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Resource site on Westminster Abbey

An archive of factual materials and links relating to Westminster Abbey and the stewardship of Dr Wesley Carr, Dean of Westminster 1997 - 2002.

The Cameron Review Group General links
Westminster Abbey Choir School Resignation of Choir School Doctor
Sacking of Clerk of the Works Chaplains Resign
Loans Resignation of Receiver General
Sacking of the Master of Choristers The 'Diana dividend'
Theology Background at Bristol & Chelmsford
Biographical note  

Click on a link for a relevant section or scroll down for full document.

"The Guardian and other reputable newspapers including the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Times and Evening Standard published a number of articles despite threats from solicitors acting for the dean of Westminster and the abbey has been unable to substantiate or sustain a single allegation of misreporting or factual error. These articles have not been withdrawn and remain available for inspection." Statement by Stephen Bates, Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Guardian as reported in Medway Today 27 June 01

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The Cameron Review Group

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General links

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Westminster Abbey Choir School

Institutionalised bullying of Choristers: Seven choirboys end up being withdrawn from Westminster Abbey Choir School. There are two threatened suicides. Many complain of inappropriate behaviour by the headmaster. Outside professionals consulted by the parents confirm their concerns. An internal inquiry reports to dean Carr who dismisses the complaints. Carr issues a series of denials and counter-allegations to protect 'his headmaster'. Westminster City Council's Social Services report highlights significant concerns about the welfare of pupils and the conduct of the headmaster. Before its publication, but after its contents have been presented to the dean, the headmaster was told to resign or be dismissed. [See associated links below]

1997 Dean Carr arrives at Westminster during the selection of a Headmaster for the Choir school. 'All but one candidate rejected by the dean as unsuitable - the chapter was offered a choice of one'. Roger Overend BA(Mus), FTCL, ARCM, FRSA is appointed. He is not a qualified teacher.

'When called to account... [the serial bully] instinctively: a) denies everything... b) issues a counter-attack or counter-allegation ...c) poses as victim... All are designed to divert attention away from the question.' Tim Field - profile of the serial bully. For information on bullying behaviour see http://www.successunlimited.co.uk/bully/serial.htm and also http://www.successunlimited.co.uk/bully/case40.htm

Rochester

2001

"I spoke to the Dean of Westminster Abbey at some length. The report from the social services is not true. I have got my facts." Dr Ian Walker, Headmaster of Kings School Rochester, as reported in Medway Today 26 June 01

"The Guardian and other reputable newspapers including the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Times and Evening Standard published a number of articles despite threats from solicitors acting for the dean of Westminster Abbey and the abbey has been unable to substantiate or sustain a single allegation of misreporting or factual error. These articles have not been withdrawn and remain available for inspection." Statement by Stephen Bates, Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Guardian as reported in Medway Today 27 June 01

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Resignation of the Westminster Abbey Choir School Doctor

The school doctor, concerned at the high levels of stress-related illness at the school, took his concerns to Carr, only to be asked to ‘substantiate the allegations’ by giving confidential medical information. When he declined, the Receiver General called his practice and another of his school clients, to question his medical competence. The doctor, a veteran of Bosnia who should know child abuse when he sees it, did the appropriate thing, and resigned.

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Sacking of the Abbey Clerk of the Works

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Chaplains Resign

March 2001: At the suggestion of the dean the abbey chaplain Rev John Townend, terminates his five year appointment two years early. His departing prayer "for the goodness of the Abbey".

March 2000: Pastoral Assistant Sister Hilary leaves the abbey. She incurred the wrath of canon treasurer Michael Middleton for including the Nearys in her prayers of intercession at the Abbey during the time of the dispute involving the organist and his wife. She was not forgiven. She continues her pastoral duties at St Paul's Cathedral, London.

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Loans

In 1998 Dean Carr borrows £45,000 from the abbey, repayable by installments by 2003. In 1999 Canon Michael Middleton, Canon Treasurer borrows £30,000 from the abbey, 6% interest only until July 2005 and an additional bridging loan of £20,000. After public outcry both loans repaid early. In the financial year to 30th September 2000 Carr repaid the outstanding balance of £21,000 and Middleton repaid an outstanding balance of £30,000. The ethics of the Dean and Canon Treasurer borrowing from Abbey funds of which they are both trustees were questioned.

 

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Resignation of the Receiver General

1999 Resignation of the Receiver General Rear-Admiral Snow, because 'the air was too strong for him' (Abbey Newsletter)

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Sacking of the Organist and Master of the Choristers

1998 Sacking of the Organist and Master of the Choristers for 'financial irregularities' and his appeal to the Queen.

From Bristol diocese a new Canon Treasurer: Canon Michael Middleton takes office 25th November 1997

"The Abbey's attempt to convene a disciplinary hearing at such short notice without a detailed statement of the case being made against the Nearys must score gamma minus on the scale of natural justice"

'I find it surprising that neither the precentor, canon Fenton, nor the dean, notwithstanding his explanation, asked Dr Neary directly about the fund and its operation as soon as they were aware of its existence' [1996-97]. Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle 9 December 98

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The 'Diana dividend'

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Theology

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Background at Bristol and Chelmsford:

1988 At Bristol: dean Carr sacks the Organist and Master of Choristers Malcolm Archer, and the Headmaster of the Choir School Roy Collard. Associated protests, withdrawal from the Headmasters Conference, refusal of local shops to supply the cathedral, and resignations.

1980 at Chelmsford: as canon at the 'Cathedral Centre' at Chelmsford - his report on Stansted finds 'something obscene' - the cloud of mystification

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Biographical note

Arthur Wesley Carr born 26 July 1941 is son of Commissioner Arthur Carr - a former church of England choirboy and Salvation Army chief of staff, and his officer wife Irene Carr. Articles 5&9 of the Salvation Army's articles of war are:

I believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocency but by their disobedience they lost their purity and happiness and that in consequence of their fall all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God. I believe that continuance in a state of Salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.

See complete list at The Salvation Army Articles of War

He is the brother of a professional musician. Married to Natalie Gill.

Educated Dulwich College, Jesus Cambridge (MA), Ridley Hall, Cambridge; University of Sheffield (phD) Curate Luton parish 1967-71. Tutor Ridley Hall 1970-71 Chaplain 1971-72, Sir H Stephenson fellow, Dept. of Biblical Studies, Univ of Sheffield 1972-74. Chelmsford chaplain 1974-78, canon residentiary 1978-87, Dean of Bristol 1987-97, Dean of Westminster 1997-2002.

Publications: Angels and Principalities 1977 The Priestlike Task 1985 Brief Encounters 1985 Pastor as Theologian 1989 Ministry and the Media 1990 Lost in Familiar Places 1991 Manifold Wisdom (with E Shapiro) Say One for Me 1992 Handbook of Pastoral Studies 1997 Some Reflections on Sin and Evil 2001

 

The official Westminster Abbey site may be found at: www.westminster-abbey.org

 

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