Walter Frere

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Walter Howard Frere,[1] CR[2] (1863–1938)[3] was a co-founder of the Anglican religious order the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield,[4] and Bishop of Truro (1923[5]–1935).[6]


Frere was the younger son of Philip Howard Frere and his wife Emily, née Gipps. His siblings were Arthur, Ellen and Lucy. Lucy became the wife of Wilfred J. Barnes.[7] He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and Wells Theological College; and ordained in 1889.[8][9] His first post was as a curate at Stepney Parish Church. He was Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Southwark from 1896[10] to 1909.[3]

Frere was twice Superior of the order 1902–1913 and 1916–1922, and returned to it after resigning the see of Truro. He was consecrated bishop in Westminster Abbey on 1 November 1923, and as he regarded membership of a religious order an obligation taking precedence over others, the bishop's palace became a branch house of the Community.[11]

Frere assisted the Indian Syro-Malankara church with the foundation of the Bethany religious order in 1919: however the dioceses forming this church were received into the Roman Catholic communion in 1930.

He was a member of the Anglican delegation to the Malines Conversations in the 1920s, and active in various other ecumenical projects including relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.[12] He was a noted liturgical historical scholar;[13] he was also a High Churchman and a supporter of Catholic ideas.[14] In his early writings and addresses he emphasised the importance of spiritual life, and explained some of the liturgical revision which was then in preparation.[15]

He played a major part in the proposed revision of the Church of England Book of Common Prayer in 1928,[16] which was later rejected by Parliament, and was responsible for the service book for the Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary.

He died on 2 April 1938[17] was buried at Mirfield.


  • Recollections of Malines, 1935. Concerning discussions with Cardinal Mercier, Old Catholic Archbishop.
  • A Collection of his Papers on Liturgical and Historical Subjects. Alcuin Club, 1940.
  • Correspondence on liturgical revision and construction. Alcuin Club, 1954.
  • The Use of Sarum. 2 vols. 1898 & 1901.
  • A New History of the Book of Common Prayer (based on F. Procter's earlier work). 1901.
  • The Principles of Religious Ceremonial. 1906.
  • Black Letter Saints' Days, 1938. Providing eucharistic propers for a selection of saints in the interim 1928 Prayer Book Calendar.[18]


  1. NPG details
  2. Gordon-Taylor, Benjamin & Stepping, Nicolas CR (ed.) Walter Frere - Scholar, Monk, Bishop. Canterbury Press. 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 Green, Humphrey B. (2008) [2004]. "Frere, Walter Howard". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33274.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. Walter Howard Frere, Bishop of Truro: a memoir, ed. C. S. Phillips. 1947
  5. New Bishop Of Truro. The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Oct 03, 1923; pg. 12; Issue 43462.
  6. ‘FRERE, Rt Rev. Walter Howard’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 11 June 2015
  7. Phillips (1947), pp. 14-16, 214
  8. Crockford's Clerical Directory 1929/30 p 1311
  9. "Frere, Walter Howard (FRR881WH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Multiple News Items . The Morning Post (London, England), Wednesday, December 23, 1896; pg. 3; Issue 38859
  11. Royal Historical Society biographical index entry
  12. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross. O.U.P., 1957.
  13. Walter Howard Frere in Project Canterbury
  14. Brown, H. M. (1976) A Century for Cornwall. Truro: Blackford; p. 88
  15. Brown, H. M. (1976) A Century for Cornwall. Truro: Blackford; p. 89
  16. Frere: ecumenist, feminist, socialist by Alan Wilkinson, article in Church Times
  17. Dr. W. H. Frere. The Times (London, England), Monday, Apr 04, 1938; pg. 16; Issue 47960.
  18. British Library website accessed 16:0GMT 11 June 2015
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Guy Warman
Bishop of Truro
Succeeded by
Joseph Hunkin