Henry Montgomery Campbell

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The Right Reverend and Right Honourable
Henry Montgomery Campbell
Bishop of London
Montgomery Campbell in 1956
Church Church of England
Province Canterbury
Diocese London
In office 1956–1961
Predecessor William Wand
Successor Robert Stopford
Ordination 1910 (deacon); 1911 (priest)
Consecration 1940
Personal details
Birth name Henry Colville Montgomery Campbell
Born (1887-10-11)11 October 1887
Died 26 December 1970(1970-12-26) (aged 83)
Westminster Hospital
Buried Wivelsfield, Sussex
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Parents Sydney Montgomery Campbell
Spouse Joyce Mary Thicknesse (m. 1916)
Children 5
Previous post Bishop of Guildford
Bishop of Kensington
Bishop of Willesden
Education Malvern College
Alma mater Brasenose College, Oxford

Henry Colville Montgomery Campbell KCVO MC PC (11 October 1887 – 26 December 1970) was a Church of England bishop. He was ordained in 1910 and served as vicar or rector in a number of London parishes before being consecrated as a bishop in 1940, holding, successively, the suffragan bishoprics of Willesden and Kensington and the diocesan bishoprics of Guildford and London until his retirement in 1961.

Early life and ordained ministry

Montgomery Campbell[n 1] was the son of the Rev Sydney Montgomery Campbell, who was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1885 and became vicar of St John's, Hammersmith, and later of Midhurst and Banstead.[4][5] The son was educated at Malvern College and Brasenose College, Oxford.[4] After studying at Wells Theological College he was ordained deacon in December 1910 and priest in 1911.[6][7] His first appointment was a curacy at Alverstoke.[4] In`1916 he married Joyce Mary, daughter of the Rev Norman Thicknesse, rector of St George's Hanover Square.[8] After distinguished wartime service in which he received the Military Cross for bravery at Gallipoli, he served as vicar of West Hackney (1919–26) and Hornsey (1926–33).[4] In the latter post he ran a centre for the unemployed in a building made available to him by the government.[9] From 1929 to 1933 he also held the post of Rural Dean of Hornsey.[9] In 1933, on Thicknesse's retirement, Montgomery Campbell was appointed to succeed him at St George's.[10]

Episcopal ministry

Montgomery Campbell was ordained to the episcopate as the suffragan Bishop of Willesden in 1940,[9] and translated to be the Bishop of Kensington in 1942.[11] He became a diocesan bishop as Bishop of Guildford in 1949. His diocese was of quite recent creation, having been formed in 1927.[7] The new cathedral by Edward Maufe was under construction, and the pro-cathedral, Holy Trinity Church, in which Montgomery Campbell was enthroned, was the building in which he had been ordained a priest, 38 years earlier.[7] At first, he was doubtful about the need for a new cathedral, but once he had recognised it as a good thing he backed it enthusiastically.[4]

On the retirement of William Wand, Montgomery Campbell became the Bishop of London in 1956, in which position he also became a Privy Councillor. He became known for his wit, which was sometimes cutting. In the 1990s, his bons mots were recalled in the columns of The Times. On Mervyn Stockwood's appointment to the bishopric of Southwark, he commented, "I'm taking steps to have the Thames widened"; and later, when encountering Stockwood who was dressed not in the customary black frock coat and gaiters but in purple cassock and cloak, he greeted him, "Hello, Mervyn, incognito I see."[12] He described Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, as "a hard man – he boils his eggs in widows' tears".[13] About to interview an ordinand he said, "Come in, Brown. Take a chair." The young man corrected him: "Fiennes-Brown, my Lord." "Take two chairs" was the reply.[14] Commenting on his predecessors and successors at Guildford he said, "The first Bishop of Guildford went out of his mind, the second had no mind to go out of, then they had me, then a saint, and now they have started all over again."[15] At his enthronement as Bishop of London he banged ceremonially with his crosier on the great West door of St Paul's, which there was some delay in opening. He turned to his chaplain and said, "We've come to the wrong place". When the door was finally opened revealing the aged canons of the cathedral, he commented, "The See gives up its dead".[n 2][15]

A modest man, he called himself "one who is no figure in public life and no scholar, but simply and solely a Father in God who goes round the parishes visiting the chaps – the only thing I am any good at".[4] His obituarist in The Times commented that this was an underestimate of Montgomery Campbell's abilities, and that he was "a wise and discerning administrator, who could quickly grasp the essentials of a situation and impart to it his own sure touch. He was at heart a man of prayer and great dedication."[4]

Montgomery Campbell retired in 1961. He died at the age of 83 in Westminster Hospital on 26 December 1970 having contracted bronchial pneumonia after falling during a power cut and fracturing his thigh.[16] The funeral was a quiet service at St Stephen's, Westminster on 31 December, and he was buried at Wivelsfield, Sussex. A memorial service was held in St Paul's Cathedral the following month.[2] He was predeceased by his wife, who died in 1928; he was survived by their four daughters and one son.[4]

Notes and references


  1. Although some sources treat "Montgomery" as a given name,[1] it is part of a double-barrelled surname. It is so treated by Montgomery Campbell's family in the notice of his death in The Times.[2] The list of his family members published in The Times after his memorial service names his son as Hugh Montgomery Campbell, his unmarried daughter as Jane Montgomery Campbell, and his granddaughter as Elisabeth Montgomery Campbell. Other family members listed were Colonel A. Montgomery Campbell and Miss A. Montgomery Campbell.[3]
  2. A reference to Revelation 20:13: "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it".


  1. "Dr. H. C. M. Campbell", The Guardian, 28 December 1970, p. 10
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Deaths", The Times, 29 December 1970, p. 16
  3. "Bishop H. Montgomery Campbell", The Times, 15 January 1971, p. 14
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 "Bishop Montgomery Campbell", The Times, 28 December 1970, p. 8
  5. "Ordinations", The Times, 22 December 1885, p. 10; "Marriages", The Times, 15 June 1888, p. 1; and "Ecclesiastical Intelligence", The Times, 8 June 1905, p. 8
  6. "Ordinations", The Times, 19 December 1910, p. 14
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "New Bishop of Guildford", The Times, 1 December 1949, p. 7
  8. "Marriages, The Times, 13 April 1916, p. 11
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Ecclesiastical News", The Times, 6 July 1940, p. 7
  10. "Ecclesiastical News", The Times, 5 August 1933, p. 14
  11. "Ecclesiastical News", The Times, 5 March 1942, p. 7
  12. Johnson, the Rev Malcolm. " Bishop's talent for the lofty put-down", The Times, 28 October 1996.
  13. Saward, the Rev Michael. Letter, The Times, 2 November 1966, p. 23.
  14. Mc Rory, the Rev Peter. Letter, The Times, 2 November 1966, p. 23.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Johnson, the Rev Malcolm (2013). Diary of a Gay Priest. Lanham: John Hunt. p. unnumbered. ISBN 1780999992.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Bishop's death after power cut", The Times, 7 January 1971, p. 1
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Guy Smith
Bishop of Willesden
Succeeded by
Edward Jones
Preceded by
Bertram Simpson
Bishop of Kensington
Succeeded by
Cyril Easthaugh
Preceded by
John Macmillan
Bishop of Guildford
Succeeded by
Ivor Watkins
Preceded by
William Wand
Bishop of London
Succeeded by
Robert Stopford