Peter Ball (bishop)

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The Rt Revd
Peter Ball
Bishop of Gloucester
Diocese Diocese of Gloucester
In office 1992–1993
Predecessor John Yates
Successor David Bentley
Other posts Bishop of Lewes
1977–1992 (area bishop: 1984–1992)
Ordination 1956 (deacon); 1958 (priest)
Consecration 1977
Personal details
Born (1932-02-14) 14 February 1932 (age 83)
Denomination Anglican
Occupation Prior
Alma mater Queens' College, Cambridge

Peter John Ball (born 14 February 1932) is the co-founder of the Community of the Glorious Ascension and a former Bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester. He is a noted English Anglo-Catholic.

Early life[edit]

Ball was born on 14 February 1932 . He was educated at Lancing College and Queens' College, Cambridge.

Religious life[edit]

He was ordained in 1956[1] and began his ministry with a curacy at Rottingdean. He next received basic monastic training at Kelham Theological College. In 1960 he and his identical twin brother Michael founded a monastic community, the Community of the Glorious Ascension, of which he was Prior until his elevation to the episcopate.[2] Whilst Prior of CGA, he combined his duties as a religious with several other pastoral roles, including three years as Vicar of Hoar Cross in Staffordshire.

Bishop of Lewes[edit]

Ball was only the second Anglican bishop since the English Reformation to be consecrated as a member of a religious order in a monastic habit. He quickly established himself with clergy in his care as an effective and kindly administrator. More widely, he was popular with congregations as a preacher of striking sermons and as a stimulating leader in small group discussions. In 1987 he was asked by Archbishop Robert Runcie to chair the committee drawing up the new catechism which was produced in 1990.

Ball was also the first Bishop suffragan of Lewes to become area bishop when the diocese's area scheme was instituted in 1984.[3] In Join the Company, Adrian Plass wrote that Ball was "regarded by many as one of the wisest and most godly men in the Christian Church."[4]

Ball's identical twin brother, Michael, was suffragan Bishop of Jarrow from 1980 to 1990 and Bishop of Truro from 1990 to 1997.

Bishop of Gloucester[edit]

After having been translated to the See of Gloucester in 1992, he resigned from his position as Bishop of Gloucester in 1993, after admitting to an act of gross indecency with a 19-year-old man and accepting a formal police caution for it.[5]

Retirement and arrest[edit]

In retirement, Ball and his brother Michael lived in rural Somerset.

In May 2012 it was reported that the Church of England had carried out a safeguarding review of Ball and passed the review and historic files to the Sussex police.[6] The police stated "The reports and files relate to matters more than 20 years ago and we will review the contents in order to establish whether any police investigation of possible criminal offences would be merited. This review is likely to take several weeks. We are not prepared to expand on this statement at this time.”[7]

On 13 November 2012, news services reported that Ball was arrested for police questioning at his home near Langport, Somerset, following allegations of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Chichester during the late 1980s and early 1990s.[8][9] Sussex police said Ball was released the same day on medical advice. The police said they intended to interview Ball at a later date. The police statement noted that the offences leading to Ball's being sought for questioning "were allegedly committed against eight boys and young men, all of whom were at [the] time in their late teens or early twenties, except one who was 12."[10] Three days later, police announced that a further seven people had come forward with allegations of abuse by the Bishop.[11]

On 27 March 2014, Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service South East, announced that based on review of evidence gathered by the Sussex police, they would seek to prosecute Ball on three charges dating to the time when he served as a bishop.[12][13] Narwal said in a news release, "Criminal proceedings are now underway and the defendant has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary, or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”[citation needed] The news brief stated that the three charges were:


  1. ^ Debrett's People of Today: (1992, London, Debrett's) ISBN 1-870520-09-2
  2. ^ Who's Who 1992 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN 0-7136-3514-2
  3. ^ "4: The Dioceses Commission, 1978–2002". Church of England. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Plass, Adrian (1986). Join the Company. Marshall Pickering. p. 187. ISBN 9780551013858. 
  5. ^ Brown, Andrew (1993-03-09). "Bishop quits after police caution for indecency - UK - News - The Independent". The Independent (London). Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Campbell, Colin (2012-05-28). "BBC News - Church of England inquiry into Sussex abuse bishop". BBC Online. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Police review dossier over disgraced Bishop - Local News - Eastbourne Herald". 2012-05-29. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Former Bishop Peter Ball arrested over sex abuse claims". BBC News. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Pugh, Tom (13 November 2012). "Retired bishop Peter Ball held in child sex abuse investigation". London: The Independent. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Sussex Police. "Arrested clergy released - Sussex Police statement". Diocese of Chichester Update, 8:19PM, TUE 13 NOV 2012. ITV. Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Tom Pugh The Independent 16th Nov 2012
  12. ^ Narwal, Jaswant. "Peter Ball (Former Bishop of Gloucester and Lewes) – Charging decision, CPS News Brief Blog 27/03/2014". Crown Prosecution Service. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Daily Mail report