193
  8. ^ "Bertram Simpson: The humblest of bishops". Church Times. No. 5658. 23 July 1971. p. 2. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 26 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  9. ^ "Church news". Church Times. No. 4118. 24 December 1941. p. 762. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 26 September 2020 – via UK Press Online archives.
  10. ^ Lambeth Palace Library,Fisher 13
  11. ^ The Times obituary, 19.7.1971
  12. ^ Church Times obituary, 23.7.1971
  13. ^ 'A Rebel at Heart' by Guy Rogers, Longman's, 1956, p. 298.
  14. ^ Who's Who 1970 London, A & C Black, 1970 ISBN 0-7136-1140-5
  15. ^ The Times, Thursday, 4 December 1941; pg. 7; Issue 49100; col D Ecclesiastical News New Bishop of Southwark
Church of England titles
Preceded by Bishop of Kensington
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Southwark
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 30 August 2021, at 15:02
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