Edward Carpenter (priest)

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Edward Frederick Carpenter
Religion Church of England
Born 27 November 1910
Died 26 August 1998
Senior posting
Title Dean of Westminster
Period in office 1974–1985
Predecessor Eric Abbott
Successor Michael Mayne

Edward Frederick Carpenter KCVO (27 November 1910 – 26 August 1998)[1] was an Anglican priest and author.[2]


Carpenter was a native Londoner and the city featured prominently in his life and priestly ministry. He was educated at Strode's Grammar School[3] and King's College London[4] and ordained in 1936.[5] After curacies at Holy Trinity, Marylebone and St Mary's Harrow he was Rector of Great Stanmore.[6]

After this his ministry was spent at Westminster Abbey, from 1951 firstly as a canon, then from 1963 to 1974 as archdeacon and finally, from 1974, Dean of Westminster.[7] One obituary noted "It was unfortunate for the Church that Edward Carpenter was 64 before he became Dean but he has left a legacy of tolerant, determined openness as a vital trait of 20th- century Christianity. He and his wife gave themselves unstintingly to others and contributed a happy sparkle in their home at Westminster in their laughter and scholarship."[8]

Carpenter retired to Richmond, Surrey. He has four children, David, Michael, Paul and Louise.[9]

Carpenter wrote Common sense about Christian ethics as part of the Common Sense series.

He was the first chairman of the Week of Prayer for World Peace, a global interfaith initiative created by the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship.[10]

In 2017 Michael De-la-Noy published a biography of Carpenter, A Liberal and Godly Dean: The Life of Edward Carpenter (Gloriette Publications).[11]


  1. NPG details
  2. Amongst others he wrote "Thomas Sherlock", 1936; "Thomas Tenison, His Life and Times", 1948; "That Man Paul", 1953; "Common Sense about Christian Ethics", 1961; "The English Church", 1966; "Cantuar: the Archbishops in their office", 1971; "Westminster Abbey", "Archbishop Fisher: his life and times", 1991 > British Library website accessed 21:34 GMT 1 March 2010
  3. Beeson, T. R., The Deans (London: SCM Press, 2004) ISBN 0-334-02987-2
  4. “Who was Who” 1897-2007 London, A & C Black, 2007 ISBN 978-0-19-954087-7
  5. Crockford's Clerical Directory1940-41 Oxford, OUP,1941
  6. Independent Obituary
  7. The Times, Thursday, Apr 25, 1974; pg. 1; Issue 59073; col D New Dean
  8. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-the-rev-edward-carpenter-1174495.html
  9. Westminster Abbey, Edward Carpenter: Writer, Priest and Dean, 1998.
  10. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-19. Retrieved 2015-08-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Harvey, A., "A Liberal and Godly Dean by Michael De-la-Noy: Anthony Harvey recalls Edward Carpenter’s inspired eccentricity", Church Times, Mar 2017.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Eric Abbott
Dean of Westminster
Succeeded by
Michael Mayne
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Leonard Wilson
President of the Modern Churchpeople's Union
1966 – c. 1990
Succeeded by
Peter Selby