Glyn Simon

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William Glyn Hughes Simon (14 April 1903 – 14 June 1972) was the Anglican Archbishop of Wales from 1968 to 1971.[1]

Simon was born in Swansea, where his father was curate at St Gabriel's church. He was baptised by David Lewis Prosser, later to become the third Archbishop of Wales.

Educated at Christ College, Brecon from 1913, Simon went to Jesus College, Oxford in 1922, where he studied Greats. He trained for the priesthood at St Stephen's House, Oxford and was ordained deacon in Chester Cathedral in 1928, being appointed to the parish of St Paul's, Crewe.

In 1931 he became warden of the Church Hostel at Bangor; the poet R. S. Thomas was a resident student there in 1932.

In 1939 he was appointed warden of St Michael's College, Llandaff and in 1948 became Dean of Llandaff, a position which carries with it the role of vicar of (the parish of) Llandaff, since Llandaff Cathedral doubles as a parish church.

As the Dean of Llandaff, Simon was largely responsible for the reconstruction of the war-damaged nave of the cathedral, commissioning Epstein's Majestas or statue of Christ in Majesty.

Becoming Bishop of Swansea and Brecon in 1953, Simon developed a sympathy for the Welsh language and for the architecture of the Welsh countryside. Translated to Llandaff in 1957, he represented a moderate form of Anglo-Catholicism, notably proceeding to the appointment of women deacons.[citation needed]. Amongst other initiatives he created an industrial chaplaincy at the Port Talbot steelworks.

Elected Archbishop of Wales in 1968, he held the post only until 1971, when he retired, suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Simon's public interventions include his vigorous stance at the time of the Aberfan disaster (1966). His interview with the BBC reporter Vincent Kane was notable [2]) as was his visit to the imprisoned language campaigner Dafydd Iwan (1970). Another television debate engaged Simon in eirenic debate with Sir Bernard Lovell of the Jodrell Bank observatory. Key issues which engaged his attention included apartheid (there was a notable altercation with the Glamorgan captain Wilf Wooller over a visiting South African cricket team) and nuclear disarmament.

Simon accepted several public positions, for periods holding the post of President of the Ecclesiological Society and that of the Cambrian Archaeological Association.

Simon's remarks concerning the way bishops were elected in the Church in Wales earned him criticism from Carl Witton-Davies and a satire in the Western Mail in 1961 by the writer and broadcaster Aneurin Talfan Davies. Relations became tense with the then archbishop, Edwin Morris. At an earlier date Simon had criticised the ceremonial attached to the Gorsedd of Bards.

Pastorally Simon had excellent communication skills with children but was somewhat less at ease with adolescents.His forthright expression commended itself however to university students and gained him considerable popularity.(see Rowan Williams in "Sources").

Paradoxically Simon comes across as a brilliant bishop of Llandaff but less successful as Archbishop of Wales, a post which he held concomitantly in the late sixties and in which he merged into the "Welsh Establishment", playing a prominent role at the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales (1969).(Politically he can nevertheless be said to have enhanced the role of the archbishopric paving the way to his successor's effective opposition to Mrs.Thatcher over the question of funding a Welsh television channel).

Simon married Sheila Roberts, a native Welsh speaker, in 1941. They had four children, one of whom died young. One of his sons is the art historian and critic Robin Simon. Sheila died in 1963.

Simon remarried in 1970 and retired to Goathurst, Somerset. He died in hospital at Taunton in 1972.


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ Jones, Owain W. "Glyn Simon, His Life and Opinions", Gower Press, 1981, pp. 97-99


  • Williams, Rowan, "Simon, (William) Glyn Hughes", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press), 2004–2012
  • O. W. Jones, Glyn Simon, His Life and Opinions (Gower Press, 1981)
  • P. Ferris, The Church of England (Penguin, 1964)


  • The Origins of the Church in Wales, and her History up to the Reformation (Welsh Church Congress),1953.
  • Torch Commentary I Corinthians, 1959.
  • Then and Now (primary visitation),1961.
  • The Landmark,1962.
  • Feeding the Flock, 1964.
  • A Time of Change (second visitation),1966.
  • transl. of J. Danielou, The Ministry of Women in the Early Church, 1961.
  • ed. Bishops, 1961
Church in Wales titles
Preceded by
Edward William Williamson
Bishop of Swansea and Brecon
Succeeded by
John James Absalom Thomas
Preceded by
John Morgan
Bishop of Llandaff
Succeeded by
Eryl Thomas
Preceded by
Edwin Morris
Archbishop of Wales
Succeeded by
Gwilym Williams